Recent articles published in the US media are giving the impression that Islamic State, with a global Jihadi appeal, is struggling hard to get a foothold in Pakistan but the authors of these articles are either downplaying the tell tale signs or the articles lack the necessary framework in which emerging terror organizations flourish.
As the Taliban lose steam as a result of the death of their supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and splintering and internal fighting, stage is set for a new group to take over. A cursory look at the metamorphosis of Jihadi organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past two decades indicate that they are getting deadlier, sophisticated and high tech savvy with every passing year; from Mujahideen groups willing to negotiate to Taliban willing to blow up and finally to Islamic State willing to behead innocent people. This is a worrying development not only for the South Asian region but for the entire world as well.
After suffering losses of over 50,000 Pakistanis and billions of dollars, the national mood began to look hopeless. Taliban was attacking in Waziristan and tribal areas. Sectarian groups were attacking in Sindh and Punjab. PTI and PAT had put up roadblocks in the capital both literally and figuratively. Polio was spreading, and education was not. There was no international attention to Kashmir situation, and too much international attention to Balochistan situation. Pakistan felt like was starting to tear at the seams. In recent weeks, though, things have changed. There has been a marked improvement in the national mood. Whatever the facts, it feels like things are turning around. There are some reasons for this: For the first time since long, polio cases have declined this year. Militant attacks have declined also. Most significantly, though, we have finally identified an enemy that the entire nation can unite against regardless of geography, ethnicity, or sect: India. However while declines in polio cases and militant attacks are positives, the rise of anti-India rhetoric could actually reverse these trends.
It has been one week since terrorists boarded a bus and began carrying out cold blooded killings. Their victims, dozens of innocent Ismaili Muslims whose only fault was not subscribing to the same extremist interpretation of religion as their murderers. Despite obviously being the work of jihadi terrorists, almost immediately the attack was blamed on RAW. Our own intelligence agencies told media that they had obtained evidence of India being behind the attack, which was dutifully reported by unquestioning media. Political leaders, too, were taking in by this line with no less than CM Sindh who is working closely with the military on Karachi law and order operation announcing that he had been told intelligence agencies had “solid evidence” of India’s involvement in the attack. Now, however, the tune is changing. This is an embarrassment for media, political leaders, and most of all our own intelligence agencies. Worst of all, it is helping the very terrorists we are trying to defeat.