New Delhi: The Taliban attack in a Lahore park during an Easter celebration on Sunday that claimed more than 70 lives carries a strong warning for Pakistan that it should stop differentiating between “good terrorist and bad terrorist” and stop harbouring militants to use them against India.
While security and counter-terrorism experts in India have ruled out any possible connection between the Taliban attack in Lahore and the visit of Pakistan’s joint investigation team to Pathankot, they have reiterated that Pakistan ought to stop exporting militancy to India, if it wants to have peace on its own soil.
Former chief of R&AW, CD Sahay said, “The suicide attack at the park in Lahore has nothing to do with Pakistani officials visiting Pathankot. But, it’s high time for Pakistani establishment — both army and government — to examine, analyse and recognise that they have a serious problem with terrorist groups on their soil. They should take strong action against all terror groups, and stop differentiating between a good and a bad terror group. There is a need for a cleansing operation, as we can see that terrorism has taken deep roots even in Punjab (Pakistan).”
Ajai Sahni, director, Institute of Conflict Management added, “The Lahore suicide bombing has nothing to do with Pakistani officials visiting Pathankot. It’s a routine affair in Pakistan and the attack on non-Sunnis has been going on for decades. It’s a follow up of the policy of extremists to destroy all non-Sunnis, like Shias, Ahmadiyyas, Christians, Hindus, etc who have deviant ideologies from Sunni Islam.”
After the Pakistan Army took on the Taliban in the past in North Waziristan, the group has shown signs of retaliation. The Sunday attack is an extension to it. It has again exposed Pakistan’s helplessness to deal with its ‘Frankenstein’s monster’, as the nation is in a Catch-22 situation.
Defence analyst Major-General Dhruv Katoch (retd) remarked, “The suicide attack in Lahore is retaliation to what the Pakistani establishment did at North Waziristan. To get rid of the Taliban from North Waziristan, the army bombed and ruined the town, which led to the displacement of a million people. While, the Taliban cadre and leaders escaped, the incident left a deep scar on refugees. Now the Taliban is giving it back to Pakistan by hitting where it hurts most. They want to send a message to Pakistan's army and government that 'if you attack us, we’ll destroy you'. And they have been doing so.”
“Now the battle has shifted to Punjab in Pakistan, which has been comparatively peaceful. It’s going to be a difficult game for Pakistani military to deal with the menace it created; pressure going to mount multiple times on them. Even, the huge protest rally that was taken out in Islamabad on Sunday in support of Mumtaz Qadri who was executed for the murder of reformist politician Salman Taseer demonstrates the spread of deep-rooted radical ideology in Pakistan. People at the park in Lahore were attacked because they comprised non-Wahhabis. For the Pakistan-based terrorists, it’s either Wahhabi ideology or none. It’s high time for Pakistan to come up with a pragmatic policy to deal with terrorism, without differentiating between a bad or a good terrorist as per their suitability. First and foremost, Pakistan has to stop funding terror activities across the Indian border, and in Jammu and Kashmir. The Pathankot incident was one such incident,” added Katoch, former director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies.
“It won’t be easy for Pakistan to deal with terrorism on its soil. Their society is facing turmoil. It won’t be quick either and won’t be possible without bloodshed, because the moment Pakistani establishment attacks terror groups, they will hit back just as in Lahore. India’s always ready to give a helping hand to Pakistan, but first they have to stop harbouring terrorism,” added Sahay.