An important fallout of the Dawn episode in Pakistan — the targeting of a journalist by the government over a report that described a new face-off between the military and civilian leaderships amid the ongoing tensions with India — is that it has brought out into the open an issue the Pakistani state has attempted to paper over: Its support to the two main anti-India groups, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the Haqqani network. It was on this issue that the government and military are said to have clashed at the meeting last week, as reported by Dawn. From the reported proceedings of the meeting, it is apparent that at least the civilian leadership is seized of where Pakistan stands in the world today because of the security establishment’s long held policy of using proxy terrorist groups as an instrument to further its regional strategy. The Pakistan foreign minister, according to the report, delivered a blunt message: The world wants to know why Pakistan has not acted against Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar?
There is little in the unfolding of events to suggest that the isolation that Pakistan feels now is an inflection point at which those who run the country realise it is time to drop the bad guys, or their “good terrorists”. The Pakistan security establishment continues to believe that the benefits of nurturing the LeT, JeM for proxy war with India are far higher than the costs. In the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, there was even greater world pressure than now on Pakistan to crack down against the LeT/Jamat-ud-dawa. The security establishment took a few steps, and then, almost defiantly, dug in its heels. Hafiz Saeed was allowed to develop a more public persona than he had before Mumbai. Indeed, there was even talk of “mainstreaming” him and the JuD. After the Pathankot attack, when Pakistan disclosed that it had taken Masood Azhar into “protective custody”, the real indicator of its intentions was whether it would arrest him. The JeM is banned in Pakistan, and the government could have taken that step without any reference to the attack on Pathankot under its own Anti-Terrorism Act. Yet it wants evidence from India, while Azhar openly appeals to the Pakistan government to “show courage” and give him a free hand to “solve” the Kashmir problem.
Perhaps the only hope that the Pakistan army will turn over a new leaf lies in moderate opinion, which wants normalisation of relations with India, some day becoming strong enough to have its way. The stir caused in Pakistan by the Dawn report has revealed that questions are being asked about its closeness with terrorist groups. Till the time that those asking these questions do not gain critical mass, though, India has no option but to keep its guard up and strengthen the country’s security. Meanwhile, it would be useful to remember that the people of Pakistan are not the state of Pakistan.
Source : Asking why
Courtesy : Indian Express – Editorials