The notion of foreign support for Baloch insurgents rests on a slippery slope. If a country accuses others of aiding separatism (India’s position on Pakistani support for Kashmiri separatists, or Pakistan’s allegation of Indian backing for the Pakistani Taliban or Baloch separatists), how can it prove them? Does an intelligence outfit leave its footprint? Do intelligence agencies use their own currency, weapons and gadgetry?
In case of Kashmir, the Indian government often points, and legitimately so, towards the presence of groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Harkatul Mujahideen, which it says still use Pakistani soil for “terrorism” in Kashmir, in contravention of the January 6, 2004 commitment Pakistan gave to Atal Behari Vajpayee in Islamabad. It also says the infiltration via the Line of Control would not be possible without the consent of Pakistani security forces.
On October 5, foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters his government had passed on evidence of Indian interference in Balochistan to New Delhi.
“We have apprised India of our concerns on terrorism. If India has apprehensions about Pakistan, then we have more apprehensions than India,” he said. “Credible evidence on Indian involvement in terrorism in Balochistan is available with us.”
Jilani did not specify the nature of the evidence shared with India. A day before that, National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz had told reporters that “evidence on India’s role in Balochistan will be shared with New Delhi at an appropriate time.”
[quote]Other than intercepted messages, Pakistan has little cogent, credible evidence to make a case against India[/quote]
Pakistani officials rely on transcripts of telecommunication messages or written correspondence that they claim is intercepted every now and then.
They also say Brahamdagh Bugti and Harbiar Marri have Indian and Afghan passports, but this hardly amounts to a proof. Pakistan had also helped Afghan Taliban travel on Pakistani passports as a means of facilitation. The claim of Indian weapons being used for subversion in Balochistan is no substantive proof either. Weapons seized by the Taliban in ambushes of Indian security forces deployed in Afghanistan do routinely cross the Durand Line.
But the larger question relates to the streams of funding available to the Baloch insurgents. Some of our Baloch nationalist friends, who used to argue for separation, do concede that the lavish and incredible lifestyles of Brahamdagh and Harbiar and the extent of operations inside Balochistan require significant resources.
“We met them occasionally in Kabul, Geneva and London, and the conversations we had no doubt that they are on an external financial support line,” said a former Baloch nationalist. He also spoke of his parleys with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai who advised Pakistan through a Baloch delegation some time ago that it would be better to withdraw “Pakistani support for the Afghan Taliban”.
The major question confronting us then is whether India is using Afghanistan for terrorism in Balochistan and FATA, and why?
For India, Afghanistan, and the United States, Pakistan remains the bad boy of South Asia that has been in league with radical Islamist forces and has relied on “mercenaries to stoke trouble in Kashmir”.
The latest revelation is that former Indian army chief General VK Singh created a Technical Services Division (TSD) for covert operations in Pakistan – going after the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terrorist attacks and Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed. A Hindustan Times report chronicled this venture, and quoted a former TSD officer as saying: “Our main task was to combat the rising trend of state-sponsored terrorism by the ISI, and we had developed contacts across the Line of Control in a bid to infiltrate Hafiz Saeed’s inner circle.”
Given the history of mutual mistrust, hostility and cross-border covert operations between Islamabad and New Delhi, one can safely assume that Gen Singh’s TSD reflects only a small aspect of India’s possible involvement in Pakistan.
If the US CIA had been running alleged espionage networks through development and private security contractors (such as Raymond Davis), why wouldn’t India do the same to map, profile and counter India-focused groups such as LeT or JeM?
Also, why wouldn’t the Afghan and Indian intelligence prick Pakistan where it hurts the most if they believe the ISI has been hurting them since the late 1980s? It is tit for tat. Other than the intercepted “transcripts”, Pakistan has apparently little cogent, credible evidence to make its case against India.
Certain indicators do underscore the possibility of an external involvement in Balochistan and FATA.
For instance, regardless of the veracity of his claim, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan founder Baitullah Mehsud had told Ambassador Tariq Aziz (who served 97 days in the TTP’s captivity until May 2009) that “India has been offering its help to us against Pakistan” and that “we declined the offer”.
Vivek Katju, who had negotiated the release of the Indian Airlines flight 814 and its hostages at Kandahar on December 30, 1999, had said: We will absorb what you have done to us, but you will not be able to absorb what we could do to you. Katju went on to serve as his country’s ambassador in Kabul after the defeat of the obscurantist Taliban regime.
Thirdly, some of the recommendations made by a 2009 panel put together by India Today – the Board of Experts on Security and Terror (BEST), consisting of a dozen retired Indian military, intelligence and civilian officials – available on the India Today website, are also telling.
“There are lessons that India should learn from the 1971 conflict that was a result of careful strategy and planning. What the current situation calls for is a similar massive effort with a clear end goal in sight. If the 1971 objective was to dismember Pakistan, then the 2009 game plan should be to neutralise Pakistan so that it can no longer pose a threat to India,” the document says.
“We have our leverage in Balochistan and in some other parts of Pakistan. What we really need to convey to Pakistan is that if they commit a blatant anti-India act on the ground, a military act or otherwise, it will have to bear the repercussions,” said Ved Marwah, former governor of Jharkhand.
“Covert and over actions need to be essential ingredients of India’s policy. India must exploit faultlines within Pakistan,” said G Parthasarthi, a former high commissioner to Pakistan.
Although it was an altogether private media panel discussion, it does reflect the presence of these thoughts in India. It would not be a surprise if the Indian establishment followed some of these recommendations to try and return what Pakistan did in eastern Punjab and Indian Kashmir.
The Afghan establishment is not a friend of Pakistan either. Nor are the anti-Iran Jundullah or the Lashkr-e-Jhangvi fictional entities.
The India-Afghanistan-Pakistan rivalry extends beyond the Pakistani territory. That is why British historian William Dalrymple, (Brookings essay, June 25, 2013) also concludes that the hostility between India and Pakistan lies at the heart of the current war in Afghanistan. “Our troops are now caught up in a complex war shaped by two pre-existing and overlapping conflicts: one local and internal, the other regional,” he wrote. “There is an Indo-Pak proxy war, and it’s going on right now.”
It is clear that a deadly proxy war is being played out in Kashmir, Kandahar, Kabul, FATA and Balochistan. That is why Dr Rangeen Dadfar Spanta, former security advisor, had told a Pakistani intellectuals’ delegation in 2010: Please tell India and Pakistan to keep Afghanistan out of their bilateral disputes.
It is hard to say when and whether India and Pakistan’s conflicting geo-strategic interests and narratives will permit that.
Very well-written & appears to be unbiased report on India-Pakistan tit-for-tat.
It is high time Pakistan realizes that the best way for development is non-interference in other countries. Pakistan have been causing major problems for India in Kashmir, inciting Indian Muslims, helping some of them with money for creating violence etc.
Because of its continued anti-India policy, a large segment of Indian population have concluded that India can never have friendly relation with Pakistan. As a consequence, any step that Indian Govt. takes for improving relation is not appreciated & cynically described as politically motivated to appease Indian Muslim voters.
Its high time Pakistan should do something to correct the situation.
Pakistan is an ideal case for social anthropologists. Why is it so hostile to India? India, too, may have done a few hostile acts but on balance it would appear that it has behaved better. Just four examples are here offered. One, Mahatma Gandhi pressured Pundit Nehru to release 55 crore rupees of Pakistan’s share in united India’s assets for which he was assassinated. In other words he sacrificed his life for Pakistan. Two, in 1972, India released 93,000 Pakistan POWs and vacated 14,000 sq.km of occupied Pakistan territory without any quid pro quo. Three, India invited Pakistan president on a state visit. Four, India granted MFN status to Pakistan without demanding reciprocity. You may also add the remarks of journalist Prem Shankar Jha, Lal Krishna Advani and Jawant Singh about M.A. Jinnah
“terrorism” in Kashmir,
There are two problems here.
1) Why terrorism in quotes? Do you consider throwing or detonating bombs in bus stops, train stations at unarmed civilians as terrorism or “terrorism”? Do you consider hijacking Indian Airlines plane, and slashing passengers throat, attacking Indian parliament, coming in boats with AK 47 rifles to shoot at unarmed innocent civilians in Mumbai train station to be “terrorism” or terrorism?
2) Second problem in your phrase is Kashmir. Who are you trying to fool here?! That Pakistan sponsored terrorism was only in Kashmir? Is that what India has been talking about LeT and JeM?
Dishonest. Isn’t it?
Pakistani establishment needs various excuses not to protect its country. India is used to denote how large the conspiracy is against the country and how the TAliban are no more than wayward children led astray by evil India.
Any movement that is based not on religion is deemed to be supported by India. Eg; The protests from erstwhile east pakistan, the struggle in Balochistan, and earlier – the various allegations against Sindh nationalists, the Mohajirs and the ANP.
Since the TTP is based on religion – ie they want a purer form of Islam in Pakistan, they are not deemed anti national.
Opinion makers such as yourself are ensuring that another generation of pakistanis will keep the ‘hate India’ torch alive at the cost of letting your country fall apart. Sweet.
It is indeed strange to see Pakistani and Indian families as friends in the U.S. It is because we have left the hatred baggage behind. We look the same, eat the same kind of food at the same Indian and Pakistani restaurants. I have Pakistani friends who enjoy dosas an idlis and often speak the same language, ie. urduised hindi commonly referred to as Hindustani. My neighbor is a Pakistani doctor who looks after our house when we are away and we do the same for them.
So why this nonsense of maintaining animosity over all these years, spending enormous amounts in the budget to maintain armies that otherwise could go to making the countries wealthier? It comes down to the political imperatives of both Pakistan and India. Pakistan behaves like a spoiled child throwing tantrums and making mischief and looking for attention. India needs to get more involved in getting Pakistan back on its feet economically, as presently that country is so twisted that it cannot stand straight. Tit for tat solutions are not going to work. India has already given Pakistan an MFN status so trade is the answer. An economically well off Pakistan with Indian help will douse the hostilities and hatred that that country has towards its neighbors and pay more attention to becoming a vibrant economy. The new Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif realizes that. I wish him all success.
Animosity has no end, both India and pakistan is a witness of this fact for the last six decades. Moreover, a destructive path is easier to tread than a creative one which is frought with obstacles and bottlenecks. This is the reason no peace initiative was longlived. Politicians and fundamentalists from both the sides of the border to satisfy their short term ulterior motives have always played the “K” card. The tough morsel to be swallowed by both the sides is that this perennial iceberg of mutual hatred can not be broken in a short span. This needs to be cultivated in the current generation so that it reaps fruit in future. There needs to be more youth engagement between both the countries. Student exchange programs of educational institutes, science conferences, social gatherings, cultural meets of various clubs viz. Lions, Rotary etc. Its only after these mutual mixing the hatred of devil could be killed. The youth after meeting their counterparts can spread and propogate their feelings and the fact that we are children of the same god and almightly mother. we need to love and not kill each other
WHAT a MISERY Muslims have become a source of Trouble for
Other Muslim Fellows ,Forget intervention from other countries
The Pakistani Religious Fanatics have created the HELL on the
Land claimed to be Pakiza.There can not be PEACE in the country
With out weeding out the Commercial Contractors of Religion who
Make Millions by inciting common folks for Violence .The result is
ALL OUT civil war faced by innocent people in Pakistan divided on
The basis of HATE for Language,Race,Cast & Religion.
The Jahil Mullahs should be eliminated by IRON HAND to control
The Violence and please do not BLAME others for your own FAULTS
Baluch people offered almost 50% of LAND to Pakistan to live with
Peace not to create catastrophic Genocide forced on them by the
Establishment of Elites of the country who became ELITES by looting The
Properties and Agricultural lands of Hindu Sikhs who were SON of The SOIL
And to bring WAHABI sect of violence by Zia and his group of extremist
Ranks and the result is VIOLENCE all parts of the country