Why Pakistan is a dangerous bet to talk peace with

Balbir Punj
Balbir PunjAug 22, 2015 | 14:08

Why Pakistan is a dangerous bet to talk peace with

The news reports last Monday morning had said Pakistan Punjab's home minister Shuja Khansada was killed in his political office by suicide bombers in retaliation for the elimination of the leader of the militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in an encounter last month.

By evening the same day there were reports, the Pakistani army had attacked a militant group and killed several in the North West Frontier Province.


This violence and counter-violence would certainly be read in the context of the Pakistani army encouraging militants to infiltrate into areas in Punjab and Jammu seeking to create mayhem.


The insight into this came from one of the militants who was captured alive. His confession implicates Pakistan so completely that today it has nowhere to hide. As a result, to showcase its frustration, Pakistan's army has started resuming shelling over the LoC and International Border. This is happening in the backdrop of Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani's frustration with Pakistan after he sought to buy peace for his country by engaging in peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, the faction which is sponsored by Pakistan to regain its clout in Kabul before the ouster of the Taliban regime under Mullah Omar. But the Afghan President's gamble of cosying up to Pakistan in the hope of buying peace, with the US and China supporting such a move, has backfired.

The Afghan President's frustration with Pakistan, despite him buying into its terms for peace, is evident in his statement on August 10, after the series of suicide attacks on his country by the Taliban: "The last few days have shown that suicide bomber training camps and bomb producing factories which are killing our people are active as before in Pakistan. We had hoped for peace but we are receiving messages of war from Pakistan."


How the Afghan president, the US, China and others trying to buy peace by genuflecting before Pakistan's doublespeak and its double dealings would be interesting to watch.

But for us this is happening when the civilian rulers of Islamabad have agreed to resume talks at the NSA level on August 23 even as they or their other power centres (either together or separately - we could know only later) have pounded the Punjab border and Jammu LoC with artillery and sent terrorists within both Indian Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.


This, read with the recent Afghan developments, shows that nothing could be more revealing of the risks of even hoping to get to a workable peace with the type of situation that prevails in Pakistan.

The level of brutality that's daily reported; whether its suicide bombings in Afghanistan by various Taliban groups; the training of killers by Pakistani militants that the captured Pakistani militant Naved has exposed in his statements; the scenes that come up in various video exposures from the IS in Syria-Iraq, as well as daily attacks on Iraqi Shia mosques by Sunni militants and similar attacks on mosques in Pakistan killing so many Muslims by other Muslims; are all begging for an explanation.


How could the militant-orthodox groups continue to get young people supplied brainwashed and ready to die and kill others of rival sects in the same religion in the name of religion for so long and so wide a global scene? Add to that is the reported behaviour of the so called and self-styled warriors of jihad under the IS including its leader Baghdadi.

The IS itself has sent out videos of abducted and even volunteer co-jihadi women being forced to be sex slaves and of massacre where they refuse to be such slaves. How Baghdadi himself was using a captive US lady aid worker in Iraq as his sex slave for two years till she died, must have shocked global conscience. Why are there no organised protests by Muslim institutions and noted leaders against such an insult to their religion. After all, these actions are being done in the good name of Islam by its own followers and leaders claiming to act for the defence of the faith? How Afghan President Ghani as well as the US administration could so easily be inveigled to believe that Pakistan could be trusted to control the militant Taliban that has been receiving sanctuary and aid from the Pakistani military after the experience of past decades, exposes a weakness in their understanding of Islamabad's power structure.


Former Afghan President Karzai refused to buy this US administration line that by cozying up to Islamabad, peace could be bought in Kabul, enabling US forces to withdraw completely. Many analysts warned President Obama his proposal to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan and trusting Pakistan to keep out of interfering in its northern neighbour's affairs was misplaced. For, the Pakistani military had one purpose for its hold on the Pakistani masses led by religious orthodoxy: inflict wounds on India even if a direct confrontation is not worthwhile. In the logic of this military mind, Afghanistan would be a stage for Pakistan to vent its hatred against India. During the Taliban regime of Mullah Omar in Kabul that was what Afghanistan was.

For the US administration the truth was revealed through the shock of the 9/11 al-Qaeda orchestrated attack on American people in the US itself. This attack was followed by one on the Indian Parliament building with an elaborate plan to hold Indian leadership as a bargaining tool but the Indian state was too strong for Islamabad's military-Mullah combine to try this adventure.

Now once again, the regime in Kabul after more than a decade of relative freedom to experiment with a democratic structure, is getting snared in similar illusions and then learning to face reality. At the centre of it all, at least in the Islamic majority region, west of India, the Macbethian witches stirring the cauldron of evil have their base in Pakistan and Muslims are as much victims of it as others. It's time global powers face this harsh reality.

Last updated: August 22, 2015 | 14:17
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy