India,, Afghanistan, R&AW, NDS, Ehsanullah Ehsan, PEMRA

Terrorists have wreaked havoc in Pakistan over the past 15 years; the country has lost both in men and material. However, this has not broken the resolve; the nation is fighting the menace with resilience. The epidemic is being rooted out by a kinetic-heavy counter terrorism strategy. Needless to say, terrorists derive their strength from elements which finance, facilitate and expedite their tasks. The web of terrorism inside Pakistan is bolstered by internal and external inimical forces. If the war-waging capabilities are to be fully obliterated, the link between these non-state actors and their handlers must be broken. It is noteworthy to mention that killing is not a cost for miscreants as long as their center of gravity will not be targeted. Abettors will replenish the foot soldiers and further attacks will take place with more brutality.

Pakistan asserts that subversive forces are chiefly responsible for the spread of terrorism in the country. It also enunciates in no uncertain terms that India and Afghanistan are fomenting trouble. The nexus of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and National Directorate of Security (NDS) are not only providing finance to terrorist outfits, but are also providing support at the operational and tactical levels. The Pakistani narrative was corroborated by the confessions of an Indian spy, Kulbushan Jadhav. His confessions led to his trail and death sentence under the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952. Though, the case has further strained ties between the two countries, it is an exoneration of Pakistan’s long-held views regarding India. Operationally, the revelations of Jadhav have helped the state agencies in directing their efforts to disrupt and destroy the nefarious web, especially in Balochistan.

The state narrative was further endorsed by the latest video tape of Ehsanullah Ehsan, the former spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The ex-head of the Taliban’s media wing surrendered to state forces and openly threw light on the fact that the R&AW/NDS alliance was the force behind the scourge of terrorism in Pakistan. Apart from lending credence to Pakistani claims, the acknowledgement by Ehsanullah is a huge setback for India’s credentials as a benign state in the comity of nations.

Ehsanullah was slated to give an interview to Geo News but the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) stopped the channel from airing his interview. Proponents of this move opine that terrorists must not be glorified; it hurts the sentiments of the people who suffered at their hands.

There are a few things that must be factored in while discussing this ban. One that various international channels, including the BBC have interviewed hardcore and active terrorists who did not even surrender; Hameedullah Mehsud is a case in point. Two, that the interviews by no means accord Ehsanullah a celebrity status. Neither he is being labelled as an innocent nor he is being allowed to run scot free.

It is important to realize that Ehsanullah is not promoting violence now. His utterances are all important, for they dabble into telling a wider audience something which they all need to know.  Ehsanullah extensively explained the tactics, locations, recruitment methods and the financiers of the Taliban. The information that he dishes out will be from horse’s mouth. Hence whatever he reveals will be very credible and actionable for Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs); it will also be very useful for ordinary citizens who fall prey to these militants. Therefore, he must be heard by everyone.

Ehsanullah’s insights, as aforementioned strengthens the case of Pakistan internationally. It unravels the façade that India has assiduously created. New Delhi posits itself as a victim of sub conventional war and elevates herself on a morally higher pedestal by claiming that it not involved in one herself; Jadhav and Ehsanullah have dented this tall claim quite severely. Pakistan should make use of this aberration. These confessional videos must be used to launch a grand diplomatic offensive against India.

Pakistan is berated, blamed and questioned for being obsessed with India. These evidences from the men that were in the thick of things will give Pakistan adequate material to answer the oft-repeated question. Pakistani claims were often brushed aside and termed as mere concoctions and made out of sheer paranoia. By bringing such proofs to the fore, Pakistan will be able to forcefully rest home its point.

Eyebrows can be raised on the ban imposed by PEMRA. The stoppage of information useful to the citizens and the state at large is questionable, to say the least. Is the body unwittingly being used as a non-violent compellent by forces who could be adversely affected by more incisive statements of Ehsanullah? This is a point to deeply ponder upon.

Syed Ali Zia Jaffery

Syed Ali Zia Jaffery

is a Research Analyst and Sub Editor at the Global Village Space. He frequently writes on defense and strategic affairs for various outlets. He can be reached at @syedalizia1992

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