Pakistan Continues to Grapple with Problems

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    Shantanu Mukharji

    Afghan city Aybak, capital of Samangan province witnessed a deadly suicide bombing terror attack perpetrated by the Afghan Taliban, at the very heart of the intelligence office compound when 11 intelligence personnel perished by this lethal strike. Other than loss of lives carried out by this dastardly and daring attack on July 13, the incident is indicative of yet another major setback to the US Taliban truce pact signed in February this year. It’s common knowledge now that Afghan Taliban has all the training, logistical and financial support from the Pakistan intelligence setups, who have been occasionally triggering fatal attacks at Afghanistan targets apparently to make their importance felt as also to pressurise Afghanistan to start distancing itself from the proximity of India.

    Earlier, on July 12, Taliban struck at several checkpoints in northern Kunduz province killing 14 members of the security forces. We, therefore, don’t see any let up in the terror activities in Afghanistan regularly carried out by Pakistan’s deep state. These two incidents have been strongly condemned by the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

    Pakistan’s ceaseless support to homegrown terrorists continues with the same fury. In a very shameless move, which wasn’t altogether surprising, Pakistan has restored the bank accounts of Jamat ud Dawa (JuD) head and man responsible for Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008, Hafiz Saeed who also leads the dreaded terror outfit the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT). Hafiz Saeed also carries a bounty of ten million US dollars as bounty on his head and is a designated international terrorist declared by UN Security Council’s list of terrorists. Bank accounts of Saeed’s four top associates (also in the terror list) have also been restored. These four are Abdul Salam Bhuttavi, Haji M Ashraf, Yahya Mujahid and Zafar Iqbal .

    It’s likely that such a significant development escaped the notice of the international media due to undivided attention accorded to the menace of COVID-19.

    Meanwhile, yet another failure on part of the Pakistani government surfaced when on July 12, a bunch of religious intolerants destroyed the partially built boundary wall of the Shri Krishna Temple under construction in the capital city of Islamabad. This is a glaring desecration of a Hindu place of worship in the making. It may be recalled that in 2018 too a group of anti Hindu protesters sat on the temple plot disallowing any construction work though Prime Minister Imran Khan is thought to have sanctioned a huge sum of money for the construction of the temple. Zealots in Pakistan had also prevailed over Imran Khan alleging that the tax payer’s money should not to be used towards construction of a place of worship belonging to the minority community. Hence, the much hyped project stands derailed due to assertion of the religious fundamentalists despite Imran Khan’s claim that he and his government care for the minorities. In reality, however, this claim is proved to be hollow, time and again. He had even promised construction of temples during his election campaigns as well. Hindu minority is only between 2-4% in Pakistan and intolerance is at its peak with several cases coming to the fore about abductions and forced conversions of minorities amid threats of blasphemy looming large.

    All these happenings indicate that Prime Minister Imran Khan will hardly have anything worthwhile to celebrate, when he completes two years in office next month. The country, under his leadership continues to grapple with multiple challenges with no solution in sight.

    (Writer is a security analyst and a freelance columnist. The views expressed are personal.)

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