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State of terror

 Editorial |  2017-11-23 16:02:44.0

State of terror

Only four days ahead of the gory anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed was released from detention, which had kept him under house arrest since January, this year. Despite India's prowess in maintaining diplomatic relations, Pakistan has been India's Achilles heel where endless efforts have simply bounced back without bringing in any measurable change. Hafiz Saeed is a globally recognised terrorist on whom the US has placed a bounty of $10 million. Despite global renown as a horrific terror master leading Lashkar-e-Taiba's proliferating activities of spreading violence across India, Saeed walked out free from his detention in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

A bench of judges comprising the judicial review board did not find sufficient reason to hold back Saeed, despite the Punjab government actively speaking for Saeed's continued detention. It is still astounding how Pakistan can unabashedly continue to harbour terrorists providing them meaty protection and allowing them to continue their activities that foment terror. The Mumbai attacks in 2008, which targeted two hotels, a railway station and a Jewish centre had killed 166 people, injuring several more and causing massive infrastructural damage. It has been declared time and again that Hafiz poses a challenge to India's sovereignty as his terror group launches repeated attacks on Indian soil, particularly in Kashmir. The Kashmir factor ought to have played an important role in Saeed's release. Pakistan harbours its terrorists, primarily for beating the Taliban and attacking India for the freedom of Kashmir—eyed by Pakistan since 1947. Saeed's tactics of unleashing terror and fighting for the release of Kashmir is being understood as a precursor that the Pakistan administration has been effectively using to harbour him in their safe haven. The Punjab government repeatedly stated that Saeed's release would tarnish Pakistan's image on a global scale, reducing its ties with other nations, affecting its financial inflow and also disrupting peace and tranquillity within the country. None of these reasons was sufficient for the judicial review board to hold Saeed back, whose detention under house arrest has been extended several times since it first expired in April. Another important aspect that provided Pakistan with a leverage to release Saeed was the US's National Defence Authorisation Act 2018.

This act now emphasises on battling the Haqqani network that is plaguing Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan. The LeT has been left out of this recognised Haqqani network and therefore, the US hasn't posed any separate sanctions on the functioning of LeT. By delinking LeT from the Haqqani network, Pakistan was allowed some room to manoeuvre its own tactics and set Saeed free, who is seen to be instrumental in Pakistan's battle of capturing Kashmir. The US's emphasis on the Haqqani network highlights its apprehensions towards the Afghanistan crises where several US military personnel continue to persist. With this stance, USA has provided a neutral face to the atrocities plaguing Kashmir and India. By highlighting the Haqqani network, USA emphasised Pakistan's role in battling the Taliban but left unanswered the question of Kashmir, which it implicitly believes is a matter between India and Pakistan.

Saeed, on his release, unambiguously stated that his fight to recover Kashmir is still underway. His release, he believes, is a gift from God that further cements his fight to take Kashmir from India. Saeed's release will further strain Indo-Pak ties which have already been ambushed since the last 70-years of independence. Though Saeed has been freed rumours abound say that he maybe redetained under different allegations that would gain momentum with the government's continuous inspection. Pakistan, to save its own democracy and improve its face on the global front, must do more to challenge the terror mongers who are blooming in its land. Despite Saeed being a globally recognised terrorist, he has walked free in Pakistan, never shying away from maintaining a thriving public life where he has delivered fiery speeches against India aggressively proposing the freedom of Kashmir. This could only be possible in Pakistan, which has time and again harboured terrorists to unleash violence on India.

Saeed's release is a shameful speck on Pakistan's diplomacy and shows that the country is not shying away from endorsing all those who are recognised as benefactors of Kashmir, irrespective of their tainted image and horrific activities. Amidst this battle between Pakistan and India, the unfortunate brunt is being borne by the people of Kashmir who are being manipulated by terrorist organisations with leaders of our country turning a blind eye. Hopefully, the new initiative by the Indian government to elevate Kashmir will free the Valley from terror and gift Kashmiris with silent nights of peaceful sleep that aren't disrupted by intermittent bombs and showering bullets.

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