T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Fifth Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

Sept 2002

I N S I D E


Spotlight 

Ajai Sahni

 

Top of Page     

Praveen Swami

 

Special Report   

A H Khan

 

Fundamentals    

Praveen Swami

 

Periscope           

Najam Sethi

 

InsideTrack         

R K Mishra

 

Ground Zero

B Manzar

 

In Black & White

A K Verma

 

Statecraft

R Upadhyay

 

Table Talk       

Indra Munshi

May Edition

June Edition

July Edition

August Edition

A b o u t  U s

F e e d b a c k

D i s c l a i m er

C o p y r i g h t s

 I N S I D E   T R A C K

TERRORISM AND PAKISTAN: US Still Evading The Truth?

Dr. Rajesh Kumar Mishra


Overview of State-Sponsored Terrorism of the Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001, released by the Office of the Coordinator for Counter terrorism May 21, 2002 opens with the statement of US President of September 20, 2001 as- "Every nation in every region now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." Implicitly, as long as Washington believes in the worth of Pakistan for US war against international terrorism, remote is the chance that Washington will admit the demand of any third country to designate Pakistan as a terrorist state. Washington’s prevarication vis-à-vis Pakistan is nothing but the latter's primacy to the US national interests.

In the war against terrorism US remains unclear to many in India as how US perceives Pakistan’s role as a state towards reigning in terrorism. US efforts, to soften the delicate balance of its individual bilateral relations with India and Pakistan, considerably lack effective communication in its response towards Indian grievance over cross border terrorism. Why does US not show determination to deal with Pakistan as a “terrorist state”

Apart from a reorientation in US-India relations, the US foreign policy in the post 9-11 world toward South Asia mainly revolves around three aspects- US relationship with Musharraf; despite acknowledging Pakistan as the hub or international terrorism, US' shying away to take harder steps in dealing with Musharraf; and conceivable US national interest involving Pakistan in the region.

For New Delhi time may be running fast to realise the effectiveness of US President George W Bush’s statement in his first State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002- “In this moment of opportunity, a common danger is erasing old rivalries. America is working with Russia and China and India, in ways we have never before, to achieve peace and prosperity”, US may take its own time to internalise the Indian demands comprehensively in its national interest.

Why Musharraf is too close to US?

* Musharraf remains committed voluntarily to portray as staunch anti-terrorist stance in Pakistan.

* As the head of an Islamic republic, US believes that Musharraf is best suited to take the ire of anti-US fundamentalist groups and entities.

* Presently within the centrifugal rival claimants of political and military leadership in Pakistan, Musharraf reposes through articulate designs as the readily available stable country-head to provide uninterrupted US operations against anti-US terrorist networks.

* By projecting himself as the safe custodian, Musharraf, not convincingly though successfully, tries his best to allay the international fear of the weapons of mass destruction falling into wrong hands.

* With the past experience of working closely with Musharraf against Soviets in Afghanistan, US agencies might be able to read the intentions and ability of Musharraf as an easier task than to deal with any new leadership in Pakistan at this moment of international crisis.

Why US remains reluctant to take hard steps against Pakistan?

* To fight back the international Jehadi network, US remains apprehensive of displeasing Musharraf.

* The Al-Qaeda network and the other constituents of the International Islamic front in Afghanistan, were the joint creation of Gen. Musharraf, Gen. Mohammad Aziz Khan, the chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff Committee, and Maj. Gen (retd.) Mahmud Ali Durrani, during Zia-ul-Haq’s regime. In case of excessive US pressure, the close nexus of militant outfits with the government agencies raises fear of another Talibanisation of Pakistan.

* Pakistan should not be dealt with for punitive measures similar to those against Afghanistan or any other non-nuclear weapon state.

* The fear of spread of nuclear terror through the perceptions related to the ties of Islamic Bomb and Islamic Jehadis present a unique insecurity scenario.

* To play the Islamic card Pakistan still seems to hold importance in the geo-strategic configurations of US foreign policies.

* Pakistan’s nuclear blackmailing requires multidimensional preventive roles of the international community. US may be interested to help assist with Permissive Action Links (PALs) to prevent any accidental use of nuclear weapon in Pakistan as a first step of several others to come in future. US must be apprehensive of fundamentalist ridden regimes of having control over or knowledge of the existing nuclear components in Pakistan that may have international security ramifications.

US and Pakistan in post 9-11/12-13 South Asia:

Stating that the state of Pakistan allowed the centralisation of jehad in Karachi at the Banuri Mosque Complex where Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar reportedly met for the first time during the Afghan war and whose founder Maulana Yusuf Banuri was empowered through induction into the Council of Islamic Ideology in 1977 by General Zia, Khaled Ahmed, a leading Pakistan’s analyst, traces back the connection of Al Qaeda with the Pakistan’s jehad movement. The analyst elaborates extensively on the Al Qaeda empire in Pakistan quoting media reports and other sources. (Daily Times, July 29, 2002)

Despite having overwhelming evidence with the American Intelligence against Pakistan for state-sponsored terrorism, US is still hesitating to declare Pakistan a terrorist state.

In the recent visit, July 27-28, 2002 of US secretary of state, Colin Powell, seemed interested more in broadening the US wish list including election in J&K with an international eye on it and the release of “prisoners of Kashmir”, than to speak out on failed Pakistani pledges to stop cross-border terrorism.

The omnibus statement released before September 11 attacks, titled "Worldwide Threat 2001: National Security in a Changing World", while citing examples of terrorist outfits such as Al Qa’ida (Osma bin Laden), HAMAS and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the statement drew attention towards the expanding Islamic militancy. It had mentioned expressly that - "worldwide pool of potential recruits for terrorist networks is growing". However, nothing seriously taken up to deal with the activities of Pakistan involving support to terrorist outfits both inside and outside the country.

The US perceptions though reflect reformulative in nature, today in reality, historical partnership with Pakistan remains more or less unchanged from pre 9-11 incident.

Referring Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism the Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 mentions, “Some clear and important signs of fresh thinking are already apparent. After September 11, Pakistan’s President, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, made significant changes to Pakistan’s policy and has rendered unprecedented levels of cooperation to support the war on terrorism. Pakistan not only broke its previously close ties with the Taliban regime but also allowed the US military to use bases within the country for military operations in Afghanistan”.

For US, to pursue its interest without disturbing India-Pakistan strategic balance, South Asia has remained an arena of significant foreign policy play. The US policy towards South Asia looks as of maintaining a delicate balance in the region. The security scenario of the region is so complex that US treads quite cautiously as not to antagonize either India or Pakistan.

For much of the past half century, U.S. relations with India and Pakistan were perceived in the region and by Washington as part of the same equation. Improvements in U.S. relations with one were generally perceived (and sometimes intended) to come at the expense of the other. Since last September’s attacks, however, the United States has found itself in the unaccustomed position of having good relations with India and Pakistan at the same time……….Pakistan’s adroit, if opportunistic, decision to align itself with the United States is more of an opportunity than a threat to Pakistan’s military ruler and self-appointed president, Pervez Musharraf. (A NEW EQUATION: U.S. Policy toward India and Pakistan after September 11, Carnegie Endowment Working Papers, No.27, May 2002)

In fact, Pakistan’s aim and desire to foment cross-border terrorism is in pursuance of its policy of “keeping the Kashmiri cauldron on fire” and “to keep India perpetually bleeding”. As a matter of practice, Pakistan derives its interventionist policy towards Kashmir for three main objectives plus one. First, the involvement in Kashmir diverts the mind of its citizens from national brinkmanship at home. Second, sticking still to the two nation theory Pakistan’s Islamist parties, fundamental groups and the ISI are trying to Islamise the entire Valley so that they could remain in permanent Jehad. And, third, Pakistan tries to exemplify the establishment of a regime of terror that could be capitalised for financial and political support from other countries of the world. After the defeat of Kargil misadventure, Pakistan has been concentrating more on historically rooted intention of nuclear blackmailing.

Conclusion:

During the cold war period while using Pakistan as a frontline state, Americans had to turn a blind eye towards Pakistan's misdeeds. The post cold war phase visualised reexamination of new possibilities in US-Pakistan relations for US’ geo-strategic interest in Asia and the Islamic world. However, the post 9-11 and 12-13 (besides many in past) terrorist attack in US and India respectively raised worldwide alarm against Pakistan for being the epicenter of international terrorist network.

In the upcoming changes in international matrix and regional configurations US should give a fresh look at the Pakistan's support to unlawful acts in India or elsewhere in the world. After all, US administration must act on what the Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 report ends with as a cautious note that “Questions remain, however, whether Musharraf’s "get tough" policy with local militants and his stated pledge to oppose terrorism anywhere will be fully implemented and sustained”. 

By arrangement with South Asian Analysis Group, New Delhi

>>> back

All Rights Reserved. Copyright@2002 Kashmir Bachao Andolan