Possible RAW exploitation of fault lines in Pakistan

Defense ministry has said that if elections for the Punjab Assembly take place before elections for the national legislature and other provincial assemblies, India’s top spy agency is planning to take advantage of internal divisions within India to harm the unity of Pakistan.

“The RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] identified fault lines to hurt the federation of Pakistan especially [by fanning] ethnic issues, water disputes, [the alleged] resource capture and monopoly of Punjab and as terrorists say in Balochistan, the colonisation by Punjab.

“Therefore, holding of general elections of Punjab Assembly would fuel the situation,” the ministry said in the report submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

It said senior leaders have also opined against the visualised monopoly of Punjab. “Hence, an even more charged environment in Punjab can trigger instability in the country, besides a constitutional crisis.”

The report said that the terrorist threat in Pakistan is likely to increase in the immediate future but the situation will improve by winter [October 2023].

It said Pakistan would continue to be a victim of a Global Great Game, where India enjoys primacy with the permissive environment to hurt Pakistan through terrorism, targeting Chinese interests in the country.

“Pakistan is threatened not only by insecurity due to external aggression but also by internal instability. Both are interlinked. Internal chaos invites external aggression.

“Therefore, India would continue with strategic coercion including through terrorism in Pakistan and exploit any opportunity at the operational/tactical level for limited military action to all-out war.

It said the terror threat has increased as compared to 2018 and 2021 because the environment in Afghanistan is worst after August 2021 after the return of the Afghan Taliban to Pakistan.

With the TTA government, US control is gone, 1500 terrorists have been released from jails and the latest military equipment is available to the TTP, making the threat more potent.

“Relatively unchecked freedom of movement is available to TTP, JUA, BLA, BNA, BLF, ISKP. TTP/ISKP are settled on border districts of Pakistan Afghan Border.

“TTA is not in a position to conduct operations against TTP. In 2021/2022, Pakistan opted for reconciliation with the TTP to minimise terrorism, but it ended as a failed strategy leading to increased cases of terrorism in K-P, Balochistan and elsewhere in Punjab.

“Major blow to counter-terrorism was in August 2022.

“The TTP is re-grouping in Afghanistan posing a greater threat to us. Afghanistan continues to offer ungoverned ungovernable spaces to terrorist groups.

“Iran offers a fairly enabling environment to terrorists operating in Balochistan including hosting, financing and facilitating RAW /Hostile Intelligence Agencies against Pakistan.

Due to Pakistan’s efforts in 2023, IAG (Interim Afghan Government) is now undertaking relocation of the TTP terrorists away from border areas of the Pakistan-Afghan Border to the areas away from the border.

“This process is likely to start by winter / October 2023 and will accrue positive dividends to Pakistan with respect to Counter-terrorism.

“Recent understanding amongst China, Pakistan, Iran/Afghanistan on Counter Terrorism which is being led by PRC will also produce results in 6-8 Months,” says the defence ministry’s report.

Courtesy Express Tribune