By B. Raman
The intelligence agencies and Police of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka deserve to be complimented for the effective and co-ordinated manner in which they managed to maintain security and thwart planned acts of terrorism during the nearly two-month period during which matches of the World Cup cricket tournament were being held in these countries. The terrorists based in the Af-Pak region were not without plans to disrupt the matches through terrorist strikes, but their plans were detected and neutralised in time by prompt intelligence and effective physical security. The role played by the intelligence agencies of the US and other countries in collecting whatever preventive intelligence they can and sharing it with the intelligence agencies of the three countries needs to be acknowledged and applauded.
The terrorists and other extremists were thwarted in carrying out their plans, but their capabilities and determination to spread death and destruction remain intact.The octopus of jihadi extremism and terrorism is not dead. It is alive and kicking and has started moving again. This should be evident from the assassinations of Salman Taseer, the Governor of Pakistani Punjab, and Shabaz Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs, and the two unsuccessful attempts to kill Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the Amir of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam Pakistan, Taseer and Bhatti were killed brutally because of their opposition to the blasphemy laws. Fazlur Rahman was believed to have been targeted for suggesting a re-look at the most obnoxious provisions of the obnoxious law.
The octopus has started moving in Afghanistan too. This became evident from the brutal murder of eight employees of a UN agency on April 1 by a violent mob protesting against a recent incident in the US in which a pastor allegedly burnt a copy of the Holy Koran. This has been followed by violent incidents in Kandahar over the same issue on April 2.
The feel-good atmosphere in India-Pakistan relations generated by the “conversations” of Prime Ministers Dr.Manmohan Singh and Mr.Yousef Raza Gilani at Mohali on March 30 should not blind us to the movements of the jihadi octopus. The anti-India and anti-Hindu poison being propagated by the jihadi organisations shows no signs of slackening. Their anti-India infrastructure is intact. The octopuses of terrorism have many hiding places in Pakistan from which they can strike at India. They are bound to strike at India sooner or later to convince their followers that the anti-India jihad has to be continued until final victory—- let Mohali be damned.
The post-World Cup euphoria is natural among the general populace, but it should not lead to a slackening of vigilance by the intelligence and security agencies, including the police. In fact, there is a need for even greater vigilance today than ever before.
How to keep the carefully-calibrated re-engagement process initiated by our Prime Minister moving forward without slackening our vigliance and determination to fight the jihadi terrorists operating from Pakistani territory? That is a question to be constantly addressed by the political leadership and the security bureaucracy.
The proposed re-engagement is with the State and the secular civil society of Pakistan, but not with its jihadi civil society. Our policy of eternal vigilance and confrontation against the jihadi octopuses has to continue unrelentingly till we win the final victory.