WEB DESK: What Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has to say on the much-hyped dossiers containing evidence of alleged Indian involvement in terrorism in this country is rather perplexing.
In a briefing he gave to Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday and during a question-hour the next day, he said the dossiers handed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry, were based on the “pattern and narrative” of Indian involvement, but not “material evidence”, which is incongruous with the government’s earlier claims that the dossiers contained proofs of what India has been doing in Fata, Balochistan, and Karachi.
It is difficult not to believe Islamabad’s claims about India fuelling terrorist violence for the simple reason that it has a motive and also history of causing trouble for its arch rival. Even before the Taliban and the Baloch insurgency surfaced, every now and then, explosive devices exploded in markets and aboard passenger buses, killing several innocent people without anyone claiming responsibility. In one incident an entire busload of people were burned to death near Pattoki in Punjab. Who might have done that was obvious.
Yet a solid proof came right from the horse’s mouth a while ago when a section of the Indian media published excerpts from a report of the country’s DG Military Operations. A former Indian army chief, General Vijay Kumar Singh, was quoted as saying the Tactical Support Division (TSD) of the Indian Army was handed “an unspecified amount [of money] for carrying out eight low-intensity bomb blasts in a neighbouring country”.
The general also said, TSD was given money to try and enroll “the secessionist chief in the province of a neighbouring country”. Without a doubt, New Delhi has a strong interest in exploiting the situation in this country’s troubled areas.
Sartaj maintained that the dossiers have been prepared meticulously but that “material evidence” cannot be shared for the sake of protecting the sources, and that the proofs could be provided to ‘others’ only in the narrative form. Reluctance to reveal the ‘material evidence’ for fear of compromising the sources is understandable.
Presumably, however, there is enough in the ‘pattern and narrative’ to establish a terrorist nexus with New Delhi. In fact, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad suggested sharing the contents with the Senate panel members in an ‘in-camera’ session due to “the sensitive nature of the matter”.
There is no apparent harm in making it public too. Sharing the narrative with the UN or the US is not going to be of any use. Washington is well aware of Indian activities, as acknowledged two years ago by former US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins. In an interview with BBC, he had said that Pakistan’s concerns regarding India’s Jalalabad- and Kandahar-based consulates’ activities in Balochistan were somewhat exaggerated, but “not groundless.”
The US’ strategic and other interests in India prevent it from confronting New Delhi on the issue. And the UN is not an investigating agency. The top UN official cannot be expected to do much about it. A better line of action for Islamabad, therefore, would be to name and shame India for resorting to terrorism to destabilise this country. It should unveil those sections of the dossiers for public debate and discussion which establish Indian linkage through a ‘pattern and narrative’.
Otherwise, allegations will remain allegations, allowing India, especially under the Modi government, to go on exploiting every available opportunity to hurt this country.