So this time it is Pathankot.
Just what the HELL do Pakistan, its people, its government and its military want?
Total annihilation of India? World domination?
Just when you extend a hand of friendship, their other hand reaches out to stab you in the back.
These guys are psychotic – no, perhaps not, because that would be akin to insulting the mentally ill.
Let us consider some possible causes for these repeated spells of unhinged aggression, and our response to them.
Is it Kashmir? That has always been an easy proxy, hasn’t it? Blame the Kashmir issue for all instances of freakish behaviour. Blame India’s stance, blame our armed forces, blame the Pandits; blame everybody except yourself.
It can’t be money either, even though they are neck deep in the financial quagmire. Their begging bowl is periodically filled by Americans and the Chinese whenever it tickles their benefactors’ fancy.
During each of these spells of madness, they conveniently blame the ‘non-state actors’. However, time and again it has been proved that there is hardly any distinction between a state, semi-state, solid-state, liquid-state or a non-state actor. The army is hand in glove with the spy agency, which in turn is in cahoots with the infiltrators, or fidayeen, or mujahideen, or whatever the hell they call them.
So what’s remaining?
Doyle made Holmes say, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
It has got to be a deep sense of insecurity and envy resulting from the knowledge that the theocratic state policy has failed to uplift the nation economically, socially and strategically.
Remember that their nation was born because of religious differences with the majority population.
It must hurt very badly to see that the only reason their country is renowned in the world is because it is an international hub of some of the most radical preachers of extreme religious tenets, terrorist training camps, and the world’s most dangerous terrorist plotters.
It must cause great anguish to realise that the neighbouring land of kafirs – one that they separated from – has made such great progress economically, socially, spiritually, and in the field of arts, science and sports.
How can they put up with the fact that this land of kafirs has sent satellites to the moon and mars, when all they have done so far is launch destructive missiles, named after some of the greatest villains of history?
‘How can the land of kufr that allows its women to excel in the fields of arts and sports progress so much, when we – upholders of sacred laws that require women to be incarcerated, subjugated and covered from head to toe – regress so badly?’
‘How come democracy, tolerance and secularism thrive in the land of the infidels, when in our country, every elected leader has to lick the army chief’s boots before deciding on any matter?’
It is precisely this sort of thought process that breeds ambivalence, apprehension, angst, and desperation, which in turn lead to mindless acts of aggression.
‘If we cannot prosper, we will make sure that the land of kufr will also not prosper.’
‘Even better, let’s go a step further. Let’s go for Ghazwa-e-Hind. Let us help the ISIS extend its dominion over this land, and establish its deadly caliphate.’
And what is India doing during all this?
What has changed since 26/11? Or for that matter, since the scores of terrorist attacks that have occurred before and since 26/11.
Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Otherwise, how will you explain the fact that a group of armed-to-teeth terrorists managed to infiltrate the border, bore a hole in the wall of the Air Force base, killed 7 army personnel with 40-50 kg of bullets, mortar and grenade launchers, and remained hidden within the base camp for several days?
They waltzed in, they occupied, and they maimed and killed some of our best soldiers. Shame on us for this all-round intel and security failure!
During 26/11 it was Kamte, Karkare, Salaskar, Unnikrishnan and Omble. Now it is Niranjan, Singh, Chandra, Rana and Chand. Only the names have changed; nothing else. We are still counting the dead after so many terrorist attacks.
So what is to be done? Do we go all guns blazing and attack them? That’s precisely the response they are hoping for, isn’t it?
If not that, what else?
It is time to stop stupid handshakes, hugs, surprise stopovers, peace buses and trains, blooming cricket matches, ghazal concerts, and aman-ki-my-foot-asha.
Do not get fooled by false assurances that something would be done to bring the perpetrators to justice, or to prevent similar attacks in the future. We have seen how shambolic the 26/11 trial has been in that country.
And do not make the mistake of assuming that the general public of that country is any better. Whether it is the government, military, spy agency, or public, their policy vis-à-vis terror attacks launched from their soil is simple: deny and defend.
That’s what the average public did just after the 26/11 attacks. ‘India is needlessly blaming us’, they stormed. ‘India is stoking unrest in Balochistan’, they cried out. And then they simply denied that anybody called Kasab existed in their country before the attacks.
So to expect justice for the brave victims of the Pathankot attacks from them would be naïve and just plain stupid.
By all means, continue your talks with them. Continue the humanitarian interaction.
But beyond that, some changes are in order to restore our country’s security and pride. Here’s a wish list of things that one hopes would be implemented before another attack occurs.
- We are tired sick of hearing that our borders are “porous”. WHY? Why are they porous? Why can’t you plug those ‘pores’? Stop closing the gate after the horse has bolted. Build an impenetrable fence all across the land. Give up on the disputed land areas – yes, even parts of Kashmir – if necessary. Securing the nation from the vermin is more important than holding on to no-man’s land.
- Go after Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar. If America can eliminate bin Laden for 9/11, why can’t we do the same for the countless attacks that have harmed us since long before 9/11? Do we lack brave soldiers who can undertake these missions – covertly or overtly? What’s the point in waiting for the terrorists to come here and then losing our brave hearts in attacks such as Pathankot? Instead, can’t we give our army a free hand to plan and execute these missions?
- Expose and embarrass Pakistan at the world level. Make public the confessions made by captured terrorists such as Kasab. Bring into the public forum the voice recordings, transcripts, marked ammunition and intel information so that Pakistan’s role stands exposed, and if affirmative action such as the above missions is to be undertaken later, nobody can point an accusing finger at us for being unfair.
- We are surrounded by bits-and-pieces countries who have thus far managed to get away cheaply after apprehending our fishermen and troubling the people living near their borders. We badly need a foreign policy that takes a no-nonsense approach towards these countries.
- They may be filled with hatred towards us, but every year, millions of people from these very countries illegally sneak in, and overstay their welcome. A recent estimate shows that Pakistanis lead the list of foreigners who have stayed back after their visa has expired. Whatever happened to the pre-poll promise that overstaying foreigners would be deported? It is time to take a tough stand against illegal immigrants.
- Singers, actors and artists from Pakistan who are staying in India, or have gained Indian citizenship, should come out and openly criticize the terrorist attacks launched from their parent country. One can’t be allowed to thanklessly enjoy the fruits of the land, while ignoring the harm that their own countrymen are doing to the people who have shown them so much love, respect, and yes, tolerance.
- This might sound frivolous, but one of the surest ways of making Pakistanis squirm in discomfort is to stop exhibiting our films in their country. They may be able to survive without food and water, but not without Hindi films! Make sure that they have no access to them; either in the theatres or through the ubiquitous pirated CDs of our films. And yes, no cricket matches either. Proscribe arts and sports exchanges until they fall in line.
- Don’t let anybody – biased writers, partial news anchors or pampered superstars – tell you that India is an intolerant country. Challenge each of these individuals to public debates on these issues. Gag all those foot-in-the-mouth ministers who, through their mindless speech, incite violence and encourage terrorism. Or direct them all to the borders, where they can get a chance to demonstrate their secular credentials by facing the terrorists’ bullets.
Will we be able to do any of these?
Or is it too much to ask?