Shaming Pakistan for Terror Link Continues to Remain a Challenge
Sometime in 2000, I traveled to the US after attending a programme at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. While shopping at a JC Penney store, I came across a South Asian and we got talking; in fact we sat at a nearby coffee shop and exchanged a few words.
Let’s call him Saif Khan. Hailing from Karachi, Saif lived with his sister in Minneapolis, after she managed to take him to the US in a bid to prevent him from the folds of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
LeT’s Training Programmes
The LeT had recruited him through a drive in Karachi. That is when I learnt the details about Daura-e-Aam (DeA) and Daura-e-Khas (DeK), the training programmes of the LeT, the former for the commoners, and the latter for those who had some potential.
Most of the so-called fidayeen fighters are also trained as part of the DeK program. Saif told me about how he was motivated by a group of youngsters he used to hang around with. It was while he was undergoing training under the DeA programme that his family bailed him out and Saif was despatched to the US.
Victims of the Jihad Syndrome
Since 1 December 2017, television channels have been showing Abu Hamas, an LeT terrorist captured from Karachi, confessing about recruitment, training, arming, moving to the LoC launch pad, and being sent to Kashmir in the name of jihad.
In 2011, another LeT terrorist was captured in Kupwara sector, after he mistook one of our posts as a Pakistani one. His experiences were also similar.
It is much easier today with social media and embedded videos to incite passions among impressionable young men. Perhaps the erstwhile methods of entrusting prisoners facing death sentence with the task of suicide attack involving inevitable death may not be needed in today’s age and time.
The trend also included recruitment of an HIV patient, who would die soon anyway, and motivate him to sacrifice his life for the jihadi cause; a reasonable compensation to the family would made this offer very tempting. These have been the ingenious ways of the LeT.
Pakistan in Denial Mode
Hafiz Saeed, LeT Chief has openly boasted about his organisation, which aims at targeting India, Israel and the US, besides restoration of the Islamic rule across south and central Asia (regions in the proximity of Pakistan).
Despite all the information being available in public domain, Pakistan remains in denial mode with respect to the sponsoring, financing and harbouring LeT and similar groups as strategic assets for its hybrid war against India. The US, as one of the prime targets, has placed a ban on the LeT and a bounty of 10 million USD on Hafiz Saeed.
Yet on 17 November, the US media reported that the Congress had decided to remove the clause of action against Pakistan for the country’s link with LeT, after considering Pakistan’s cooperation in the war against terror.
Challenge of Naming and Shaming Pakistan
In September 2017, for the first time, BRICS members at Xiamen (China) condemned Pakistan without naming the country, as they “deplored” terror attacks and the “violence caused” by the terror outfits. The declaration specifically named the LeT and JeM, as well as the Haqqani Network, the Taliban, ISIS/Daesh and Al Qaeda. Even China was part of this declaration, despite its stand that Jaish-e-Mohammed shouldn’t be banned.
In a country such as Israel, where I attended the World Counter Terrorism Summit in September 2017, one was actually surprised to see that no one took the threat of Pakistani terror groups seriously.
It was all about Hezbollah, ISIS, Al Qaeda or Hamas. The challenge of naming and shaming Pakistan as one of the citadels of global terror does not seem to find resonance in the international community.
Can Diplomacy Help India?
India’s diplomatic efforts have been serious, but obviously need to change tack. Pakistanis appearing on television channels selectively focus on their efforts in the global war against terror, and blame India for the situation in Kashmir which they allege is responsible for the violence by the Jihadi groups.
These efforts have to be continuous and need to target relevant institutions bringing forth starkly how Pakistan’s apparent freedom to pursue its selective policy of friendly and unfriendly terrorist groups needs to be exposed.
Playing the victim card helps Pakistan overcome the label of the perpetrator despite the large number of terrorists of Pakistani origin who remain incarcerated in detention centres of the world. With LeT operatives in our custody can we build a better case on this.
(The writer, a former GOC of the army’s 15 Corps, is now associated with Vivekanand International Foundation and Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies. He can be reached at @atahasnain53. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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