What’s Next for Pakistan?

Masood Azhar, head of Islamic terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has been placed in a safe house in Imran Khan's 'Naya' Pakistan. (File Photo: AP/PTI)
Masood Azhar, head of Islamic terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has been placed in a safe house in Imran Khan's 'Naya' Pakistan. (File Photo: AP/PTI)

Wing Commander Abhinandan is back. One Pakistani F16 has been shot down and their pilot killed. Pulwama has been avenged with the destruction of the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps. And our apologists are back to hankering for immediate commencement of peace talks. Where’s the India-Pakistan relationship headed and what happens next for Pakistan?

After the Pulwama attacks there was a complete sense of gloom and doom in the country and everyone wanted revenge. Within a few days sarcastic comments were being made by leaders of the opposition. Twelve days later, the Indian Air Force hit back hard and destroyed three Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps in Pakistan and killed around 350 terrorists who were being trained. Also killed were 25 leaders of the terrorist organisation. It is interesting to note that it is primarily “family” members of Azhar Masood who were in leadership positions (no other meanings intended here)!

These strikes were applauded all over the country. It was surprising that while every opposition leader congratulated the Indian Air Force which was their due, not one of these politicians acknowledged the strong decision making by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Ironically, after making so much noise about the attacks, these political parties are now blaming the BJP for politicising the IAF action.

The following day, Pakistani F16 fighter jets tried to enter Indian air space and were rebuffed. One of these modern jets was shot down by Wing Commander Abhinandan who had been taken into custody. Under the Geneva Convention and after a lot of behind-the-scenes diplomacy and political manoeuvre, he has been released and back as a war hero.

So why are some sections of the press suddenly swinging to the other side?

Why has Imran Khan become a diplomat par excellence and what makes so many of our journalists and opposition politicians give so much credit to Pakistan.

  • It surprises me that some sections of the press have started to comment on why war is never an answer. Quite an inane set of platitudes because no one can deny this. But when you see how much hurt has been caused to our nation over the years by Pakistan supported terrorists, are these journalists talking about pulling back and going back to status quo ante?
  • Some journalists are questioning why the Prime Minister is going about his normal work day. Why shouldn’t he? I am sure he is monitoring the situation closely and has a team of excellent leaders who are more directly handling the matter. The same journalists would take the counter view if the Prime Minister was seen to be spending all this time on this matter.
  • Some journalists have asked whether India has a Defence Minister? I was not able to understand this comment. In addition to the Defence Minister and the National Security Advisor, there are three Chiefs of Staff and it is this core team that must be handling every detailed issue under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister.
  • Some politicians are screaming that all political activity must be stopped by PM Modi. Have they stopped all political activity from their side? The answer is a clear No.
  • One senior BJP leader has announced how many seats his party will win in a state. I think this is a very insensitive comment and must be condemned at all costs.
  • Then there is the Chief Minister of a major state who can’t stop talking about how this entire Pulwama episode has been stage managed by the ruling party. This thinking needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It only shows the thinking of this Chief Minister.

I would strongly urge that we should let our elected Government do its work. 

On the other hand, Pakistan is in serious trouble.

Islamic Terror modules spread across Pakistan and in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir
  • Their economy is bankrupt, and though they are receiving some money from United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China, all this money is coming with strings attached. There is no free lunch and some day payment will be extracted from Pakistan for today’s largesse.
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan is a puppet of the powerful Pakistan Army whose single point agenda is to keep war mongering against India. They have no other reason to exist.
  • Pakistan has created trouble on all its borders with Iran, Afghanistan and India. Its all-weather friend China only looks at a selfish financial partnership on account of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • No investors are willing to come and invest in Pakistan.
  • Despite so many promises, no credible action is expected to be taken by Pakistan against the terrorist camps being supported by their Army.
  • Finally, the Pakistan Army will continue to have a stranglehold on the country and every time a politician attempts to raise his head, they will either cut it or control it.

The last word has not been written on this subject. The last bullet has not been fired and the last life has not been lost. This is a long battle which has scarred many and will continue to scar many more.

Pakistan needs to take some serious confidence building measures which would include:

  • Allowing China to declare Azhar Masood as an international terrorist and hand him over for trial.
  • Hand over Hafiz Saeed to India to stand trial for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks of 2008.
  • Hand over Dawood Ibrahim, the architect of the 1993 Bombay attacks. (Bombay is now officially know as Mumbai. The name change happened in 1995)

Handing over these three terrorists would be a starter but given popular opinion, it is highly unlikely that the Pakistan Army will ever agree to handing over their prime terror arm.

Yet, it’s only after these actions have been taken should Pakistan ask for a dialogue on Kashmir.

It is too early for us to forget Pulwama and it is unrealistic to expect everyone to forgive and move on.

As the old saying goes we must forgive if Pakistan takes action against the terrorists, but we must never forget the harm they have caused us.

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