Though minor in strength and economy, Pakistan is among very important Muslim nations and hence enemies of Islam have destabilized it. Having maintained good relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran, Pakistan has played important roles in Islamic world but, unfortunately, also has been aiding the anti-Islamic nations as well. That is source s and cause of tragedy of Pakistan.
Pakistan played mediatory role between USA and China and brought them together in many ways and today, while USA has destabilized Pakistan, Beijing is seen subsidizing the American economy and capitalism, thereby boosting the imperialist tentacles of all anti-Islamic nations, globally.
Islamabad has not been able to identify or choose its allies. By helping USA and NATO in invading, terrorizing and destabilizing Afghanistan, Pakistan has committed a big sin, willingly or otherwise.
It indeed unfortunate that right from its inception as a new soverign nation in Asia to look after the legitimate concerns of Muslims who hitherto had suffered heavily as a minority in united India under British rule, Pakistan has suffered mainly due to Indian ill-focus seeking make it a weak and destabilized nation. New Delhi has used all techniques to achieve its objective in Pakistan which now stands destabilized and economically weak.
Today Pakistan is being contained not just by India but by both USA and its new strategic partner India which has made efforts to shift its allegiance from Moscow to Washington to retain Jammu Kashmir’s occupational status. Pakistan while the sport Islamabad receives from china is unable to force the Indo-US duo moving about with Asia pivot to stay away from destabilizing Pakistan any further.
It appears, India also achieved to split US-Pakistan relations to some extent. A weak and destabilized Pakistan is the target of US led capitalist-imperialist nations which it has served so long for obtaining mere service charges. With US kicking its major non-NATO ally Pakistan in order to make India happy, Pakistan finds itself increasingly isolated.
Pakistan finds itself in isolation. Possibly Islamabad had never expected its NATO boss insult and abandon Pakistan once its objective of destabilization of Islamic Afghanistan.
Pakistan has never been a strong nation in any respect: in economy, politics technology, territory – not even promotion of Islamic faith as a Muslim nation in South Asia. As for sports and technology Pakistan is a failed state, unable to secure a firm policy for sports and technology except missiles and nukes, thanks to China. Today, Pakistan is big zero in intentional sports arena even in a fake sport called cricket which the Pakistani government promoted as the only “useful” sport for its 100s and 50s making Pakistani batboys the “proud sportsmen”.
In fact, in order to make Pakistan look a big zero even in false sport Cricket, jointly schemed against Pakistani bowlers and got them out of international cricket and Pakistan has to suffer because its American masters ask them to do more on genocides of Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan and earn the ”needy” service charges from USA and EU. Pakistan should also know part of money it receives from USA belongs to India which regularly pays huge sums for the continued support its Kashmir claim and for containing Pakistan.
Pathetically, Pakistan is not at all bothered about its weaknesses in every field as it makes its plans only to suit Indian strategic cases. This method caused Pakistan heavily for when India is moving fast in economy and technology, Pakistan is stand still, hoping the USA or China to help and do the thinking as well as for Islamabad. This has been the outcome of a dependent policy Pakistan has pursued so long and deliberate attempt to block non-rich and non-aristocratic families from ruling Pakistan.
Interestingly, all efforts by Pakistan to forge ties with Russia could not take off as both India and USA applied pressure on Moscow not to promote and help stabilize Islamic Pakistan. Russian President Putin was supposed to visit Pakistan on an official agreement but he abruptly cancelled the trip without even specifying the reasons for his harsh action. Obviously, Putin’s behavior belittling Islamabad made New Delhi happy and contented. China put India, seeking big status as being a strategic partner in its place by refusing to let it enter the NSG.
USA is well versed in all tricks of bullying Pakistan to coerce it do exactly what CIA wants. Recently, a former top American diplomat has said the USA should adopt a policy of “total isolation” against Pakistan to send a signal that it faces the prospect of becoming a “second North Korea” if it continues destabilising Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban and Haqqani network.
Such a policy would send a signal to Pakistan that it faces the prospect of becoming a “second North Korea” unless it changes its course on Afghanistan. Khalilzad was the highest ranking Muslim American in the history of the United States. He was the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W Bush. He also served as the US ambassador to Afghanistan and headed the country s diplomatic mission in Iraq. “If Pakistan truly changes course, then the US should be willing to be supportive in a significant way. But we have to substantially escalate the cost of Pakistan’s hostile policy in Afghanistan,” he said.
Obviously, USA exploited vulnerable Pakistan for its domestic and foreign needs as its alliance added credence to US lies. Following the Sept-11hoax, Washington easily bullied Islamabad to support the US cause by letting NTO use Pakistani territories for its anti-Islamic terror operations first targeting Islamizing Afghanistan and gradually killing Pakistanis themselves and its military personnel. Pakistan willingly supported all nefarious operations because of India factor.
Over decades of joint operations by USA-Israel on the one hand and USA-Pakistan-Turkey on the other made Pakistan a weak nation depending on foreign aid to sustain its military spending to catch up with fast rising Indian military. Not just a weak nation, but Pakistan is also rendered a slave nation now, unable to decide its requirements as USA refuses aid to Islamabad.
Had Pakistan not joined Indian agenda for invading Jammu Kashmir by annexing parts of Kashmir, perhaps, Pakistan as newly born soverign nation would have freely devised its plans and programs for the better designing of a strong Islamic state!
USA did not let Pakistan to become a strong Islamic nation to advance the Islamic curse along with other Muslim nations, especially Arab nations and Iran and Turkey, for instance. Later, USA made Pakistan a Muslim nation supporting led terror operation as Islam.
Today, Pakistan is a major pauper puppet regime of USA seeking for a comity of puppet nations in Islamic world.
Earlier, as Pakistan was all out supporting the NATO terror operations in Afghanistan, Washington had given Islamabad to understand that whenever, if at all, NATO leaves Afghanistan the USA would make Pakistan the controlling nation of Afghanistan plus all terror goods left behind in Afghanistan after the “war” would belling to Pakistani military. It was just a hard mischief played out on Pakistan to encourage the regime to actively participate in the genocides of Afghans which Pakistani military did in perfection. . .
In order to make things easy, USA has used India to upset Pakistan’s plan for future Afghanistan. “In the aftermath of the US drone attack killing Taliban leader Mullah Mansour, increase the pressure by suspending all assistance to Pakistan — military and civilian — and move towards isolating Pakistan internationally, including not supporting IMF renewal of financial support,” Zalmay Khalilzad, a former top American diplomat in the Bush Administration, said. Khalilzad, who played a key role America’s policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iraq after 9/11 terror attack, said the US should adopt a policy of “total isolation” against Pakistan.
India fails Pakistan
Right from the day one as a soverign nation Pakistan always has to be on the heels preparing for dealing with any deadly eventuality with India. Then onwards, Islamabad spent all its resources and entire attention on making WMD to take the nuclear challenge from New Delhi very seriously. And Pakistan also became a nuclear power. Like India, Pakistan also refused to sign the NPT after getting nukes arsenals.
Constantly ill-focused by its Hindu neighbor India from which it ceded to form a soverign nation meant for protection of Muslims and promotion of their genuine interests, Pakistan sought to protect its interests by aiding a capitalist-imperialist USA. USA also brought anti-Islamic Israel to be friends with Islamic Pakistan while Israel began selling terror goods to Hindutva India.
And, how far Pakistani military is strong or modern enough to face the new threats from all sources around is not clear as yet. Pakistani regime failed to protect its citizens, protect the interests of Islam because it (Musharraf) attacked the mosques, killing the Imams in order to protect the interests of foreign nations that are deadly anti-Islamic. Pakistan began thinking in US mode and refused to protect the Islamic faith and Muslim interests.
When India, with help from Soviet Russia, blasted it first bomb against all nuclear regulations of UN and IAEA, Pakistan became too scary and worried about its exultance as a weak nation vulnerable to Indian provocations.
The point is Pakistan’s energies were wasted on dealing with challenges of Hindu India as both share parts of neighboring Jammu Kashmir. In order to retain the parts of Jammu Kashmir they occupy in their own ways, both India and Pakistan used the nukes as deterrence.
As India got all sorts of help from Moscow, Pakistan leaned towards the USA for help, but the US help does not come free. As Pakistan moved to get aid cum military assistance from Washington as return favors for helping the anti-Islam8c forces in killing Muslims, Pakistani planning has fallen apart.
Pakistan has taken US help for granted and needs to understand the complexity of post Cold War and relations with Pakistan’s two neighboring states. Pakistan has absolutely failed to maintain robust relations with its all neighbors. Over years of over dependence on US money and terror goods for its existence has brought Pakistan to become a destabilized and confused state.
Surveying all its immediately neighboring countries except China, Pakistan has maintained ties with Nepal and Sri Lanka but failed to sustain good relations with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran. This indicates a failure of Pakistani foreign policy in a region that gave rise to its isolation, which will have serious existential repercussions in the long run.
Pakistan’s obsession with India has strained its western border, affecting its own Pashtun population on its side of the Durand Line, mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. Movement across the Afghan-Pakistani border generates revenue for both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two countries exchange goods and services worth some 2.7 billion Euros ($3 billion) annually across the Durand Line. Despite the illegal trade and smuggling, both countries benefit a great deal from cross-border movement.
Even though a wrong notion was spread in the media about USA supporting and helping Pakistan, the fact is that it is China that has been helping Pakistan even with nuclear development. Both are not one of the fastest relationships developing in the world.
The idea of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor might work for its eastern border but not for its western border with Afghanistan, whose own dynamics must be recognized. The Durand Line as a border is much less relevant to ordinary citizens than to the state. Poverty, poor infrastructure, healthcare and other important state functions tend to be precarious on both sides, and the weak presence of the state has left locals on both sides to provide for their own needs. Pakistan needs to realize that hostile relations with Afghanistan are unsustainable in the light of its growing regional isolation.
Logic fails while Indian economy is steadily rising; Pakistan is getting weakened day by day. As India’s power in Afghanistan expands, especially its soft power, Pakistan is losing its position of economic and strategic privilege. Since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, he has paid two visits to Afghanistan. On his first visit, he inaugurated the new Afghan parliament building that was built with the support of Indian government, while on his second visit on June 4, to the heart of Asia, he inaugurated the $290 million Indian-funded Salma Dam, one of the country’s biggest hydroelectric projects. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been dealing with the awkwardness of either stating its reputation or support for the Haqqani group or the Taliban insurgent leader Mullah Mansour, killed in a drone attack on its soil.
In fact, America’s Asia pivot targeting Russia and China has brought China still closer to Pakistan as India crawls faster toward USA and Israel- the nations that hate Islam and promote fascism and imperialism.
Weak Islamic faith and crisis
In fact, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia gave credence to American claims of Islamic terrorism and USA used both to propagate anti-Islamic themes, including Islamophobia. But o when it achieved the goal of killing millions of Muslims in what looks like a permanent war on Islam and making Islam look like terror religion, USA dropped Pakistan and adopted India as a strategic partner.
Pakistan has absolutely failed to maintain robust relations with its all neighbors. Surveying all its immediately neighboring countries except China, Pakistan has failed to sustain good relations with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran. This indicates a failure of Pakistani foreign policy in a region that gave rise to its isolation, which will have serious existential repercussions in the long run.
USA and its western allies have isolated Pakistan and Pakistani puppet regime is at fault for its facing isolation now. Pakistan is Islamic only in name sake and the fervor it had when the Islamic nation came into being in 1947 is no more in the vogue. US led war on terror or Islam has made Pakistan look like an anti-Islamic nation, helping all anti-Islamic nations on payment basis. Pakistan does not openly help India because of the Kashmir issue.
The post-9/11 involvement of the international community in Afghanistan and its commitment to quelling the Taliban-led insurgency have, however, left Pakistan regionally and internationally isolated, despite its involvement as a key ally in the War on Terror.
Pakistan readily agreed to US demand for Pakistani lands for the NATO troops to pass through to attack Afghanistan. Possibly Pakistan regime thought if it did not agree that would give opportunity to India on a platter and USA and India would jointly attack Pakistan on the lie that Osama has sneaked into Pakistani tribal areas.
Any way USA did attack Pakistan as well after the fall of Afghanistan even while Pakistan was helping the NATO, killing many civilians and military personnel.
Regionally, the leaders of Iran, India and Afghanistan have signed a historic deal to develop the strategic port of Chabahar in Iran, and agreed on a three-nation pact to build a transport-and-trade corridor through Afghanistan, which could not only help strengthen regional connectivity by boosting economic growth in the region, but by the same token reduce the time and cost of doing business with both Central Asia and Europe. Pakistan’s suspicion of India threatens to entrench relations of conflict and competition at the expense of cooperation and stability with all its neighbors. The knee-jerk reaction of Pakistan’s foreign policy to the Chabahar port was to close down the Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan and enforce visa restrictions for both sides of the Durand Line, leaving those on both sides in the lurch.
Many speculate that the tightening security at the Torkham border is a political move rather than a curb on militant activities
Sure of getting the left over arms of NATO forces in Afghanistan as well as the nation of Afghans for control after the NATO leaves it, Pakistan has failed to utilize the shared cultural, linguistic, economic and ethnic realities of its western borders, while India has moved in to execute huge economic development, both real and symbolic, of the Afghan state. Despite having a Pashtun president in power in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani establishment’s claim of having forged closer ties with Afghanistan’s Pashtun population, ties could not move beyond the historic burden of Pakistan’s deep involvement in Afghanistan.
India’s containment mechanism
The post-9/11 involvement of the international community in Afghanistan and its commitment to quelling the Taliban-led insurgency have, however, left Pakistan regionally and internationally isolated, despite its involvement as a key ally in the War on Terror.
Following the Kargil War in 1999 with India, Pakistan faced international isolation, and national anxieties shifted to its western border, in order to stave off the very real risk of nuclear escalation with India and continue with its proxy war in Afghanistan. Pakistani foreign-policy makers and mostly military elites thought that acquiring the upper hand in Afghanistan and containing the warring tribesmen next door would be a much easier task.
India has been exploiting the isolationist and weakened position of Pakistan to its own advantage.
Regionally, the leaders of Iran, India and Afghanistan have signed a historic deal to develop the strategic port of Chabahar in Iran, and agreed on a three-nation pact to build a transport-and-trade corridor through Afghanistan, which could not only help strengthen regional connectivity by boosting economic growth in the region, but by the same token reduce the time and cost of doing business with both Central Asia and Europe.
Pakistan’s suspicion of India threatens to entrench relations of conflict and competition at the expense of cooperation and stability with all its neighbors. The knee-jerk reaction of Pakistan’s foreign policy to the Chabahar port was to close down the Torkham border crossing with Afghanistan and enforce visa restrictions for both sides of the Durand Line, leaving those on both sides in the lurch.
The anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistan spirit that Indians and their teams display in tournaments is missing among Pakistani team and players. One gets the impression they don’t want India is defeated and they have to help India save its bi brotherly prestige as the deadly faces of a defeated Indian team would be horrible to watch. Or, maybe Pakistanis are really weak. Not very sure
International relations are governed by two basic facts, rather plain truths: there is no free lunch and there are no permanent enemies and friendships in international politics. USA helped Pakistan for its own causes in South Asia and Mideast
Depending too much first on USA and now on China for their economic assistance and defending itself from possible Indian maneuvering and attacks, Pakistan does not seem to have any clear cut polices of their own but only follows what the USA and Saudi dictates, supported USA on its own to keep India out of US reach, but the US ally Saudi role in pressuring Islamabad to make Pakistan a safe place for the NATO terror gangs with its target on Islam and Muslims, their resources.
Pakistani policymakers regard the instability of the western border and its Pashtun population’s sacrifices rendered easier to deal with and placate than any disturbance on its eastern border of Punjab, in the context of Pakistan-India relations and engagement with Afghanistan.
Foreign-policy makers interpret the shift in border hostilities from east to west as being in the broader national interest of Pakistan, and they consider tragedies like the Peshawar Army Public School attack, where 140 children were mercilessly killed, or the young lives lost at Bacha Khan University, as collateral damage in the pursuit of Pakistan’s core national interests and territory, particularly Punjab.
Because of USA, Pakistan has failed to utilize the shared cultural, linguistic, economic and ethnic realities of its western borders, while India has moved in to execute huge economic development, both real and symbolic, of the Afghan state. Despite having a Pashtun president in power in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani establishment’s claim of having forged closer ties with Afghanistan’s Pashtun population, ties could not move beyond the historic burden of Pakistan’s deep involvement in Afghanistan.
USA knows too well that there are potential risks in isolating Pakistan, with continuing the current course in Afghanistan and Pakistan and therefore has called for having a contingency plan to deal with the nuclear scenario risks.
Indians say the role that Pakistan has played is that of a double game. It has signaled that it wants to be helpful to the USA in fighting terrorism and stabilizing Afghanistan. But in reality, it has been energetically supporting the Taliban and the Haqqani network to achieve the very opposite. “That has been the essence of the Pakistan policy on Afghanistan,” they said.
A sovereign state’s foreign policy changes with the times, and according to its domestic needs and external changes in global politics. Nations have national interests, and there are no permanent enemies and friendships in international politics. Neighboring states can be a boon or a bane, depending on the ability to recognize one’s long-term interests of sustainable peace on its borders.
Pakistan currently has strained and difficult relations with all its neighbors except China which is helping with military and technological briefs.
While India has moved beyond the Cold war mindset, seeking profitable links with various countries of the ideological divide, Pakistan has been unable to define its foreign policy and national interests beyond a Cold War paradigm. An India-centric foreign policy, focusing on Kashmir as being a part of the country, has stalled Pakistan’s natural foreign-policy evolution and tainted its worldview of international politics. However, even though Pakistan is eager to make fronds with Russia, USA and India do not let Moscow pursue it sown foreign policy.
Even while Pakistan would try to formulate its foreign policy at macro and micro levels, it would still expect change of mind in Washington for easy money. That is the problem which Islamabad must confront and over come.
Time is overdue for Pakistani government to search for alternatives in politics, economics, foreign policy and international relations. It is quite likely Pakistan incapable of changes, and so it may not change at all. But for other Muslim countries seeking “ties” with enemies of Islam like USA, Israel and India have a fundamental lesson to learn from Pakistan’s bitter experience. .
Changing complexion of “militancy” in the occupied Kashmir
Two teachers, Supinder Kaur and Deepak Chand, were shot dead in Srinagar on October7, 2021.The Resistance front owned the killing. The name implies that this organisation like the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front does not have religious moorings. The front explained that “they were killed because they harassed and warned the parents with dire consequences if the students did not attend the school function on August 15 (India’s Independence Day).
In a tweet, the Inspector general of Kashmir police disclosed that 28 civilians had been killed din the valley during 2021”. Five persons belonged to local Hindu and Sikh communities. . Two persons were non-Hindu labourers (pic.twitter.com/j5R2MVWrT3).
Each killing follows massive crackdowns, cordons and searches, and rounding up of innocent people as suspects mostly members of Jammat-e-Islami now banned, and Hurriyat members.
Who the Resistance Front is?
Very little is known about the Front. The Resistance Front publicly emerged in the aftermath of August 5, 2019, when the Central government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of autonomy under Article 370 and split the state into two Union Territories. The Article 15-A also was abrogated. This article guaranteed special protections to Kashmiri people defined as “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Front came into limelight when it owned a grenade attack in October 2019. Eight civilians on Srinagar’s busy Hari Singh High Street were injured in the attack. The Front is shy of social posts. But, it did announce its debut on the chat platform, Telegram.
India attributes the April intense gunfight between with security forces in the Keran sector (Kupwara district) to this Front. It left five personnel of the army’s elite Special Forces dead.
Another encounter has continued for five days until October 19 in Mendhar sector. India admits having lost several soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer, in the fight The Indian forces dared not enter into the forest. They were content to use heavy guns from the outside. The Indian forces’ initial impression was that the front uses only pistols and improvised explosives. That has been proved wrong.
To disguise their ignorance about the Front, the forces say, ‘These acts are committed by newly recruited terrorists or those who are about to join terrorist ranks’.
IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar says, ‘A total of 28 civilians have been killed by terrorists in 2021. Out of 28, five persons belong to local Hindu and Sikh communities and two persons are non-local Hindu labourers.’
The non local Kashmiri migrants have no faith in police protection. They are returning to their home towns. The remaining persons are being shifted to army camps.
India’s home minister has planned a visit to Srinagar to familiarize himself with the situation. Indian prime minister Modi is being blamed at home and abroad for emergence of the Resistance Front. The critics point out that Kashmiriat had been the crucible of several civilizations. But India’s reign of terror compelled the native Kashmiri to become xenophobic.
Modi ventilated his ire at rights criticism in his speech before the National Human rights Commission.
He stressed that welfare measures like providing electric connection, alleviating poverty were more important than human rights.
The NHRC is a statutory body that was constituted on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act. It takes cognisance of human rights violations, conducts enquiries and recommends compensation to victims from public authorities besides other remedial and legal measures against the erring public servants. However its present chairman is believed to be BJP stooge.
Kashmir, a Guantanamo Bay
Even Mehbooba Mufti, a former BJP ally, has been compelled to call Kashmir a Guantanamo Bay prison. She called for lifting ban on Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Jama’at-e-Islami, withdrawal of `sedition’ or `terrorism’ cases against Kashmiri leaders or ordinary folk. Her voice proved to be a voice in the wilderness. What else could Mehbooba call Kashmir _ `Kashmiris feel that they are literally imprisoned in a cage from which almost all exit routes are barred save one, to India, which is also not without peril. Kashmiris are distrusted and treated poorly in many parts of India, whether as students or as traders’ (A.G. Noorani, Kashmir, a prison, Dawn January 12, 2019). Trade across the Line of Control has been stopped and `terrorism’ charges slapped on some traders. Even the tyrannical Dogras and their British overlords facilitated Kashmir trade with Central Asian and other states. Kashmiri markets used to be flooded with foreign traders and their merchandise _books, shawls, gold tillas, Russian textiles, Kokandi silk, Bukharan rumals (handkerchiefs) and coral. Trade from British India would flow through Kulu via the Chang Chenmo route to Yarkand, bypassing the maharaja’s customs officials in Leh. In 1870, Maharaja Ranbir Singh signed a special treaty in Sialkot with Viceroy Lord Mayo to accept this route as a ‘free highway’, later known as Treaty Route. Central Asians intending to perform hajj used to travel through this route to Karachi or Bombay sea-ports to board ships. To facilitate pilgrims, highway provided rest houses, and supply depots jointly supervised by British and Kashmir officials. Now, even the Kashmir Highway stands closed to civilian traffic during military-convoy movement.. A minor, violating road closure, was brutally crushed by an Indian army vehicle.”
Mehbooba revealed her government was dismissed for expressing ennui at central-government atrocities, not returning dead bodies of `encounter’ victims and burning them, not allowing funeral prayers, demanding talks with Pakistan, registering an FIR against an army officer, resisting change in Kashmir’s special status, and so on (Indian Express dated April 18. 2019). A cursory look at Kashmir press is horrifying _ Sedition cases were slapped on three Aligarh- university Kashmiri students for trying to hold prayers for Hizb militant Wani, Kashmiri students and traders at Wagah border are forced to chant anti-Pakistan slogans and post them to face book. Kashmir students and traders were attacked or looted throughout India. About 700 students, including girls, fled to Valley. Even holders of PM Modi’s merit-based competitive scholarships had to rush back to Valley for safety. Kashmiri journalists in Indian states were roughed up, mercilessly beaten, and told to go back Meghalaya governor officially directed to boycott everything Kashmiri. Some Kashmiris petitioned Supreme Court to intervene. In its order, the Supreme Court directed 10 states and various institutions to take remedial steps, but in vain.
People have lost trust In India’s claims of success in “encounters”, mostly fake. In July last year, security forces in Kashmir claimed to have killed three “unidentified hardcore terrorists” in a gunfight in Amshipora village of Kashmir’s Shopian district. They had last made phone calls to their families on July 17, 2020, a day before the purported gunfight had taken place.
An army inquiry and a police probe into the encounter established that the three suspected militants killed in Amshipora were shot dead in a fake encounter.
Indian army stages such encounters to earn reward of Rs. 20 lac per encounter. A year has gone by but the captain accused of masterminding and executing the fake Amshipora encounter is still unpunished. He abducted three labourers from their homes and shot them dead as “terrorists”. Those killed in Shopian in July 2020 were Mohammed Ibrar of Tarkasi village, Imtiyaz Ahmad of Dharsakri village, and Ibrar Ahmad.
It is obvious that it is not all hunky dory in Kashmir as India claims. The changed dimension of “militancy” is an incurable headache for the Modi’s government.
A Peep into Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s Tricky Relations with Afghan Taliban
To understand the interesting relationship between the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as Pakistani Taliban, and the Afghan Taliban, one must look into the history to know how the linkages were developed between the two entities and why the Afghan Taliban are not responding in equal measures to take the decisive action against the TTP.
The TTP has waxed and waned over the years. Under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud (1972-2009), 13 militant outfits, some estimations guess 50, assembled in December 2007 to exact the revenge of the Lal Mosque operation. The Mehsud tribe of South Waziristan is the largest group in the TTP. There were many precursors group of the TTP, such as Sufi Muhammad (1933-2019) who established the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi and led thousands of militants against the occupational forces in Afghanistan. Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mullah Nazir also joined the Baitullah-led TTP faction in 2008, both having links with Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan has launched several operations against them, namely Operation Rahe-e-Rast (2009), Rah-e-Najat (2009), Zarb-e-Azab (2014) and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad (2017). In the past, Pakistan claimed a complete victory against the TTP.
The TTP orchestrated a campaign of suicide bombings against Pakistan from 2006 to 2009. On 16 December 2014, TTP gunmen stormed the Army Public School in the northern city of Peshawar and killed more than 150 people, while 132 of them were children. After the capture of Kabul by the Afghan Taliban, the TTP is active again and claiming it carried out 32 attacks in August 2021 against Pakistan. Islamabad and Beijing held the TTP responsible for the July 14 suicide attack that killed nine Chinese engineers working on a hydroelectric project in Kohistan district. Pakistan accuses the Indian secret agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) of funding and supporting the TTP. Reports confirm that the TTP has sanctuaries in Kunar and Nanghar provinces of Afghanistan.
It is very difficult to measure the relationship between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban. Michael Kugelman, Asian deputy director at Washington Wilson Centre says, “The two groups have been separated from the same ideological cloth.” For the Afghan Taliban, the TTP has boosted their membership. For the TTP, the Afghan Taliban enhanced their resources and legitimacy. The factor of having links with the TTP reduces the Afghan Taliban’s chances to rely on Pakistan.
The TTP is eager to show its relations with the Afghan Taliban. TTP’s media showed the pictures of Hakim Mullah Mehsud and Maulvi Nazir with Mullah Sangeen Zardan, a key commander of the Haqqani network. Like the Afghan Taliban, the TTP has established its links with Al Qaeda; however, its main branch still adheres to the Afghan Taliban.
The TTP members were trained and educated at the same religious seminaries that produced the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan’s long ties with the Taliban might have generated hopes that the Islamist group would help rein in the TTP’s cross-border violent activities from their Afghan hideouts. But they say those expectations could be shattered, citing the ideological affinity between the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban.
The Afghan Taliban also released 800 TTP militants, including its deputy chief Maulvi Faqir Muhammad. According to a recent report prepared for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan Taliban have carried on “relations mainly as before”. The TTP supported the Afghan Taliban militarily against the Afghan government forces in the recent takeover. TTP’s new rhetoric is consistent with the Afghan Taliban’s position of not recognizing the Durand Line as a legal border and opposing its fencing by Pakistan because it has divided the Pashtun tribes.
Amir Rana, Director at Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), says, “The Afghan Taliban triumph has emboldened Islamic militants, including those in the TTP and boosted their morale. The wooing back of the disgruntled group and release of prisoners have increased TTP’s capability and military strength, hindering Pakistan’s efforts to eradicate terrorism within its borders.”
Zabihullah Mujahid, Spokesperson for the Afghan Taliban, said in an interview, “The relationship between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban will continue to be dictated by religious-ideological convergence, ethnic-fraternal linkages and close camaraderie.” But he denied there was any collaboration between them. The Afghan Taliban and the TTP known to share the ideal of governing by ‘sharia’ or Islamic law. However, the Afghan Taliban have not spoken openly against the TTP.
Michael Kugelman commented, “For Pakistan, getting the Taliban to curb the TTP amounts to a daunting task. The TTP has long been allied with the Afghan Taliban, and it has partnered operationally with them. The Taliban are not known for denying space to its militant allies, and I do not see the TTP being an exception to the rule.”
The TTP has rejected Islamabad’s amnesty overtures. In an exclusive interview with Japan’s oldest newspaper Mainchi Shimbun, TTP leader Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud welcomed the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan after 20 years of absence. “We are hopeful for a strong relationship between two of us. The TTP views the Doha Accord 2020 as a major win for all the Jihadists and their ideology.”
The TTP also differs from the Afghan Taliban in its goals and attitude toward the Pakistan government. In 2009, the Afghan Taliban denied having ties with the TTP attack on civilians. Some Afghan Taliban have sympathies with the TTP. But it is clear that the Afghan Taliban do not want to develop their official ties with the TTP, and nor do they want to be involved in the tussle between the TTP and Pakistan government. Its permissive treatment of the TTP could be a matter of internal politics. Cracking down on foreign fighters might create rifts in the rank and file of the Afghan Taliban who view these fighters as brothers in arms.
Columnist Kamran Yousuf writes in Express Tribune, “Pakistan has handed over to the Taliban ‘a list of most wanted’ terrorists affiliated with the banned TTP. Islamabad seeks a decisive action against them. Hibatullah Akhundzada, supreme commander of the Afghan Taliban, has established a three-member commission to investigate the Pakistan claims. Afghan Taliban leaders Mullah Umar and Sirajuddin Haqqani had repeatedly attempted to convince the TTP to focus on the Afghan Jihad. But these efforts had always been fruitless because waging of the Jihad against Pakistan forms the basis for TTP’s separate identity.
Noor Wali Mehsud said, “We will free our land region from the occupation of Pakistan forces and will never surrender to their atrocious rule. We want to live on our land according to the Islamic law and tribal traditions. We are the Muslims and the Pashtuns. The independence of Pakhtunkhwa and Pashtun tribal areas is national and religious duty of all Pashtuns.” (DAWN, 23 March)
Another possible and perhaps more likely outcome is that the Afghan Taliban avoid interference in the TTP-Pakistan conflict, preferring to stay neutral and maintain their historical ties with the TTP as well as Pakistan.
Zabihullah Mujahid noted, “The issue of the TTP is one that Pakistan will have to deal with, not Afghanistan. It is up to Pakistan, and Pakistani ulema and religious figures, not the Taliban, to decide on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of their war and to formulate a strategy in response.” (Geo TV, Aug 28)
Noor Wali Mehsud said, in a recent interview with CNN, that his group will continue its war against Pakistan security forces and its goal is to take control and free the border region. Mehsud also admitted that his group has a good relation with the Afghan Taliban, hoping to benefit from their victories across the border.
Despite an ideological convergence, there appears many differences between the TTP and the Afghan Taliban. The Afghan Taliban condemned the killing of children in APS Peshawar. Condemning the attack, Zabihullah Mujahid said, “The killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basic teachings of Islam and this criterion should be considered by every Islamic party and government.”
The Afghan Taliban emerged in 1990, while the TTP in 2007. The TTP has a separate chain of command. Although the two groups’ aims overlap, they do not match. The TTP, unlike the Afghan Taliban, has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US. The two has different sponsors. The TTP is closer to the global jihadist agenda of targeting the far enemy. The Time Square bombing in 2010 and killing of Chinese nationals are the examples in this regard.
Both work with Al Qaeda. In the case of the TTP, this relation is stronger. Al Qaeda has played an instrumental role in the foundation, rise and expansion of the TTP. Although both are the Pashtuns, but the Taliban belong to Afghan tribes and the TTP is from the Mehsud tribe. The Afghan Taliban are more unified than the TTP.
Asfandyar Mir, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University for International Security and Cooperation, said, “Both Jalal and Siraj Haqqani mediated ‘jirgas’ to resolve the organizational issues and factionalism in the TTP.”
The TTP has also tried to diversify its recruitment and banned groups like the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) as well as Balochistan insurgency. The TTP makes it clear that ‘it does not entirely agree with the ideology of those movements but has sympathies with those being targeted by Pakistan establishment’. (Faran Jeffery)
The Diplomat reported that the Haqqani-sponsored talks between Pakistan and TTP had failed in 2020. The Taliban have generally been hesitant to push the TTP too hard. Rahimullah Yousufzai, a security analyst, said, “The Afghan Taliban, or for that matter, the Haqqani’s, could have done more to restraint the TTP from attacking Pakistan but that has not happened.” Asfandyar Mir said, “The Afghan Taliban have never meaningfully condemned or restrained the TTP from carrying out violence in Pakistan.” (TRT)
After the withdrawal of US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan, the evolving security situation of the region requires that Pakistan should play a more proactive role in manipulating this delicate balance between TTP and the Afghan Taliban. Otherwise, the chances of peace for the region are not sure.
The Taliban-Afghanistan Dilemmas
The Blitzkrieg winning back of Afghanistan by the Taliban with the concomitant US pullout established Taliban 2.0 in Kabul. But this has created a number of dilemmas for the stakeholding states. The latter include Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours, viz. Iran in the west, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in the north, China in the northeast and Pakistan to the east. Russia is also affected since it considers former Central Asian Soviet republics like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as its backyard and since Moscow has its own share of extremist-secessionist problems in Chechnya. It is also worried about Islamic fundamentalism spreading to its Muslim population concentrated around its major cities and the Caucasus.
The dilemmas are as follows:
I. If the US-led withholding of economic aid and international recognition continues in essence, then conditions– as it is they are bad enough in Afghanistan—will further deteriorate. This will lead to greater hunger, unemployment and all-round economic deprivation of the masses. Such dystopia will generate more refugees in droves as well as terrorists who will spill out to seek greener pastures beyond the country’s borders.
Such condition will in turn mean a life-threatening headache for not only Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours like Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China and Pakistan but also for more distant lands. The liberal democracies of Europe. Germany, France, Italy, the UK and others have already had their share of refugees—and terrorists—when waves from an unsettled Syria hit them way back in 2015. Chancellor Angela Merkel even decided to act magnanimously and opened Germany’s doors to a million fleeing the civil war in Syria. Such acceptance of refugees from Asia and Africa in Europe, however, boosted right-wing parties like the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and other movements throughout that continent. As a result the easy cross-border movements within the European Union came to be partly restricted in order to keep unwanted refugees out. Calls went out for hardening the external borders of the EU against more refugee invasion. The EU also made arrangements with Turkey to absorb and manage the refugee onrush in exchange for fat amounts of the Euro.
The prospects of a second such wave of refugees desperate not only to escape the clutches of the medieval Taliban but to find a promising future and remarkably better living conditions in the advanced lands of Europe are giving nightmares to the governments of the latter countries.
There seems to be a growing consensus among many in the international community that not only purely humanitarian but also larger economic aid to the Taliban-run Afghanistan should be extended—and without delay, if only to keep a lid on refugees—and terrorists—spilling across the borders. Islamabad apparently scored a remarkable ‘victory’ over New Delhi when its protégé Taliban replaced the pro-Indian Ghani government. Nevertheless, it is worried about the spillover into its territory across the Durand Line to its west. Pakistan, hence, leads this school of thought most vociferously[i]. It fenced its border with Afghanistan to a significant extent in anticipation of more refugees pouring in. It has been joined in the chorus by Russia, the EU, China, and others. China, for instance, has emphasized the need for releasing funds to Afghanistan at its talks with the G-20 on 23 September.[ii] However, no such stipulation is seen in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) declaration released at the Tajik capital Dushanbe on 17 September, though the document mentions explicitly the need for an “inclusive” government that includes the left-out minorities. India’s presence at the meet may have prevented the inclusion of a funds-release clause.
II. But even if the US unfreezes the $9.25 billion Afghan assets under its control, and allows the IMF and the World Bank to make available other funds and assets to the funds-starved Taliban’s Kabul, a major problem will still linger. This is the question of ‘inclusive’ government, which the Taliban had promised among other things in its February 2020 agreement with the USA at Doha. The composition of the current Taliban government shows the mighty influence of the hardliners within the Taliban, elements like the Haqqani network and the secretive hardcore Kandahar Shura—as opposed to the seemingly more moderate Pakistan-based Quetta Shura. The Prime Minister of Taliban 2.0, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, is on a UN-designated blacklist; its Interior Minister, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is on the top of the FBI’s most-wanted list with a multi-million dollars reward hanging over his head.
Although the Taliban did not officially take a formal position, a member of the new government in Kabul has also defied calls from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and from other quarters for forming a more ‘inclusive’ government. That would mean more Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras and women holding important positions in the government, a phenomenon markedly absent in the current governmental setup dominated by male Pashtuns. The Taliban member shot back that the current government was as much ‘inclusive’ as it was possible to make and that the Taliban did not care for others to dictate to it what kind of government would suit Afghanistan.
If Taliban 2.0 remains essentially as it is today, with the minorities ignored, this would still create unrest and insurgency in the country. A civil war in the not too distant a future cannot be ruled out. This is the reason that even Pakistan, which certainly would not like to see its protégé Taliban’s power diluted, keeps harping on the ‘inclusive’ clause along with Russia and others.
A civil war will not be confined within the boundaries of Afghanistan but will attract intervention by neighbouring states and other more distant stakeholders like the USA. Tajikistan will continue to back the Tajiks living astride its southern border with Afghanistan. Uzbekistan will do the same with the Afghan Uzbeks. Shia Iran will stand up for the Shia Hazaras while the Western world will, in general, wish to see ‘human rights’ and especially ‘women’s rights’ given full leeway. The Chinese seemed to have cut a deal. They would extend economic aid to Kabul in exchange for assurances that no terrorism or separatism would go out of Afghan territory.
But Taliban 2.0, despite its smooth assurances at Doha and elsewhere, shows no signs of stretching significantly from its understanding of the Sharia law, which it said it wished to uphold as a framework within which all these rights would be respected. There are reports that the US is in talks with Russia seeking a base on Russian territory or again in Tajikistan for its future ‘over-the-horizon’ operations in Afghanistan, starting with monitoring purposes.
In sum, while option I, outlined above, promises an immediate disaster for South Asia and even beyond, option II holds out only marginally better prospects. It still has the Damocles’ sword of the probability of a civil war hanging over the head. The ideal solution would be to widen the Taliban 2.0 government to include the deprived minorities with an eye on keeping an effective lid on social instability. But the prospects for such a solution seem far-fetched, given the apparent domination of the hardliners in Taliban 2.0 and the long-standing animosity between the northern non-Pashtun Afghans and the Pashtun Taliban.. Also, the attacks by other extremist groups like the Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K), al Qaeda, and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and so on will unlikely cease, even if option II is fully implemented. These extra-Taliban extremist groups will only encourage the radical elements within the Taliban to opt for more aggressive actions, both within and outside Afghanistan’s borders.
The future in and around Afghanistan looks grim indeed.
[i] Incidentally, the Pashtuns living on both sides of the British-drawn Durand Line of 1893 do not recognise it, and that includes the Taliban)
[ii] Reid Standish report, gandhara.org of rfe/rl.org, 27 September 2021, accessed 14 October 2021, 09.07 Indian Standard Time (IST)… All times henceforth are in IST.
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