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Millennium Post

Pakistan's play with power

Pakistans play with power

Pakistan's tendency to harbour terrorists is an open secret in the world today. Our northwestern neighbour took another step ahead on Sunday by claiming that the life of its most-wanted terrorist, Hafiz Saeed, was in jeopardy from foreign institutional invasion and thus, security around him must be beefed up to protect his sovereignty. While undoubtedly, every individual deserves to be protected from terror—Pakistan hobnobbing with its home-grown terror outfits, who carry out lethal operations, has threatened the world for too long, especially India, given its shared history and dialectics. On Saturday, Pakistan freed four of Hafiz Saeed's aides, who were serving home imprisonment after a detainment had been ordered by the government of Pakistan's Punjab province, since January, earlier this year. The judicial review board that studies detention requests did not permit the Punjab government from furthering the house arrest of Saeed's four aides—though Saeed still remains restricted within the confines of his home, until November 26, at least. The maximum detention allowed for interrogation can be stretched up to 90-days, beyond which, an extension is contingent upon approval by the judicial review board after classifying reasons for furthering detention under the category of public safety law. Saeed's four aides walked free, which irked some discomfort in India where repeated requests have been expressed in favour of arresting Saeed, identifying him as the mastermind behind the dreadful attacks in Mumbai in 2008, train bombings in 2006 and the attack on the Parliament in 2001.

The US also recognised Hafiz as a global terrorist announcing a bounty of 10 million USD against him, while the UN has also listed the Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a terrorist outfit, banning and condemning its activities. Yet, like many others, Saeed, too, found his comfort zone in Pakistan, where he has been hailed as a hero—a true Islamist who is saving the country from the clutches of Western propaganda. Despite the furore surrounding Saeed's notorious activities and irksome speeches that have expressed an open desire for the annihilation of India, he finds himself a prominent spot in Pakistan's public discourse. He has not shied away from the media or from the world of politics. He launched a party to fight elections too but was not given a green signal by the Government of Punjab. Over time, especially over the last few years, many have questioned: Why does Pakistan always choose to be on the wrong side? Even when battling a phenomenon as pervasive and universally hateful as terrorism, Pakistan does not seem to be able to see through it. There is some kind of naivety in believing that this isn't as bad as the West claims it to be. The precursor to this problem could be a decisive distinction between good and bad terrorism.

Terrorists, harboured largely by the ISI, had gained relevance in Pakistan's civil society when there were attempts in 2007 to outdo General Musharaff. The militants were understood as comrades, leading a movement against hegemony. There was a sense then, that these are good terrorists and there may be some other bad terrorists that kill innocent lives. Over time though, with a series of bomb blasts and attacks, the most horrific being the one on Army Public School that killed several children, Pakistani society was reminded that terrorism is only one, and it is only horrific. Yet, the political circles in Pakistan had already dipped their knees to deep in the water of terror outfits, requiring their support for several diplomatic exigencies. To beat the Taliban you needed the LeTs, to defeat India there had to be inroads made to Jammu and Kashmir, for a fitting reply to militant soldiers killed by the Indian army, or terror leaders arrested on Indian soil, what followed was a series of events—hijacking, bomb attacks, shootouts. Today, Pakistani society finds itself at its regressive best where women, children, artists, actresses face the wrath of public anxiety, but terrorists are harboured in the name of protecting the nation's sanctity. In the 19th century, the West had perceived Asia as the exotic East and today, parts of Asia, perceives everything Western—including modern thought, simply as evil propaganda.

Karma, finds itself, as it has here too, but it is leading to more devastation than sovereign upliftment. Pakistan relied on terrorism as a weapon it would release on its enemies. But the toxicity of terrorism has turned itself inward, bringing doom first, to Pakistan, to its people who never desired this tryst with destiny and to its economy whose condition can only be described as pitiful. In this failed battle to unleash its prowess, Pakistan has lost its jannat to the jamaats.

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