26 Dec 2022  |   04:44am IST

Snakes in Pak’s backyard biting its own people

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton found a mention in Foreign Minister S Jaishankar's comments on Pakistan over terrorism as he cited an anecdote from her visit to the nation.

Responding to a question on Pakistan minister Hina Rabbani Khar's recent statements about a dossier on India, Jaishankar recalled Clinton's Pakistan 2011 visit when she drew a "snake" analogy to emphasise on the need to curb terrorism.

“I read the reports on what Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said. And I was reminded, more than a decade ago, my memory serves me right. Hillary Clinton was visiting Pakistan and Hina Rabbani Khar was a minister at that time. Standing next to her, Hillary Clinton actually said that if you have snakes in your backyard, you can’t expect them to bite only your neighbours. Eventually, they will bite the people who keep them in the backyard. But as you know, Pakistan is not great at taking good advice. You see what’s happening there,” Jaishankar was heard saying in New York while addressing reporters at the UN Security Council. 

The seeds of Pakistan’s tryst with terror actually were sown after Pakistan’s debacle in 1971 war. Pakistan got divided. East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Since then, Pakistani leadership, led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had pledged to bleed India with 1000 cuts. It sensed the opportunity to do so during the height of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.

This brought in America and its allies, including Saudi Arabia and China, and what is now called the Af-Pak region became the hottest battlefield of the Cold War. Pakistan was their most able ally. This started the process of arming the tribal groups of Afghanistan, who came to be known as Taliban. Pakistani dictator Zia-ul Haq injected heavy doses of extremist Islam into the society and started jihad.

Armed heavily with modern weapon systems supplied by the US, the Taliban inflicted heavy casualties on the USSR's Red Army for the next 10 years. Finally, the Soviets had to leave Afghanistan. Now, Pakistan turned these jihadists from Afghanistan towards India. Thus he waged a lengthy proxy war against India, starting with Punjab, then Kashmir.

But at that time, the standard of living that Pakistanis had was much higher than India. Pakistan’s per capita income then was about 60 per cent higher than India’s. Now, the average Indian earns about 25 per cent more than the Pakistani.

That gap is increasing every year. The Indian economy is growing by about three percentage points faster than Pakistan’s. It waged a limited scale war on India in 1999 at Kargil sector, used terrorists to attack India’s Parliament, engineered 26/11 terror attacks, Pathankot airbase attack, Uri and Pulwama.

But at the same time, the people of Balochistan were revolting against Pakistan. The same Taliban created by Pakistan with help of America, first stung the super power and now are biting the Pakistanis. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a splinter group of Afghan Taliban has been literally waging a war on Pakistan’s western front.

So, the same snakes that were allowed to flourish in its backyard are now biting the Pakistanis. Between 2000 and 2019, 64,000 people have died in Pakistan due to terror attacks, according to the South Asia Terrorism Portal. Amongst killed included nearly 23,000 civilians, 7,000 security forces personnel and 34000 terrorists.

For all these years, while the Pakistani establishment has been busy inflicting wounds on India, it ignored the fact the militant groups were bleeding them too. Then, on 16 December 2014, six gunmen affiliated with the TTP conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in the north western Pakistani city of Peshawar.

The militants, all of whom were foreign nationals, comprising one Chechen, three Arabs and two Afghans, entered the school and opened fire on school staff and children, killing 149 people including 132 school children ranging between eight and eighteen years of age, making it the world's fourth deadliest school massacre.

Pakistan renewed its operations against militant groups, while fomenting terrorism in India.  Pakistan was on the “grey list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) from 2018 till late 2022. FATF maintains a "grey list" of countries that it watches closely. In essence, these are countries that have, in the assessment of the FATF, failed to prevent international money laundering and terrorist financing, and are, therefore, on a global watchlist for bad behaviour.

Today, it has exhausted all its funds that it received as foreign aid for the war on terror led by the US by funding terror groups against India. It is a debt-ridden economy.

In 50 years, Pakistan lost its pre-eminence in the Islamic world. The Arabs are reluctant to bail out a debt-ridden country, Iran is hostile. In the past 30, it has lost its campaigns in Indian Punjab and Kashmir, the value of 1 US dollar is equal to 225 Pakistani Rupees. Pakistan has almost buried itself in the hole it dug up for India.

In its blind hatred for India, the Pakistani establishment has pushed the country towards becoming a failed State.