States Soviet disintegration founded The Islamic Emirate of

States
are rational actors and whatever decision they make, is based on rational
thinking, calculations and even with the element of cost-benefit analysis into
it. The mess that United States and Pakistan are trying to mop up in
Afghanistan was well orchestrated back in 1970s with the prime aim of
containment of USSR.CIA created Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan became a
centre stage of Jihadist forces. When cold war was near ending in 1987 Hafiz
Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal with the funding from Al-Qaeda,
established Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) with the aim of Jihad against India to annex Indian
administered Kashmir with Pakistan. Taliban after the Soviet disintegration
founded The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in 1996 which motivated
Lashkar-e-Taiba as well. Lashkar wished the disintegration of India through
militancy the same way as Mujahdin
did to USSR. Lashkar-e-Taiba employed shoot and scoot tactics in Indian-held
Kashmir. According to Indian government LeT was responsible for terrorist
attacks on Indian parliament (2001) and Mumbai attack (26/11) claimed 166 lives
of civilians. Under the immense pressure of the US, Pervez Musharraf banned
Lashkar-e-Taiba but it remerged
with the new name Jamat-ud-Dawa(Party of calling).The US
Department of State proscribed JuD by declaring it a “foreign terrorist
organization” and ordered to
freeze any of its assets under US jurisdiction. United
Nations Security Council (UNSC), as a part of UNSC Resolution 1267, also
imposed sanctions on Jamat-ud-Dawa and declared it a terrorist organization
because of its alleged
links with Al-Qaeda.

Despite
the ban on JuD, this organization enjoys popular support amongst Pakistanis
because of its two-pronged strategy

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1.      Policy
on Kashmir

2.      Humanitarian
charity work

JuD’s
main face is Hafiz Saeed who carries $10 million bounty was under house arrest
in Pakistan since January, 2017. Lahore High Court released him denouncing as a
threat to public safety. Such hardcore terrorists terrify witnesses as well as
judiciary. Courts release them simply because of the lack of evidence. Maulana
Sufi Muhammad, chief of Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi(TNSM) who
enforced Sharia law in Malakand
Divison and waged war against state of Pakistan was arrested in July,2009 on
the charges of terrorism, sedition, conspiracy against state and attacking
governmental installations but was released on January15,2018 by Peshawar High
Court because of the lack
of evidence.

Hafiz
Saeed stated that “I fight the case of Kashmiris. I will gather the people from
across the country for the cause of Kashmir and
we will try to help Kashmiris get their destination of freedom.” The point is that if hafiz Saeed is to fight for the cause
of Kashmir then government of Pakistan which is a legal international entity
and a member of United Nations should cease its efforts over Kashmir. Such
militant organizations stigmatize Pakistan’s image in international community
and give an impression that Pakistan sponsors militancy.

Pakistan’s former president General (retd) Pervez Musharaf
who waged war against terrorist groups, drastically changed his views about
Hafiz Saeed and his militant organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, JuD and Falahi Insaniat.
In an interview to a private TV channel of Pakistan, he stoutly expressed that
he supports Hafiz Saeed and his
struggle in Kashmir. Musharraf’s support for JuD seems shrewd and based on
political calculations as his party is going to contest election in 2018,he
wants to amass support from politico-religious groups in Pakistan

Pakistan’s
relations with India have experience serious blowback in recent months on the
issue of Kulbhushan Yadavn who was arrested in Baluchistan over the charges of
terrorism and spying for India and, sentenced to death by military court in
Pakistan. India took the matter to International Court of Justice to prevent
the death sentence of Yadav. Indian standpoint that Pakistan may not execute
Yadav until the matter is sub judic in the court otherwise it would be an open violation
of Vienna Convention and Pakistan may face immense international
diplomatic pressure. Pakistan permitted Yadav’s family to visit him in
Islamabad on humanitarian
ground, though a humanitarian gesture but it did not improve
any bit in bilateral relations.

Another
factor that troubles India-Pakistan ties is the issue of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s
concerns about Indian presence in Afghanistan are seriously grave as it does
not want any anti-Pakistan government in Afghanistan, therefore the policy of
strategic depth shifted from
doctrine to strategy in Afghanistan. India worries that
Taliban-like regime in Kabul may reinforce Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Kashmir
based militant groups against India.

Indian
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s recent statement has mounted tension further
as he stated “Indian army was ready to call for Pakistan’s ‘nuclear
bluff’ and cross the border to carry out any operation of
asked by the government”. Whereas Pakistan’s foreign minister Khwaja Asif in an
interview on Geo TV made
a statement that “Islamabad is willing to use nuclear
weapons to ensure its survival.”Any skirmish may have the chances of escalation
because diplomatic solutions are at the backburner. Pakistan’s relations with
United States are already down because of US president Trump’s tough stance
towards Pakistan over the issue of militant groups based in Pakistan. Islamabad
based strategists perceive it as Indo-US
nexus to undermine Pakistan’s regional and global interests.

Pakistan’s counterterrorism policy of National Action Plan (NAP) is
quite comprehensive to curb militant outfits and their activities in Pakistan
but if government fails to take stringent measure against JuD, it would undermine
Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts. As a consequence US may strike deep inside
Pakistan by drone to target UN designate terrorist but may risk Pakistan-US
strategic ties to the irreparable point. Pakistan’s Air force chief already declared that
they would shoot down any drone in their airspace.

On the other hand policy makers in Islamabad should realize
that without normalization of relations with India, Pakistan may not emerge at
world stage as a vibrant economy because costlier arms race with India may not
allow to concentrate on other priorities of national interest including
economy, political stability and infrastructure. Pakistan’s image at
international level may drastically improve if government, despite all internal
opposition decides to crackdown on militant groups indiscriminately before they
grow too strong to handle.

 

* Dr.Rizwan Naseer is a
visiting fellow at South Asia Centre, London School of Economics and Political
Science (LSE) UK. He is an Assistant Professor of International Relations at
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) Islamabad. He was a Study of
United States Institute (SUSI) scholar of 2014(June-Aug) at Bard College
Annandale on Hudson New York.