Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is a co-founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the chief or amir of Jama’at-ud-Da’wah
In an address to the leaders of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa that collectively make up BRICS, including India, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Tragically the mothership of terrorism is a country in India’s neighbourhood.”
Now we all know that the very ‘mothership of terrorism’ being referred was Pakistan. I wonder why Modi avoided mentioning Pakistan’s name; perhaps a possible fear of China, the president of whom was sitting right next to the Indian prime minister.
Whatever the reason might be, Modi’s statement shows just how committed New Delhi is when it comes to isolating Pakistan globally. From cancelling the Saarc summit to boycotting Pakistani artistes, the Modi regime is hell-bent on weakening Pakistan at every international forum.
Now let us reflect on the ever-changing political landscape of Pakistan.
Pakistan is trying it’s best to convince foreign diplomats, especially those in the United States, that it has adopted a ‘non-discriminatory’ approach towards nefarious elements, which aim to destabilise the country.
But Islamabad’s attempts to convince its allies have met with sharp criticism, both at home and abroad.
Days ago, a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) took a jibe at the government and demanded action against non-state actors; the very non-state actors New Delhi alleges Islamabad of sponsoring.
The lawmaker, Rana Muhammad Afzal, recalled a trip to France where, he said, foreign delegates brought up the name of Hafiz Saeed time and again. He also questioned whether Hafiz Saeed was good or bad for the Kashmir cause.
A recent report by an English daily staffer has also revealed the confusion that persists among the civil and military quarters over how to deal with non-state actors. According to the report, the civilian government claims the army interferes whenever the former takes action against certain groups.
Instead of clarifying its stance on non-state actors, however, the federal government placed the name of the reporter of the story, Cyril Almeida, on Exit Control List.
Pakistan’s civil and military brass claims the story was a ‘threat to national security’. Minister for Interior Chaudhry Nisar even defended the ban on the Dawn staffer and branded the report the “narrative of our enemies”.
The point of discussion is not Almeida’s reporting of the story, whose name has since been removed from ECL. The decision to ban him reflects the immaturity on part of the federal government, and Almeida’s story was never, as both the civil and military brass claim, a ‘threat to national security’.
The current political scenario calls for Pakistan to clearly define its policies to its allies; not just define but act on them as well. Pakistan has to realise that what really is in its national interest is the complete elimination of nefarious elements, without any discrimination; the civil and military brass should at least have the decency to admit that Pakistan still isn’t 100 per cent sure which non-state actor is good or bad.
The United States is time and again asking Islamabad to ‘do more’ against terrorism. China, although claims to be a strategic ally of Pakistan, yet it has expressed its concerns over the course the latter has taken.
Their demands are simple: take indiscriminate action against nefarious elements or face isolation; the latter appears to looming over the country as it walks a line between appeasing the civilian and the security establishment.
When and if isolated, the impact would be drastic, and Pakistan would never want that.
Manik Aftab is a member of staff. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org