Yet another dastardly attack was carried out against a Hospital at Quetta resulting in 73 deaths and many more injuries, mostly among the lawyers who had congregated there on the death of their senior colleague, who was shot earlier in the day. It was obviously a well-planned and a well-coordinated action – beyond the ken of an ordinary terrorist.

The Chief Minister of Baluchistan blamed India’s notorious agency RAW based in Afghanistan as the perpetrator of this ghastly crime – not without good reason. RAW’S involvement in creating trouble in Baluchistan and other parts of Pakistan had long been reported from time to time not only by Pakistan’s high officials but also by well-placed foreign observers like Christian fair (USA), Charles Ferndale (UK), Chuck Hagel ex-Defence Secretary of USA and General Mclyster – the ex-commander of ISAF. They all confirmed that India was trying to destabilise Pakistan. The recent capture of the senior serving officer of the Indian Navy Commander Kalbhoshan had removed any traces of doubt. He admitted to be RAW’S agent and that RAW was fully involved in planning and conducting terrorist activities in Baluchistan and Karachi (and elsewhere in Pakistan).

A dossier comprising details of RAW Sponsored terrorist activities had, in fact been handed over to (then) PM of India Dr. Manmohan Singh by the (then) PM of Pakistan Makhdoom Yousaf Raza Gilani – apparently with little effect. Even the present Government has provided a dossier of RAW’s mischief to USA and UN – also without any visible results.

It was well known that the Indian PM Modi had openly voiced his opposition to the Pak-China CPEC Project. Reportedly a large sum of money had been placed at RAW’S disposal by the Indian Govt to undermine the CPEC Project. It was also well known that (late) Baitullah Mehsud and later (late) Hakim Mulla Mehsud the heads of TTP were in the pay of RAW (as confirmed by Latif Ullah Mehsud the deputy of Hakim ullah Mehsud captured by US Army in Afghanistan and handed over to Pakistan). Now Mulla Fazlullah is RAW’S top henchmen and heads TTP. He had openly accepted the responsibility for the cowardly attack on the Army Public School, butchering 130 innocent school children – in cold blood. If all that was not proof enough of India perpetrating terrorists activities against Pakistan – then pray what else it is?

It is our great misfortune that our political leaders are busy in perpetual political feuding and point scoring instead of uniting against the existential threat posed by the enemy. They have singularly failed to realise that our enemy had subjected Pakistan to covert war for well over a decade now, causing 70,000 deaths and loss of over $120 Billion to our Economy. As a result, the armed forces have not been fully involved in countering the covert war (the delays in extending due authority to Rangers in Sind is a case in point). It is to be noted that where ever Pakistan Armed forces were involved as in Swat, North Waziristan and Rangers in Karachi – the results were commendable. Our political masters must realise that fighting wars is the business of armed forces. It is totally beyond the ken and capacity of the police and levies to fighter war.

The question now is how best to counter the “Covert War” imposed by RAW. We must first understand the purpose of RAW’S creation and the way it operates before we can come to the right conclusions. After the near humiliation in the 1965 war India adopted a strategy of “Indirect Approach” to undermine Pakistan from within. For that purpose RAW was established in 1968 - a powerful entity, directly responsible to the Indian PM thru his security Advisor. Its aim: to conduct a new type of war-fare, – the Covert (Hidden) War – encompassing a wide spectrum of operations including, creating political turmoil, fanning ethnic and sectarian divide, engaging dissidents and hiring mercenaries to carry out bombings and suicide attacks, thus to create chaos through widespread death and destruction. And since security and economy are the two sides of the same coin, the subversive activities would result in severe setback to the economy. Lastly, manipulating international media not only to hide its own mischiefs but also to portray Pakistan as the “epicenter of terrorism”.

Within three years of RAW’s creation, it achieved resounding success by helping to separate “East Pakistan” by successfully employing the entire spectrum of covert war strategies – political, diplomatic, militancy, media and finally direct military intervention.

Unfortunately, Pakistan provided yet another “opportunity of the century” to RAW by willy nilly siding with the USA, against the pro-Pakistan Afghan Taliban’s Government resulting in its ouster and establishment of the Government by the Northerners (Pro-India and hostile to Pakistan). As a result, RAW not only became entrenched in Afghanistan but also joined hands with the NDS, (the Afghan Agency), to play havoc in Pakistan.

Yet India, Afghanistan and even USA have the temerity to blame Pakistan for harbouring terrorists in safe havens. The Afghan Mujahedeen fighting Kabul and ISAF, they are dominating East and South Afghanistan (as openly admitted by US), why on Earth would they like to hide in Pakistan when they have upper-hand in their own territory. It simply defies logic!

How best can we counter the RAW supported covert war against Pakistan?

First and foremost, the political leaders must get on the same page to acknowledge the fact that the country was subjected to a covert perpetrated by India’s RAW in collusion with Afghanistan’s NDS.

Once that reality is accepted, only then the armed forces would be allowed to play their full part in effectively countering RAW’S covert war, as had belatedly been done in FATA (Zarb-e-Azab) and Karachi (by Rangers). Closest cooperation and coordination must be ensured between the military and civil administration, police and civil armed forces, down to each urban level to safeguard our cities against terrorist attacks.

Secondly, a specific anti-RAW organisation must be established. One such organisation NACTA had been raised some time back but has yet to become operational. Procrastination on such vital issues including the National Action Plan will continue to cost us dearly.

The Covert War is heavily dependent on the Intelligence Network. Closest of coordination must therefore be established among all the various Intelligence Agencies to collect and collate the data with speed for timely warning and action. “Ops Rooms” both at provincial and federal levels may be established and quick reaction forces may be placed at their disposal for timely intervention.

It is absolutely vital to secure our borders – both to the east and to the west. Physical barriers (Fence/Trenches) may be placed at suitable distance from the borders, to channel all movements along the major routes which should be covered by multiple check posts of custom/immigration, police/F.C and even military posts – to strictly control all incoming and outgoing movements.

The huge number of Afghan refugees are bound to harbour some militants or their supporters. We must send them back at the earliest. In the meantime they should all be confined to their camps.

Lastly (and most unfortunately), the best way to counter the covert war is to counter it by conducting a covert war against the enemy- a ‘tit for tat’ policy using every means at our disposal. A very dangerous proposition as the two antagonists are nuclear powers.