Who targeted Hafiz Saeed : R&AW/CIA or the Chinese?
The script was categorical of fixing the entire game on the CIA and R&AW, although, it was Pakistan by the Chinese-instruction covetedto eliminate Hafiz.
A Johar-type-blast which took place on 23rd last month was not new to the Pakistani public although, the ‘the high-value target’ entangled with that intricate episode needs a vigilant decryption. The conflicting statement came out of the Pakistani establishment followed by the bomb blast; things remained very much blurred to the wider world. However, with the newer episodes unfolding, the intent behind that blast in Pakistan has started unfurling page by page; even if, the initial media trial of the intent and architect behind the blast was exhibiting scary details- with vindicated back-ups.
So far Pakistan as a State is concerned; things are ever intricate and beyond the political wisdom to cognize -things actually happenin contradiction of their depiction. Though the reasons behind this planned incident have still not outpaced, the new facets of the blast are getting gradually unboxed. And, by joining the dots of the narrated episodes, the precise assumption can be drawn clear. In specific, Pakistan reportedly traces Hafiz liable of two things; the ‘abuse of Pakistan at FATF in overt’ and ‘assassination conspiracy against its Army chief in covert’, and for which he was made subject to castigation, but survived.
While the dawn of smog is traced to few top officials in the Pakistani establishment, facts unfolding are now clear to the porch. Enough reasons are suggesting it to be utterly a clandestine plot allegedly orchestrated by ‘Army chief QamarJavedBajwa and PM Imran Khan’s hands-in-gloves. Why Imran and Bajwa kept the ISI and their respected offices out of poise, not yet evidently heated up. However, among several ins and outs, it was clearly a tactical plot, short of accountability, but to get rid of Hafiz, by means of a trivial venturing.
The Chinese Intension
At the international level, China has very much burnt its back by standing behind the Pak-sponsored global terrorists, including Hafiz, and shielding them from global actions. China expected that Hafiz would reciprocate its gestures; contrary to, Hafiz by no means was ready to fall in the Chinese line. For the reason that, China wanted the ongoing unrests in PoJK (Pakistan occupied Jammu & Kashmir) to cease- where the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) is very much passing through, but Hafiz reportedly disagreed and hunted for the opposite.
At the moment, while China is getting entangled with grim issues globally and its diplomatic arms falling short; China is barely agreeable of affording the fortification of high-value targets like Hafiz. While the conflict of interests between the Chinese and Hafiz gradually propping up; now, it is very much realised in Pakistan that, the Chinese were also part of the plot of the Johar bomb blast, with an ultimate aim to eliminate Hafiz Saeed. Of the reason, it is now believed that, while the Sino-Pak strategic arms are quite capable of handling the ensuing unrest against the CPEC project, it is Hafiz’s network- which cannot be laid-back so easy. Therefore, it was in the Chinese interest that Hafiz would be set for his final departure with an explosion.
While the unseasoned NSA to Imran keeps blaming India’s R&AWby the grace of his cunning intelligence, now it is almost nude in the picture that the blast was very much concocted with an edict of the Chinese. In fact, the blast was orchestrated with deeper Chinese involvement because the modus operandi of the attack seems so. Although it was executed by the local handlers; the script of blast stretches each of the proofs to the Chinese module. Though, the plan and execution of the blast was well within the ambit of the Chinese interior ministry with their agencies very much active, nevertheless, the Pakistani media hardly attempted into that angle.
USA’s bailout offer to Pakistan- and- Pakistan had a plan to reciprocate
Pakistan is going, noiselessly, closer to the USA as a response to the critical alteration taking place in Afghanistan with its imminent geopolitical demeanor on Pakistan. By re-cozying with the USA, Pakistan expects an instantaneous dollar outpour, so that its badly trailing economy can be sustained at the moment. While the national election is approaching in Pakistan, the public petition for reasonable economic assurance is awfully inundating on PM-Imran Khan.
All hope of international alms terminating against, the only place of leftover for Pakistan is- ‘if the USA offers’ a blank-cheque. However, this does not seem to be an easy go till Pakistan surrenders to the USA’s present-day geopolitical motivation. The problem is, there are fractions in the Pakistani power corridor, some amongst them want Pak’s China-cozying to continue, there are others, out of the obvious economic reasons, pressing Pakistan to return West-faced.
Pakistan is on the cross-road with Imran-Bajwa node is desperate to go closer to the USA and its allies. While strong lobby-set of Pak in USA begging hard with the Biden government to lift FATF sanction to which, the Biden establishment wishes to comply with, provided, Pakistan taking noticeable actions underlined by FATF, particularly onits terror-infra. Moreover, given the growing isolation of the Chinese by the dominant entities at one end, then, with the backdoor promise from Biden at other, the Imran-Bajwa-duo no more want to endure in slipup; rather find their present-day interests safeguarded by appeasing India along with its natural ally-USA in-one-go; and for so, the nonchalant way, was to sacrifice Hafiz.
Changing geopolitics and Pak’s mood-swing
The shifting global geo-politics is fundamentally altering things against Pakistan. Pakistan as a frontline state in terror-perpetration has been getting naked further. While Pakistan is badly legating to its knees to purge out its ‘terror-sponsorship treadle’; on the other end, all of its diplomatic arms and tactical nuclear blackmail have been miscarrying with abysmal outcomes. Given the mounting charge of culpability, crippling international pressure, and its diminishing economy; sacrificing Hafiz as the scapegoat perhaps was the cut-rate route for Pakistan to take up.
With the fast-changing geopolitical dynamics in and around Afghanistan, Pakistan day by day is slipping into deeper crunches. On one hand, the Taliban getting more consolidation of their reach and might, while a new type of international-alliance emerging to counter the Taliban on the other, Pakistan is on the crossroad of adopting its cognisance that how it will batter on the leads but barely outweigh the impending detriments, given India’s deeper hold in Afghanistan.
The Indo-Pak footage
With its Jihad policy in Kashmir is badly trailing, Pakistan no more considers Hafiz Saeed as an asset to be cultivated. There are obvious reasons, which credence to the Pakistani design of killing Hafiz, provided he is no more considered an asset but a horrible liability guarded of unaffordable price, with no-return-worth. While Hafiz has become highly extorting to its worry, the Pakistani establishment has lost its interest in Hafiz rather wanted to get rid of him preferably.
Hafiz Saeed had been enjoying the blue-boy status in Pakistan with impunity because of his role in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. But, India’s bold action plans conceded in that territory have almost truncated Hafiz’s scope. India’s sustained actions have drastically shortened the scope of Jihad to get ground, leaving behind hardly any room for Hafiz, the master operator of proxy-war in J&K, to continue with his traditional terror-endeavors and maintain his fecund in return. In Pakistan, the balance sheet of its ‘thousand-cut strategy’-targeted at India no more favours Hafiz as the profit maker.
While the option of Jihad in J&K has almost diminished, what Hafiz was encasing out of his Jihad has also dried up. He no more enjoys the same what he could extract from the jihad factory earlier. His shining days are over and his stake and stature in Pakistan have radically diminished. Although escaped unhurt, his social status in Pakistan was further shattered when common Pakistanis were alerted of the fact of his liableness.
Pak’s Desperation of Peace-talk with India
In the face of its existential crises, Pakistan is desperate for peace talks with India. Through backdoor diplomacy, Pakistan has very much conveyed to India that their establishment is all set to abdicate Kashmir as the prerequisite than to be guided by trade, economics, and sustained peace. Any spoiling attempt by Hafiz, Pakistan understands that, would cost it heavily. Imran is interested in peace-talk with India for other reasons. But, evidently, the Pak-PM is of his clear mind that, it is Hafiz Saeed whose terror intent could veto Pak’s touted peace initiative and would not let it transit smooth. Extradition of Hafiz to India, the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai blast, remaining as the starter to peace-talk for India; on the other hand, given ‘terrorism’ remaining the official war strategy of Pakistan, of enough reasons, Pak would never consider his abdication to India than his elimination.
Detections in quintessence
There are several interest groups for whom Hafiz is a target. Also, there are several viewpoints, which plug to the fact that Hafiz could have been attacked by the Chinese rather than the Indians. The involvement of Pakistan particularly their Army Chief is much more possible, to remember that, Hafiz is no more considered as an asset rather a serious liability. Though the assassination plot was gaged as a valid ploy to comfort the boiling international homilies, Pakistan miserably failed at both ends; the assassination plot failed, followed by Pakistan’s disapproval at FATF. To get rid of the FATF sanction- was the singular issue Pakistan fought its tooth and nail, but, the FATF report ominously did a merry-go-round and fixed Pakistan to its track record again.
When Pakistan’s terrorism asset has started severely backfiring on its own, the country is badly lacking the gut and muscle to bear that soreness. The immaculate record of terrorism has thrownPakistan into an excruciatingsuffering, so, it wantedto stage-manage the policy-revisiting show-up, by targeting Hafiz. Evidently, Pakistan wanted to sway the FATF of its binder of fighting terrorism on its soil. By orchestrating the failed assassination plot, Pakistan sensed the obvious moment to play to international sanctions.
The theatre of confrontation shifting to Baluchistan and FATA, Pakistan with its very limited asset swas reluctant to continue its proxy-warfare in J&K, to which Hafiz disagreed. Rather, he felt Imran and Bajwa were exclusively responsible for shedding his Kashmir cause. This was said to be one of the reasons that the assassination plot targeting Army chief General QamarJavedBajwa was reportedly planned by Hafiz. Then, as a matter of revenge, the Sino-Bajwa nexus scripted a very cheap plan to eliminate Hafiz but unfortunately failed.
After the Johar blast, the developments that followed in Pakistan were worth watching. The media in Pakistan, which is almost controlled by their ISI, was precisely tutoring to paint Hafiz as a liability. While Hafiz was admonished as the enemy of Imran’s Naya-Pakistan, his murder plot was further justified with flaunted revelations. Surprisingly the worst part of the game, the script, which was categorical of fixing the entire game on the CIA and R&AW, sans either success or failure of that purported plot. Given the extremely radical Pakistani society, however, Imran along with his associates-in-task shouldn’t have considered the stupidity to exterminate Hafiz in overt risking rebound from the radicals both in the civil society and inthe establishment, imperiling his vote bank with alluring the antiphons. But, being dogged-chocked of FATF’s gray list, isolated over global platforms, and shattered by the OIC, Pakistan was left with no option except to take more visible actions on the terrorists.
Coming back to the core of the argument, things can be justified with the very recent bomb blast targeting Chinese engineers in Pakistan. The nature of the bomb blast is said to have the same modus-operandi and of similar terror modules once were carried out in J&K by Hafiz’s terror-modules. “Why Hafiz targeted the Chinese engineers” credence to the argument that China was very much part of the manslaughter plan targeting Hafiz. While the update on Hafiz’s plan of revenge to further emerge clear, the things will gradually unfold to the fact that China’s deep involvement in the plot to kill Hafiz was very much factual.
By Dr. Padmalochan Dash
(The writer is ICSSR Post-Doctoral Fellow School of National Security Studies Central University, Gandhinagar)