Act of War

We are honored to post a guest article from Lt. General Tariq Khan.

What I am going to write here is neither politically correct nor diplomatically proper. Also, that whatever views I am going to express are mine and must not be associated with the institution I belong to or the country that I am a national of. Besides, what I write should not be lumped with my attitude when I was in service since the environment I am going to address is a new phenomenon that did not exist then.

Baluchistan is in the throes of terrorism. This terrorism is not indigenous nor a product of grievances. It is an outcome of an Achakzai and Rasik collaboration at the behest of RAW. Its nature and character is to attack soft targets and cause mass murder. Its purpose is to destabilize the region with a view to scuttle CPEC. The manner of activity is likely to soon expand to Gilgit-Baltistan with the same objective. In the former case the projection of conflict is based on an alleged but utterly false Baluchistan Separatist Movement and evolves around accusations of human rights against the Government. In the latter it will be inspired by artficially raising sectarian strife. The mayhem is likely to grow in magnitude with an international appeal to intervene through the United Nations. While this blatant act of terrorism is applied against Pakistan, India will continue to engage Pakistan all along the Line of Control play-acting that it is undertaking strikes against terrorist camps, routes and launch pads. In the meanwhile, Afghanistan will continue to project hostility and demand border concessions, they will not agree to demarcation nor to sealing the border but will continue to accuse Pakistan of cross border terrorism. They will allow TTP to live in safe havens in Kunar and under the Coalition’s watch facilitate, fund and resource violence against Pakistan.

The world will buy these stories, Pakistan will be accused of aiding and abetting the violence in Kashmir of scuttling the peace process in Afghanistan, of gross human rights violations in Baluchistan, sectarian violence against the Shia community and harboring non state actors against everyone in the neighborhood. A nuclear Pakistan becoming a failed State labelled as the most dangerous country in the world.

Pakistan has no narrative, presents no case and does nothing at any level to clarify its position. Any accusations against India are taken as business as usual. That a colonel, Kulbushan was captured as a unique precedence holds no water for the world. We have no diplomatic recourse, no political body to turn to, no agreements or treaties that are binding and no bi-lateral way forward. What should Pakistan do, who can it complain to and where should it go? 

With no one in the world willing to hear us out, no one willing to validate our narrative or reject it through an international fact finding mission, with callous indifference to our situation and criminal silence as we are subjected to such blatant and covert terrorism on a daily basis the bias and prejudice against Pakistan is conspicuous. It appears that India is accumulating brownie points every time it attacks a post or fires across the border. Pakistan is expected to take all this in, not complain or inconvenience the world by its ‘meaningless’ accusations.

Well then what are Pakistan’s responses if it is not to succumb to terrorism, disruption, instability and international indifference? They are limited. It could define an ‘Act of War’ and then respond to such an act against itself through overt conventional measures by undertaking military strikes likely to escalate to war and lead to a probable nuclear exchange. Alternatively it can undertake covert operations and pay the Indians back in the same coin. In my opinion, there is no guaranteed defense against terrorist activity except equitable terror. State sponsored terrorism must lead to a response where the State initiating such violence is effectively engaged in the same manner. My recommendations:

  1. Any terrorist activity or physical hostility from Afghanistan would be treated as an Act of War. The response would be a fire raid on Kabul and Bagram through missile attacks. Deploy and ready launchers for such a strike
  2. Long range strikes against Fazalullah group in Kunar to commence till he is handed over.
  3. For every Indian/RAW inspired terrorist act, at least three similar acts on a greater scale to be undertaken in the Indian main land. 
  4. Any cross border firing should lead to offensive concentration of Strike Formations with a view to severing the Madhupur-Jammu Road before the Indians can even mobilise.

Such a posture will scare many and even subject us to sanctions but enough is enough. Every two bit country cannot just come and kick us around. We have nothing to lose, its another word for freedom. We are free to do what ever we need to do for our survival. Besides there us no other alternative.

Lt. General Tariq Khan (Retired)

Advisor & Senior Analyst at CommandEleven
Lt. General Tariq Khan (Retired), an erudite general from Pakistan's Armored Corps and a decorated War Veteran, is an expert on critical issues related to Terrorism & Insurgencies. General Tariq Khan during the Battle of Bajaur, transformed and re-shaped Frontier Corps into a relentless fighting force and raised FC's own special forces popularly known as SOG. Commanded and led major operations in FATA from the frontline, his model on counter-insurgency is still applied to this day.

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