Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement on the Pulwama terror attack was an unconscionable attempt to brazen out a heinous crime perpetrated by the Jaish-e-Mohammed, a known “sword arm” of the Pakistani establishment, which is the army. Considering Imran Khan’s rise to power has been courtesy an election rigged in his favour by the army, there is no reason to believe that the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan is following any other script than the one dictated to him by his masters. As the international community is well aware, Pakistan army is the fountainhead of global terror and uses terrorism as state policy, especially when bleeding neighbours such as India, Afghanistan and increasingly, Iran, with a thousand cuts. It is said that while other countries have an army, in Pakistan, the army has a country; and jihadi terrorism is the not-so-covert wing of this army. Almost every jihadi terrorist group across the globe has an umbilical connection with this rogue and its intelligence arm, the ISI. So feigning surprise about Pakistan being named as the mastermind of the Pulwama attack is not going to convince even the most gullible. For that matter, Imran Khan’s own relationship with the Jaish—apparently a “banned” terrorist organisation in Pakistan—is dubious to say the least. It is well known that the Jaish campaigned for him extensively in the run-up to last year’s national election, as they wanted to get rid of the “India-friendly” Nawaz Sharif, which was the goal of the Pakistan army as well. As Prime Minister no one knows better than Imran Khan that one of the reasons his predecessor was forced to leave office was because he was seen to be trying to initiate action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. He also knows that zero action has been taken on the innumerable dossiers provided to Pakistan about the involvement of the ISI, apart from ISI-nurtured terrorists, in 26/11. So Imran Khan’s offer to seek “actionable intelligence” from India is not only insincere lip-service, but also criminal disregard of genuine concerns. As a puppet of the Pakistan army, he does not have any power to order an investigation of his own masters. If he does, he loses his chair. If seen in this context, his offer to have friendly relations with India is mere posturing for the international community—an absolute sham. Rightly, India has refused to provide Pakistan with any evidence, even though it has said that it will offer all proof of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pulwama massacre to the rest of the world.
In fact, time is over for India to pussyfoot around the canker that is a Pakistan controlled by the military. This institution is an ulcer on the face of the civilised world and must be operated on, even if that means taking military action. What is the point of filling India’s arsenal with deadly missiles and other armaments unless these be used to secure the nation? The need of the day is a short, targeted military action that goes beyond a surgical strike to neutralise Pakistan army’s terrorist arm. Only the ignorant will believe that affluent and globe-trotting Pakistani generals will think of pressing the nuclear button in case of a conflict, because any such action by them will invite retaliation of unimaginable proportions from India, putting Pakistan at risk. And Pakistani generals can be anything, but they are not unintelligent. Over the years, Pakistan has used the bogey of nuclear warfare to keep India on a leash; it’s time India called Pakistan’s bluff. Also, India must step up its action internationally to convince bodies like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund not to provide any financial assistance to a bankrupt Pakistan, for any such financial bailouts will further fatten the generals and add more muscle to their terrorist arm. The money will not reach the people for whom it is intended. In this context, India needs to present a convincing case to the Financial Action Task Force to ensure that the terrorist financing watchdog demotes Pakistan from its grey list to the black list. This will hasten the collapse of an already tottering Pakistan economy. India must also hold to account countries that refuse to support France’s move to get Jaish chief Masood Azhar designated a global terrorist by the United Nations. For far too long China has protected Masood Azhar at the insistence of Pakistani generals, when the choice for it should have been a no-brainer—protecting terror promoted by a failed state, or doing business with one of the world’s fastest growing economies. India needs to make this distinction clear to China. There cannot be business as usual with China if Beijing continues to protect the Pakistan military’s war on India.
Firm action is the order of the day and Indian government’s announcement of implementing the Indus Water Treaty in its letter and spirit—that is retaining its own share of water, a largesse it was gifting to Pakistan, courtesy Jawaharlal Nehru—is a welcome decision. This must be implemented on the ground on a war footing. This one action, apart from being completely legal, has the potential to devastate Pakistan’s economy and ensure its implosion. And implosion is the need of the day. The rebellion against the rogue generals must come from within Pakistan, because that is the only way that they can be brought to their knees and their terror factories made to shut down. Pakistan’s behaviour calls for punitive action and must be taken.