Two media reports have hinted at the likely contours of Terrorist landscape in Pakistan.

First report says that Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi refused to take stern action against Hafiz Saeed led Jamaat-ud-Dawa(JuD) and Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) fearing that any such move could trigger a political crisis. With the specter of meek surrender of Pakistan Government to Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) still fresh in the memory, Pakistan Government showed little inclination to deal with Hafiz Saeed’s organization firmly, even at the risk of facing blacklisting by Financial Action Task Force.

The JuD is believed to be the front organization for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the 26/11 Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed. It was declared a foreign terrorist organization by the US in June 2014. Following the February 9 presidential ordinance, the government formally ordered the freezing of all the assets of JuD and FIF across the country without placing them in Schedule I of Anti-Terrorism law. Sources say that still a notification by the interior ministry was required to formally act against the members of both the organizations. Although the federal government has decided to freeze the assets of JuD and FIF through the law, it does not empower the provincial police to register cases against their activists, so their assets have been frozen but no cases are registered against their activists and they are free to carry on with their activities hitherto fore. Under the same pretext the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) has refused to update its list of banned organizations on its website. A high-level meeting, headed by the NACTA Chief Ehsan Ghani on February 15 deliberated the notification of the interior ministry and also pointed out the same flaw in the notification issued by the government. So lack of Political will coupled with bureaucratic gaffe has allowed Hafiz Saeed to continue with its terror activities.

In the second report Jammu and Kashmir Public Works Minister and official spokesman of the J&K government Naeem Akhtar said that China is on its way to assuming a “much bigger role in Kashmir” and the Jaish-e-Mohammad, the group responsible for most of the terror attacks, has been veritably “adopted” by Beijing. China has been regularly vetoing attempts to designate Azhar as a terrorist in United Nations. Such things don’t happen without reason.

In November 2017, China blocked a bid to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. The bid was made by the US, France and Britain at the behest of India. In fact, China has been repeatedly blocking India’s move to designate Azhar a terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. Jaish, however, is already on the UN’s list of banned groups. In August last year, China extended by three months its technical hold on the proposal to list Azhar as global terrorist which was backed by US, France and Britain after it had blocked it in February. In March 2016, China was the only member in the 15-nation UN organ to put a hold on India’s application with all other 14 members of the Council supporting New Delhi’s bid to place Azhar on the 1267 sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban. It clearly shows a nexus between Beijing and Jaish.

The Kashmir issue isn’t limited to the fight between India and Pakistan now. There is another major factor i.e. overt involvement of China. Earlier also China had shown willingness to enter into a resolution of Kashmir conflict. Theory of two and half front war propounded by Indian Army Chief seems to be now taking shape.

Now if these two media reports are to be believed, it will be clear that whereas Pakistan is harboring Hafiz Saeed, China has decided to nurture Masood Azhar. Marginalisation of the third player in Kashmir Syed Salahuddin paves the way for the clear-cut emergence of these two terror proteges of Pakistan and China, which are India centric. In other words, GOOD TERRORISTS.

As per sources, Jaish which had vanished from the militancy scene in 2003 has now re-emerged and is responsible for every fedayeen attack in J&K, over the last year.

Incidentally,  re-emergence of Jaish has coincided with CPEC. Both have hogged limelight almost at the same time. Is it a Chinese ploy to keep India under check only time will tell?

“Unlike earlier, the great game is literally being played inside Kashmir.”

20 Feb 2018/Tuesday