RAW , the premier intelligence agency of India has somehow become an essential part of all the terror narratives in Pakistan following the statements made by some higher military and civilian authorities about its alleged role in various terrorist activities in Pakistan. For a long time, fingers have constantly been pointed at India in Pakistan by covertly referring to it as the ‘enemy country’, ‘neighbouring country’, ‘anti-Pakistan force’, ‘foreign hand’ etc. However a bit late, but Pakistan has rightly decided to speak up against this Indian foul play in Pakistan. Had Pakistan identified and curbed all the perpetrators, executors, exporters and facilitators of terror in the country much earlier, we would have not experienced the tragedies like that of APS Peshawar, and the recent Safoopra bus killings in Karachi.
I have long been writing about the so-called proxy Fourth Generation War which our eternal enemy had imposed on us with the help of certain pseudo-jihadists and pseudo-nationalists in Pakistan. For doing so, I was also labeled as a conspiracy theorist by liberal quarters. I am convinced that India has a finger in every pie in Pakistan when it comes to terrorism. The ‘geo-strategic ally’ of US and the ‘strategic partner’ of Afghanistan has consolidated its position in Afghanistan following the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Now, it is deliberately using this soil to advance its policy of ‘strategic encirclement’ of Pakistan in this region.
In fact, India has extensively been exploiting Pakistan’s certain vulnerabilities which include the fading writ of the state over its territories, and ethnic and sectarian cleavages. Presently, in Pakistan, various sectarian outfits and so-called nationalist political parties have become the tools of India to achieve its certain nefarious goals in Pakistan. In 1971, India’s role in destabilizing the eastern wing of Pakistan by inciting and supporting the Bengal nationalists is an open secret. It has long been aiding, financing and equipping the nationalists and separatists in Baluchistan. At times, MQM has been criticized for its alleged connections with India and its intelligence agency, RAW . Some time ago, Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor of India, also publically disclosed India’s strategy to control Pakistan through these non-state actors.
According to some media reports, RAW has establish a special desk to focused on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Pakistan, and initially 30 million dollars have been earmarked for the purpose. Now we are observing that certain nationalist political parties have openly started criticizing this corridor project on some pretext. They are trying to politicize this project, as they have already done the other vital national economic projects namely the KBD. Two arch-rival countries in the Middle East are also often accused of illegally promoting their respective sectarian ideology in Pakistan by supporting certain sectarian outfits in the country. However, this aspect of the case has been overplayed and exaggerated. These countries may naturally have some interest in promoting their ideology, but they hardly have any intention to destabilize Pakistan by going to the extent of brutally slaughtering the followers of the opposite sect in Pakistan.
Presently, Pakistan needs to evolve a three-prong strategy to counter RAW’s current manoeuvring against Pakistan. First of all, Pakistan has to exhibit a strong resolution and political will to crush all anti-state elements in the country. All the local collaborators, facilitator and operators of RAW must be dealt with an iron hand. It has to closely monitor the activities and funding sources of the various religious and nationalist political parties in the country. These vociferous horses must effectively be either harnessed or hobbled. This time political expediency must not override the national interests.
Pakistan has also to enhance its institutional capacity to counter this challenge. Besides the intelligence agencies of the armed forces, there should also be some efficient civilian intelligence agencies to pre-empt and counter RAW’s intended plans. The recently devised Nation Action Plan for counterterrorism should also be enforced in letter and spirit. The political leadership must stand by the military when it comes to curbing terrorism in Pakistan.
The second part of this strategy relates to the regional base camp of India, the Afghanistan. Presently, Afghanistan has become a focal point for planning, sponsoring and executing all kind of terrorist acts against Pakistan. Pakistan has to counter or neutralize all these anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan, especially the RAW . Pakistan has frequently expressed its grave concerns over the presence and manoeuvring of this hostile intelligence agency in the Afghan territory. Now Afghan government must seriously evaluate and address this issue in the larger interest of both states. If Afghanistan fails to do this, then another proxy war could be the ultimate fate of this country. In the event of such war, Pakistan can easily mobilize all pro-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. Being Afghanistan’s immediate neighbour, and sharing some common historical, religious and ethnic affinities with it, Pakistan will certainly have a sort of ‘comparative advantage’ over India in Afghanistan.
The Iran factor is also important in the triangular relations of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. India has somehow managed to get access to Afghanistan through Iran. Bypassing Pakistan, it has already connected Afghanistan with the outside world through the Chabahar port of Iran. Iran can marginalize India’s role in Afghanistan by controlling this transit facility. Pakistan needs to revive its long-strained relations with Iran to counter India in Afghanistan. Both countries should realize that India’s presence in Afghanistan would be disastrous for the entire region in the long run. Israel, the foremost enemy of Iran, is somewhat a great friend of India. Therefore, this India-Israel binary would equally be harmful for both Muslim neighbouring states.
Lastly, after the recent Safoora bus terrorist attack in Karachi, Pakistan should have conveyed a strong message to India to call off its nefarious activities in Pakistan. Pakistan should proactively share all the available pieces of evidence about India’s alleged terrorist activities in Pakistan with all the potential bilateral and international forums. This multi-ethic, multi-lingual and multi-communal country should not forget its own inherent vulnerabilities. Some post 9/11 regional developments have caused the geo-strategic balance to tilt in favour of India. Now another swing of the pendulum can substantially reverse this situation. It is India who will ultimately determine whether both countries should spend their material resources on the welfare of their masses or destabilize and harm their perceived enemies.