After a brief lull, tension is back on Indian borders. Cross border firing has resulted in death and destructions in Jammu and Kashmir. Thousands of people have been evacuated from border areas of the state as there is no sign of any let up in the firing from across Pakistan. Rather indications coming from Pakistan suggest that the South Asian country would further escalate tension with India. There are reasons for it. First, Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir were held without bloodbath and violence; second, US President Barack Obama who is going to become chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade, has again avoided visiting Pakistan. This is second time since 2010, President Obama has refused to land in Pakistan while visiting India.
This apart, there are several other factors and one of them included India’s steadfast refusal to hold talks with Pakistan. Since Delhi called off foreign secretary level talks after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit went on to have meeting with Kashmiri separatist leaders sidelining India’s objection, there has been no effort from India to engage Pakistan. Pakistani interlocutors did not succeed in their attempt to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of UN General Assembly meet in New York. Their efforts met the same fate at the SAARC summit held in Kathmandu.
Pakistan at war with itself
Experts say Pakistan is deep in frustration. Internal crisis triggered by terrorists from Tehreek-e-Taliban and the government’s failure to rein in economic decline , have crippled Islamabad’s attempt to stay erect as a nation-state. Over the past five years, the country’s gross domestic product growth has averaged 3 per cent. In 2008, it managed to avert a balance of payments crisis by securing $11 billion from International Monetary Fund. Then due to insurgency, flow of foreign direct investment has almost stopped. In fiscal year 2014-15, FDI in Pakistan fell by 26 per cent.
According to figures available with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce, Pakistan received just $169 million worth of investment, indicating clearly that no serious investor turned towards the country. Amid this, media and civil society have questioned the rule of law in the country where the Peshawar massacre has left a deep mark on its claim of being a functioning state. Thereby, to divert its citizen’s attention from the chaos Pakistan is in, Islamabad has resorted to its all-too familiar tactics of targeting India.
Pakistan Army continues to pamper anti-India elements
Current shelling on the Line of Control (LoC) and interception and chasing of a suspected Pakistani boat 365-km off Porbander-are seen in the context of Pakistan’s anti-India design. Security officials say had the alert Coast Guard personnel not chased the explosive laden Pakistani boat, there could have been another 26/11 incident in India. But this was not the lone incident. Intelligent agencies unearthed a design to hijack Indian airlines plane operating from Kabul, Kathmandu and other places. Following this, alert has been sounded to authorities of respective countries.
Also across India, an alert has been sounded about possible terror strikes. Indian intelligence sources say 40 terrorist camps are still operating in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and they are getting support from Lashkar-e-Taiba founder and mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attack, Hafiz Saeed. In fact, despite being designated by the UN as terrorist and the US slapping $10 million bounty on his head, Hafiz Saeed is the most preferred man of the Pakistani Army, especially its 10th Corps which is responsible for Kashmir operation. With the help from the Pakistani Army, he is not only controlling all Kashmir-bound terrorist outfits but also Urdu speaking members of the LeT. Often he holds rallies across Pakistan and spews venom against India, which is then aired by the country’s television and radio. Recently, amid cross-border shelling, Saeed thundered: “If you are not ready to resolve it, then god willing, Kashmir will be the gateway and will jihad against India.” He said Pakistan should know India is its enemy and it should help the “freedom fighters” in Kashmir.
In fact, he is treated as strategic asset by the Pakistani establishment even as the Peshawar massacre which left 132 school children and 16 others dead, exposed the country’s vulnerability to terrorism. Only after much hue and cry from India, the Pakistan government challenged the bail plea of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT terrorist and Mumbai attacks mastermind in that country’s Supreme Court. It may be noted that Lakhvi and his six accomplices – Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamid Amid Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum – have been charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attacks which had left 166 people dead.
Despite their involvement in ghastly terror attacks, all of them are treated like guests in Pakistan’s Adiala prison. What is more shocking is that when the Pakistan government has launched all-out-war against the TTP, its support to Jaish-e-Mohammad’s chief Masood Azhar, fugitive and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the Haqqani network remains unabated.
Pakistan exists on anti-India plank
Undoubtedly, it shows that Islamabad has no intention to improve atmospherics with Delhi. Following the sinking of Pakistan’s explosive laden terror boat at Porbander, Islamabad, immediately reacted with its Maritime Security Agency arresting 12 Indian fishermen off the Gujarat Coast. According to strategic experts, in no way Pakistan can help normalise its relations with India. Ideological differences apart, they say, Pakistan as a state exists on anti-India plank. Indeed, this is the reason Delhi reacted angrily when Pakistan’s Finance Minister was quoted as saying that the US Congress has cleared an aid instalment of $532 million under the Kerry-Lugar Bill which links aid to Islamabad’s cooperation on counter-terrorism.
Following this reaction, the US State Department clarified that the Congress had not approved such aid. In the backdrop of such development, it shows that good days are not ahead for India-Pakistan relations. Rather, Pakistan is trying to open all frontiers to increase hostility against India. Through cross border firing and pushing terrorists inside India, it wants to bring an impact on geo-politics of South Asia. Experts feel that by doing so, Pakistan wants to hurt India’s interests at time when the third economic power of Asia is emerging as the key arbitrator of peace and development in the world.
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