Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 14:55:25

Dreading Trump ban, will Pakistan become ‘pak’?

Updated: February 19, 2017 7:16 pm

The real rulers of Pakistan, the Army Generals and the mentors and exporters of terrorists all across the world, the ISI, were definitely jolted by Donald Trump’s banning entry of people from seven Muslim countries  — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. This meant a total of 21 crore people were deprived of the right to travel to the US and take advantage from the huge opportunities available there in every field, the crucial ones being medicine, science, environment and modern infrastructure.

“The reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country,” Chief of Staff Rience Priebus told CBS News. The banned countries, indeed, become a pariah in the world, as untouchable, for other countries hesitate to deal with them and look at their people with suspicion. Pakistan already has the dubious distinction of the ‘madarassa’ of the potential suicide bombers or hijackers.

The pilots who hijacked the planes and the armed terrorists who held the passengers ‘prisoners’ for the 9/11 attack on America had advanced training in Pakistan.

This is why political commentators were intrigued as to why Trump left out Pakistan, which is virtually epicentre of terrorism. But escaping from inclusion in the first list did not preclude Pakistan to get banned in the next. Priebus said, “Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people travelling in and out of those countries.”

This was for the first time that the Trump Administration  publicly acknowledged about considering putting Pakistan into that list. This must have sent shivers down the spines of Generals whose power and say in the administration is based on the premise that if the Army was not given supreme power and was not fighting fit, India would swallow it. This is utter nonsense, all conflicts have been started by Pakistan, but it is easy to make people believe any fib, by putting gun on their forehead.  Even, presently, according to the executive order, visitors from countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan are subject to extreme vetting. A Pakistani retired ambassador said even before Trump, visa processing of a Pakistani could take months.

Pakistan was most possibly in Priebus’s mind when he asserted that Americans have to be protected first. “These are countries that harbour and train terrorists. These are countries that we want to know who is coming and going in and out of to prevent calamities from happening in this country.

“We’re not willing to be wrong on this subject. President Trump is not willing to take chances on this subject. He was elected president in many respects because people knew that he was going to be tough on immigration from countries that harbour terrorists,” Priebus said.

Reliable sources said that the Pakistani ambassador to the US sought advice from America’s Permanent Representative as to what his country should do to convince Trump Administration that it was not colluding with terror outfits. It is said that he was told that Islamabad should act quickly and take some drastic punitive measure  against any leader of some terror outfit. He was also advised that claims that terror groups do not exist in Pakistan would only worsen its case.

This talk, one is told, took place sometime in mid-January and suddenly before the month was out we heard Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba and head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, was put under house arrest. The report emanating from Punjab Governor’s office said that Pakistani police have placed Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind of coordinated attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed more than 160 people, under house arrest in the eastern city of Lahore.

Saeed was taken into custody at the headquarters for Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the religious charity he heads. “He has been arrested, and he is being taken in police custody to his home,” Nadeem Awan of JuD told Al Jazeera.

“We have received the detention orders from the government of Pakistan, and I believe that this is not aimed at me, but is an international conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the Kashmir struggle, “Saeed told reporters. “This is the wish of [Indian PM Narendra] Modi, at the prompting of [US President Donald] Trump, and the government’s helplessness.”

Does the arrest of Saeed mean that Pakistan, albeit due to Trump’s fear, is trying to purge itself of the elements that have brought it on the brink of being declared a terrorist state ? Is its first step .towards‘purification’ and to justify its name Pak—istan? This is hard to believe. The Army needs Saeed for the terror onslaughts on India. The house arrest of Saeed seems to be a ploy to show Trump that Pakistan is serious in uprooting terror networks.

Will it fool Trump and his advisers? At least India has seen through the Pak’s guile. The Indian government bluntly told Pakistan to prove its seriousness by starting Saeed’s prosecution.  The fact is that Pakistan has tried to be devious.

The detention was ordered under a section which is challengeable and he can be out within weeks or a couple of months.

One has to wait for the reaction of the Trump Administration, whether it believes the Pakistani Generals have tried to hoodwink it or the Army being really apprehensive of the US action is genuinely trying to contain terror activities in the country. Trump will possibly give his view on Saeed’s arrest after the courts give their judgement on his order banning the entry of people from seven Muslim countries. A security analyst in Islamabad, who did not want to be named, was quoted as saying that China too had nudged Pakistan on the need to act against wanted terrorists. “Apart from the pressure publicly exerted by Washington, Beijing has been quietly pushing Islamabad to act against these people. This could possibly have been a bigger factor in recent developments,” the analyst told Hindustan Times.

It was also said that the US used a recent report by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), an associate body of the Financial Action Task Force, that referred to the activities and financing of the JuD to push for action against Saeed. But questions remain about Pakistan’s ultimate goal and real intentions in taking action against the JuD and its chief. For one, the order issued on January 29 by Pakistan’s interior ministry for action against JuD and its front, the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), states these organizations have been listed in the Second Schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act. This means there has been no real change in the status of the two organisations – they will only be on an official “watch list” – and there is still no ban on them. The FIF will be on the watch list for only six months, though the period can be subsequently extended.

Two, the interior ministry’s orders offered no evidence against Saeed and the others detained or the two organisations. They also did not cite specific violations of the law and only contained vague references that the actions of the organisations

“may be concerned in terrorism”. Under these circumstances, Saeed’s lawyers – among the best in Lahore – will face no problems in approaching the courts and getting the detention order revoked.

“The government has moved in the right direction but it remains to be seen if this action will be sustained or if Saeed is free whether he goes back to his activities within weeks or months,” the security analyst said. Earlier too Saeed had been arrested but was out quickly and back to hector and threaten India.

He was completely free and roam around in Lahore. He in fact was and is the most valuable ally of the ISI. He provides brain-washed young men to the ISI, which trains them for terrorism in India.

It is indeed difficult to believe the ISI and the Pakistani Army Generals will force closure of terrorists training camps in PoK or genuinely let its ally Saeed be convicted. And it is impossible that the Generals will ever be able to get over their hatred for India. They have attacked India four times. And they devote most of their energy in devising ways to infiltrate and to entice some in India, by giving huge amounts of money, mostly fake notes, to aid and abet terrorists who crossover for sabotaging and subversion. In the Mumbai terror attack, it was suspected that the terrorists had local support.

The mindset of successive generation of Generals has constantly been anti-India, for they have always believed  Lord Mountbatten was partial to Nehru and did not give the Valley to Pakistan, although it had Muslim majority. Since its inception, Pakistan has been trying to grab it, starting from 1948. In fact, both its foreign and domestic policies have revolved round the issue of Kashmir.

Pakistan has vital interest in Afghanistan and has links with the Taliban there, and it is known to take to violence to achieve its objectives. With such company and almost maniacal hatred of India, Pakistan can never  become a peace-loving country and delink with the likes of Saeeds. It will remain ‘pak’ only in name.

Trump may add it to the list of seven banned countries. But it has China to prop it up. Only if Tumps stops financial aid, Pakistan would be forced to live and let live in peace. Otherwise, peace and amity are not in its genes.

by Vijay Dutt

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