For all the lies that Pakistan has been caught out on in recent years on its duplicitous approach to dealing with terror emanating from its soil, it deserves five sterling Pinochhios. The benighted country today has a nose so long it cannot hide it anywhere, and even its “friends and allies” – such as they are – have had enough of its endless lies.
Yet, even today, Pakistan doesn’t appear to have realised that it has become inextricably entangled in its web of intrigues and deceit. After all, this is the same country that continues to claim that its army and intelligence authorities didn’t know of Osama bin Laden’s presence in the very heart of the Pakistani military complex.
And particularly after India scored a major security triumph last week by securing Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal from Saudi Arabia, one of Pakistan’s staunchest allies, the minds of Pakistan’s hate-mongering leaders have become even more unhinged.
Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik sought on Wednesday to portray the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, masterminded by the ISI and carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, as an Indian conspiracy.
This despite the overwhelming evidence that has been established in international courts of law, including in the trial in Chicago of US-Pak double agent David Headley, to nail Pakistani intelligence complicity in the November 2008 terror attack.
The very real prospect that Ansari, who was orchestrating that terror attack from a Karachi control room, will now spill yet more embarrassing details of Pakistani involvement has evidently had ISI operatives quaking in their boots. Which explains why even a minister in Pakistan’s civilian government, which itself has been feeling the heat of efforts by the Pakistan army and the ISI to discredit and unseat it, has come out batting for the ISI.
Malik was responding to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s forthright statement that Ansari’s confessional statement had validated India’s repeated claim that the Pakistani state was involved in the 26/11 terror attack.
India’s success in securing Ansari’s extradition from Saudi Arabia, despite Pakistan’s efforts to thwart it, is laden with enormous significance for Pakistan in a way that it has perhaps not realised just yet. Although there is yet no pattern to establish that Saudi Arabia’s cooperation with India in counter-terrorism efforts will go beyond such specific transactions (as with Ansari’s extradition), it could be the start of something big.
As Col (Retd) Anil Athale observes (here), “this coming close of India and Saudi Arabia – and, more importantly, Saudi Arabia distancing itself from Pakistan terror project in India – is an event of tectonic proportions.”
Piecing together geostrategic jigsaw puzzles, Athale points out that by delivering Ansari to India, Saudi Arabia was acknowledging India’s efforts (under US persuasion) to scale back oil imports from Iran, whose nuclearisation project represents a clear and present danger to the Saudis.
But given the tradition of Saudi-Pakistani relations, the Ansari transaction also holds out other portents, Athale adds. ”Most analysts accept that Pakistan nukes would be available to Saudi Arabia against Iran,” he poinst out. “That Saudi Arabia has chosen to annoy its principal hedge against Iran nukes is an event of very significant importance.”
Athale speculates that the perception that Saudi Arabia has “lost confidence in Pakistani nukes” may be a signal that the US has managed to “neutralise” – and is a perhaps a “prelude to de-fanging” of Pakistan’s nuclear teeth.
There is yet more evidence of mounting international frustration at Pakistan’s duplicity in fighting terror. Strategist Christine Fair points to similar sentiments in the US.
“Those in Washington who steadfastly believed that, with enough patience and assistance, Pakistan could slowly be transformed into a responsible partner for some modicum of stability in South Asia have been chagrined by a sorry trail of persistent perfidy,” she notes.
“Many in Washington have told me that “we are ‘this close’ to bombing them,” yet the Pakistanis continue to somnambulate in the dream of their country’s own importance.”
Fair points to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent candid comments in New Delhi and Kabul -in which he said that Washington was exhausted with Pakistan’s various ruses – as another warning signal that Pakistan has failed to heed. Her conclusion: some 11 years after the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan seems “a whole lot more dangerous than it was on Sept. 10, 2001.”
In recent weeks, one of Pakistan’s other steadfast allies – China – too has come in for pointed criticism over its continuing support for Pakistan’s nuclear programme, evidently as a strategic hedge against India.
At the annual plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in Seattle last week, China came under pressure from Western diplomats to account for its plans to expand nuclear cooperation with Pakistan (more details here). China, however, rebuffed those efforts, indicating that it would not reconsider its position on building two more nuclear reactors at the Chashma nuclear power complex.
Yet, even China has been compelled to point to the origins from within Pakistan of terrorism in China’s troubled Xinjiang region. Which just goes to show that for all its “all-weather alliance” with Pakistan, China too has begun to feel the heat of jihadi terror emanating from Pakistan and will, at some point, be compelled to act against it – in the way that Saudi Arabia had today.
Pakistan’s web of lies, and its embrace of jihadi terror as an instrument of state policy to advance its strategic interests, have outlived their utility. They may have created the illusion that they were working to Pakistan’s advantage, but they are now beginning to backfire on the hand that fed them. Pakistan’s lies are coming apart at the seams – and everyone except its accursed leaders can see its Pinocchio nose a mile off.