By Rohan Joshi
March 03, 2015
Amid a declining domestic situation, senior Pakistani officials see it fit to blame India — an unproductive endeavor.
The Director-General of Pakistan’s Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Rizwan Akhtar arrived in Washington, D.C. for talks with intelligence and defense officials on a possible “peace settlement” between the elected government in Afghanistan and the Taliban. The Pakistani Urdu daily Jang also reports that Lt. Gen. Akhtar planned to complain to his hosts about India’s alleged support to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its activities in Afghanistan, which the Pakistani military establishment considers inimical to its interests.
In the days and weeks leading up to Lt. Gen. Akhtar’s visit to the U.S., Pakistan’s complaints were reinforced in Pakistan’s English and Urdu dailies. The far-right newspaper Ummat ran an article asserting that Pakistan was planning to present evidence of Indian “terrorism” through diplomatic and global media circles. The newspaper claimed that “evidence” had been unearthed of India’s involvement in terrorism in Balochistan, Karachi, and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Not to be left behind, the conservative daily Nawa-i-waqt, in aneditorial, appealed to the Nawaz Sharif government to counter India’s alleged interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs and demanded that Mr. Sharif declare that India is an enemy of Pakistan.
Accusations of India’s “involvement” in Pakistan have been leveled not only by the military establishment and media houses sympathetic to General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, but also by members of the inner coterie of Nawaz Sharif’s government. These include statements by Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s Minister of Defense, whosuggested that separatists from the restive province of Balochistan travel on Indian passports and “take trips to India to get directions.”
Minister of the Interior and trusted aid of Nawaz Sharif Chaudhry Nisar Ali effectively blamed India for spreading terrorism in Pakistan upon his return from Washington D.C. last week. Yet another confidant of Sharif, Sartaj Aziz, has spent much of his tenure as Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs toeing a particularly hawkish line on India.
The accusations from Pakistan — deemed not credible in Washington, D.C., and refuted outright in New Delhi — are hardly new. Pakistan’s leaders, whether civilian or military, have a history of leveling accusations on India’s alleged involvement in everything from sectarian violence in Pakistan to terrorism perpetrated via proxies from Afghanistan. These accusations are typically accompanied by claims of possessing evidence that incriminates India, although, unsurprisingly, none is ever publicly presented. A combination of factors could potentially explain Pakistan’s aggressive posturing and the somewhat bizarre accusations.