Geopolitics

Forked Tongues across the Border
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 16 Mar , 2015

If one were to talk of forked tongues, one prominent example would be Musharraf. Heading Pakistan, the man had no compunctions telling the world media there is not one single terrorist on Pakistani soil. Here is a man who said he wanted good relations with India but described India as the most devious enemy repeatedly in his autobiography ‘In the Line of Fire’ authored while he was President of Pakistan. But while his forked tongue was just like many of his ilk, what is worse about Musharraf is that his soul is much more forked, twisted and jaundiced than his tongue. Why else would an army chief disgrace his uniform and refuse to take back the bodies of his soldiers, as he did during the Kargil Conflict showcasing them as infiltrators even as his lies were exposed from his telephone intercepts talking to his number two from Beijing.

What Sartaj Aziz conveniently does not mention is that while the 1949 UN Resolution called for plebiscite, it categorically ruled that before the plebiscite Pakistan must withdraw all its security forces from territory of J&K.

For the Pakistani public, the Dawn was prominent in exposing lies of Musharraf but even as this man stands indicted for the killing of Baloch leader Nawaz Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006 nothing is likely to happen because the military holds the country to ransom and the administration is toothless.

Now writing in a Kolkatta based publication New Approach exclusive titled ‘India-Pakistan Challenges Way Forward’, Sartaj Aziz, current Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs, has shown a veritable display of his forked tongue. To begin with in reference to J&K he writes “India is not ready to plebiscite under the UNSC resolution from which it reneged after 1954.” Now in his present position it is not possible that Aziz is illiterate, that he has not read the said UN resolution or that this resolution is written in a language alien to him.

What he conveniently does not mention is that while the 1949 UN Resolution called for plebiscite, it categorically ruled that before the plebiscite Pakistan must withdraw all its security forces from territory of J&K. Pakistan not only reinforced her security forces in J&K but also changed the demography of area through large number of settlers from the plains, which continues to-date, killing the plebiscite issue altogether.

Though Aziz cannot fool the Indian public, he chose to so write this in an Indian publication, using the same forked tongue his kin display at international forums. He goes on to write that the human rights situation in J&K deeply pains the Pakistanis. But friend Aziz is silent on: the institutionalized killing of Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan, abrogation of fundamental rights of the population of POK; indiscriminate aerial bombings and use of artillery in FATA, Waziristan and Balochistan killing thousands; discovery of mass graves in Balochistan; some 2,50,000 Pakistan refugees already having fled to Afghanistan due to violence and human misery, with millions displaced.

Lakhvi is still in jail only because of US pressure and for no other reason is common knowledge even though he is treated as king in prison.

Sartaj Aziz writes about misery of fishermen taken prisoners by both sides but what about the 54 Indian military prisoners in Pakistani jails even when India treated 93,000 prisoners of war most humanely and returned them to Pakistan post liberation of Bangladesh?

What about punishing those who brutally tortured Captain Saurabh Kalia and five other soldiers for 22 long days before they were shot, and their mutilated corpses delivered to India during 1999, the postmortem revealing the Pakistan army had indulged in the most heinous acts; of burning their bodies with cigarettes, piercing ear-drums with hot rods, puncturing eyes before removing them, breaking most of the teeth and bones, chopping off various limbs and private organs of these soldiers besides inflicting all sorts of physical and mental tortures before shooting them dead.

What about Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, whose MiG was shot down over Indian soil on May 27, 1999, was used for target practice by Pakistani soldiers after he bailed out and opened his parachute landing on the Pakistani side of the LoC? But lo and behold, Aziz writes in his article that trial for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack is being held twice every week. You expect that to be believed Aziz? Can you count how many years have passed since 26/11, multiply that by 54 weeks and then how many sittings that comes to with two sittings per week? That Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is still in jail only because of US pressure and for no other reason is common knowledge even though he is treated as king in prison.

Surely Mr Aziz you must have read the editorial in The Nation of 3rd March 2015 titled ‘Brass Tacks’ that read, When a violent international criminal suspect is allowed to live a life of luxury in the nation’s central jail, when that suspect happens to be the operational head of a banned militant organization while the nation is in the middle of a raging war against “all shades of terrorism” then it raises serious doubts over the state’s sincerity to the cause.

Sartaj Aziz made an official statement saying, “Pakistan should not target militants who do not threaten the country’s security.” That says it all.

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, operational head of Lashker-e-Jhangvi, arrested from a militant training facility, is living as the state’s honoured guest in the infamous Adiala jail. He and his companions are housed in several rooms, where they have access to television, internet and mobile phones as well as the ability to have unlimited visitors, any time of the day, who don’t have to identify themselves, and are afforded complete privacy.

Instead of keeping him under constant surveillance, the government has allowed him turn Adiala jail into his personal command centre, where he can monitor the happenings of the world, meet his subordinates, and issue directions; all the while being guarded by policemen on the public’s payroll. The irony is lost on the government. This is not some obscure jailhouse, where such lapses in protocol can be pinned on individual corruption or fear.

This is Adalia Jail, a few kilometres away from the GHQ; the military and the government top brass must have tacitly approved of this arrangement, perhaps even ordered it. How can one trust the government to combat terrorism when terrorists like Lakhvi are afforded such preferential treatment?”

Pakistan’s foreign policy remains with the military with Hafiz Saeed as the coordinator for directing terror against India…

Quite recently, Sartaj Aziz made an official statement saying, “Pakistan should not target militants who do not threaten the country’s security.” That says it all. So terrorist organizations like LeT and its front organizations are free to undertake terrorist attacks in India, Haqqanis can target Indian assets in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s foreign policy remains with the military with Hafiz Saeed as the coordinator for directing terror against India, this rabid mullah let loose along the LoC to direct cross-border attacks and firing to infiltrate his rabble and Aziz writes about India violating the border?

Quite amusingly, Aziz also writes in his aforesaid article that Siachen needs to be resolved based on ‘spirit’ and not ‘positions’. Why so Mr Aziz? Isn’t that because you have been fooling the Pakistani population that you are on the Siachen Glacier whereas India is in full control of the Saltoro Range dominating the Siachen Glacier and your forces are far away to the West on low ground? Isn’t that why one of your Captain rank officer was court martialled and thrown out of service more than a decade and half back because he was leaking the actual ground positions?

Sartaj Aziz writes that “maintenance of conventional balance and strategic stability in south Asia is pivotal for stable Pakistan-India relations” but pray why does he not say anything about the US advising Pakistan years back to go in for a no-war pact with India, Pakistan’s refusal to do so, adoption of terrorism as state policy, mad race to produce nuclear weapons, arming naval vessels with tactical nuclear weapons in complete disregard to possible accident and what that would lead to. And what balance are we talking Mr Aziz with China digging up dozens of missile silos in Gilgit-Baltistan?

Riaz Mohammad Khan, former foreign secretary of Pakistan in his book ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism, and Resistance to Modernity’ has examined extremist serving as instruments of its (Pakistan’s) foreign policy. The book exposes the unfolding of Pakistan’s foreign policy as a negative factor in the evolution of the state and points out that extremism based on religion springs from a condition of certitude. And no certitude is possible without reductionism. When collective certitude wells up, it leads to violence. Individuals backed by groups become fascistic in their effort to impose their creed on others.

…the military has become very powerful and Pakistan’s foreign policy especially with reference to India and Afghanistan is on its bidding.

He refers to Pakistan’s foreign policy towards India being based on nurturing some of the most dangerous international terrorist organizations and their local protégés: “groups such as Sipah-e-Sahaba and Jaish-e-Muhammad commonly resorting to threats to browbeat opponents. An interesting argument in his book is that the instruments of Pakistan’s foreign policy, the mujahedeen, were not really controlled by the state; in fact, he talks of growing evidence that it was the other way round. There is some sense in what Riaz Mohammed Khan writes but not all, in the sense that reverse indoctrination has occurred with the military getting affected but this does not imply that radical organizations are ‘controlling’ the military or segments of it. However, increasing radicalization is a matter of concern. Following the Lal Masjid action in Islamabad, an SSG officer whose sister was killed in the attack on Lal Masjid, blew himself in the SSG officers mess killing some two scores of his colleagues.

Over the years, the military has become very powerful and Pakistan’s foreign policy especially with reference to India and Afghanistan is on its bidding. Third time PM Nawaz Sharif has an uneasy relationship with the military because of the trial of Pervez Musharraf. The stranglehold of the military over Pakistan is so strong that it has infiltrated every sector of Pakistan – both government and non-government.

Ayesha Siddiqua wrote in her book ‘Military Inc’ in 2007 that the then private-corporate complex of the Pakistani Military was pegged at US$ 20.7 billion, which would have multiplied manifold. In order to retain this power and money, the military continues to ensure that Pakistan continues with the state policy of terror, particularly neighbours India and Afghanistan. In addition to the ISI, sections of the government, administration and military are linked with terrorist networks. A weak democracy like Pakistan despite public mandate boils down to fragile political situation, which in turn impacts economic development of the country, including frequent change of policies with change of governments interspersed with military rule. The country is swathed in violence that a partly dysfunctional government is unable to control with segments within the polity and the military in league with radicals and radical organizations.

A weak democracy like Pakistan despite public mandate boils down to fragile political situation, which in turn impacts economic development of the country, including frequent change of policies with change of governments interspersed with military rule.

The criticism against Pakistan is not against the population at large or the country per se but against the military-ISI that refuses to give up terrorism, and a gutless polity, administration and judiciary that cannot control this spiral of terror. Christine Fair means well for Pakistan when she writes that “Pakistan’s military establishment has locked the country in an enduring rivalry with India, with the primary aim of wresting Kashmir from it.

Today, the army continues to prosecute this dangerous policy by employing non-state actors under the security of its ever-expanding nuclear umbrella. It has sustained a proxy war in Kashmir since 1989 using Islamist militants, as well as supporting non-Islamist insurgencies throughout India and a country-wide Islamist terror campaign that have brought the two countries to the brink of war on several occasions. In addition to these territorial revisionist goals, the Pakistani army has committed itself to resisting India’s slow but inevitable rise on the global stage …. And in recent years, their erstwhile proxies have turned their guns on the Pakistani state itself”.

What Christine Fair has not mentioned is that the Pakistani Army has never won any war. Of course its collaboration and protection of Osama-bin-Laden has now been proved conclusively.

In an e-mail dated 4th March 2015 to the Editor-in-Chief of New Approach referring to Indian authors whose articles are published in exclusive titled ‘India-Pakistan Challenges Way Forward’, Sartaj Aziz writes, “Unless this biased and disrespectful mindset, reflected in these articles, sees a change, the prospects of peace between the two countries will not improve.”

What Aziz and Pakistani leaders need are to stop using forked tongues and acknowledge the realities on ground. The West will continue to support the Pakistani military because it does not matter to them what violence does to Af-Pak region and the Subcontinent as long as their own countries are safe from terror attacks. Besides, ISI generated proxies are available to them for use in global power play at the sub-conventional level. But will an uncontrolled military not drag Pakistan down the abyss of violence? What stands between India and Pakistan is terrorism.

ISI generated proxies are available to them for use in global power play at the sub-conventional level. But will an uncontrolled military not drag Pakistan down the abyss of violence?

It would be prudent for Pakistan to take a call on the changing dynamics of South Asia and shun terror. This will essentially have to be done by the military that holds all the aces in Pakistan but has led to a weak democracy; poor governance; weak economy; unemployment; low HDI, institutionalized radicalization, loose control over proxies; ineffective control in FATA and north Waziristan; increased sectarian strife with upsurge in Wahabi-Salafi influence; Pashtun issue; Baloch independence movement; tinder box Karachi; dissent in Gilgit-Baltistan region; Mohajir issue; dislike due Punjabi domination etc – all of which need to be reversed in interest of Pakistan. Was Zia-ul-Haq not a military man who infamously decreed that Ahmadiya’s could not call themselves Muslims, setting the tone of sectarian violence, which has been incessantly fanned by the military ever since?

So, Sartaj Mian can you as the main advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan work towards reigning in your military, shun terrorism and join hands with India for the betterment of people of both countries. Don’t radicalize your country under the utopian dream of annexing Kashmir with or without Chinese help. That is never going to happen. Do you realize the profits that would accrue to Pakistan from economic, energy and transportation corridors linking Eurasia-CAR-Afghanistan-the Sub Continent-South Asia and Southeast Asia? Well if you can’t you are no better than what may be called a diplomat-cum-politician-terrorist working at cross purposes to the interests of Pakistan. Whatever be the case, stop using your forked tongue as it fools no one. You may also advise Abdul Basit, your High Commissioner in New Delhi to stop entertaining separatists unless you are itching for reciprocation in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and elsewhere.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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4 thoughts on “Forked Tongues across the Border

  1. India’s number one priority has to be to build its defenses far stronger than the enemy across the border. The most fundamental lesson is that India is facing an enemy who wish to seek not a political settlement but to spread Islam and Sharia. Neither negotiation with Pakistan will help nor appeasement of Muslim minority in Kashmir is going to make a difference. The Pakistani terrorism is growing as a result of religious extremism and will morph into ISIS. It is already knocking on India’s door. Their mode of operation is simple kill themselves and others who resist in the process. This base mentality grounded by their mullahs has convinced them that this life matters not but there is a jannat full of hoors waiting for them after death. Like Arabs refusing to acknowledge a rightful existence of Israel the Islamic terrorists facing India are questioning the very existence of a Hindu nation. Since 1200 AD invaders from North have tried to spread Islam by destroying the Indian civilization and failed repeatedly. Akbar’s reconciliation with Rajputs was a pragmatic decision and promptly rejected by his followers after his death. Again India is being threatened with destruction but with nuclear weapons if it counters the border terrorism. India has no choice but to fight. Needles to say there is a need for Shivaji, Patel and Bose, not a Gandhi or Nehru. Modi was elected largely because Indians were sick and tired of terrorism from Pakistan and the lack of response from the Congress party. Unfortunately, this nation once again is waiting fearful of the next Mumbai.

  2. Gen. Musharraf doesn’t look at the militants who operate in India as terrorists at all. He wouldn’t have referred to them in the manner that he did, otherwise. There were bomb blasts happening in Pakistan, perhaps by obscure identities, and he didn’t call those obscure identities terrorists either. Two days ago, there were twin bomb blasts in Lahore, to do with a church, and the Christians reacted by rioting, as if a section of the population carried out the blasts and not terrorists.
    About the Taliban attack on the military school in Peshawar, it seems that the Pakistan army were not careful in their war against the militants in F. A. T. A.. Many Pashtun’s who aren’t fighting the Pakistan Army, along with a large number of women, children and the old, must have been killed there, prompting in turn the attack on the military school.
    The present unrest among Muslims around the world, seems to be because of the Shia-Sunni divide and enmity, and the western powers supporting the Sunni’s, and China and Russia supporting the Shia’s. But now, Sunni’s are asking what the U. S. has to do in West Asia, and the Middle East. The al Qaeda is or was a Sunni representation. It seems, that the al Qaeda wanted Shia-Sunni differences to be settled by the result of war, without any non-Muslim actors being any part of it.
    On the Kargil war, what if the dead bodies of the fighter’s whom Musharraf refused to take back, did not belong to deceased Pakistani military personnel? What if those fighters were private actors, and not state actors, not belonging to any state apparatus? If we say that Pakistan as a state is behind 26/11, and also behind the bomb blasts in India, then who is behind the recent blasts in Lahore, and behind the attack on the military school in Peshawar?
    I cannot fathom why Pakistan doesn’t identify terrorism, as does the other states. Some other states also have the same perspective, as Pakistan, unlike Afghanistan.

  3. Aziz has good friends among India’s Neta Babus who forget, with equal alacrity, that Pakistan violated the UN resolution by NOT withdrawing from J&K to pave the way for a plebiscite. Rather, Pakistan tightened its program of Islamic terror and rapine and altered the demographics as it have continued to do in the Indian part of Kashmir with tacit help from India’s secular ruling scum.

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