Pakistan Behind Terror Attack In Pulwama

Over forty Indian soldiers belonging to the Central Reserve Police Force were martyred in Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir by Pakistan backed terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). This was the most deadly ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attack on Indian forces since the Uri attack on a BSF camp in Uri in September 2016. The ‘hand’ of India’s western neighbour is clear in the cowardly act.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condemned the ‘dastardly and despicable’ attack and expressed his sympathies to the bereaved families of the martyrs. The Indian Prime Minister said, the sacrifices of the security personnel would not be in vain. Politicians across the spectrum too have condemned the attack. The US in a statement has said “Washington stands alongside India in confronting terror and defeating it”. Russia, France, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives and Bangladesh too have condemned the massacre.

The terrorist group JeM has been behind numerous attacks staged in India. Its’ leader Maulana Masood Azhar is a global terrorist based in Pakistan, where he enjoys state patronage. Azhar is one of the terrorists behind the Mumbai terror attacks of 2008. Yet, the Pakistani authorities have turned a blind eye to his activities.

India has been following a policy of development in Jammu & Kashmir. New Delhi wants the state to emerge as a model state in the country. Yet, New Delhi has been firm in controlling terror acts in the Valley. Indian security forces have not let the guard down and have been successful in containing terrorist activities aided and abetted from across the border.

The time has come for the international community to see through the smoke screen and take punitive measures against Pakistan for its’ nefarious activities. The UN should also rise to the occasion and impose stern action on Islamabad. At the UN General assembly in 2018, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the global body about Pakistan’s double speak on terrorism.

Pakistan has till now got away with its machinations but the day is not too far when, Islamabad could face international sanctions. The country is already grappling with many problems domestically, yet it does not have a clear cut policy on fighting terrorism. In fact, it is well known that terrorist organizations of all hues are based in Pakistan. They are given a free hand by its authorities.

In fact, when the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, couple of years back, wanted to take action against certain terror groups, but he was overruled by his army. It is no secret that terrorists are trained by Pakistani agencies like the ISI. Almost, all terrorist attacks in India have displayed that the perpetrators were trained by Pakistani forces.

It is also a fact that Islamabad follows the policy of ‘bleeding through a thousand cuts’. Though, Pakistan was given a befitting reply through the ‘surgical strike’ conducted by the Indian forces post the Uri attack, it still dares India. Knowing well that it cannot match India’s might conventionally or otherwise, it targets India through terrorist attacks as it does not lose its’ own men.

India’s ties with Pakistan could a take a further beating due to the Pulwama attack. It’s been more than four years since talks were held at senior level. Prime Minister Modi in 2015 undertook a path-breaking visit to Lahore, yet a week later, Pakistan backed terrorists attacked the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot. Former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee inaugurated the Delhi-Lahore bus service in 1999, the same year, Pakistan started the Kargil War. Hence, every thaw in relations has been rebuffed by Pakistan.

India has given a long rope to Pakistan, but New Delhi’s patience is not limitless. It would be in the best interests of Islamabad to practice what it preaches. It should bring to book the killers of the Indian soldiers. Islamabad must also expel terrorists and their groups from its soil, as agreed between India and Pakistan in 2004. Only then, can it build a bridge with India.

Script: Kaushik Roy, AIR’s Strategic Affairs Analyst