While Gen. Sharif is hard on terrorists who attack Pakistan, he has his uses in continuation of the old India-centric military policy of ‘death by a thousand cuts’… The Army is not on the same page as the civilian leadership that favors talks with India.
While Gen. Sharif is hard on terrorists who attack Pakistan, he has his uses for India-centric terrorists in continuation of the old Pakistan military policy of “death by a thousand cuts”. Indian intelligence agencies seem agreed that the Pakistani Army is not on the same page as the civilian leadership that favors talks with India.
Echoing the Saudi policy of diverting its internal jihadi terrorist proclivities overseas, the Pakistan Army has adopted a similar stance. It is harsh on domestic terrorism while it nurtures terrorist armies for its India policy by other means. Indian intelligence agencies say that since December 2014, the Inter-Services Intelligence has been working on reviving the fortunes of the Jaish-e-Mohammad by merging it with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which had been staging attacks inside Pakistan. By merging the two, the Pakistan military establishment is ensuring that the energies of the Jaish is committed to fighting against India and not in Pakistan.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad has Indian antecedents. Maulana Masood Azhar set it up in March 2000 after his release from Jammu prison in exchange for passengers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, which was hijacked and was taken to Kandahar The hugely empowered Jaish-e-Mohammad launched the 2001 attack on India’s Parliament. Seemingly bowing down to India’s pressure in January 2002, the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf “banned” the group. The Jaish responded by changing its name to Khuddam ul-Islam. The Jaish-e-Mohammad has assumed its original name now. A giant mural over the entrance of its headquarters at Bahawalpur in Pakistan’s Punjabi heartland loudly proclaims, “To Delhi, O’ Hindus, the army of the Prophet will soon return.”
The Jaish-e-Mohammad is no Kashmiri group seeking just Jammu & Kashmir’s annexation by Pakistan, but a group with the larger objective of establishing a Nizam-e-Shariat over India. The Pakistan Army may not be too keen on a Nizam-e-Shariat in Pakistan, but it will not pass up any opportunity to wreak vengeance over India for its string of defeats in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999.
The writer is a policy analyst studying economic and security issues in India.