Acquittal of Hafiz Saeed by Lahore High Court is a slap on the face of the US and the UN. They have classified Saeed’s organization JuD as a terrorist group and forefront organization for terrorist outfit LeT responsible for 26/11 Mumbai attack in which 166 innocent persons including six American nationals were killed.
America’s demand that Pakistan should re-arrest Saeed and put him on trial for masterminding Mumbai carnage is ludicrous and comic. Islamabad knows that India is worth just a lollypop from Trump’s Pandora box. Let it be. Moreover, the US is not that naive to believe that Pakistani courts are professionally honest. Can the judiciary of a country, in which elected governments are overthrown by military dictators, enjoy the independence of delivering impartial judgment? Does not the US know that over the years it has massively contributed to Pakistani army concentrating power in its hands while allowing the politicos of that country wear the mask of democracy? Who has made GHQ what it is? And who is the US befooling by issuing comic statements? No sensible politician will even remotely think that re-trial of Saeed will not and cannot result in anything different from the verdict of Lahore High Court.
No other country in the world has mastered the art of duplicity as perfectly as Pakistan has. Mark how Pakistani ruling circles wear the mask of duplicity to mislead the world. While speaking at Asia Society in New York, Pakistan’s proxy Prime Minister Khwaja Asif said, “Hafiz Saeed is a liability” He termed Haqqani also a liability and added that Pakistan needs time to get rid of these liabilities.
Khwaja Asif indirectly wants to say that it is the court decision that has set Saeed free and Pakistan being a democracy respects independence of judiciary. This is the camouflage to hide real intentions. One may ask Khwaja Asif if you really think Saeed is a liability, why Pakistan government did not present charge sheet against him in the court of law. The court released him because there was no charge sheet. Obviously, it was with the understanding of the court that no charges were filed and the path of his release was kept clear. This is how Pakistan can hoodwink the world at large.
Knowing that the court had decided to release Saeed from detention, Pakistani made one more fake gesture of requesting the court to keep him under detention “because he was a threat to public safety.” Where did the threat to public safety evaporate in thin air when Saeed, after his release, immediately said he will campaign all over Pakistan for liberating Kashmir? Doesn’t that suit the Pakistan’s deeply indoctrinated public, judiciary, executive and the government? Is Hafiz Saeed a threat to the public safety or a guardian of public interests as he claims? Where then is the threat to public safety?
Pakistan’s terrorism related policy can best be summed up in the phrase hunting with the hound and running with the hare. It is best reflected in former President Musharraf’s response to the then American President Bush in the context of 9/11 that Pakistan is “with the US” Today, America is haunted by Haqqani, Taliban and other armed groups nurtured by Pakistan in her safe havens. If Americans had not handled Pak military establishment with kid gloves, It would have been saved the humiliation of putting a prize of millions of dollars on the heads of terrorists of its own creation like Hafiz and Haqqani. Why the US is not Saddamizing or Ladenizing known security threats like Haqqani, Saeed, Azhar and others instead of dispatching envoy after envoy to Kabul and GHQ to sue for peace on their terms.
We know the inside of this narrative. Firstly because neither Saddam nor Osama was the creation of ISI while Haqqani, Saeed, Azhar and others of the ilk are the creation of CIA directly or indirectly. During the Afghan mujahedeen war against Soviet Union, these goons and many more were the apple of Pentagon’s eye. Secondly, and more importantly, these “designated” terrorists on Pakistani or Afghan soil are the blue-eyed boys of Saudi monarchy, fully patronized by that country’s secret agencies.
The importance and relevance of these jihadists increased manifold for the Saudi monarchy way back in 1979 when Iranian religious potentate Ayatollah Khomeini publicly announced export of Iranian Islamic revolution world over as the formal policy of the theocratic Islamic State of Iran. Saudi monarchy considered the slogan squarely directed against it. Khomeini substantiated the policy by asserting that the Saudi monarchy cannot claim to be the sole custodians of the holy sanctuary (bait-ul haram).
On the prompting of the US, Pakistan army agreed to deploy almost a full Brigade of its fighting force to be the bodyguard of the Saudi monarchy. Maintenance and salaries of the contingent are debited to the State Exchequer of Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, the reason why the US turned away her head on knowing that Pakistan was preparing to produce nuclear device should be probed into. The question is why the US came down heavily on Teheran for its “fault” of producing nuclear weapon but turned Nelson\s eye towards the identical adventure by Pakistan many y ears ago. The answer is that Pakistan said she was producing an “Islamic bomb” and its cost was met by the Saudis. Replace Islam with Saudi monarchy in the catch “Islamic bomb” and the cat walks out of the bag. Nuclearized Pakistan became deterrent to India and forewarning to Iran. Now that Iran is heading towards nuclear country status, Pakistan has shed its Islamic nuclear hegemonic status and is trying to mend fence with Iran.
Therefore in terms of realpolitik American warnings to Pakistan for its role as the fountain head of world terrorism is nothing more than symbolic This is a long drawn love-hate story between these two countries. Nothing extraordinary should be expected out of this spat. The US has indirectly accepted the jihadi legions of Pakistan as the “frontline of Pakistan’s defence against Indian invasion” as Pakistani Generals have often said. By offering huge annual military grants to Pakistan, the US is indirectly supporting the Theo-fascist outfits in Pakistan who survive on the crumbs thrown to them by Pakistani Generals.
The crucial question which Saeed’s release and his anti-India vitriolic raise is this: how is India going to react to the scenario? Saeed’s assertions have immensely boosted the spirit of Kashmiris who are “outright dissenters” and not “alienated” ones as the Indian authorities would feign to profile them. We hope the special envoy of the Government of India, now making hectic exercise of telling Kashmiri dissenters not to look to Pakistan and remain content with India will not fail to gauge the impact of Saeed’s outpouring.
India should not be under any misunderstanding that her peace gimmicks will blunt the sharp edge of Kashmir Theo-fascism. The envoy must understand that when he meets with the groups of Kashmiris or with Kashmiri individuals, he is meeting the Islamic missionaries. We hope before burning more midnight oil he should try to read the writing on the wall. We do not mean to underestimate his mission we only want him to equip himself with harsh realities on the ground and dovetail his approach accordingly lest another fiasco is added to various earlier fiascos.
(The writer is the former Director of
the Centre of Central Asian Studies,
University of Kashmir, Srinagar)