Pakistan steps up with India in fight against terrorism – The Diplomat

FILE – In this June 23, 2021 file photo, a rescue worker surveys the site of the explosion in Lahore, Pakistan.

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A number of developments in Pakistan over the past week point to a visible shift in Pakistan’s policy towards India, particularly on the issue of New Delhi’s alleged involvement in promoting militancy in the country.

Earlier this week, Pakistani Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah claimed that Indian intelligence, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), was behind the 2021 bombing near the residence of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed in Lahore stuck. Saeed is accused of directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166. Saeed has denied the allegation.

According to Sanaullah’s press, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar held a press conference in which she claimed “no country has used terrorism better than India” and called on the international community to take note of New Delhi’s attempts to weaken Pakistan .

As well as raising the issue domestically, Pakistan appears to have launched a renewed diplomatic offensive to convince the international community that India is a perpetrator rather than a victim of terrorism in the region. “To exploit the world’s attention to terrorism and play the victim, no country has benefited better than India,” Khar stressed during the press conference.

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As expected, the country’s foreign ministry quickly moved the conversation forward. Two days ago, Pakistan’s newly appointed foreign minister, Asad Majeed Khan, briefed Islamabad’s diplomatic corps, including envoys from the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), on India’s alleged terror fomentation in Pakistan.

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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took the matter to the UN, where he met Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar was involved in a war of words over terrorism allegations. Responding to Jaishankar’s allegations of terrorism against Pakistan when he spoke to reporters at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, Bilawal said: “I would like to report to India that Osama bin Laden has been killed while the Gujarat butcher is still alive and he it is the Prime Minister of India.”

Interestingly, both countries have clashed over the issue of militancy at a time when there are no allegations from New Delhi of militant interference across the Line of Control (LoC). The development is all the more interesting as it comes at a time when there are no clashes between the Pakistani and Indian military anywhere.

Several reasons explain the timing of Pakistan’s renewed efforts to up the ante against India. A government official told The Diplomat, on condition of anonymity, that Pakistan’s diplomatic offensive against India on the issue of terrorism may herald a change in policy from the new military leadership in the country. “Pakistan’s new army chief, General Syed Asim Munir, appears anxious for Pakistan to take more vigorous action internationally against India’s efforts to undermine Pakistan,” the official said. According to the official, however, Islamabad’s apparent “tough stance” is not necessarily aimed at undermining back-channel contacts between the two countries. It will also not affect the existing ceasefire at the LoC.

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Perhaps Pakistan anticipated an Indian attack at the recent UNSC terrorism meeting chaired by Jaishankar and therefore felt the need to anticipate the expected Indian attack and counter it with similar or better efforts. It would have been surprising had Pakistan not made its own claims about New Delhi’s alleged involvement in terrorism ahead of the UNSC meeting on terrorism.

Islamabad regards India as one of the main brokers of terrorism in Pakistan. India is its biggest counter-terrorism challenge. It has always been a challenge for Pakistan to persuade the international community to take its charges seriously.

Pakistan’s diplomatic salvo against India has convinced many in Islamabad that the country has an opportunity to better engage the international community on the issue of Indian-backed terrorism in Pakistan, particularly in the context of zero Indian claims to border raids. A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that Jaishankar “discussed Pakistan harboring Osama Bin Laden – an issue that is now more than a decade old.” “This is encouraging for Pakistan,” he said, “as there are no new Indian allegations against Islamabad.”

This has been confirmed in one way or another by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a statement on Friday Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry, described Zardari’s comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “new low”, adding that his “uncivilized outburst appears to be a result of Pakistan’s increasing inability to use terrorists and their proxies”. In the statement, Bagchi implicitly admitted that Pakistan does not use proxies at the LoC or elsewhere — a claim that also shows that beyond trading anti-terror barbs, lines of communication between the two countries remain. This is an area Islamabad should focus on if it wants to catch up with New Delhi internationally. For example, the country should try to more aggressively market India’s inability to produce new evidence related to terrorism in order to reclaim some place in the history of terrorism around the world.

It would be interesting to see how Pakistan steps up its diplomatic efforts in this regard. In the coming days we will know more whether Islamabad’s outburst was just timed to counter the UNSC event or was part of a more focused approach by the new military leadership to show the international community that Pakistan will not lose the narrative battle. towards India.