Hillary Clinton’s words of wisdom to the Pakistan establishment some years ago that when you breed snakes in your own backyard, they will not bite the neighbours only, have proved prophetic. The recent massacre of innocent children at the Army Public School in Peshawar by Pakistan’s home grown terror outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, has demonstrated that using terrorism as an instrument of state policy can backfire badly. While every Indian heart goes out to the families of those killed in such a merciless manner, every Indian is equally alarmed by the toxicity caused by the release on bail of 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki ur Rehman by a court where the public prosecutor failed to show up. Bowing to universal condemnation, the Pakistan government ordered his detention for three months on Friday. However, the action has been viewed with a lot of suspicion by Pakistan watchers.

Lakhvi’s release and subsequent detention coincided with the inflammatory speeches of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, who has been spewing venom against India and has repeatedly justified the role of the Mujhahideen to carry out operations in Kashmir. The most unfortunate thing is that former President Pervez Mushrraf, whose political ambitions boomeranged with his arrest, has used the tragedy to revive his sagging fortunes by accusing India and Afghanistan of carrying out the attack in Peshawar. Several retired generals and analysts have been trying to spread the canard that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was mixed up with the militants and was engineering trouble in sensitive areas of Balochistan and adjoining regions. Nothing can be more shameful than this as their assertions are not supported by any independent international agency worldwide.

Pakistan has been the epicentre of virtually all major terror strikes internationally. The elimination of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, where he had been hiding, proved to the world that he was there with the full knowledge of the government, particularly the Army. Attempts by Pakistan government agencies to play ignorant of his presence did not convince anyone and it was some super intelligence gathering by the US security forces that exposed his hideout and led to his killing in a secret operation.

The Pakistan Army is understandably rattled by the Peshawar carnage as many of the children who were gunned down belonged to Army families, particularly of middle ranking personnel. The visit to Kabul by the Pakistan Army chief indicated that he was trying to send a message down the line that he would ensure that those responsible for the massacre were caught and killed as early as possible. He has also called upon the country’s civil government to execute jailed terrorists in the next 48 hours, something which is obviously the result of a knee-jerk reaction.

There is a section in India which has been stressing the need for resumption of dialogue with Islamabad to sort out mutual issues. However, going by the way the Pakistan government and its wings have been behaving since the Peshawar killings, it seems pointless to engage with a hostile enemy. Pakistan is a failed state and is on the verge of disintegration. It has been held together so far by the Army and also the ostrich like attitude of its politicians who have allowed the “snakes to be bred in their own backyard”. The Sharif brothers are reluctant to act against Hafiz Saeed since they know that his arrest could lead to lawlessness in the Punjab province, something they cannot risk. Imran Khan and others have been wanting to establish democracy in the state knowing fully well it is not possible.

The fact of the matter is that barring Turkey, there is no Islamic country in the world where true democracy exists. Therefore, how can it exist in Pakistan which has witnessed the overthrowing of popularly elected governments several times in the past and where elected governments function with the full knowledge that ultimately it is the Army which is supreme? It is because of this stark reality that hawks in India prefer no dialogues with Islamabad, since those India talks to, have no control over the situation there. When Pakistani leaders try to compare their political system to that in India, they tend to forget that democracy has evolved in this country over a period of time and every transition witnessed during the changeover of the government has been peaceful.

Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani, during the peak of his popularity in the early 1990s, told a BBC journalist in an interview that India is both democratic and secular because it is a Hindu majority country. The implication of this statement in the Pakistani context is that Pakistan was created as a separate nation on the basis of religion and thus does not qualify to be either secular or democratic. The success of India’s democracy is due to the active participation in it of all the communities that live here. Indian Muslims have proved it to the world that they were a distinct entity and in many ways different from their brothers elsewhere, since they have been nurtured in the rich traditions of this country where various religions co-exist.

What needs to be clearly understood is that Pakistan is likely to take out its anger over the Peshawar killings on India and thus could encourage home grown terror outfits to carry out attacks in India. Therefore, every Indian has to be extremely vigilant. Pakistan’s establishment practises diabolic and deceptive methods and cannot be trusted under any circumstances. Between us.


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