Pakistan, the World’s sixth most populous country, is also the second biggest Muslim country in terms of population but the land of the pure is braving violence and societal schism.
Be it the assassination of Akbar Bugti, Benazir Bhutto or countless deaths in numerous suicide attacks in the country, a question mark is always there on the role of Pakistan’s security establishment and intelligence agencies. As far as the concept of security in Pakistan is concerned, since inception, Pakistan is living in a state of security paranoia. Joining the defence pacts, like SEATO and CENTO, vividly manifests the fact that Pakistan is a security-led state. Unfortunately, these pacts could not prevent the wars of 1965, 1971 and Kargil. To understand the murky security scenario, let’s sit in a time machine and go back in history. This journey will reveal that what we are reaping today is the fruit of what we sowed in 1990s by bringing U-turn in our policy toward Afghanistan. Continuous meddling in the internal affairs of Afghanistan on part of Pakistan and the US, along with Pakistan’s role as front-line ally of USA and playing the central role in arming Afghan jihadi groups against Russia is another aspect of the story. It is the period when Pakistan saw the rise of Kalashnikov and AK-47 culture which is now a tool in the hands of students as well.
It is used in student movements, ethnic and sectarian clashes, kidnapping, robberies, target killings, and militant uprising just to make Pakistan an anarchic state.
Subsequently, with launch of a guerilla war against Soviets in Afghanistan on the behest of US, Pakistan was seeking strategic depth in Afghanistan to counter Indian activities (though Indian intelligence outfits are still there in Afghanistan in form of Indian consulates). US wants to reach warm waters as this can provide it with access to central Asian Republics, the heartland of Asia since the time of Alexander the Great. It is in this context that Gwadar Port and Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean is not digestible for US-India-Israel nexus and they are in constant deliberations to break this dream of the Dragon. Pakistan is confronted with security crisis along with a number of other worst crises. This is depicted in the Human Security Chart issued by Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies. It is further shown that the nature of terrorist attacks in last some months reveal a mix trend including suicide attacks, target killings though many militants were killed in operational by security forces.
Despite the role of Pakistan as a frontline state in US-led war on terror, Pakistan is incessantly asked, rather pressurized to ‘do more’ in order to destroy the safe havens of terrorists in tribal belt. This sometimes becomes a precondition to get foreign aid. However, till today, this aid is purely available to Pakistan Army and all governments for defence purposes. The very word to ‘do more’ is the embodiment of trust deficit between US Intelligence Agencies and their Pakistani equals specifically ISI which is under undue criticism and propaganda by foreign intelligence agencies.
‘There is no way that the international effort in Afghanistan can succeed unless Pakistan can get its western tribal belt under control.’
Radicalization of Pakistani society in Zia era, misuse of Islam by Jihadi groups on American payroll, lack of check and balance on Madrassah system where extremist and fanatic ideas are incorporated in the minds of poor and illiterate youngsters, extreme poverty, unemployment, illegal weapons along with the government’s unwillingness to tackle these issues depict the precarious nature of Pakistan’s stability. As far as the military operation in FATA is concerned, one should keep in mind the words of Lord Curzon, who at the end of 19th century said:
Dialogue with Pakistani Taliban and militants in Balochistan should be the course to address the security issues as both the World Wars were settled on the negotiations table and not in the battlefield. Furthermore, for the amelioration of security system in Pakistan, laws governing the manufacture, sale, transfer and licensing of arms and ammunition should be given importance and checked vigilantly by security forces. In addition, role of agencies should be made more effective, ISI should keep all the data of foreigners residing in Pakistan and all political parties should build consensus on action against militants so that Pakistan may prosper and get a respectable position in the world community.