Imran’s offer rings hollow

It is absurd to seek evidence when a terror outfit operating on Pakistani soil owns up responsibility

AuthorPublished: 26th Feb 2019  12:08 amUpdated: 25th Feb 2019  8:49 pm

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan asking India to provide ‘actionable intelligence’ on the Pulwama terror attack rings hollow in the wake of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claiming responsibility for the dastardly act. When a terror outfit operating on Pakistani soil owns up responsibility and continues to threaten India with more such attacks, it would be preposterous to seek evidence from the neighbouring country. Khan’s offer to investigate the attack is nothing but a lame excuse coming from a figurehead who is completely in the grip of the all-powerful military establishment and has no control over the foreign policy matters of his country. The entire world knows that JeM leader Masood Azhar is based in Pakistan and even makes repeated public appearances issuing threats to India. One wonders what more proof does Pakistan need to take action against him and his outfit. The experience shows that Pakistan never bothered to rein in the anti-India terror outfits operating from its soil. In the horrific 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, enough proof was provided to Pakistan. Despite this, the case has not progressed for the last more than 10 years. Similarly, on the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in Punjab, there has been no progress. Given such a poor track record of Islamabad, the latest promise of a guaranteed action evokes no confidence. Imran’s plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give peace a chance” lacks sincerity as it comes in the light of growing international pressure on Islamabad to dismantle the terror networks.

It is time Imran dropped his mask of innocence and acknowledged the harsh reality that the Pulwama attack was planned in his own country with the patronage of the Rawalpindi bosses. He should now walk the talk on terrorism issue in the interest of ‘Naya Pakistan’ that he had promised to the people and in the interest of normalising relations with India. It must be noted that Imran has been a supporter of the extremist outfits targeting India. He had, in fact, moved an adjournment notice against the ban on Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) headed by the Mumbai terror attack mastermind and UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed. Such duplicity will not take Pakistan anywhere as it already stands isolated globally on the issue of terrorism. It is an open secret that Imran has been a blue-eyed boy of Pakistan’s army, which has held direct power for nearly half of the country’s 70-year existence and enjoyed a disproportionately larger role in politics when not in direct control. For all his friendly gestures and the promise of taking “two steps forward, if India takes one”, Imran is yet to come up with any plan on ending the practice of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.