“The world in general and more particularly the United States are discovering what many observers were shouting themselves hoarse since years: if there is a rogue State today amongst the rogue States, if there is a State at the same time despotic, terrorist, eroded by fundamentalist Islam, and marked with the seal of a distressing fragility, it is Pakistan.”
– French Philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy in the French daily, Libération, November 2007
Worldwide, Pakistan has been regarded as a rogue state; a state that does not abide by international standards of proper behaviour, generally ruled by authoritarian regimes, a human rights violator, generally hostile to the West and its allies, and is often accused of sponsoring terrorism and/or seeking to acquire or develop weapons of mass destruction. Amidst to be or not to be about the Foreign Secretary level talks between Bharat and Pakistan, there are indications that Pakistan may think of taming the rogue elements nurtured as foreign policy instruments over a period of time. If Pakistan seriously decides to curb this menace of terror within its own territory, then it will be a positive sign not only for Bharat but also for the entire world and even for Pakistan itself.
Scepticism still prevails about Pakistan, considering the history of unpredictable behaviour, shifting regimes from democracy to military dictatorship and possession of nuclear weapons. Still, there are reasons to have some amount of optimism about the changed actions from Pakistan.
Firstly, the strategic necessity of Pakistan during the Cold War and subsequently in Afghan war is almost diminished. The US led Western World have used and dumped many countries as per the need. Now, Pakistan is facing the same fate. The love-hate relationship within Pakistan about the US is well known. While the power grabbing military is keen to maintain the umbilical cord they have created during the Cold War era, common masses in Pakistan are absolutely repulsive about the Superpower. The special mention of Pakistan by the American President Barack Obama in his last State of the Union Address along with Afghanistan as instable region is not very sweet sounding for the Pakistan’s military. On this background, the establishment is under tremendous pressure to deliver on terror front.
The very ideology that became the basis of creation of Pakistan, the Islamic State, is challenged by a more radicalised version. The main targets in this process are elites of Pakistan who have adapted themselves to the anglo-saxon culture. The recent attack on Pakistan’s consulate in Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan is just a symptom of that. The reality is, Pakistan supported Taliban elements do not hold the same kind of appeal among the Muslim Ummah in front of more radical like IS. In such a scenario, Pakistan has no option but to act seriously against the rogue elements that can become IS within Pakistan.
Since 2003, the number of fatalities in terrorist violence is 59,756, out of which more than 20,000 are civilians. Common people in Pakistan have enough exposure to see the progress made by other South Asian countries. Media in Pakistan are vocal about the achievements of Bharat in terms of creating democratic institutions, attaining technological advancement and sustained growth rate. Some public pressure of new middle class from within is another hope for change in Pakistan’s behaviour.
Whether Bharat’s most wanted terrorist Maulana Masood Azhar is truly arrested or detained at his home by Pakistan or not is still not clear. But reaction by the Maulana is definitely an indicative one. His warning to the Government of Pakistan that any action against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) would be “very dangerous” for the country, is unlike from earlier instances about the Maulana. It shows that everything not well with the ISI backed terror outfit.
It does not mean Pakistan, especially military and ISI will drastically transform anti-Bharat policies as that will weaken the very edifice of creation of Pakistan. Perhaps as the law of natural survival instinct Pakistan lately would alter its foreign policy based on the instrument of terror. Bharat while continuing its diplomatic pressures can just hope that it is a sign of ‘better late