The trouble with terror tactics
Peace is not a fancy possession. It is a necessity for the general well-being of the common people, a bare minimum to enable aspiration and facilitate progress. Pakistan has been an oddball of irony. The only country in the world created in the name of Islam insists on its own brand of faith with little regard to (Islamic) minorities. The ethnically diverse country (owing to the expanse of the territory) has a prominent legislator call such diversity a threat to the nation, its ideology, and Constitution. In affirmation with Bilawal Bhutto, "the bigotry, hatred & extremism on display in the National Assembly goes on to show Nawaz league has been mainstreaming terror.."
It is established that sectarian violence against minorities is propelled by a narrow vision for Pakistan's national identity. It is also established that given the unstable internal political situation there, it is the Pakistan army that is largely keeping the state from falling apart. In the words of Christine Fair, an academic, "whereas many countries have an army, the Pakistani army has a country. For Pakistan's powerful military, the notion of actual democracy is contemptible." On the contrary, the Pakistan army aspires to be treated at par with India, despite their huge differences in capabilities, achievements, and prospects. The administrative vacuums pave way for the military to intervene and the military thus pervaded prevents a civilian government from functioning independently and uninhibitedly. The result of this intricate conjunction of the Pakistan army and its civil administration is a volatile nation internally and a very uncertain state externally.
Internally, the extent of threat and uncertainty looms much larger on the minority communities. The systemic marginalisation and persecution of the Ahmadis bear testimony to the fundamentalism entrenched deep into the Pakistani state. To the state's unique distinction, the community is procedurally (through the amendment of the Constitution) declared non-Muslim because of their deviant faith. Alienation of this community has resulted in riots, mobs lynching individuals to death, and attacking their places of worship. Another community that makes up a significant minority in Pakistan is the ethnic group of Hazaras. They have also lately been the target of persecution and violence in Pakistan. Balochistan, ethnically distinct from the dominant Pakistani populace, has been a touchy matter for Pakistan, and Quetta, its capital, has seen unprecedented targeted killings over the past decade, mostly pertaining to matters of occupancy and oppression. The latest terror attack, responsibility claimed by Tehreek-e-Taliban, once again brings to highlight how Pakistan, too, is not immune from the terrorism it breeds.
Externally, Pakistan's lust for territory has it coveting Kashmir ever since Independence. Although unable to contain and resolve its own internal strifes, Pakistan has never missed an opportunity to foment and stoke unrest in the valley. Unprovoked ceasefire violation along the LoC, a back-stabbing act like the Pathankot attack just days after the Indian Prime Minister made a cordial gesture to his Pakistani counterpart; the grand fiasco at the UN General Assembly when their representative held up a picture of a Gaza war victim and claimed it to be the handiwork Indian forces oppressing people of Kashmir, was a mindlessly done routine stunt to again internationally rake up India's domestic dispute, blow it out of proportion, and hide behind it to feel safe from being pointed at about its own questionable doings in Balochistan. Externally, Pakistan appears rather directionless and confused due to unexpected turn of events internally.
Without a doubt, "talks and terror" do not go together. Pakistan is a state that breeds, nurses, and nurtures terrorism both internally and externally, and has come to a point to diplomatically suffer the recoil of each attack. Hillary Clinton once remarked most befittingly that "you can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to only bite your neighbour." Pakistan has much to put in place to tackle the terrorism that it has cultivated. Pakistan's decision to refrain from seeking Hafiz Saeed's further detention, once again, demonstrates the resolve of its army to maintain the terrorist groups that have become intrinsic to Pakistan's sinister functioning against India. Clearly, this, too, is a gesture directed at India. This entire episode so far with Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind behind Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, is very intriguingly, an about-turn from Pakistan's staging to be serious about tackling terrorism. This decision also has in backdrop Pakistan's international financial credentials.
With regard to the much discussed and deliberated One Belt One Road Project, economists in Pakistan warn of the long-term problems that this project will entail. Pakistan has to soon start repaying Chinese loans of over $50 billion at near commercial rates of interest. This is when Japan provides India long-term loans requiring negligible interest payments. For India, Pakistan is a rogue state, a threat, not for its formidable potency in any respect but for its constant volatility, internal instability, and external uncertainty. It is like a problem child with a destructive behaviour. The inherent tendencies of the Pakistani state are a hazard to its own people, to its neighbours, and to any state that will associate with the region. For this reason, the ties between India and Pakistan plunge to newer lows.
(The author is EditorialConsultant and Senior Copy Editor with Millennium Post. The views expressed are strictly personal.)