Pakistan has become synonymous with terrorism is a well-known fact. The roots of the problem can be traced back to the pernicious ideology behind the demand for a separate Pakistan in British India.
Premised on the “two-nation” theory, the Pakistan movement harped on the irreconcilable differences between the Muslims and the Hindus. Following the dictums of radical Islam, the nation that came being on August 14, 1947, was an artificial construct with various elements in mutual disharmony with each-other.
Islamic radicalisation in Pakistan: a threat to peace and humanity
No wonder that the radical Islamic discourse has captured the key institutions in Pakistan; viz. army, judiciary, and the media. These organisations are complicit in the religious radicalisation of the larger Pakistani society. In such a vitiated atmosphere, the religious minorities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Shias and Ahmadis Muslims) do not feel safe there.
Thus, the Modi-government came up with the Citizenship Amendment Bill to grant citizenship to the minorities fleeing persecution in neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, the bill became the latest victim of the shenanigans of the pseudo-secular forces in the Parliament, who have always cared about nurturing the minority vote-bank in India. Never have these parties bothered themselves about the victimisation of religious minorities in the neighbourhood.
Looming disintegration of Pakistan
Pakistan is torn apart by internal contradictions. The Pakistani state has always been dominated by a Punjabi aristocracy. The Pashtuns of Baluchistan, the Sindhis, and the Mohajirs have always resented the federal government which toes the line of the Saudi-backed Wahabi ideology of radical Islam (that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran). The Pakistan army has been brutally crushing the Baluch independence movement.
Many Baluch leaders have been appreciative of India’s help. If Baluchistan gains independence, Sindh could also rise in revolt and a Sindhistan could very well become a reality. With the creation of Bangladesh and the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, the two-nation theory has already been discredited. Similarly, the creation of Baluchistan and Sindhistan will deal a final blow to the two-nation theory.
Demise of Pakistan, demise of terrorism
The disintegration of Pakistan could also spell the end of terrorism in the Indian subcontinent. This will have wider implication on global peace, regional development and prosperity. It will be ultimately good for humanity. Terrorism is a threat to the entire human civilization. The response to terrorism must be fierce and India has rightly conducted surgical strikes in recent times against terror launch pads across the border.
The Modi government has shown boldness and determination in dealing with terrorism. India is no more a soft state showing weakness and even helplessness when faced with dastardly terrorist attacks.
Dealing with terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil has been a nightmare for Indian foreign policy. The challenge gets magnified as Pakistan has used terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy under the shadow of its nuclear weapons. The nuclearisation of Pakistan blunted India’s conventional military superiority.
India’s changing approach in dealing with Pakistan-sponsored terrorism
The 1990s witnessed the onset of vicious jihadi terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir keeping India on its toes. In December 2001, there was an attack on the Indian Parliament and then series of bombings in cities like Varanasi in 2006, followed by the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
In 2001, India mobilised troops under Operation Parakaram after the attack on Indian Parliament and threatened the use of force. But overall the policy remained confined to the larger paradigm of strategic restraint. This policy of strategic restraint continued even in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks. The logic of restraint has been to avoid military confrontation, lest it escalates to the nuclear level. But Pakistan assumed this to be India’s weakness.
The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistani-army backed jihadists almost created an environment of impunity whereby they carried out terror attacks without fear of India’s retaliation. But after the Uri terror attack in 2016, India conducted surgical strikes against terror launch pads across the border.
After the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019, India showed its willingness to go for second surgical strikes in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. This was the first time Indian fighter jets went deep inside Pakistan after the 1971 war. Now, it is quite evident that the policy of strategic restraint is replaced by the policy of offensive defence. India showed enormous political will and resolve in going for this second strike.
Multi-pronged approach in dealing with Pakistan;
•In February 2019, India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status unilaterally accorded to Pakistan.
•There have been demands about renegotiation of the generous Indus Waters Treaty, giving a larger share of Indus water to Pakistan. In 2016, the Government even constituted a committee for the same purpose.
•Robust Diplomatic strategy: India termed its post-Pulwama air strikes against Pakistan as “non-military pre-emptive strikes” against terror launch pads. India reached out to the International Community. Australia and France openly asked Pakistan to refrain from cross-border terrorism. At India’s request, the UK, the USA and France moved a resolution in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for banning of Jaish-e-Mujahideen (JeM) chief Masood Azhar. Even China has given muted support against Pakistan. India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM), Sushma Swaraj, also attended the Russia-India-China (RIC) meeting which passed a resolution against terrorism.
Pakistan’s crumbling economy
Pakistan’s economy has been undergoing a grim situation. GDP Growth of 5.2 percent for 2016-17 is the highest in the last 10 years. FDI is very low, however, Chinese investments more than doubled to 1Bn$ from 474Bn$. The unemployment rate is about to 9 percent has been predicted by IMF. Its economy survives on bailout packages from the global organisations like the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank, and allies like China and the US.
As we witness that Pakistan is facing serious sectarian polarisation which aggravated after 2013. Shia minority though relatively better off economically has lost power. Sharif brothers are close to Sunni sectarian outfits. The emergence of ISIS and sectarian rift in the Islamic world has further increased sectarian tensions.
Baluchistan nationalism is in our favour which came into momentum after the assignation of Nawab Bugti and Ballach Mari as eliminating the Baloch leaders is state policy of Pakistan. Nowadays, Baluchistan has made a move away from media headlines. The battle for Karachi will pose a serious threat to Pakistan’s unity.
Sindhi nationalism is picking up as PPP is not in power. Due to the absence of political and economic development in FATA created an ideal ground for Talibanisation. Pakistan wants to promote this radical political Islamic ideology to subsume the rising nationalism within the territory.
Due to the accommodation of the Taliban by Pakistan a series of violence has speeded not only in South Asia but the whole world. India should make it clear to Pakistan that it is not going to tolerate terror acts in future. That every terror strike will invite a proportionate response should be made amply clear to Pakistan.
India should also be encouraging and supporting the various independence movements in Pakistan, in consonance with Modi’s promise to the Baluch people.
Last Updated 3, Apr 2019, 2:17 PM IST