By JK Verma
New Delhi. 18 February 2017. On February 12 United States of America denied visa to Pakistani Senate Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who was going to USA to attend a United Nations sponsored International Parliamentary Union (IPU) scheduled to be held in New York on February 13-14, 2017. Haideri is the leader of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) which is a pro-Taliban party and he is famous for his anti-American rhetoric.
US President Donald Trump has adopted a stringent policy against terrorism and few days back Trump banned visas for the nationals of 7 Muslim majority countries (presently stayed by a court), although Pakistan’s name was not in the list but there were reports that US administration warned Pakistan that if it continues supporting terrorism then it will also be included in the list.
An important US think-tank also suggested US administration that no visa should be issued to Pakistani politicians and army personnel who are involved in exporting terrorism to other countries.
Kuwait which is an Islamic country also banned visa for 5 Muslim countries including Pakistan in first week of February. Kuwait put restrictions as there was apprehension of infiltration of terrorists from these countries.
Saudi Arabia which is not only a Muslim country but gave large donations to Pakistan for constructing mosques and opening of Madrassas and generated Islamic fundamentalism/extremism in the country also deported 39000 Pakistanis in last four months because several Pakistanis became members of Islamic State and besides terrorism were also involved in drug trafficking, theft and other miscellaneous crimes. In addition to deportation of such a large number of Pakistanis, Abdullah Al-Sadoun, Chairman of the Security Committee of the Shoura Council also instructed that in future Pakistanis must be thoroughly scrutinized before issuing work permit. It is a big jolt to Pakistan- Saudi Arabia relations as well as it will adversely affect the economy of Pakistan.
ISI was using India Bangladesh border for infiltrating terrorists as well as for smuggling of Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) but the present Sheikh Hasina government has taken a stringent view and the ISI agents had to curb their reprehensible activities. Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal stated in December 2016 that Pakistan should be isolated as it is “harbouring terrorists and supporting terror acts.” He also mentioned that although India is most affected by Pakistan sponsored terrorism but Bangladesh is also suffering because of Pakistan supported violence.
On February 8, 2017 a senior Russian official also made it clear that Russia has a very limited cooperation with Pakistan and Russia will not sell Su-35 fighter jets or any armaments to Pakistan which may change the power scenario in the Indian subcontinent.
India, Afghanistan and Iran signed an agreement to develop Chabahar seaport in Iran. Pakistan considers that the agreement is against its interest and all three neighbours have joined hands against it and the agreement would pose a serious threat to the utility of USD 46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan are also tense. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after becoming President in September 2014 tried his best to inculcate cordial relations with Pakistan. Ghani even went to Pakistan Army Hqrs to please General Sharif but Pakistani army chief refused to control Pakistan sponsored terrorist outfits as Pakistan wants dominance in Afghanistan. Consequent upon Ghani requested India for assistance, which Modi promised without any strings. Ghani openly criticized Pakistan in “Heart of Asia Conference” at Amritsar. He explicitly mentioned that Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan cannot prolong without assistance from Pakistan. He also refused to accept Pakistani assistance of USD 500 million and mentioned that the money may be used by Pakistan to quell terrorism in the country.
Pakistan got a hefty jolt when India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan declined to attend the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit scheduled to be held in November 2016 at Islamabad. India refused to attend because of Pakistan sponsored terrorist attack at Army base in Uri in September 2016 in which 18 Indian soldiers were martyred. After India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan also pulled out as they mentioned that environment was unsuitable for the summit. In this way out of eight members four have refused to attend the summit.
Pakistan has strained relations with all its neighbours except China but recently China has also put stringent restrictions on Pakistan China border as Pakistani Taliban were supplying arms and ammunition, and training to the secessionists in China’s restive Xinjiang province. The majority population of Xinjiang autonomous region is Muslim Uighurs and they want to secede from China and Pakistani Taliban are assisting separatists and converting them into Jihadists. China which is assisting Pakistan financially, diplomatically as well as providing armaments must comprehend that Pakistan is an Islamic extremist state and it will continue assisting Islamic terrorists all over the world including China. Hence it must stop assisting terrorist designs of Pakistan. Nonetheless there are reports that China is also reconsidering its decision of investing USD 46 billion in CPEC and it might reduce the investment.
Pakistan Peoples Party Senior leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan also stated while addressing the joint session of parliament on October 13, 2016 that Pakistan is isolated because non-state actors have a free hand in the country. He further mentioned that “The government has been completely unsuccessful in imposing restrictions on non-state actors according to the National Action Plan.” Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf also accepted in an interview in October that Pakistan is isolated globally because of erroneous policies of Nawaz Sharif.
Terrorism has not only isolated Pakistan but it also smashed its economy. USA and Saudi Arabia were big donors but now they may abridge financial assistance. Pakistani workers because of terrorism would be restricted in several countries and it would lessen foreign remittance. Hence Pakistan should immediately stop financing the terrorist outfits and should also curtail expenditure of its oversized army. The money saved can be utilized in the economic progress of the country as poverty is also a great cause of terrorism.
Pakistan which has emerged as a nucleus of terrorism and made it a significant instrument of its foreign policy is being isolated in world arena. The sinister Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is assisting diverse terrorist organizations namely Lashker-e-Toiba (L-e-T), Jaish-e-Mohammed (J-e-M), Lashkar-e-Omar, Sipah-e-Sahba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), Indian Mujahedeen, Harkat-Ul- Mujahedeen, Haqqani network just to name a few.
ISI as well as terrorist outfits financed by the rogue intelligence agency are running terrorist training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as in Punjab province of Pakistan. The terrorists from all over the world reach Pakistan and get training in small arms, preparation and use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) as well as in carrying out terrorist activities. Consequent upon, in all the terrorist activities in the world including Saudi Arabia or western countries either the terrorists were Pakistanis, persons of Pakistani origin or they took short or long term course of terrorism in Pakistan.
In the beginning military controlled ISI created terrorist outfits to carry out terrorist activities in India especially in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and in Afghanistan with the ulterior motive to achieve strategic depth but after sometime Jihadists of other countries also joined terrorist camps in Pakistan and after getting training they were involved in terrorist activities all over the world.
The direct or indirect involvement of Pakistanis or Pakistan trained terrorists in the terrorist activities alarmed the world leaders and various countries started taking stringent actions against Pakistan and its nationals.
There are approximately 40000 Madrassas in Pakistan and most of them are Sunni Madrassas of Wahabi sect and they are assisted by Saudi Arabia while Shia Madrassas are financed by Iran. The majority of these Madrassas train innocent children in Islamic extremism and hatred towards all religions and preach them to establish Islamic Caliphate. ISI as well as other terrorist outfits recruit terrorists from these Madrassas on the name of Jihad.
Pakistan should also control registered as well as unregistered Madrassas as they generate extremism which culminates in terrorism. The terrorist outfits and their leaders inflame extremism hence they should be punished severely. Terrorist camps run by ISI should immediately be closed and main India tormentors like Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim should be handed over to India or genuinely punished in the country.
Government as well as Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) should launch “de-radicalisation” programme as the masses are deeply radicalized. De-radicalisation programme would counteract the vicious propaganda of Jihadist outfits.
Security forces should not distinguish between good and bad terrorists under Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Security forces must eliminate all terrorists equally as good terrorist of today would become bad terrorist of tomorrow.
(Jai Kumar Verma is a Delhi-based strategic analyst and a retired R&AW officer. The views in the article are solely the author’s. He can be contacted at email@example.com)