During the recent landmark foreign visits of General Raheel Sharif, he made a stopover in Washington enroute to Brazil where he received pure admiration for his initiatives to root out terrorism and bring peace in Afghanistan. Both local and more importantly foreign media especially US opinion makers did not let pass the opportunity to capitalize, both positively and pessimistically, on this important visit.
USA nuclear expert Mr. Michael Krepon in an article titled ‘The next war or the last war in South Asia’, with a big question mark, opines that positive results might be achievable when New Delhi is ready to improve ties with Pakistan in a scenario in which war is no longer an option on the Subcontinent. But on the other hand he puts forward two hypothesis representing a nuclear war in subcontinent, while distractedly suggesting that for tipping of the scales toward real peace in South Asia the administration of the US President must put more pressure on General Sharif to prevent events that could trigger the next war, indicating that Pakistan is unpredictable and can recreate a Mumbai like terror incident causing provocation from India. On the sidelines Mr. Krepon has also suggested Mr. Obama ask Indian Prime Minister Modi to re-engage with Pakistan.
It is a good article only from the point of view that Mr. Krepon has suggested the US president bring Mr. Modi into loop for reengaging with Pakistan as the latter is already at the concluding phase of eliminating violent terrorists from all troubled areas including North Waziristan region. This initiative of General Sharif has eliminated the probability of using Pakistani soil for any sort of violent activity in the neighbouring countries. However, observing the level of India upping the ante against Pakistan through militant and extremists wings of ruling party BJP, it is more likely that Indian RAW with expert cooperation of MOSSAD, or any other spy agency famous for strategic engagement with Indian intelligence agency, may stage-manage a devastating terror act like Mumbai to malign Pakistan once again and mount an offensive imagined by Mr. Krepon. One sided pressures in shape of ‘do more’ would be inappropriate, hence Obama administration at the same time should also put result-oriented weight on Prime Minister Modi to give up sub-conventional warfare in Karachi and Balochistan against Pakistan which has already resulted in two authentic dossiers to the UN and US of Indian sponsored elements in unconventional war inside Pakistan. It appears from this article as if the terrorist attack in India enjoyed quasi-Pakistani State’s support. As a matter of fact terrorism in South Asia was first introduced by India in 1971 when Pakistan became the foremost victim of low-intensity warfare which New Delhi waged against Islamabad, leading to insurgency in East Pakistan and finally the loss of that part, a historical fact which the current Indian leadership has publicly accepted and conceded. More recently, Pakistan has endured many tragedies much bigger than the Mumbai attacks, which Islamabad has condemned. As a frontline State in the global war on terrorism, Pakistan has played an instrumental role in ruining the leadership of Al Qaeda, Taliban and its affiliates. The US as Pakistan’s main ally in war on terror, lost around 3000 lives in the 9/11 attacks but on the other hand Pakistan has lost over 70,000 of its citizens and soldiers in addition to loss of material worth billions. In fact, Pakistan can teach the virtues of eradicating terrorism rather than getting lessons. Brazil has asked for imparting training to its counter terror forces that would be employed during forthcoming Brazil Olympics.
No other state knows the worth or the necessity of eliminating terrorists more than Pakistan and its rapid and major achievements in the ongoing Zarb-e-Azb are an evidence of Pakistan’s firm resolve to eliminate this menace. The current debate, including Mr. Krepon’s idea, holds that an act of terrorism in India would oblige it to wage limited conventional war against Pakistan without waiting to verifiably establish State involvement. As already said, Pakistani permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodi has provided evidence of Indian involvement on Pakistani soil to the UN and the US. Even BBC had recently given evidence of Indian funding militancy and lawlessness in Karachi. Indian intelligence agencies are strengthening the hands of extremists and criminals in Pakistan to perpetrate terror. In this regard former US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hegel publicly has also expressed concern at the Indian involvement inside Pakistan. Chairman US House Arms Services Committee, Senator McCain, known for his anti- Pakistan rhetoric, also discussed with former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, possible Pakistani response to an Indian limited strike inside Pakistan. This interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs is a clear crack of international law and affects Pakistan’s ability to fight terrorism. Ensuring that a country’s territory is not used against another country is a collective obligation. Pakistan has ensured that no militant networks operate from its soil and is doing what it takes to root out terrorism. Instead, there is a clearly visible drift towards extremism. The hazard of terrorism cannot be defeated within South Asia until and unless India stops using it as an instrument of policy against Pakistan. In the interest of international peace, security and regional stability, it is the responsibility of the international community to recognize this imperative. Unfortunately, economic imperatives and short-term geopolitical interests sometimes undermine the urge to do the right thing. Mr. Krepon is expected to also look into these realities if he decides again to write about a nuclear war in the Subcontinent.