Geopolitics

Solution to the Pakistani Terrorist Quagmire
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Issue Vol 24.1 Jan-Mar2009 | Date : 13 Nov , 2016

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.

Map depicting export of terrorism from Pak soil

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. 

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10 thoughts on “Solution to the Pakistani Terrorist Quagmire

  1. Agree entirely that Pakistan must be divided for India’s long term security and survival, but seriously? UK (Pro-Pak, Anti-India) and Iran (Has its own Baloch territory) support independent Baluchistan? Russia and China (CHINA!) support Afghanistan capturing Pakistani territory? An increasingly isolationist USA ‘manage’ Pakjab? Are we living in reality here?

    This wishful thinking is a manifestation of that infamous ‘Indian Inferiority Complex’. ”Only foreigners can do it for us. We can’t possibly do it ourselves.” If India is to become a great power, then Indians must learn to grow up and gain a little self-confidence.

    HERE’S how to deal with the problem if you REALLY want India to become a superpower and want to deal with Pakistan.

    1) Complete federalism and autonomy to all 29 (I think it should be 32) Indian states to the point of near ‘de-facto’ independence, with the center retaining all responsibility for defense and internal security. This will ironically INCREASE patriotism and unity as Indians. It will also remove a lot of fear of domination by Delhi not only in other states, but in neighbors like Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka……Sindh, Baluchistan…..

    2) Focus on economy and development for 10-15 years. Increased federalism helps here (competition between states), but as India as a whole develops the gap in living standards will exert a pull on neighbors (including in Pak territories). With guaranteed autonomy, equality with other Indian states, and improvement in their economy, several movements may emerge wishing to join up (should be covertly aided by Indian intelligence).

    3) Use soft power (films, tv) to paint Pak (and China) as occupying, imperialistic forces, and India as anti-imperial liberators to gain global support (Allies vs Nazis comparison).

    4) Build India’s military and intelligence forces by increasing budget to 3-3.5% of GDP for 10-15 years. Build missile shield. Split Pak using force but with liberated states joining India.

  2. How many people particularly defence personnel are aware that the newly constructed Gwadar port and the economic corridor by China is a Blessing In Disguise to India. Now it becomes a necessity for China to safeguard the port from any attack. So China will allow not allow the Pakistan to attack India at any circumstance. China knows very well that India navy will first attack this new port. India is a military power and our Navy is bigger than the UK. No Chinese ship will be able to enter the Indian Ocean If Indian Navy imposed a Naval Blockade near Nicobar Island. So the China is bound to exert pressure on Pakistan to stop the proxy war against India. India’s first trump card is water. All the rivers are flowing through India. So India has nothing to worry. This is the best time to control the defence expenditure.

  3. A country thats genesis lies in a poet’s fancy and a lawyer’s ambitions, can have its roots as strong as of a sapling in a pot. Unfortunately, Pakistan has not learnt its lessons even after Bangladesh. The only thing thats holding Pakistan together is anti India sentiment so it will keep it alive by all means including terrorism. I strongly believe that Pakistan will never dismantle its terror network against India as long as it has nukes. It wont be easy for the world to denuke Pak except in a situation when it disintegrates.

    A nuclear and terrorist Pakistan gives the maximum migrane to civilized world and India must capitalize this to work out a permanent solution. Creation of Balochistan should be the first step. The moment Balochistan secedes like Bangladesh, the world will come together to denuclearise Pakistan. It will not be appropriate for India to step in like she did in 1971 but Afghanistan, Oman, or Iran should play the role of India of 1971. Baloch diaspora in Oman will hold the key to this historical event.

    Secession of Balochistan will immediately turn Pashtuns to begin identifying themselves as afghans. whether or not Pakistan disintegrates completely, this will indeed bring lasting peace in the subcontinent and obvious prosperity. Hence its in the interest of the people of indus valley to say good bye to Pakistan.

  4. Get Dalai lama to rebuild bamiyan buddha and establish bamiyan kingdom in heart of afghanisthan by sheer force. Start reconverting children and orphans of afghan and pakistan to baudddhism back – a new strain with ability to defend themselves militarily – that should do the job. The bamiyan will become the center of attraction for all jihadis. they would certaily target the stronghold of bamiyan . purge them one by one as they come to attack (get dedicated satellites and laser weapons installed in space to do the job). Both india and china will love the plan and atlast dalai lama will reach his ancesteral homeland of buddha

  5. Yes. This may be desirable but there are so many variables in your plan that it almost sounds like a pipe dream. To accomplish this, you need someone like the Chinese working slowly but surely towards achieving this goal. The India political system is not geared towards achieving any goal nevermind a strategic goal. And, the reason for this is obvious. The full time pre-occupation of most politicians and the bureaucrats is to find ways and means of furthering their own goals i.e. amassing as much wealth in as short a period of time as possible!

  6. A couple of very simple questions. Who won the fair and free elections held in Pakistan in 2008 ? The religious parties or the mainstream political parties ? What was the exact number of members of religio political parties elected in the 2008 elections? Are elections indicators of what the Pakistanis want or the incidents of terrorism or some sponsored protests by marginalised religious sections of the society represent what the majority of Pakistanies want?

  7. A biased viewpoint which is not based on facts. Intellectually dishonest. I agree that Pakistan has followed a policy of using militants as its proxies of state policy. I dont agree with that. As a law enforcement officer , responsible for counterterrorism in Punjab province of Pakistan, I have interrorgated a large no of Pakistanis who were recruited and trained by the Indians to carry out acts of terrorism in Pakistan in the 1990s. What does Mr Kasi say to that. Presently, I would request Mr Kasi to send an Indian journalist to the leader of TTP in Mohmand Agency, Abdul Wsli Khan aka Khalid Zubair, and ask him from where is he getting the money and weapons to carry out terrorist acts in Pakistan . Mr Kasi may be surprised to know that Maulana Abdul Wali Khan, proclaims openly that he is getting money from the Indians during his visit to Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Pakistan may be doing a lot of things wrongs because of the military dominance here, burt India is no saints. Let us get out of this syndrome of casting each other as the devil incarnate and painting ourselves as angels. Both countries are both the devil and angels.

    • Tariq seems to be follower of Zaid Hamid.

      Pakistan breeds terrorism , and yes not only against India but against Shias, Ahmedis and now on Barelvi Sunnis by Bombing Graves which muslims called mazaars.

      Pakistan has to be divided and Punjabi Muslim Mindset is the root cause of all problems in the subcontinent.

      Punjabi Muslims killed 20,000 Muhajirs in Karachi in 2002.
      They are killing Balochs, It seems name of Pakistan should be changed to Punjabistan.

      Divide Pakistan, Save the world

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