It is difficult to comprehend why some people resort to terrorism. One of the main reasons put forward — economic failure — is no excuse to pursue the path of terror. There are many extremely poor nations and societies that struggle for a better future in a peaceful and non-violent way. For decades, a significant section of Pakistanis have chosen the wrong path.
Terrorism has become an institution in Pakistan and has widespread support. Its army and intelligence services consider it a strategic weapon.
Terrorism has become an institution in Pakistan and has widespread support. Its army and intelligence services consider it a strategic weapon. After each terrorist strike, the Pakistani government cleverly dodges international pressure by temporarily clamping down on terrorism until the focus shifts away.
It never completely eliminates this menace. As a consequence, this small region has now become the most dangerous place on the planet.
Pakistan was created by the British in 1947 as they hastily departed the Indian subcontinent. Its boundaries are incompletely defined and the state is largely unstable. The Durand line, Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen are examples of poorly demarcated borders.
From past experiences, it may appear that trusting the Pakistan Army or government to have a change of heart is simply naive. Believing that resolution of the Palestinian or Kashmir problem will end terrorism is another utopian naiveté. A long term solution has to be found to tackle the menace of terror, even if it means dividing Pakistan.
Here is the reason why it may be our best and last option unless Pakistan rapidly dismantles the terror infrastructure. The pictorial account below traces the malaise and provides the only remedy. There is no other solution to this problem irrespective of what pundits and experts may say.
Imagine how much more dangerous Pakistan would have been if it included Bangladesh. Terrorists would have complete control of entire South Asia. If India did not help in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 it would have been really in a desperate position now — struggling for its very survival. We have to ensure the security for our children in India and the world over. Implementing the plan for restructuring Pakistan will undoubtedly be painful and expensive in terms of precious lives lost and considerable economic damage. We should be prepared to pay this price for a better future for all our children. It will involve international cooperation and meticulous planning. Now is the time to rise to the call of duty and not vacillate.
Terrorist groups have a free run of the countryside and have infiltrated every major city and institution in Pakistan.
It is important to understand what goes into making this dangerously successful terror machine. It is clear that Rawalpindi based Pakistani Army and ISI are closely involved in funding, aiding and sustaining this vast intricately linked infrastructure. Names and characters change constantly and these nebulous organizations are difficult to target. Often they leave no trail or hide behind the façade of a charitable NGO. They do not use huge buildings and campuses that can easily be targeted. They have deep pockets with the backing of Pakistani spy agencies and can draw upon vast numbers of semi-literate madrassa educated masses from all around Punjab. It will be a tremendous task to dismantle this enormous enterprise even if one day Pakistan wanted to wipe it out.
Terrorist groups have a free run of the countryside and have infiltrated every major city and institution in Pakistan. Border cities of Afghanistan and India are therefore vulnerable. Presently material to battle terrorism can reach Afghanistan only via Pakistan and convoys get ambushed en route. Like India, USA lacks secure supply routes to Kabul and Central Asia. Other routes such as, going via Iran is out of question. Will an alternate land route to Afghanistan and Central Asia via India and Northern Kashmir rectify the situation?
To understand the depth of the terror machine, we have to bring in the Nuclear calculus into the picture. It changes the way even USA has to deal with Pakistan based terrorists.
The nuclear infrastructure is scattered all over Pakistan making it hard to target. It is also scary that there are many supporters of fundamentalist Islamists within the Pakistani nuclear establishment. This dangerous mix is an effective blackmail tool and a threat to even distant cities.
This raises many unanswered questions. Should the world live with that risk? Does USA know where every weapon is located? Can they seize control of these weapons at short notice? Can they dismantle this nuclear infrastructure? Will China play ball considering their investment in all aspects of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapon Program?
No study of the Pakistani terror machine will be complete without understanding who the masterminds are and where the headquarters are located. As an analogy, the Punjabi dominated army and ISI would constitute the masterminds and Rawalpindi, Punjab — their headquarters. The mountainous tribal areas, NWFP and Northern Areas where militant and terrorist camps are located can be considered as field offices. However, people in these provinces resent Punjabi influence and constantly fight pitched battles. To soothe Western anger intermittently, the Punjabi army stages dramatic attacks against militant groups on one hand while feeding and sustaining them with the other hand. Overall it is a very muddled picture.
Pushtuns in the tribal areas and NWFP despise Punjabis as much as they loathe American drone attacks. The Punjabis are despised by the Balochis as well. Balochi revolts against colonisation of their land by Punjabis are an endemic feature. The entire area of Balochistan has been under the grip of insurgency. There is also simmering discontent in Sindh over Punjabi domination. Given the intensity of insurgency in various regions, a vertical fault line cutting right through the middle of Pakistan has developed.
Therefore, it is no wonder that there are cries for a Free Balochistan, Free Sindh, Free Pashtunistan and even a Free Jinnahpur (for Mohajirs around Karachi). There is no cry for a Free Punjab because they already are the masters and puppeteers. It is very clear that Punjabi managed terrorism will be greatly handicapped if it did not have the resources of surrounding states to readily draw from.
Isolating Punjab from the other states is hence the only viable solution to the terrorist problem. This plan should be accompanied by efforts to create stable prosperous countries of erstwhile Pakistan provinces that no longer provide resources, safe havens and bases for Rawalpindi based terrorist masterminds.
Plans to divide Pakistan have different variations. Ralph Peters has proposed widespread redrawing of Middle East borders extending up to Pakistan in his article “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look,” in the Armed Forces Journal. His plans for Pakistan broadly agree with what is now proposed. Syed Jamaluddin, a Pakistani based in Europe has authored a book Divide Pakistan to Eliminate Terrorism where he supports the creation of separate countries along with a Karachi independent from Sindh as the new nation — Jinnahpur. (http://www.dividepakistan.blogspot.com) Selig Harrison the noted expert on South Asia has written extensively on the Balochistan independence movement. It is a well known fact that the King of Afghanistan, Zahir Shah, never accepted the Durand Line and Pakistan was apprehensive that his return would fuel Pushtun nationalism in FATA and NWFP. Afghans to this day desire the return of land lost to Pakistan via the Durand treaty that lapsed in 1993. (http://www.afghanistans.com/Information/History/Durandline.htm).
Here is a brief outline of possible scenarios for the newly independent countries of Pakistan.
Free Balochistan: Should be supported by UK and Iran. UK is known to have contacts with the Balochi nationalist movement. Balochis have their own political parties and can easily govern themselves. Iran could be appeased and may be willing now to deal with the West. Oil and gas pipelines to India via Sindh can be considered because it is rich in gas reserves.
Greater Afghanistan: Incorporating NWFP and Tribal Areas with Peshawar into Afghanistan will create a more economically viable country. Hamid Karzai will be seen as the father of Greater Afghanistan and may become stronger. NATO should support this region with Chinese and Russian assistance. A substantial direct border with India would reduce their dependence on Pakistan for trade routes.
Free Sindh: India should strongly support Sindh, as the Sindhis are favourably disposed towards her.
Pakistan has been divided before and should be divided again to make for a safer world if it does not mend its ways.
POK and Northern Areas: Should be reverted back to India to unify Kashmir and provide reliable transit routes to Afghanistan and Central Asia via Skardu and Gilgit or via Kashmir and NWFP. China would resist this idea because it would cut off their strategic access to Gwadar and the Arabian Sea unless alternatives can be devised to placate China. The Kashmir issue will be finally settled.
Punjab: The heart of Pakistan will be upset and infuriated with their loss. This will drive home the message that the world will not be held hostage to terror tactics. They will no longer have the critical strategic and depth needed to advance their terror agenda. Punjab will now be preoccupied dealing with assertive new neighbors. USA should manage this territory and ensure the dismantling of all nuclear related assets.
Conclusion: All the new countries should be taken along the a path of prosperity, peace and tolerance towards the world and their neighbors. Pakistan has been divided before and should be divided again to make for a safer world if it does not mend its ways. This plan may be the only solution to the chaos British left behind in 1947, unless Pakistan quickly reverses the course.
This article was first published in IDR Vol. 24 (1) Jan-Mar 2009.