Not that it has been a secret but coming as it does from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, there is a sense of déjà vu in admitting that Pakistan has been hosting 30,000 to 40,000 terrorists.
Considering that Khan is a protégé of Pakistan Army, which has been hosting these terrorists, and that both the Chief of Army Staff, General Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Faiz Hameed were with him, lends the admission considerable weight. It clearly establishes that Pakistan has been using terrorists as an instrument of state policy to cause harm to India and Afghanistan.
After this admission of guilt, made by Prime Minister Khan, obviously in consultation with the army, Pakistan now cannot go back on its historical denial mode on terrorists and their sponsorship.
It removes even the tiniest doubt that Pakistan is today one of the most notorious states sponsoring terrorism. Unfortunately, be it the United States or the United Nations, there has been an unseemly reluctance to proclaim Pakistan as a terrorist sponsor state. Failure to do has created a monster state with nuclear weapons. The consequences of letting such a rogue notion go unpunished to the world peace and stability remain grave.
Khan’s admission is merely half of the story. The real story is that Khan and his predecessors, and the military, have created an environment in Pakistan to enable terrorists to flourish and carry out their nefarious activities against sovereign nations, and against Pakistani citizens.
The army has been using these terror proxies to put down dissent among ethnic and religious communities for decades. Shias, Hazaras, Hindus, Baltis, Baloch, Sindhis and now Pakthuns are being targeted by these groups on the prodding of the military command.
The result of this state complicity has been that terrorists today have a free run of the country. The citizens are at their mercy. The policy is either complicit or too fearful of their power and influence. Not one terrorist leader of any notoriety has been punished. Only those terrorist leaders have been eliminated who went out of their control of their masters.
The state of Pakistan is today incapable of dealing with terrorists simply because it is their patron. The patronage has emboldened the terrorists to the extent that many of them have acquired considerable wealth and influence in the society by running schools, hospitals and other welfare centres which the state could not provide to its citizens because of its perverted priorities.
Khan’s admission of hosting terrorist groups also nails the lie that Pakistan has been taking visible action against these violent and extremist groups. The fact that such a large number of terrorists continue to operate from within Pakistan, despite years of running various highly publicised military operations, mostly funded by the international community, especially the US, shows the deep rooted entanglement of the Pakistani state with terrorist groups.
The Deep State in Pakistan today represents the classic military-militant nexus in which the entire state edifice is in partnership. There is no other country, with such large number of nuclear weapons and a large inventory of weapons, which hosts such a large number of terrorists. If there is a country which should be labelled a terrorist sponsor and a serious threat to global order, it has to be Pakistan.
Its own Prime Minister has admitted this fact.