Special Report

Pakistan cornered globally

Pakistan cornered globally

While rival politicians are engaged in meaningless recriminations over the actual number of those killed in the post-Pulwama air strikes, the real story is the way India is succeeding in isolating Pakistan for the very first time in key foreign capitals. Gone is the neutrality on such terror attacks displayed earlier by the US. The most powerful nation now unhesitatingly demands that Pakistan take action against the terrorists it harbours in its backyard and ensure that its soil is not used to attack India or others by the jihadi elements. The French in fact took the lead in moving a resolution in the United Nations Security Council condemning the Jaish-e-Mohammed by name and asking Pakistan to proceed against it.

What is more, for the very first time China dropped its opposition to naming Pakistan as the source of jihadi terror and, despite initial reservations, went along with other members of the UNSC to retain JeM in the condemnatory statement. Britain, too, has been standing with India when it comes to ticking off Pakistan for its sponsorship of Islamist terror. Equally surprising was the way Saudi Arabia supported India in its fight against Pakistan’s terror exports. The visit of the Saudi Crown Prince accompanied by his foreign minister resulted in a strong statement in this regard. That Saudis are the chief patrons of Pakistan without whose financial assistance Pakistan would have long ago become bankrupt is undeniable. Only a couple of weeks ago, Saudi Arabia rescued Pakistan from being declared a defaulter by an emergency infusion of $20 billion.

Yet, it too refuses to be seen supporting the jihadis who are used by Pakistan to create mayhem against India. Meanwhile, China is under pressure to support other members of the UNSC to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. It still has some reservations, having blocked such a move three times in the past. Pakistan relies it on it not to ditch it when otherwise its isolation in the global body is near-complete. But China too has to appear to be impartial on fighting terror. Its dogged support of Pakistan in the UNSC on Azahar Masood shows it in poor light. Besides, the gains of the one-to-one talks between Xi Jinping and Modi in the Chinese resort town of Wuhan a few months ago could not be so easily jeopardized for a notorious terror-master who is condemned by the entire global community barring China. Maybe when the matter comes up for discussion in the UNSC, China would have found some way out of its predicament. However, the foreign powers need to take the Pakistani claim that it has taken stern action against JeM and arrested its leaders with a tonne of salt. It is a complete eyewash, meant to hoodwink the world. Pakistan Foreign Minister goes about telling foreign news channels that Azhar is sick, `very unwell’, while everyone knows that he is the hands-on boss of the terrorist outfit. After the Pulwama attack, news reports mentioned Azhar being sheltered by the ISI in a safe house.

Meanwhile, the claim by Imran Khan that he released the Indian pilot, Abhinandan Varthaman as a gesture of goodwill and wanted India to resume the dialogue with Pakistan has been exposed to be untrue. Pakistan released Abhinandan under the US pressure. A report in a contemporary mentioned how the State Department directed the US Central Command Commander Joseph Votel to ‘persuade’ the Pak Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to release the Indian pilot in order to deescalate the situation. US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had left Pakistan in no doubt in their own statements that this was the least it could do if it wanted to prevent escalation. In sum, given the way India handled the post-Pulwama situation in all its varied facets, it is a surprise that the Opposition raises mostly irrelevant questions more to try and find something to comfort itself than to help clarify the actual events after the suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF men.



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