THE successful operation to eliminate four suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists in J&K’s Nagrota — with one of the biggest arms recoveries this year — demonstrates the synergy between the security forces and, according to the Army Chief, sends out a strong message that whosoever tries to infiltrate would be dealt with in the same manner. The heightened cross-border misadventure along the Line of Control is being attributed to attempts to cause disturbance ahead of the District Development Council elections, beginning November 28. That the encounter took place the same day as a Lahore court convicted Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed in another case of terror financing is a clear reflection, if any was needed, of Pakistan’s set-in-stone deviousness and double-dealing.
New Delhi would not read much into the sentencing, that comes as Islamabad tries to avoid punitive blacklisting by global terror financing watchdog FATF. It has been given time till February to show that terrorism-financing probes result in effective sanctions. Saeed, who heads the front organisation for Lashkar-e-Taiba, is already in jail serving two sentences of five-and-a-half years each, handed down earlier this year. That means he will not serve any extra jail time. Not that incarceration or the purported ban on his organisation has in any way reduced his terrorism-enabling capability or the state institutions’ dependence on the ‘global terrorist’ and his ilk.
The layout of challenges is only widening, be it the LAC or the LoC. With Beijing’s all-out support shrinking Pakistan’s reliance on the West, their nexus is expected to grow further. The Taliban, post the peace deal facilitated with Pakistan’s assistance, have increased attacks on Afghan government leaders and security forces, but Imran Khan’s visit to Kabul has been billed as a symbol of increasing confidence between the two countries. The US has already announced it would reduce troops from 4,500 to 2,500 by mid-January. The finalisation of the BRICS counter-terrorism strategy does offer hope, in particular the endorsement by Russia that some countries are like the ‘black sheep of the family’ and the world cannot afford complacency in dealing with terrorism.