I resisted… I did not really want to be distracted from my ongoing essay and instead get sucked into the heated diplomatic warfare that has stormed the region over the past few days. But then came the call of compulsion from within so here I go.
First it was the terrorist attack in Iran that killed 27 IRGC personnel and then another attack in Jammu Kashmir that killed 42 Indian troops. To begin with I watched Tehran acting unhinged – a rather rare spectacle I must say – and then it was Delhi that acted demented – but that was a rather common recurrence much in keeping with Delhi’s diplomatic traditions when it comes to arch rival Pak.
Iran said or shall I say Iran yelled, she held Pakistan responsible for permitting a Salafi terrorist group by the name of Jaish-ul-Adl to carry out attacks in Iranian Sistan from her Baluchistan province. And Iran also threatened Pakistan if she did not take action against this group, Iran will take ‘appropriate measures’. Moreover Iran also indicated out loud she suspected Pakistan will not take the necessary action.
Before moving on to criticism of this rather unwise barrage of accusations, I feel compelled to add that for just a while I almost thought this was an outpouring from Delhi or Washington before it hit me this was indeed coming from Tehran. And I would also like to admit my ignorance. I hadn’t heard of this new ‘Jaish’ before. Although I guess that may have less to do with my being uninformed and more to do with the ease and the frequency with which we have witnessed such mercenary groups sprout from nowhere – well sated upon cash, arms, and drugs not to mention an occasional supply of expensive liquor – these so-called Takfiri, Salafi and Wahhabi terrorist groups have had many a home and many a name, and many a parents, nonetheless more or less the same lineage.
Since Iran has been historically mistrustful of the nature of bi-lateral relations Pakistan has had with KSA, Iranian officials appear to find it quite unchallenging to believe Pakistan has wilfully permitted the said group to continue operating from Pak-Baluchistan into Iranian-Sistan. They forget Pakistan has in fact herself suffered perhaps the most at the hands of these so-called Muslim extremist outfits since the 9/11 saga hence also fought a long and hard battle in the most unfriendly terrain on the map of the world to root out the menace of mercenary warfare from her territory. And as for Baluchistan, which is the main hub of CPEC (the Jewel of the Crown of China’s OBOR), it is perhaps the last region within Pakistan’s borders where Pak Army shall relax its vigilance or allow such miscreants to not only continue finding shelter but also the freedom to cross over the border into Iran and conduct activities that may have potentially detrimental consequences for Pak. No doubt the probability of militants crossing over from Pak into Iran and vice-versa shall always remain open given the nature of such clandestine mercenary operations, however to ask Pakistan to ‘do more’ sounds so unmistakably like Washington that it almost makes me suspicious of Iran. Truth is the Pakistan Army has for long fought out CIA-RAW funded terrorist groups in Baluchistan in order to protect and secure the province from intended destabilisation – a foreign sponsored effort aimed at cutting off Baluchistan from Pak resulting in the creation of Greater Baluchistan that will include Iranian Sistan, and also force China out of Gwadar leaving CPEC prospects for Pak-China high and dry.
Had the Pak Army not been fighting foreign funded terrorism in its own territory Kulbushan Yadav would not have been captured in 2016 and the case would not have come to world’s attention – as little as it has. Had Pak not left much undone in the diplomatic arena to highlight irrefutable evidence of direct Indian involvement in carrying out terrorist activities within her borders from a RAW backed cell operating out of Chabahar in Iran, perhaps Iran would have hesitated a little before letting loose its undue and unwise criticism. I do not remember Pak throwing a tantrum at Iran for ‘permitting’ an Indian terrorist cell operate on Iranian soil in order to conduct terrorist activities in Baluchistan. However I do remember Iranians say something on the lines “Oh we did not know this was happening. We will take care of it”.
Here it must be added India has invested heavily in Chabahar in the hope of rivalling Pak-China Gwadar endeavour and Iran has welcomed India’s investment because the region is essentially Sunni Baluch and has remained one of the most under-developed in Iran for long. For Indian RAW to conduct any sort of clandestine activity out of Chabahar is not an improbability rather India can avail from a perfect setting in order to carry out destabilising acts not only within Iran but also in Pakistan thereby embittering the relations between these two Muslim nations while serving the American agenda – after all have not Americans chosen not to sanction Arms deals with India despite continued Indian investment in Iran?
Perhaps the Iranian officials might have displayed more prudence and not used the sort of tone and language they have over the past few days had they not been highly disappointed if not angered by MBS’ visit to Pakistan with complete disregard towards Pakistan’s dire economic situation hence its priorities. Maybe and only maybe if that were not the case they would have kept the Great Game in perspective before bashing Pak for not controlling the forces of darkness that have wreaked more havoc in Pakistan than Iran can ever come close to imagining. If and only if they had connected the attack in Iran with the one that occurred the day after in Kashmir and realised this could be a multi-pronged trap namely set for Pakistan which they had walked into as accomplice.
As for the Kashmir terrorist attack let us just cut the crap and go straight to the bottom line. This attack was reportedly carried out using a vehicle loaded with explosives. And for those who know Kashmir’s is the only militant freedom movement that operates solely upon the merits of the AK47 simply because nothing more than that can be obtained by the Kashmiri freedom fighters under the siege of 700,000 Indian armed personnel, this definitely sounds like a cruel joke. How did that vehicle loaded with explosives get there? Did it cross over the most heavily guarded Line of Control in the world? Or did it simply grow out of earth in one of the dense mountain forests of Kashmir where Alim Dar, the young Kashmiri who went missing a year ago, located it and decided to explode it into the vehicle carrying Indian Armed personnel? Not just that he also left behind an audio message telling about his terrorist affiliation as is the tradition of the so-called Islamist mercenary terrorist groups in our recent history.
The first thing that hit me was this was not the style of the Kashmiri freedom fighters – this was more like ISIS and the likes. In fact I actually contemplated the probability of this being a staged act before details started to pour out. Nothing to do with my being a little brainy rather a lot to do with the fact the Indian story was just not plausible from the point of view of simple common sense. There were way too many loopholes. Yet as is always the case, India cried out loud and the world heard her without questions – what the world did not hear or chose not to hear was the anti-Pak rhetoric that went rampant on the Indian MSM asking Modi – the Butcher of Gujrat – to take revenge from Pakistan – shouting if 42 were killed the Indian Amy must kill a 100 Pak Army personnel for each one of theirs’ – perpetrating acts of violence upon Kashmiri students studying in Indian universities – kicking out Pakistani nationals with valid visit visas out of their hotels in Indian cities – removing Khan’s portrait from an Indian Cricket Club so on and so forth. I still remember myself multiplying to see how grave this could become and how far this could sprawl with the Indian General Elections ahead and the Hindutva mindset already on fire across India.
Next I thought of the possible detrimental repercussions for the people of Kashmir. And suddenly I felt my heart sinking at the thought of the Indian army lashing out with formidable force against the unarmed Muslims of Kashmir. I knew the Indian Army shall now be given free hand – not that it did not have a free hand prior to this rather staged atrocity – just that now any meek voice that was raised in the world in defence of the people of Kashmir shall be silenced and the plight of the Vale of Kashmir shall intensify a hundred folds – a tale of unmatched resilience, except of course by the Palestinians, in the face of extreme injustice.
So who was the beneficiary of the two terrorist attacks that followed in quick succession?
Pakistan. Nah… that is if common sense prevails, she is the obvious target.
Iran? Not really… it does not really make ‘common sense’ either. They acted very imprudently to say the least, but it seems safe to presume they did not have an active part to play in orchestrating the attacks.
Well that leaves us with India. And unfortunately this answer does not tend to defy common sense. Especially given the facts pertaining to the Kashmir attack that have been revealed thus far and given the tradition predominant in Delhi – Delhi, deeply envious of Khan’s diplomatic success over the past six months, was certainly seeking to isolate Pak in the world community yet again by crying wolf. Modi desperate to win the next term in office had nothing better than the ‘Pak/Kashmir card’ to play in order to ensure he cashed on the Hindutva sentiment and did not lose ground.
So yes India was most probably the culprit whose doings kicked off the latest bout of bickering in South Asia – overall nothing out of the ordinary – besides Iran going crazy – the same old shit. These provocations shall indeed turn into a regional war perhaps a decade or so down the road, but it seems unlikely that at this point in time such an escalation of regional tensions will culminate into active war. Before closing I would like to add though, I could not have imagined the intellectually advanced Iranians to indulge in such impulsive criticism. Especially after the Kashmir attack they should have thought a little more critically and tried to connect all the dots… for only a fool would think the two attacks occurred as isolated incidents.