Militants, not India, are the greatest threat to national security

“Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, has concluded that India is no longer the primary threat to the country’s security. Displacing New Delhi for the title are Islamist militias operating in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.” Reports Foreign Policy. Read here.

Breaking news? Actually Not!

Classified documents made available by WikiLeaks allege that over the past several years, despite public professions of close cooperation with India and the world on the anti-terrorism front, Pakistan’s powerful Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate had actually abetted and aided the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the insurgent leaders like Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar etc. Beyond these startling revelations, the documents also charged that the ISI had provided information to insurgents about U.S. troop movements, their likely operations, and military capabilities.

These developments highlight the disturbing dominance of Pakistan’s permanent military establishment and their ongoing ties to jihadi groups. Pakistan has used jihadi proxies to varying effect against India since the first war following partition in 1947. They were also the basis for another assault against India in 1965. The use of jihadis reached its peak under the leadership of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq.

From Gen. Haq to Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s to his hand-picked successor Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the security establishment has done nothing of note but not to lose sight of its cardinal principle of unremitting hostility toward India.

Even in the wake of the Lashkar-organised Mumbai attacks, the Pakistani security establishment chose to coddle its leader, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Under substantial diplomatic pressure from all quarters of the world, he was briefly placed under house arrest. Shortly thereafter, though, two Pakistani courts declared that there was insufficient evidence linking him to the Mumbai attacks and he was allowed free to resume peddling venomous anti-Indian and anti-Jewish propaganda.

Just weeks before the WikiLeaks episode, stories had started to surface in the International press about Lashkar attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan. But in the aftermath of the WikiLeaks allegations, The Pakistani political establishment is finding hard to sweep these concerns under a rug.

In light of India’s growing influence in the northwest, the military establishment in Pakistan simply does not want peace with India and has shown little or no interest in full-fledged counterterrorism cooperation with India. A swift and decisive end to the swarm of jihadis operating within Pakistan and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border would mean an end to the seemingly unending flow of money into the coffers of establishment, Saeed and likes.

Indian government should demand Pakistan to show tangible and immediate progress on the counter-terrorism cooperation and stop Pakistan’s military from running the show by supporting jihadi terrorist groups.

A policy that falls short on these two counts is an invitation for the continued loss of blood and treasure for both the countries to no viable end.

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