In a cricket match, an umpire is a person who has the authority to make judgments on the cricket field. Traditionally, there are two umpires on the field, one standing on the bowling end and the other on the square leg directly opposite the facing batsman. The main umpire listens to the major and general appeals whereas the leg umpire is restricted to appeals on run outs, stumping and sometimes on disputed short runs, fours and sixes. The main umpire has to be on his toes as he has to play a major role in the fight whereas the leg umpire seems to be a little relaxed. In modern international contests, the leg umpire has almost lost his importance and has been replaced by the video-linked ‘third umpire’ to whom the appeals are ultimately routed as final appellate authority.
In every terrorist wave in the country, Pakistan always takes up the matter with Kabul leadership. It results into statements from the highest political and military leadership, visits to Kabul and calling the ambassadorial staff in the Embassy. Thus, appeals are extended to declare a “run out” or an out by “stump” for the terrorists and sanctuaries nurturing them against Pakistan on Afghan soil. Lists with evidence are also submitted to the Afghan political and military leadership which comes up with assurances to do the needful along with counter lists and demands for their uprooting in Pakistan. It, thus, at length seems falling on the deaf ear of the leg umpire to raise the finger up in favor of the appealing country.
On the other hand, during my stay at Kabul for a short while, I have observed the local population of Kabul marching on the road against Pakistani agencies, alleging that they do not uproot the terrorists but prepare them to work against Afghanistan from Pakistani soil. However, quite interestingly, it has also been observed in eastern areas of Afghanistan around Pakistani border, that the local population is fed up with the terrorists and sanctuaries being created on their soil against Pakistan, maybe, not for any love lost for Pakistan but for their own socio-economic reasons including border closures leading to a shortage of Pakistani products and also due to the recent shelling by Pakistani military agencies. General crime, including theft and robbery on the roads is often attributed to the Taliban, even though it is committed by non-Taliban personnel in the name of Taliban.
At the end of the day, the Pakistani leadership seeks intervention from the Kabul leadership, but instead of passing any judgment as the leg umpire, the matter seems to be referred to the ‘third umpire’, sometimes through video-link to Qatar or even beyond to the US. Pakistan has nothing to expect but mere action replays of executions of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad and that of Mulla Mansoor’s in Balochistan. Thus, the pending decision on the third umpire’s screen ‘third umpire’ is usually a disappointing ‘Do more.’
Therefore, the logic behind the out\burst of the Pakistani Ambassador to Kabul, otherwise called upon by the Afghani foreign office for protest against the recent shelling by Pakistani forces in the bordering provinces of Afghanistan, seems quite natural and plausible in the reactionary circumstances where the appealing contestant seems frustrated of having no positive decisions from the leg umpire in the past.
True, that Pakistani agencies also seem to be not that successful in handling the Pakistan-based Taliban working against Afghanistan, but at the same time, the fact remains that Pakistan somehow seems to be falling prey at the hands of TTP in Pakistan than those of Afghani Taliban. It was fairly substantiated from the fact that our travel from Kabul to Torkham seemed more peaceful than from Torkham to Peshawar which was much more threatening than the former.
What is good for the goose is also good for the geese. Admittedly, Pakistan seems to have been left with no other option but to invoke and resort to the military option in the shape of shelling the hideouts in bordering areas which can at length be justified under the international laws, especially in line with the US drone attacks on Pakistani soil from thousand miles away in her resolve to curb terrorism after 9/11 incident. Undoubtedly, the latest situation is severely crucial for Afghanistan which is a war-torn country not primarily at the hands of Pakistan, but at the behest of the US-led forces in pursuit of their objectives to curb terrorism and to avoid any future instances like 9/11. But, Kabul has to realise the fact that Pakistan currently is more vulnerable to any situation of war.
While it has fallen into the whorl of terrorism by any reasons of misdirected or dictated policies of the past governments, Pakistan has to be extra careful in launching strikes against the terrorists on Afghani soil, especially when we already observed certain marches against Pakistan on the roads of Kabul. It has to be dealt with politically and professionally both internally and internationally.
Politically, within the country, there seems to be uniformed and divergent theories against the terrorists in all the provinces. Punjab, for instance, seems to be more divergent in handling the terrorists. Once in the 90s, the PML-N had great resolve against terrorist organisations despite having religious inclinations. Law enforcing agencies, especially, the police after Mominpura killings of Shia community and ‘reported’ threat to PM by a top slot Sipah-i-Sihaba most wanted stalwart appearing in a wheel chair during a ‘PM’s Khuli Kachery’ under the disguise of an aggrieved person, was all out to curb the peril of terrorism in the province. The government developed a strong resolve which also manifested itself through the massive arrests and executions of the terrorists and whole sale out-of-turn one and two step promotions to police officers for their performance against the terrorists. The same, however, turned the tables on the police when PML-N withdrew the stern policy against the terrorists after the failed attack on the then prime minister, Mian Nawaz Sharif, in 1998, in a bid to cause a blast the bridge at Raiwind Road, Lahore while he was travelling on it.
There is no denying the fact that policy of appeasement towards the religious terrorists by declaring ceasefire on both sides may be useful at length to bring them to the commitment that they will not disturb peace to the extent of a province and it also works for a period of time but it becomes talk of the town to the extent that not only the law minister but also the Chief Minister is kept on hot burner of criticism. The policy may not necessarily have a mala fide intention but the argument is certainly extended that a political party is allegedly brokering peace for its own province by way of not hitting their hide outs in the province and thus allegedly allowing them to operate against other areas of the country from its soil. Therefore, every leadership has to be careful in countering the dark aspects of any policy adopted even in a good faith.
Professionally, law enforcement agencies, including all spy agencies have to ‘buy’ and ‘manage’ not the wavered but specific information and intelligence as to pre-occurrence of the any terrorist incident. Post-occurrence energy will not work anymore if we really want to counter the situation professionally.
On the whole, we seem to be relying merely upon the judgment of the leg umpire or waiting for the verdict by the third umpire despite our sheer disillusionment so far. This all requires revisiting our internal and external policies if we really have the resolve as was manifested by the other contemporary nations like Sri Lanka in curbing terrorism facing them.