Which terrorists is Pakistan fighting against?

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 03:20 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 141 times

US President Donald Trump’s harsh criticism of, and warnings to, Pakistan during the announcement of his new Afghan strategy, as well as some of his subsequent actions invited strong reactions from Pakistani officials. While at least Afghans still cannot trust the honesty of Washington’s seriousness towards Islamabad, the verbal clash between American and Pakistani officials continues unabated. 

 

Just lately, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has warned the United States against imposition of sanctions on Pakistani officials, stressing that such restrictions on Pakistani intelligence and military officials won’t prove helpful in the war in terror. He has claimed that Pakistan was fighting terrorism, and creating any obstacle to the country would only hurt the United States. 

Since the beginning of the global war on terrorism, Pakistan has played double game. On the one side, it is supporting terrorists, but on the other side it is trying to portray itself as a victim of terrorism. Islamabad continues to use terror groups as proxy forces to protect its interests, and state-sponsorship of terrorists remains a key element of Pakistan's foreign policy. Moreover, Islamabad is still pursuing to achieve its goals in some regional countries, especially Afghanistan, through the use of terror elements. 

Nonetheless, Pakistani officials always claim to have made a lot of sacrifices in the fight against terrorists, and any action by the international community against Pakistan will hurt the struggle. Pakistan’s argument is right to some extent as it is fighting terrorists who are against its interests. All the operations conducted by Pakistani army against insurgents so far have only targeted fighters who are out of the control of the country’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and have posed a threat to Pakistan’s interests. The militant groups who are launching terror attacks in Afghanistan or India still have sanctuaries in major Pakistani cities, and enjoy state support. 

 

For over a decade and a half now, Pakistan has both received billions of dollars in military and civilian aid as an ally of the west in the war on terror, and secretly pursued its goals in the region by supporting terror outfits.  The time has now come for the country to pay the price of playing double game, and pave the way for a lasting stability in the region.