When the world was celebrating Valentines on February 14th, India was shaken by deadly terrorist attacks in Pulwama. The attack which martyred 44 CRPF personnel was claimed by Jaish-e-Muhammad – a Pakistan based terror group. Condemnation from different countries followed except from Pakistan. It was a rather meek response from the government, which tried to absolve itself from the attack, instead of a straight out condemnation, “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian government and media circles that seek to link the attack to State of Pakistan without investigations.”
It must be noted that ISI had a great role in the foundation of Jaish, after India was ransomed to free three terrorists during the Kandahar hijack. After sometime Jaish was founded by Maulana Masood Azhar – one of the three terrorists- who united several waning terror groups. Analysts believe that Pakistan’s army and ISI have supported Jaish and other terror groups with money and trainings, which is the reason why these groups freely use Pakistan’s soil for their terrorist acts, despite being outlawed in 2002. Masood Mazhar is infact guarded by the ISI 24/7. During the last two decades, Jaish and Lashkar-e- Taiba, have used the Pakistani soil with full impunity. Imran Khan prior to getting elected as Prime Minister, reiterated (and continues to) about holding dialogues with the “good Taliban”. This led him to win supports from Islamists, supposedly including Jaish too. This explains why there has been silence from the Pakistani government.
India has long tried to put Jaish in the designated terror list, which has repeatedly been blocked by China. Even the last Indian attempt was again thwarted by it. It won’t be silly to assume that China and Pakistan are trading silences on Jaish and Uyghurs in the exchange.
Whether an all out war with Pakistan would be helpful is a matter for Security advisors to decide. But there are certainly some things beyond war that must be looked into.
Pakistani government, firstly, should be made to accept that there is no such thing as a good terrorist and it is mostly in Pakistan’s favor to realize that. Since it is going through severe economic crisis, no foreign investment can be expected in a state like that. Also, it cannot expect to boost tourist industry, with the terror activities happening in the country or across border in India. Secondly, since China is investing heavily in Pakistan, its silence on terror groups is not going to help either. If a state like China expects return from Pakistan, it becomes imperative to seek an end to terror activities.
Latest inputs suggest that there were some carelessness from Indian government’s side too. According to a report, J&K police had even cautioned about a possible use of IED, and had suggested the completing sanitization of areas from which convoys should pass. It is therefore important to boost the intelligence and security measures in the region.
Most importantly, it is very important to try hard at restoring stability in the region. Unlike before many new entrants into militancy are hailing from socially and economically well-off backgrounds. Series of mishandled situations, lack of dialogue with civilians, extreme unemployment in the region, and recently imposed presidential rule are only exacerbating the situation. This is a fertile ground for Islamist organizations to recruit the youth from Kashmir. Matter is going to be worse since United States is looking for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Indian government must engage with civil groups and ordinary Kashmiris to show the futility of violence.