Pakistan has arrested 44 suspects, on Tuesday, allegedly involved in the Pulwama Attack which claimed lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel heading to Srinagar from Jammu on February 14. The arrests is speculated to have been made to ease the tensions between the two nuclear powered countries, India and Pakistan, which got escalated after the Pulwama Attack.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Shehryar Afridi, came forward, on Tuesday, to confess that the Pakistan authorities have taken custody of 44 suspects which included two of the prominent faces of the outlawed militant group which took the responsibility of the Pulwama attack, which resulted in the face-off between the two nuclear powered nations. Among those arrested was Mufti Abdul Rauf, the brother of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar.
Afridi also said that Mufti Abdul Rauf was one of the suspects mentioned in the Pulwama attack suspects’ list given by India to Pakistan.
At a Press conference, Pakistan’s Interior Secretary, Azam Suleman Khan, said that Pakistan will take further action against the suspects if Delhi provides additional evidence of the Pulwama attack to Islamabad. “So far India has not given evidence,” he said. “We received only some names” in connection with the suicide attack. He also clarified that those arrested by the authorities do not just belong to JeM but other militant groups too.
Afridi also said that the government was “not taking this action under pressure” from anyone. “We are investigating them and if we get more evidence, more proof against them, they will be proceeded against according to law and if we don’t get any proof their detention will end,” he said.
But the question here arises that whether Pakistan is giving protection to the terrorists by arresting them? As we all know, Pakistan is accused of aiding various terrorist groups. Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghanistan border is termed as “heaven for terrorists” by the western media. It is accused of providing shelter to various terrorist groups named Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Omar, Lashkar-e-Taiban (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jiash-ul-Adl. It is accused to aid Taliban, hosting terrorist camps, etc.
Former President of Pakistan, Parvez Musharraf, himself had admitted that Pakistan has supported and trained terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiban (LeT) in 1990s for Kashmir. “In 1990s the freedom struggle began in Kashmir…At that time Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and 11 or 12 other organisations were formed. We supported them and trained them as they were fighting in Kashmir at the cost of their lives,” Musharraf said in an interview to Dunya News in July, last year.
He also said that terrorist group leaders like Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al- Zawahiri, Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi enjoyed the status of heroes at that time but later became “villains”. “We trained Taliban and sent them to fight against Russia. Taliban, Haqqani, Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri were our heroes then. Later they became villains,” he added.
Moreover, The United States had direct evidence that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Pakistani nuclear physicist and activist Pervez Hoodbhoy, who was then a columnist with The Express Tribune, wrote in his article in 2011, “Bin Laden was the ‘Golden Goose’ that the army had kept under its watch but which, to its chagrin, has now been stolen from under its nose.” He also quoted, “Even the famous and ferocious General Hamid Gul (retd), a Bin Laden sympathiser who advocates war with America cannot buy into the claim that the military was unaware of Bin Laden’s whereabouts. In a recorded interview, he remarked that Bin Laden being Abbottabad unknown to the authorities is a bit amazing. Aside from the military he said there is the local police, the Intelligence Bureau, the Military Intelligence, the ISI they all knew their presence there.”
The militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which is blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks was banned by Pakistan in 2002, after it allegedly carried out an attack on the Indian parliament. Yet, Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba and allegedly the mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks was released by Pakistan.
Moreover, according to the reports, terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Abu Zubaydah, Abu Laith al Libi and Sheikh Said Masri have all been captured or killed inside Pakistan.
We have witnessed a very recent incident, on the day Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan, which was termed as a “gesture of peace” by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, and on the other side, on the same day (March 1, 2019), the Pakistani troops had violated the ceasefire along the Line Of Control (Loc) in Rajouri District of Jammu and Kashmir.
The shelling from across the border began at around 12.30 pm and it lasted for over 12 long hours. A young woman and her two children were killed and several others, including two Army personnel, were injured in the heavy shelling.
After having a glance at the above mentioned examples, it organically becomes difficult to believe that Pakistan is taking steps for reducing tensions and maintaining peace with India. Consequently, the speculations arise about whether Pakistan is literally arresting the terrorists or giving them protection in their protected cells.