In a move that signals an easing of tensions between the nuclear
India’s high commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria is believed to have returned to Islamabad, as per Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar. This follows Pakistan’s announcement that its high commissioner to India, called back for consultations after the February 14 Pulwama attack, was returning to New Delhi as well.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has held up its end of the promise, launching a fairly decisive crackdown against extremist and militant
Expectations from the Imran Khan govt
As cross-border tensions flared up over the past month, pre-emptive strikes and counter-strikes have followed, straining bilateral relations further, even though details of some of these attacks have been sketchy.
While India claims it has obliterated a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp at Balakot in Pakistan, several media
Nonetheless, in the press briefing this Saturday, Kumar responded to a question on the de-escalation of tension, saying that the Balakot strike was “necessitated by the lack of action by Pakistan on the perpetrators of Pulwama attack.”
His statement comes just days after Islamabad’s crackdown on terror outfits proscribed by the UN Security Council, and detention of 44 individuals with links to terror. The UN Security Council (Freezing and Seizure) Order, 2019, has been issued in accordance with the provisions of Pakistan’s UN Security Council (UNSC) Act, 1948.
This means the government has taken over effective control of all proscribed outfits operating in the country, including their assets, properties, even their charity wings and ambulances.
Kumar, however, insisted that the arrests of proscribed terrorists were not enough, and that Pakistan should take concrete steps “against terrorists and terror infrastructure” on its territory. He particularly attacked Pakistan’s lackadaisical attitude with respect to the JeM, which he said continued to operate with impunity from Pakistan.
What did the crackdown entail?
Pakistan’s Foreign Office confirmed on Tuesday that it had raided seminaries, mosques, and hospitals belonging to outlawed groups, shut down facilities, froze their assets, and arrested 44 under-observation individuals for “preventive detention” and investigation.
This included Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar, brother and son of JeM chief Masood Azhar respectively, who were reportedly named in a dossier given to Islamabad by New Delhi.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan, however, clarified, “It does not mean that action is being taken against only those individuals who are mentioned in the dossier.”
International pressure mounts on Pakistan
India’s dossier on the Pulwama attack lacks concrete evidence linking Pakistan with the suicide bombing that killed 40 CRPF troopers, reported the Pakistani publication, Khaleej Times, on March 6.
According to sources, Pakistan has been forced to crack the whip despite it, because of international diplomatic pressure from some of its close allies.
Suleman Khan added that action will be taken against people if actionable evidence was found during the investigations, but, “in case we don’t find any evidence against them, we will release them,” he said.
Why it matters
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s emphasis on the eradication of “militancy and extremism” from society is a welcome one. The fact that he also openly
So things may be finally looking up as far as
According to a recent opinion piece published in the New York Times, even though the tension which assumed monstrous proportions in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack has simmered down, the threat of another serious confrontation, possibly nuclear, cannot be ruled out until both countries make serious efforts to solve the Kashmir dispute.
“A solution to a conflict that touches so many religious and nationalist nerves must ultimately come from within, through talks among India, Pakistan and the people of [occupied] Kashmir. It’s a long shot, and the protagonists have shown no serious interest, but that’s the reality nonetheless,” it read.
Whether the Pulwama attack will lead both nations to the negotiation table and urge them to address the core issue of the conflict still remains to be seen.
Prarthana Mitra is a Staff Writer at Qrius