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Pakistan’s "dirty war" against India will have consequences

Pakistan’s "dirty war" against India will have consequences

The Pakistani deep state has suffered a devastating blow with the bloody interception of battle hardened terrorists belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit at the Nagrota toll plaza in Jammu district on November 19. By killing four heavily armed militants belonging to the JeM — an international terror group banned by the United Nations — the paramilitary troops at the crossing have snuffed out a nefarious plot that had been meticulously hatched inside Pakistan. The conspiracy of the suicide attack was at par with the Uri strike and the Pulwama terror attack, which killed 40 brave-hearts of the Central Reserve Police Force in February 2019.

Both the previous attacks had triggered swift and heavy retaliation by the Modi administration. Daring cross-border surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) eliminated the masterminds of the strike on the Uri military camp. The Balakot air raid deep inside Pakistani mainland destroyed a JeM fount. The message that the long arm of the Indian state can now reach the innards of Pakistan could not have been stronger. The recent deployment of fourth generation Rafale fighter jets capable of exceptionally deep air strikes inside Pakistan without crossing the Indian airspace have further exposed the vulnerability of the Pakistani mainland in its entirety.

Ample evidence now exists that any slippage into amnesia by the Pakistani deep state about the Modi government’s unflappable intent to robustly safeguard national security can be catastrophic. Modi nailed India’s military resolve, yet again, on Diwali during a tri-service gathering at historic Longewala — the site of a famous battle with Pakistan during the 1971 war. Without mincing words, he declared that India is willing to understand or make the adversary understand but there will be fiery retaliation if the enemy tries to test its military might.

The Nagrota plot had at least two key objectives. First, an edgy and desperate Pakistan intended to use the Fedayeen’s (suicide bombers) to disrupt the Kashmir grassroots elections slated for November 28. This was a key strategic objective, and its high value importance is not hard to fathom. A heavy turnout in the District Development Council (DDC) elections would mean a legitimate endorsement by Kashmiris of India’s weighty decision to end Kashmir’s special status by abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A in August 2019.

By all counts, the Kashmiris are expected to turn out in droves at the polls. With that, the Pakistani deep state, led by a military-feudal oligarchy, will suffer a major defeat on a geostrategic plain. A heavy turnout will negate Islamabad’s narrative, paraded across the globe that India has been engaged in gross human rights abuses in “illegally occupied” Kashmir against the popular will, especially after August 2019.

Lengthy queues at polling stations by humble Kashmiris will also be a monumental personal embarrassment on an international scale for Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has bull-horned the Kashmiri “cause” at international fora, including the UN General Assembly.

Besides, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the “Sultan” of Turkey will also have an egg on his face. The triumvirate of Erdogan, Khan and Mahathir Mohammad, the nonagenarian ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia have become the new “champions” of radical Islam, with suspicious links with international terror affiliates. All three have amplified Pakistani Prime Minister’s second innings of internationalising Kashmir.

Second, a heavy JeM strike, had it succeeded, would have met the Pakistani objective of bolstering the flagging morale of terror groups inside the country and abroad. With the Modi government seizing the initiative in the counter-terror drive in Kashmir by eliminating trophy terrorists, a militant strike days ahead of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, would have been perceived within the ranks of the global terrorism, as a perfectly timed psychological equalizer.

<img class="wp-image-28533 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Pakistan-PDM-rally.jpg" alt="Pakistan Democratic Party Rally PDM" width="680" height="454" /> Pakistan Democratic Party's power show in Peshawar

Confronted by India’s robust and pro-active counter-terror response, the Pakistani establishment has panicked. Old war horses of the Kashmir “Jihad” have now become flag bearers of a “dirty war” against the Indian state. Amplifying the delusion that they can seriously breach the security of an awakened India, a retired air force officer blared in Pakistan’s newspaper <em>The Express Tribune</em>: “When a war is dirty you cannot fight it clean. By ceding initiative to India Pakistan remains defensive, restrained and reactive.”

The Air Vice Marshall’s delusion of succeeding in a “dirty war” is jaw dropping. Little does he fathom that Pakistan today is facing a rare and implosive combination of an internal revolt, external isolation and economic collapse.

Punjab and Sindh, Pakistan’s core has been rocked by a tireless popular movement, led by the 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), which is seeking an end to the "puppet rule" of Imran Khan government.

Secessionist movements are rapidly gaining traction from Gilgit-Baltistan in the north to Gwadar, a coastal city in Balochistan province.  In Gilgit-Baltistan, anger is spiralling, riding on the perception that the decision to turn the region into a fifth province of Pakistan taken recently by Islamabad was done on the behest of a foreign power – China.

“China has put pressure on Pakistan to declare it a province so that China has a legitimate reason to invest. Beijing also feels secure about its investment in the region (under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor). Therefore, Pakistan is trying to give it the status of ‘provisional province’ to satisfy the Chinese demand but not the people’s legitimate demands. The establishment is doing everything to ensure that the CPEC is not halted. That is the actual purpose of declaring GB as a province,” says Mumtaz Khan, president of the Canada-based International Centre for Peace and Democracy, in a conversation with IndiaNarrative.com.

In Hunza, a historic city in Gilgit Baltistan, whose antecedents can be traced to the Mahabharata, the Aseeran-e-Hunza Rihaee Committee, is engaged in a massive agitation seeking release of 14 local men, also known as GB14, who’ve been jailed by the Pakistani government for nearly a decade.

In Balochistan, the Baloch National Movement (BNM) has been campaigning within and outside Pakistan, to protect the Baloch people from Pakistan Army’s terror squads. Baloch Students Organization (BSO), Paris-based NGO Baloch Voice Association led by Munir Mengal and Baloch Republican Party (BRP) are also actively fighting for the Baloch cause.

Externally, one-time allies in the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia have virtually dumped Pakistan. The UAE has apparently been upset on account of the Pakistani involvement in the killing of five Emirati diplomats in Kandahar in 2017. The Hindustan Times is reporting that the UAE investigators have concluded that the Haqqani Network was behind the attack, and that Pakistan’s all-powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency was also directly involved. In Europe, France has refused to upgrade Pakistan’s French origin Mirage fighter jets, and Agosta 90B class submarines, following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s public criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron’s defence of the right to mock religion following the murder of a French school teacher, in his country.

The author of the article in the Pakistani daily, living in his own bubble, has failed to grasp that the deadly cocktail of problems, which pose an unprecedented existential threat to Pakistan, are essentially homegrown. Instead of finding fault with India for its slide into a quasi-failed-state, Pakistan needs to honestly introspect, recognize, and dismantle its flawed model of “governance”.

That would mean breaking up usurpation of power by a corrupt military elite, which is hand-in-glove with self-serving civilian affiliates, including the feudal land-owning class, which feeds on Pakistan’s poor.

Regarding India, Pakistan would be well advised to mend fences with New Delhi. Essentially that would mean ending its terror campaign in India. For starters, instead of planning a sequel to the failed Nagrota attack as part of a serial “dirty war,” Pakistan would do well to convict the masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Only by doing so, Pakistan can seal an open wound, and hope to reboot ties with India, which no longer has the appetite to entertain the military-state’s farcical duplicity..