On 14 Nov, Pakistan Foreign Minister, SM Qureshi, accompanied by DG ISPR, Major General Babar Iftikhar, released a dossier, which they claimed had irrefutable proof of Indian involvement in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. They expressed the hope that the world community would study the dossier and act against India. The dossier included presumed intelligence intercepts that purportedly showed involvement of Indian intelligence operatives in acts of terrorism. The dossier also included supposed banking transactions meant to finance terrorism. Afghanistan intelligence agencies were charged with working hand in glove with India on terrorism.
This is not the first dossier produced by Pakistan. The earlier such document in 2016 was globally rejected. Pakistan had been, over the years, with support from China, attempting to accuse India of being involved in terrorist activities on its soil, but failed in every attempt. The last attempt was in Sept, when with support from China, it sought to place two Indian nationals, working in Afghanistan, under UN sanctions as terrorists.
The latest dossier is the brainchild of Moeed W Yusuf, Imran Khan’s special assistant on National Security. Every major terrorist attack in Pakistan was linked in the dossier to Indian RAW, including the Peshawar school killings.
It does appear, at first glance, that the dossier was aptly described by the Indian foreign office as a ‘figment of imagination.’ Even Afghanistan vociferously refuted Pakistan’s claims. Basically, as per the dossier, the two major groups operating in Pakistan, the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan), its breakaway faction, Jamaatul Ahrar, and the BRAs (Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar), a grouping of four armed Baloch organizations, are being supported by India. It also accuses India of supporting Altaf Hussain, founder of the MQM, a freedom movement in Sindh.
Apart from wrong names of RAW chiefs, Indian ambassadors in Afghanistan, the dossier also createdfake generals in the Indian army overseeing terrorist activities in Pakistan. Most of the names which it misquoted are easily available on the internet, thus displaying that the dossier is a hurried attempt and lacks truth.The dossier even questions its own internal inquiries into the Peshawar school massacre. It even has bizarre comments of India hosting terrorist training camps and employing its consulates in Afghanistan as operations centres.Its estimated financial loss due to terrorism is extremely exaggerated.
Pakistan hides the fact that its two major terrorist groups, TTP and BRAs, have risen due to their own internal follies. The TTP rose from the ashes of the flawed attack on the Lal Masjid in Jul 2007, termed as Operation Sunrise. Till then there were no major terrorism incidents in Pakistan. Six months after the attack, on 14 Dec 2007, 40 militant leaders, gathered in South Waziristan to form a united front, which was termed as the TTP.They had till then operated against NATO forces in Afghanistan under the ISI. Their first terrorist strike was inside the high-security base of Zarrar Company, the elite commando unit of the Pakistan Army, responsible for Operation Sunrise,killing 22 commandoes.
The TTP currently operates in an area under the control of the Haqqani network, which remains a close ally of the ISI and is linked to the Afghanistan Taliban. There are also reports that the Haqqani network is brokering a peace deal between the TTP and the ISI, expected to conclude in a few months. The Haqqani network, which supports the TTP is no ally of India and would never permit Indian assistance to the TTP. It is also rumoured that the Haqqani network employs the TTP to blackmail the ISI, by suggesting their targets.
Yusuf had earlier attempted to link India to the Peshawar school attack in an interview last month. He faced internal accusations for his statement. Farhatullah Babar, a senior leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) tweeted ‘saying that APS mastermind was in touch with an Indian consulate during attack is a tall claim.’ Others stated that they had been told by authorities for years that the ‘Taliban and a former spokesman for the group, Ehsanullah Ehsan, were behind school attack.’Several local militants have already been sentenced to death by military courts for the attack.
Historically, every protest, political or non- political, in Pakistan and every comment against the army is assumed to be supported or playing the Indian card. The latest to be so accused is Nawaz Sharif. Similarly, every terrorist strike in the country is linked to Indian intelligence agencies.
BRAs strength and power is growing mainly because of the highhandedness with which the Pak army operates in Baluchistan. Its extra judicial killing, enforced disappearances, poor management of economy and exploitation of Baluchistan’s resources have angered the local population to the level that terrorist groups operating in the region have no shortfall of volunteers. The Baluchi’s are aware that Pak has granted sanction to China to exploit their region, leading to them targeting the CPEC as revenge. They hatred is such that they need no external support.
The release of the dossier is more to change internal dynamics than create an anti-India lobby globally. The Pak army is facing rising pressure from multiple internal movements. The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is growing in strength and their claim, on similar lines in Sindh and Baluchistan, is that brutality and disappearances are being unleashed by the Pak army. Similar accusations flow from the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a grouping of all opposition parties. The rigging of elections in Gilgit Baltistan by the establishment only proves this further. Every rally of the PTM and PDM are threatening the power and control of the army.
This dossier is an attempt to inform the domestic audience that it is the Pak army which is saving the nation from terrorist attacks being launched by India on its soil. Further, throwing the Indian card domestically helps shift focus away from current problems of imminent economic collapse, accusations of rigging in Gilgit Baltistan, food shortages and rising prices. It is also intended to discredit the PDM, whose main member Nawaz Sharif has been projected as being soft on India and supporting peace.
Apart from China and Turkey, Pakistan appears to have no ardent supporters. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Lijian Zhao, stated, ‘China appreciates the positive contribution by Pakistan to the international counter-terrorism cause, firmly supports Pakistan in cracking down on terrorist forces. Attempts that aim to sabotage CPEC are doomed to fail.’ Saudi Arabia and UAE have both moved away.
There is no support even within the OIC for its demand on Kashmir. It being on the FATF Grey List has impacted its economy. A change in guard in the US is its last hope. It is praying for a turn in US-Pak relations with the arrival of the Biden-Harris Government, hence timed the dossier accordingly. However, a flawed dossier, packed with fake accusations would never have any affect.