Home Pakistan's 'Deep State' Continues to Sponsor Terrorism

Pakistan's 'Deep State' Continues to Sponsor Terrorism

The apprehension of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Mohammed Naved after he and another LeT terrorist had killed two and injured 11 BSF personnel near Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar-Leh national highway, proved once again that the Pakistan army and the ISI – the ‘deep state’ – continue to sponsor terrorist strikes in India.

Less than a week before the Udhampur incident, heavily armed LeT terrorists had struck at a police station in Dinanagar, near Gurdaspur in Punjab, and killed a Superintendent of Police and eight civilians. They had been briefed to attack two temples and a college. All three terrorists were killed.

The final planning and coordination for these strikes was clearly done immediately after the Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers had met at Ufa in Russia and agreed to cooperate on “fighting terrorism in all its forms”. The Pakistan army and the ISI do not approve of counter-terrorism cooperation with India and were unhappy with the agreement at Ufa.

The ‘deep state’ makes a distinction between ‘good’ terrorists who are considered ‘strategic assets’ and are employed to destabilise neighbouring countries, such as the Let, JeM, LeJ and the Haqqani network, and ‘bad’ terrorists like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) who are enemies of the state.

There is disagreement on making peace overtures to India between the civil society in Pakistan – represented by the Nawaz Sharif government – and the Pakistan army and the ISI that loom larger than life over Pakistan’s polity and exercise undue influence on the country’s foreign and security policies.

Pakistan is gradually but inexorably headed towards becoming a failed state. Its economy is on the verge of collapse, it is riven by radical extremism, ethnic tensions, fissiparous tendencies, and a full blown insurgency in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa and FATA, which the army has been unable to fight successfully. It is indeed remarkable that the army continues to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds in Afghanistan and India, rather than worrying about eliminating the scourge of internal instability.

Despite all the evidence confirming their involvement in sponsoring terrorism, they remain in denial mode about the control they exercise over the terrorist organisations like the LeT, the JeM and the LeJ that they have spawned and supported for over two decades.

Incontrovertible proof was provided recently by TariqKhosa, former chief of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). In an article that Khosa wrote in Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper published from Karachi, he accepted that the evidence available indicated that the November 2008 attacks at Mumbai were “planned and launched” from Pakistani soil and that Pakistan must “face the truth and admit mistakes.” He revealed that the “ops room” from where the attacks were launched was in Karachi and admitted that the trials of the seven attackers who have been charged “had lingered on for far too long.”

Khosa’s revelations are indicative of the early contours of realisation among members of Pakistan’s civil society that over six decades of hostility with India have yielded no dividends. The members of Pakistan’s civil society look with envy on India’s economic development and the freedoms its citizens enjoy and wish their country could emulate India’s success.

Pakistan’s conflict with India will end only if, and when, a similar realisation dawns on the Pakistan army and the ISI about the futility of conflict with India and leads to a change of heart at the strategic level to end the proxy war being waged against India.

The remaining roots of the conflict and the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir are now in POK and Pakistan. India must be pro-active in launching trans-LoC operations against those who are waging a proxy war against India, including the perpetrators of terrorism.While India must continue to engage Pakistan, diplomatic parleys must be limited to getting Pakistan to end its sponsorship of terrorism and the early conclusion of the trial of the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strikes.

The proof provided by Tariq Khosa’s admission of the complicity of organs of the state in launching terrorist strikes in neighbouring countries and the evidence available from the interrogation of Mohammed Naved and from the kit of the terrorists killed at Dinanagar, should be sufficient for United Nations sanctions to be imposed on Pakistan as a state that sponsors terrorism.

At the very least, as a first step, member states of the UN must ban the sale of all weapons and defence equipment to Pakistan forthwith, including gifts like excess defence articles (EDA) given by the US to the armed forces of Pakistan. The US DoD and the State Department’s belief that the Pakistan army must be supported in order to encourage the growth of democracy in the country is a throwback to the 1980s and was permanently buried by General Musharraf’s coup in October 1999. 

The autor is former Director, CLAWS. Views expressed by the author are personal

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Brig Gurmeet Kanwal
Former Director
Contact at: [email protected]

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