Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif made all the right noises after Pakistan’s worst terror attack in Peshawar. But the early hope of Islamabad taking a decisive turn for the better is fast disappearing.
It is true that the Pakistan government has ordered death sentences for terrorists and stepped up operations against terrorists in various parts of the country. But countering terrorists on the ground is just half the battle. Unless the war for the minds of people is fought equally these efforts can continue endlessly without tangible result. The real problem in Pakistan is the mindset of a large section of the population. Unless that is rectified there is little hope of Pakistan reclaiming normalcy. Islamabad is seriously remiss in dealing with that aspect.
Former Pakistan Ambassador to the US and author Mr. Husain Haqani in a perceptive newspaper article termed the state of denial as the greatest enemy of Pakistan.
As long as delusion in the form of paranoid conspiracy theories continues to prevail no anti-terrorist operations will deliver lasting results. When Mr. Sharif talks about no differentiation between the good and bad Taliban should he not also focus on false and misleading propaganda that encourages terrorism? Pakistani courts may not have sufficient evidence against Hafiz Saeed to arrest him. But when in the current context he continues to spew lunatic venom to instigate false propaganda should Mr. Sharif’s government remain impotent?
On Pakistan’s national television Hafiz Saeed ranted that the recent terror attack was the handiwork of Indian intelligence. He went on to predict that equally serious terror attacks will be perpetrated by Indian intelligence within India in order to blame Pakistan for committing terror before President Obama’s scheduled visit next month. RAW has deciphered this statement as forewarning that Pakistani terrorists are planning major assaults in India in the coming days and creating alibis to blame India in advance.
Hafiz Saeed is not alone. Even former General Musharraf told a TV interviewer that Indian intelligence was supporting Tehreeq-e-Taliban which claimed responsibility for the Peshawar attack. It was most disappointing that even General Musharraf who one thought sensible should make such an outlandish claim without presenting an iota of evidence. Such paranoid claims vindicate Mr. Haqani’s assertion that denial is Pakistan’s biggest enemy.
After the Peshawar attack Mr. Sharif quickly and wisely interacted with his Afghan counterpart for cooperation to combat terror. His failure to respond likewise to Mr. Narendra Modi’s offer for cooperation became all the more glaring. If Mr. Sharif shares some of the thoughts expressed by Hafiz Saeed or General Musharraf he is welcome. But in that case India will have little choice. To safeguard national security New Delhi must break all cultural and diplomatic contacts with Pakistan, step up security within the country and on the borders. Unless there is dramatic reversal of policy, Pakistan will implode. Terrorists will ensure it happens. Then India will have to wrestle with its greatest problem. How must it deal with a balkanized Pakistan.