Pulwama, Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammad

Indian Muslims beating the photograph of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar with their shoes. They were protesting against the Pulwama terror attack in Ahmedabad. (Photo: PTI)

Valentine’s Day brought the horrific news of the dastardly attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber who, in his recorded video, proudly announced that by the time the world saw his video, he would be in the promised-land!

It has taken me several days to come to grips with the audacity and magnitude of the Pulwama attack and I strongly condemn the attack. The martyrdom of the soldiers should never be forgotten, and everything needs to be done for the orphaned families. Understandably, the emotions of every Indian are highly charged. No one likes to see an attack on our forces and such a cowardly suicide attack is rightly condemned by everyone.

The implications this will have on Pakistan will be far reaching, and will take a very long time for the two nations to come back to status quo ante, which in any case was a highly strained relationship.

The nation is rightly screaming for blood and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured everyone that Pakistan will pay a major price for their misadventure. Understandably, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, despite being covered by the menacing shadow of Azhar Mahmood, has made the expected noise about a “fitting response”, forgetting Pakistan’s misadventure in all the previous wars.

From Osama bin Laden to Dawood Ibrahim and from Azhar Mamood to Hafiz Sayed, every known terrorist finds protection in Pakistan. Whether this is done with the express approval of the Pakistani Army and its ISI can be debated ad nauseum but the fact remains that these individuals are in the country.

Let us look at a few interesting points:

  • 27 Iranian Revolutionary Guards were killed by a suicide bomber on 13th February 2019. The Iranian Government has threatened Pakistan with a strong response for the killing of their elite guards. Did Pakistan carry out this attack to curry favour with the visiting Saudi Prince?
  • Afghanistan is continuously faced with the attacks that are planned on Pakistani soil and executed in Afghanistan and Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan President, has never hesitated in calling Pakistan a terrorist state.
  • Balochistan is a major thorn in the side of Pakistan. Short of destroying all resistance of locals, Pakistan has no other option to retain its control over the strong separatist movement but to use extreme force. Bangladesh was created because of the extreme differences with West Pakistan. Will Balochistan be the next independent country of the World?
  • Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have condemned the attack in India in no uncertain terms and Pakistan is not getting any sympathy in the region. Pakistan, through its actions has neutralised the effectiveness of SAARC.
  • Every country in the world, has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks and Pakistan is not making any friends in a hurry.
  • China currently needs Pakistan for its China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). For China, all relationships ultimately boil down to money. It is only a matter of time before China too will realises that you cannot keep a pet snake inside your shirt and hope that it will not bite.
  • US President Donald Trump has, in no uncertain terms, expressed solidarity with India and asked Pakistan to stop harbouring terrorists on its soil.

Pakistan has become a global pariah and every Pakistani citizen must be feeling the impact of the misadventures of their political, religious and army leaders. Why does the Pakistani citizen not put pressure on their government to improve their lives? Why do they get carried away with religious and political rhetoric?

Pakistan has become a rogue nation and the world has acknowledged this. Pakistan needs to take substantial steps if it wants to gain some semblance of credibility. It can sabre rattle its nuclear power capability all it wants, but they know they cannot use this deterrent.

The impact of decades of offering such support is felt by the common Pakistani citizen. Pakistan Army spends most of the country’s money on buying arms, a large amount of which probably lines the pockets of Pakistani Generals and the country’s politicians. The average Pakistani is treated with contempt all over the world for no fault of theirs.

The Pakistani economy is on the verge of bankruptcy. Going to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package is not an option since IMF will ask Pakistan to make fundamental corrections to their economy. Their leaders are therefore, running from country to country with the proverbial begging bowl, asking for some bail-out money. China, UAE and Saudi Arabia have given some loans, but these loans will have some stringent conditions and by its very definition, a loan must be repaid. All that Pakistan has managed to do is to delay the inevitable for a few more months.

India’s withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status from Pakistan will hurt Pakistani exporters significantly. Finding ready markets for their products will not be easy, more so when international sentiment is against the country. More economic challenges can be expected.

Where is the “Naya” Pakistan that Imran Khan had promised? All that this action seems to show is the government of Imran Khan is simply old wine in a new bottle and that too has become rancid with the passage of time.

With increasing pressure on the government of India, will India use its excellent relations with Iran and jointly take revenge for the attacks “engineered” by Pakistan in the two countries on consecutive days? Will the government of India seek assistance from Israel to get their accurate missiles? 

Prime Minister Modi will choose a very strong response to avenge Pulwama. He will do this at a time of his choosing rather than be guided or pushed by public sentiment.

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