“21st century is Asia’s century, and Asia has all it takes to achieve that. But there is one country in Asia that is working towards thwarting that vision. It is doing all it can to ensure Asia is bloodied, it is bruised by violence, falls prey to terror. Wherever terrorism is happening in Asia, the blame is on one country. Not just India, every country in Asia believes this. One country is exporting terror everywhere.”
PM Narendra Modi, Kozhikode, September 2016
“Pakistan cannot separate themselves from the Taliban and the Haqqanis. And, Taliban cannot separate themselves from Jaish, Lashkar-e- Taiba from al-Qaeda. As I said, they have created and they have been very instrumental in creating an ecosystem for terrorism in Afghanistan. They publicly go around and say they support the Afghan peace process, but covertly, they have not reduced their support, i.e. they still provide ammonium nitrate to the Taliban, which is the main material and substance which they convert into bombs and IEDs. Flow of military grade explosives to Taliban has continued unhindered. Again, we have seen military electronics for detonation of bombs and bomb-making. We have captured such equipment along with Taliban terrorists and we have traced them back to sources in Pakistan. So, we see this double-track deceptive policy, talk peace but do war. That’s what we are seeing on the ground.”
First Vice President of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, February 2021 to CNN News18
Two leaders of nations on either side of Pakistan echoing similar sentiments almost four years apart. One nation is holding back the progress of the entire neighbourhood. One nation that is identified as a refuge for terrorists and a safe haven for their operations—Pakistan. Its establishment will shamelessly use religion, drugs, deceit and deception to push violence, vitriol and hatred. A nation that has long veered from the path of development, inclusion and peaceful co-existence. Today, the Pakistani establishment finds itself reduced to a puppet, a vassal state at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party and the PLA economically, and is a slave to ‘radical clerics’ and their terror outfits politically.
Every act of terrorism in the neighbourhood today finds a connection back to Pakistan. If an Imran Khan can admit the presence of 40,000 Jihadis on Pakistani soil, one can imagine the state of affairs. Kashmir, Khalistan, Kabul. These 3Ks are the only political narrative in Pakistan today, and in this fruitless endeavour to covet what was never theirs, and will never be, the establishment and its political puppets have reduced Pakistan to a terror state. When Imran Khan led the cricket team to the World Cup, Pakistan had a growth rate and reserves better than India, whereas, today, under the very same person, Pakistan is holding out the begging bowl to the world and State intervention is necessary to regulate the price of roti, naan (flat bread). Gripped with economic strife, Pakistan is struggling to stay afloat. But even in these dire circumstances, the establishment continues to peddle terror using drug money.
Despite the world acknowledging it as a haven for terror, there is no effort to correct that. Such is the audacity of their duplicity, that terror outfits are busy with propaganda on the ground while the Pakistan government claims to world leaders that they have curbed their activities. Many of Pakistan’s polity, including their current PM, find their roots in erstwhile provinces/regions of Afghanistan. Yet, they continue to poison their roots. In the interest of billions of people in this region, the Pakistani establishment in its current form needs to be done away with. The world has to help common Pakistani people enforce a complete overhaul of the establishment and deep state that controls Pakistan politics and policy. Democracy in the true sense must return. A fully independent, elected civil government is the need of the hour. The deep-rooted terror network needs to be wiped out. The borders need to be re-drawn, occupied/encroached territories vacated. Powers vested in the Pakistan Army must be seized and the control given to the people. But most importantly, Pakistan as a nation must change the nature of its competitiveness. Rather than competing to bleed its neighbours with a thousand cuts, Pakistan must compete to build and grow faster than its neighbours. The competition has to be constructive and not destructive.
Like Amrullah Saleh said, “It is the mutual respect India has shown to Afghanistan and we have reciprocated that. So, therefore, this is an example we use with Pakistan. If you have to win hearts and minds, you don’t have to undo everything India does by IEDs, bombs and suicide bombers. Let’s copy them. If they built a dam here, you can assist us (in) building a dam there. Let’s get into a positive and constructive competition. But, unfortunately the idea is, let’s just destroy what India does peacefully and it will backfire. It has backfired.”
And, as Prime Minister Modi said, “Both our countries got freedom together. Why does India export software and yours export terrorists? I want to say that India is ready for a war… India is a ready for a war on poverty. Let both countries fight to see who would eradicate poverty first… I want to tell the youth of Pakistan, let’s have a war on ending unemployment… I want to call out to the children in Pakistan, let’s declare war on illiteracy. Let’s see who wins. Let’s declare war on infant mortality and maternal deaths.”
The ‘Proxy War’ tactics have rendered Pakistan a ‘Proxy’ in the hands of nations that want to keep this region permanently in flux as it helps them tilt the Axis of Power in their favour. It is Asia’s time with an Atmanirbhar Bharat at the helm. Pakistan can either join Bharat and its other neighbours in the path to growth or be left behind.