Author: Tejinder Singh
16 December 2008 - Issue : 813
Pakistani melodrama failed to stop the international community from acting recently as the UN Security Council swiftly placed the Lashkar-front "Jamaat ud Dawa" and four of its top leadership on the list of terrorists. Pakistan's feeble attempts to draw the linkage to Kashmir had no takers. Its ally, China, which had helped Pakistan using its veto-powers in preventing similar action by the Security Council in 2006, choose to keep distance with the problematic client.
An editorial in "The Daily Times," a leading Pakistani media outlet wrote on December 13, "It is the Chinese "message" that has changed our mind. The Chinese did not veto the banning of Dawa on Wednesday, and they had reportedly told Islamabad as much beforehand, compelling our permanent representative at the UN to assert that Pakistan would accept the ban if it came."
The Pakistani economy has reached near bankruptcy stage, while the political stability remains a far cry. Provoking India and a roll-back in the peace process is a time-tested strategy to re-gain Army's pre-eminent position. The memory of Kargil has not faded yet.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Western political pundit summed it up: "Army's policy to maintain its pre-eminence has three key features, namely the power monopoly under a sham democracy, anti-India orientation modulated by deniable terrorist cadres, and a client regime in Afghanistan."
While the Pakistan Army succeeded in provoking India with the Mumbai attacks, international community has seen through its strategy and refused to buy its Kashmir-tilt. Even President-elect Obama's innocent remark on finding a solution to Kashmir issue was played up and words were put into his mouth on the prospect of former President Clinton being chosen as his man-Friday for the purpose.
However, the situation was getting untenable with the Army increasingly getting sucked into the tribal quagmire and incessant American drone attacks challenging the sovereignty of the country.
It is not difficult to see through the unfolding strategy of the Army/ISI to wriggle out of its reluctant partnership to fight against terrorism on the western frontier and get the international focus turned to eastern border. They have long been waiting for an opportunity for this "U" turn. Despite the assurance given by the then President Musharraf to the world community not to allow its territory for terrorist activities in India, terror infrastructure remained intact.
Musharraf cleverly played a hide and seek game with gullible President George W. Bush, convincing him of his sincerity in fighting Taliban and Al Qaida and making him to cough over USD 10 billion in military aid. For eight years, American field commanders have been constantly complaining of Pakistan ISI/Army double game but to no avail.
The fine balance that Musharraf succeeded in creating got upset with some Army elements, eager to have a quick "U" turn, encouraged Taliban-Jaish elements to make an attempt on his life which finally culminated in Lal Masjid confrontation. With Musharraf's departure imminent, the option of Benazir did not fit in the Army-ISI strategy for a "U-turn" and therefore she also had to go.
The intricate entwining of Pakistani jihadis and Al Qaeda-Taliban is best portrayed in the Dec 13 editorial in "The Daily Times" stating: "Pakistan will need to cooperate with the international community in the coming days. The trend among our jihadi outfits so far is not to surrender to bans but to make a beeline for the Kohat Road pockets of terrorism and join the Al Qaeda-Taliban combine to kill our soldiers. Our army discovered all the banned jihadis when it confronted the militants at Darra Adam Khel. If Jaish was let off the hook after it attacked General Musharraf in 2004, it should now be confronted for providing the bulk of suicide-bombers to the Taliban and Al Qaeda."
There has always been alleged proof in plenty for every single incident of terrorist action in India, designed and choreographed by Pakistani Army and its "rogue" agency. The sole surviving terrorist called the Pakistani bluff and denial. He not only revealed his identity, and place of origin, which have been confirmed by the BBC and Los Angeles Times, but also exposed the details of all other nine terrorists and the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba commanders that trained them.
Pakistan's Army has again mis-read the mood of the international community against terrorism. Commenting on the UN move, a respectable political observer in Washington urged that the world rage against the terror attack by elements in Pakistan should not rest with the UN resolution and this has to be taken to its logical conclusion, adding on condition of anonymity, "The terror infrastructure in that should be eliminated to its last vestige. While this may not serve its army, it will perhaps lead the way for a peaceful and prosperous country serving the welfare of its people."
The editorial in "The Daily TImes," reconfirmed the expert view concluding: "Last but not least, Pakistan should act not because an "unfair international system" compels it to act; it should act out of conviction. Some commentators are already suggesting the kind of double-faced strategy adopted by Musharraf. It has been exposed as self-damaging and should not be embraced again."
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