By: Gharanai Khwakhuzhi
Haven of Terror
Recent attacks in Quetta and Karachi cities of Pakistan have taken hundreds of innocent lives and Pakistan is finding it difficult to catch up with the tunes that were set by it 3-4 decades ago, that of defending itself by establishing terror organizations.
The symbolic move came when Pakistani police were able to easily capture Malik Ishaq the head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) from Rahim Yar Khan, at their will.
This move not only demonstrated how easy it was for the Pakistani officials to capture a renowned outlaw who is the head of a terror organization that is affiliated with Al Qaeda, but also showed that if the Pakistani officials want to capture such threats they know exactly where to look for.
It’s organizations and syndicates like this that is causing trouble across the region, not only Afghanistan and India but also Uzbekistan, Xingjian of China, Chechnya and across Middle East; yet most of these organizations are state sponsored and supported by the elite intelligence organization of Pakistan, the ISI.
From training the Mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, establishing Lashkar-e-Taiba to fight Pakistan’s dirty war with India, harboring world’s most wanted man Osama Bin Laden to supporting the Taliban and Haqqani group engaged in Afghanistan; ISI has played a pivotal role.
Hub of Peace
After the trilateral meeting in London between heads of states David Cameron, Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari, it was decided that peace initiatives should be prioritized and steps should be taken towards it by dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan Ulema (Clerics) Councils which should decide on how to get in dialogue with the Taliban and bring them to the peace and negotiation tables and issue a Fatwa which would denounce the killings of innocents civilians and put an end to the insurgency; to which Asif Ali Zardari gave his word and a gathering of the two councils was supposed to be held in Kabul early March.
This initiative was a clear sign by Pakistani leader that Pakistan is interested in becoming a Hub of Peace for Afghanistan and will support the country’s fight against insurgency and steps towards peace.
But the double face of Pakistan once again appeared when a letter signed by Mufti Abu Huraira Mohiuddin – a member of Pakistan Ulema Council – addressed to Afghan Ulema Council, arrived.
In the letter Mufti Mohiuddin said that “the Ulema of Pakistan did not want to criticize any of the Afghan Taliban’s past actions nor were they ready to issue a Fatwa against their actions or them”.
Later on chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, Alama Tahir Ashrafi went on record saying that Pakistani Ulema will boycott the Kabul Conference. The Conference that was decided upon by Asif Ali Zardari and was planned to form a united stance against violent extremism and suicide attacks that kill civilians.
The reason that was given by Alama Ashrafi was that the Afghan government had a lot of influence over the Afghanistan Ulema Council and that this conference would be used against Taliban and they didn’t want to condemn Taliban.
In general, this action of Alama Ashrafi once again portrays how weak the “Spokesman” of the ISI is – Spokesman referred to the Civilian Government of Pakistan who does nothing but being a good spokesman of the ISI and Military; and how crucial a role does the Intelligence Organization plays.
In the course of these developments, sometime back when the Afghan Government requested Pakistan to hand over the Taliban Political Prisoners held in Pakistan, the answer was that the two countries didn’t have a Treaty of Prisoners’ Exchange aka an Expedition Treaty.
Within months on 18th Feb 2013 the Afghan Intelligence Officials were able to capture Maulavi Faqir Mohammad deputy chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and straight away Pakistan asked for handover of Maulavi Faqir to be prosecuted under Pakistani Law; in reply of which the Afghan Government rightly so reminded Pakistan that they didn’t have an Expedition Treaty.
After the arrest of Maulavi Faqir, Pakistani Ulema Council now want to start a Peace Talk of its own with Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud so to secure a ceasefire inside Pakistan.
This again shows how unpredicted and uncommitted Pakistan is when it comes to peace in the region specially Afghanistan, even with all its claims of working for peace in the region; yet one could not blame the civilian government of Pakistan who has limited power when it comes to decision making process and policy plans.
The government of Afghanistan too should understand how unfruitful it is to talk to Pakistan Government when it comes to peace in Afghanistan while the Taliban should also realize how Pakistan is again trying to manipulate them.
Pakistan; the same country who sold Mullah Abdul Salam Zaif – then Taliban’s Ambassador to Islamabad – and hundreds like him in return to few millions of dollars while Musharaf bluntly stated “Sab Se Pehlee Pakistan or Pakistan Before Everything Else”; yet if Taliban think that Pakistan is wishing them good and prosperity then one could only pity for them.
The Afghan Government looking for alternatives of Islamabad towards Riyadh and Cairo for Peace Talks is a step that should have been taken years ago, yet it’s still not late and the step should be applauded and be implemented as soon as possible.
Taliban should also take the initiative and get to the negotiation tables so to stop bloodshed of Afghans on both sides of the fronts.
As far as Pakistan is concerned, it should decide whether it really wants to be the Haven of Terror or not? Because what they sowed years ago has already started biting them back.
Also the people of the country should decide how they want to survive in the neighborhood where they have very few friends and are making enemy day after another.