ISLAMABAD: Military’s top brass accused the Indian intelligence agency RAW on Tuesday of supporting terrorism in Pakistan.
An ISPR statement on a meeting of the Corps Commanders held at the General Headquarters said: “The Conference also took serious notice of RAW’s involvement in whipping up terrorism in Pakistan.”
RAW has quite often been blamed by law-enforcement agencies for being involved in subversive activities in Pakistan, but it’s unusual for a corps commanders’ conference to directly point fingers at the hostile intelligence outfit.
It’s the second time in three weeks that the military leadership has raised the issue of activities of foreign governments and intelligence agencies in Pakistan. Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif had during a visit to Quetta on April 15 warned “foreign governments and intelligence agencies” against their involvement in the insurgency in Balochistan, but on that occasion he did not explicitly name RAW.
In private conversations military officers say that besides Balochistan, RAW’s footprints have been found in Fata and Karachi. Confessional statements of some criminals they had arrested recently, they said, point towards RAW’s growing activities. To support their claim they also refer to a statement made by Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval almost a year ago about the Indian strategy to weaken Pakistan by promoting terrorism and separatism.
The ISPR statement did not mention specific instances of RAW’s involvement or the groups through which it had been operating, except for broadly accusing it of “whipping up terrorism”.
Corps commanders say counter-terrorism action in Karachi is not against any specific political party
Despite consistently pointing out RAW’s hand behind terrorism in the country, Pakistani authorities have traditionally been uncommunicative about proofs. Indian backing of insurgency in Balochistan got a mention in a Pakistan-India joint statement issued after a meeting of their prime ministers in Sharm-el-Sheikh in 2009, but Islamabad failed to follow up that diplomatic achievement with concrete proofs.
Earlier this year, however, the government decided to take a tougher approach towards India and forcefully raise its concerns over alleged Indian involvement in acts of terrorism in the country. The change had been forced by Delhi’s continued terrorism allegations for building a narrative that India was a victim of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
KARACHI OPERATION: The corps commanders reiterated that the counter-terrorism action in Karachi was not targeted against any specific political party or group.
Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif was quoted by ISPR as having said: “Surge against terrorists and criminals was apolitical, across-the-board and focused to achieve peace in the country.”
There was no mention of Karachi in the statement, but it was obvious that the assurance from the army chief was meant to address Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s grievance that it was being targeted.
The army chief also called for intensification of operations against terrorists in urban areas.
“COAS directed all concerned to intensify intelligence-based operations against criminals, terrorists and their abettors in urban areas for enduring peace in the country,” the ISPR said, adding that precision targeting of terrorists squeezed in isolated pockets in Fata would be continued.
“Operation Zarb-i-Azb has inflicted significant damage on terrorists,” Gen Sharif observed during the meeting.
He said terror free Pakistan was now a national resolve.
“Thousands of innocent Pakistanis, including our children, have been martyred by terrorists / extremists. Law-enforcement agencies and our brave armed forces have given a lot of sacrifices in fighting these misguided and hardened criminals to safeguard a peaceful and better future for our next generation. These sacrifices will not go waste. We will take this war to its logical conclusion,” the army chief said.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2015