Pakistan: The Cradle of Terrorism

A Terrorist State

Last week, a former spokesperson of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ehsanllah Ehsan, fled to Turkey after escaping from a prison in Pakistan. The escape of Ehsan, who claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai and a heinous attack on Army Public School (APS) killing 133 innocent children was involved in the murder of thousands of common Pakistanis also. This has baffled the international community, however, it is being accepted as new routine, in case of the terrorist state Pakistan.

Additionally, before FATF plenary session, Hammad Azhar, a minister in Imran Khan’s cabinet, stated that the administration could not file a First Investigation Report (FIR) against Masood Azhar, as he has apparently gone missing. This is equally baffling, given the fact that terrorist groups are kept under ISI noose in Pakistan.

Over the last three decades, the international community has blamed Pakistan of sponsoring militant groups in Afghanistan and Kashmir, a charge Pakistan obviously and impassionedly denies with incorrigible fervour lacking logic. Pakistan and its jihad zealot member community does however openly supports, in principle, three prominent jihadi militant groups in Kashmir viz the Hizb‐​ul‐​Mujahideen, Lashkar‐​e‐​Taiba, and Jaish‐​e‐​Mohammad. Even though these groups are officially banned by the Pakistani government due to international pressures.

The United States has also routinely criticized Pakistan for supporting the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network (the U.S. designated terrorist group), both of which frequently attack U.S. troops and coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Ehasanullah Escape

Spurt in killings of “rogue terrorists” not subscribing to Pakistan Army

While, it was a no brainer when Ehsanullah Ehsan, a most wanted terrorist for attacks on Pakistani citizens, mysteriously surrendered in 2017, not tried by courts, but kept under detention in a sprawling bungalow along with his family.

Since Ehsanullah’s escape, several senior members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been killed in Afghanistan. However, it’s not only the Pakistani Taliban that has suffered heavy losses at hands of Pakistan Army. A senior member of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), a militant organization known for targeting Pakistan’s interests, was also killed in Iran a few days ago.

Also after his escapes, according to Reuters, he has arrived, with family, to Turkey, while its evident how Erdogan is willing to be part of anything murky and passionately unethical, to support Pakistan and China, in return for support on its designs in the Mediterranean and the Arab led Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Afghan and Pakistani Taliban

Pakistan Army Ownership

Among the Pashtun tribesmen, since the Russian invasion of Afghanistan decades back, there has been widespread support for the Afghan “jihad.” In contrast, Pakistani Taliban TPP and associated groups, came into being as resistance to Pakistan in the region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, since the last fifteen years, in a bid to achieve its long deserving independence against Pakistan’s atrocities.

Pakistan is intending to end TPP, merge and use that support to recruit the maximum number of young men to fill ranks of Afghanistan Taliban. With this in mind, Ehsan has been recruited, under an honorarium, to effect this gradual change though again deceivingly radical in essence.

Result is Shehryar Mehsud, leader of the Hakimullah Mehsud group of TTP, who was killed by a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) in Kunar province, amongst others, all of whom are striving to achieve independence from Pakistan, including BRA leaders.

Jihadis as Political Representatives in Pakistan

“Bloodbath” flooded Pakistan’s front pages in 2018 after a jihadi bomb attack killed 151 people at an election rally in the country’s Baluchistan province.

As Pakistanis wonder what toll, the threat of terrorism will take in their political landscape, many activists decry another disturbing trend, that the government and Pakistan Army abetted sharp rise in religious extremists and front end parties of prominent terrorist groups running for office.

Pakistan Army’s short term solution to terrorists acting against its own state interests is to foster them as having a political space and keep them happy, by giving them a cloak of legitimacy. It’s been widely frowned upon by the international audience, that the terrorist groups have been allowed to enter the Pakistan political discourse.

Is it that the Imran Bajwa have an accord, to have this as a short term solution, to keeping the jihadis amused, and not gunning for Pakistan Army and government, and let the Chinese led CPEC be. Appears likely, given how Pakistan has played one group against others, to get the better one on its side, out of the worsts. Though, the better have a tendency to go worst, however for Pakistan Army that can be dismissively dealt later, as before as always.

Amusing statesmanship! However, it be borne in mind that shallow governance and lack of principles and character has its own pitfalls, especially for nation-states.

Viewpoint

Deaths of several anti-Pakistan militant leaders in Afghanistan and Iran are reflective of several previous such developments, and as well we may see a wider and targeted campaign against the TTP and Baluch resistance in the coming weeks and months.

Ehsan’s escape, and use of terror as state assets, shows the underlying deadly realities of Pakistan’s militant landscape, where the politics of terrorism continue to pose a serious threat to common Pakistani’s interests in the long run.

How long and effective is the leash, that Pakistan Army has on such measured pro-Pakistan terrorist groups, only time shall reveal. However, as far as history repeating itself goes, it will be a short time, when the same terror is back on its own soil, bloodying its streets with gore of common Pakistani citizen again, not of the elite of Pakistan.

Whilst the roulette of FATF and Pakistan sponsored terrorism shall continue, as a new humdrum, for Pakistan.

19 Feb 20/Wednesday                                                                     Written By: Fayaz