Guns At A Terrorist’s Funeral Exposes Pakistan’s War On Terror Farce – OpEd
One would have expected a country that’s just been taken off the Financial Action Task Force [FATF] grey list for its active involvement in terror financing and is facing an unprecedented economic crisis would be wary of doing something that could enrage the international committee. However, Pakistan is an exception and Islamabad [or to be more precise, Rawalpindi] deserves full marks for having the temerity to cock a snook at the international community by conspicuously associating itself with Hizbul Mujahideen [HM] chief Syed Salahuddin who is a designated terrorist.
On Monday, Salahuddin presided over the funeral services of his lackey, HM ‘launch commander’ Bashir Ahmad Peer alias Imtiyaz Alam in Rawalpindi, who had been gunned down by an unknown assailant. What was really shocking wasn’t Salahuddin’s presence at the funeral but the sight of armed soldiers in battle gear serving as his personal bodyguards. And even if this questionable official protocol of providing security cover by the army or paramilitary to a designated terrorist is ignored, there’s no way the world can ignore Salahuddin’s public declaration of his unconditional commitment to wage ‘jihad’ till India’s “barbadi” [destruction].
However, those who feel that the HM chief exceeded his brief and expect that an embarrassed Islamabad would tender an apology for an unwarranted and highly provocative threat against its Eastern neighbour are sadly mistaken as he has made similar statements earlier. Readers may recall that in interview given to Arab News in 2012, Salahuddin candidly admitted that “we are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir.” Unfortunately, the international community didn’t take any notice of this incriminating disclosure regarding Pakistan army’s complicity in attempting to bleed India through ‘a thousand cuts.’
New Delhi’s failure to take official cognisance of Salahuddin’s damning revelation in 2021 seems to have emboldened his Pakistani mentors into ordering him to make a ‘jihad’ to ‘liberate’ Kashmir and ‘destroy’ India. With its phony ‘armed struggle’ narrative in Kashmir losing both its sheen and momentum it’s no secret that the ISI is desperate to reinvigorate the same. This is exactly the reason why New Delhi needs to take Pakistan’s brazen perfidy in terms of its continued support to terrorist groups much more seriously, and even at the cost of repetition, continue bringing this issue to the notice of the international community.
Since Pakistan has been boasting about its terrorism related activities, exposing its use of terrorism as a state policy shouldn’t be a difficult task. A few examples:
- In 2019, Pakistan’s then Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi admitted that Jaish-e-Mohammed’s chief Masood Azhar who masterminded the ghastly Pulwama suicide bomb attack that killed 40 Indian para military soldiers, was present in Pakistan.
- In August 2020, Pakistan officially acknowledged that UN designated terrorist Dawood Ibrahim who masterminded the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts was residing in Pakistan and even listed his residential address.
- In October 2020, while speaking at the National Assembly, Pakistan’s Science and Technology minister Fawad Chaudhry boasted of how “We attacked India in its own territory…and Pulwama was an achievement under the leadership of Imran Khan.”
- In 2021, a car packed with explosives blew up near the house of Lashkar-e-Taiba co-founder and Jamaat-ud-Dawa [JuD] chief Hafiz Saeed, who is a UN designated global terrorist. Speaking after this incident, Inspector General of Police [Punjab] Inam Ghani said had there been no police picket outside the “high-value target’s house,” then a “major loss” could have occurred. While it’s obvious that the ‘high value target’ being referred to by the Punjab police chief was none other than Saeed, but his talk about a “major loss” being prevented by a police picket there made no sense because as per the government’s intimation to FATF], the JuD chief had been convicted on terror financing charges and was lodged in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail. So, it’s obvious that Islamabad had blatantly lied to FATF in an effort to exit its grey list. Instead of serving time in jail, not only was Saeed a free bird living comfortably at home with his family but a police picket to provide him additional security had been specially established near his residence.
Most importantly, New Delhi needs to understand that though the international community may wax eloquent about ‘zero tolerance’ for terrorism and call for united action, countries follow this policy only as and when they themselves are affected. For example, while the US projects itself as the global leader in the war against terror, it has taken action to neutralise only those terrorists who had either masterminded attacks against it or were a potential threat to America.
Accordingly, it’s not at all surprising that Al Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri were painstakingly tracked down and summarily eliminated as they had masterminded the 9/11 attacks. However, all it has done in the case of 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed is to announce a USD 10 million bounty and then conveniently look the other way as he continues to roam freely in Pakistan even today!
Hence, while the world may sympathise and express solidarity with India, when it comes to taking decisive action against terrorism, New Delhi has to fight this war on its own. So, instead of getting unduly worried about world opinion, India must act firmly to ensure the safety of its citizens.