U.S. puts Pakistan on notice over terror attack
22, Mar 2019
The United States has asked Pakistan to take sustained, verifiable and irreversible action against the perpetrators of terrorism and warned the country that another terror attack on India will prove to be extremely problematic.
Recent Terror Attack at Pulwama:
- The recent attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the Jammu-
- Srinagar Highway has shaken the country.
- Both public and private spaces can be seen wearing a sense of gloom as the bodies of 40 CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the attack reach their families.
- According to reports, the 78-vehicle convoy of CRPF was attacked by an explosive-laden SUV near Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
- The SUV, identified as a Scorpio, was being driven by a 20-year-old suicide bbomber named Adil Ahmad Dar with links to terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Outrage of Protests in the country:
Following the attack, the sentiment is running high across the length and breadth of the country with citizens demanding that the government deliver a strong response to the forces found reprehensible for the deadly attack. However, the centre has urged Indians to practice restraint as it takes a call on a befitting course of action. The attack in Pulwama has brought back memories of terror attacks on Indian soil in recent years which can help us establish a timeline of terror from above picture.
Jaish-e-Mohammed: Pakistan-based terrorist organisation:
- Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM or Army of Muhammad) is a Pakistan-based armed group that aims to undermine and overthrow Indian control over Indian-administered Kashmir through attacks on security and government targets.
- The group was founded by Masood Azhar, who previously fought under the banner of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and has been linked to al-Qaeda.
- JeM has carried out several high-profile suicide and other attacks against Indian targets since its formation.
- The group is said to have actively supported the Afghan Taliban’s fight against US-led NATO forces since 2001.
No change in China’s stance on Masood Azhar till now:
- India frequently asks its neighbour to extradite Masood Azhar reportedly in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab – but Pakistan refuses, saying there is a lack of proof against him. New Delhi has also called on the UN to list Mr Azhar as a global terrorist, but Pakistan’s close ally China continues to block the move.
- India’s foreign ministry demanded that Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists and terror groups operating from their territory, and dismantle the infrastructure operated by terrorist outfits to launch attacks in other countries.
- But Pakistan has condemned any suggestion it is linked to the attack. China’s official media described JeM as a Pakistan-based terrorist organization in its reports about the Pulwama attack. But there was no mention of Azhar.
India’s response against the attack has been two-pronged so far:
- On the one hand, efforts are on to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, on the other, allowances made for Pakistan in terms of trade have been scrapped.
- India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation or MFN status to Pakistan and imposed 200 per cent customs duties on goods from across the border.
- India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996. Under the MFN pact, a WTO member country is obliged to treat the other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
- India’s decision would significantly hit Pakistan’s exports to India, which stood at $488.5 million (around Rs.3,482.3 crore) in 2017-18 as it would drastically increase the prices of its goods. The two main items imported from Pakistan are fruits and cement, on which the current customs duty is 30-50% and 7.5%, respectively.
- India mainly exports raw cotton, cotton yarn, chemicals, plastics, man-made yarn and dyes to Pakistan. Slapping an import duty of 200% effectively means almost banning the imports from Pakistan. Over 40 nations have condemned the terror attack and New Delhi has asked the international community to support naming JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist”.
How can India move forward to isolate the perpetrators?
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already said that Army will decide how, when, where and who will punish the killers and their promoters.
- The Centre has given free hand to the Army for necessary action. Perpetrators of the cowardly act will get a befitting reply that they will never even think of such acts.
- As India already withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan in a signal that it will not wait for preliminaries in the effort to isolate Pakistan.
- The government also withdrew security to separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, BJP chief Amit Shah promised further action. Coercive diplomacy is likely to continue, but to be effective the effort needs a wider net, especially at a time when the U.S. is seeking Pakistan’s help in firming up a deal with the Afghan Taliban. China must not, and cannot, evade questions about its previous blocking of action at the UN, specifically against Azhar.
- Post-Uri, after terrorist attacks the air is always thick with calls for retributive cross-border strikes. The effort must be to isolate Pakistan for its support to the Jaish and seek substantive action, to effectively upgrade intelligence and plug security gaps, and to win the confidence of the local population in the Valley.
- Pulwama’s attack was meant to provoke and polarise the country. New Delhi’s response must, instead, be to isolate the perpetrators and keep the peace on Indian territory.