South Waziristan is an Indian outpost on Pakistani soil with a religious version of Mukti Bahini in place, the terror militia created by India in 1969 before its full-fledged and unprovoked invasion of East Pakistan two years later. The similarity is in using proxies. This is not an outlandish theory but an emerging fact anchored in hundreds of pieces of information and intelligence that Pakistani security forces have gathered from the western strip of Pakistan stretching from Balochistan and all the way to the tribal agencies in the north.
To simplify this, let’s start with the series of attacks on Lahore in the past fifteen months. Attacking Pakistan’s military and attacking Lahore has been an old Indian obsession. The link was first made by Indian analysts associated with Indian military and intelligence. They theorized that since Pakistan’s military is mostly drawn from Punjab province, it only makes sense that the best way to punish it for involvement in occupied Kashmir is to attack that part of Pakistan where the families of Pakistani military officers live. Indian propagandists have long been promoting this flawed line of thinking. Explaining Pakistan in lingo-ethnic terms is something New Delhi turned into an art form after 1971. That’s when it successfully exploited this lingo-ethnic card to invade East Pakistan. Our Indian friends later took the same idea to Soviet Moscow to encourage them to meddle in Balochistan and NWFP using Afghan soil.
But after 9/11, this flawed theory was taken by the Indians to a new place: Washington, along with the ideas of independent Balochistan, Pashtunistan and the alleged ‘lingo-ethnic’ divide in Pakistan. Some US powerbrokers took fancy to this theory. To cut a long story short, that’s how US media’s anti-Pakistan bias in the past five years was heavily tinged with this Indian theory on Pakistan. It is also one way of explaining why Afghanistan gradually turned into an anti-Pakistan territory and India was empowered at Pakistan’s expense despite being celebrated by US officials as a ‘major non-NATO ally.’
It is interesting to see an overlap between this Indian security mindset and the TTP. This so-called Pakistani Taliban group attacks the same targets today that New Delhi’s security establishment has been focused on for decades: the army and Lahore.
‘Punjabi Taliban’ is another misnomer that serves the same agenda of forcing Pakistanis to see one another through lingo-ethnic glasses. There is no such thing in Pakistan. Those Pakistanis who volunteered with the Afghan Taliban or with Kashmiri freedom groups during the 1990s came from all linguistic backgrounds [Punjabi, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Pashtun, Urdu-speaking, and Balochs]. To lump all of them together in one ‘Punjabi’ Taliban is wrong and malicious.
It is also part of the indirect desire to attack the geographic position of the Punjab province, where much of Pakistan’s strategic installations and military units are based. It would also mean taking the war to the heart of Pakistani military’s base as defined by the Indians who see it as Punjab-focused.
Pakistan’s political and military leaders should tell their friends in Washington that freezing the expansion in India’s role in Afghanistan is not enough. It should be accompanied by a cleansing within US policymaking circles to remove the poisonous Indian theories on Pakistan that so many within the US academia and media have embraced. Washington should understand that strategies such as inserting pro-US elements into power in Islamabad to contain Pakistan from within won’t work. A better course of action is to genuinely understand and respect Pakistani strategic concerns and interests and work with them, not covertly undermine them when the time is right and grudgingly accept them when the tides are rough.
Pakistanis will also have to understand that they will pay a heavy price for insisting on securing their own interests in the region. And it’s not hard to identify the culprits. India won’t just roll over with punches. And there are lobbies in Washington that won’t simply let go of Afghanistan after experiencing the sweet taste of regional imperialism.
All terror in Pakistan is linked to South Waziristan, where Pakistanis are recruited, brainwashed and then used to kill other Pakistanis. South Waziristan has been turned into Pakistan’s Tibet or Xinjiang. Our strategists understand this. It is time for our public opinion to see this reality without the distortions created by the multimillion dollar media campaigns by foreign governments that want us to see our problems through their eyes.
Courtesy: The News