Business As Usual After Peshawar – Amulya Ganguli


Hospital security guards lift an injured student after the deadly attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Mohammad Sajjad/AP
Hospital security guards lift an injured student after the deadly attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan. Mohammad Sajjad/AP

The statements by Musharraf and Hafiz Sayeed blaming the Peshawar attack on India are not only portentous, they suggest that little has changed in Pakistan


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he mistake which is generally made while analyzing Pakistan is to regard it as a normal country. Most people will feel, therefore, that the horror and revulsion felt by a vast majority over the massacre of children in an army school in Peshawar will finally persuade the authorities there, including the army, to crack down on all groups of terrorists. As much was said by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when he gave the assurance that no distinction will be made from now on between the “good” terrorists and the “bad” ones.

The fact, however, that the promise is meaningless has been proved by the continuing apprehensions in India over intelligence reports that there will be a re-run of the 26/11-type terrorist attack on India on the eve of, or during, president Barack Obama’s visit. Moreover, both Hafiz Sayeed, the mastermind of 26/11, and former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who was behind the Kargil incursions, have blamed India for the attack on the Peshawar school.

While Musharraf’s comments can be ignored as those of a frustrated exile whose attempts to re-enter Pakistan came to naught, Hafiz Sayeed’s observations are portentous, especially those claiming that the Indian forces will carry out the attacks in India and blame the ISI. The “good” terrorists, therefore, have already indicated their game plan and the subsequent explanations.

In this context, it is extremely unlikely that there will be any diminution of Pakistan’s overall terrorist infrastructure in the aftermath of the Peshawar tragedy. While the Pakistan army’s drive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban, the “bad” terrorists who have claimed responsibility for the Peshawar attack, may be intensified, there is little chance of their “good” counterparts being disturbed in any way or of even of their lying low for the time being.

They will continue, therefore, to plan their offensive against India by indoctrinating, training and arming the jihadis with the army’s and the ISI’s help while looking for an opportunity to carry out a murderous attack. It is possible that Hafiz Sayeed and his killers have been upset by the timing of the Tehreek-e-Taliban’s onslaught because Sayeed must have regarded Obama’s presence in the subcontinent as an excellent opportunity for unleashing his psychos wearing suicide vests against India because of the huge publicity which the attack will generate, radicalizing more Muslims across the world including India.

Not that the Peshawar massacre will deter Sayeed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa, his ostensibly charitable outfit, or the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which currently heads the list of “good” terrorists in the eyes of the Pakistan army and the ISI. But, an assault on India at this time will expose Nawaz Sharif’s promise as bogus and confirm that nothing has changed in Pakistan. After all, there is no way that the Pakistan army and the ISI can dispense with the services of the LeT, which they regard as the country’s strategic assets against India.

Both the Pakistan army and the ISI know that the grief and anger over Peshawar will subside in a few months. But, that does not mean that the overall assessment of the geopolitical realities in the subcontinent, which guides the Pakistan army and the ISI, will be ignored because of a single incident, however sad. There is no way, therefore, for the ordinary people – no matter how much they mourn – and for the prime minister – who is basically a puppet in the army’s hands – to influence the main thrust of the army’s and the ISI’s policy, which is to bleed India with a thousand cuts, in the chilling phrase of a Pakistani warmonger.

After all, the bogey of a deadly and cunning India intent on dismembering Pakistan again, as it once did in 1971, has to be kept alive by the army and the ISI to ensure their continued dominance over the common people of Pakistan. Since there is no way that India can be defeated militarily, as was proved even earlier in 1965 and 1971, the only way is to harass it by throwing the suicide squads of the “strategic assets” against it.

The desperation of the army and the ISI may have increased all the more because the US and the rest of the Western world have become wise to their devious objectives. Earlier, the US used to think that all will be well if only India handed over Kashmir to Pakistan on a platter. But, now, the West has realized that the jihadi culture has become far too ingrained in the mindset of influential sections of the Pakistani establishment to be easily eradicated. Moreover, the militant virus has infected not only Pakistan, but large sections of the Muslims themselves, as the rise of the ISIS and the recent attacks in Canada and Australia show.

The world is unlikely to experience any respite, therefore, from the jihadis, either the organized groups or what is known as the lone wolf who has imbibed the deadly philosophy espousing the cause of the medieval Caliphate from the Internet. In the process, it is not only a country like Pakistan which will get a bad name; even Islam itself because of the senseless activities of men with a warped psyche.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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