Last week the world commemorated the 18th anniversary of 9/11. But, it saddened me that nothing was done to remember that the ideology behind that terrible tragedy has its epicentre in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. We in India cannot afford not to remember. Since Article 370 was removed, we have been repeatedly threatened with ‘nuclear’ jihad by senior members of Pakistan’s government. They speak the same language today as their jihadists do, which is scary.
Intelligence reports indicate an alarming increase in attempts to infiltrate jihadists into India since Kashmir lost its special status. Article 370 was removed with overwhelming support of both Houses of our Parliament ,but is called an ‘annexation’ by Pakistan’s leaders. Their language has been so belligerent that there are fears of the imminent possibility of an attack like 26/11. It could happen any time, anywhere in India. With Pakistani ministers boasting that they have nuclear devices small enough to be delivered by hand, India cannot afford to ignore these warnings.
It is not just irresponsible leaders next door that should worry us but also the grim reality that the American President thinks that the Kashmir problem is a problem between Hindus and Muslims. Donald Trump seems to have a limited understanding of complicated political issues in faraway places so he can be forgiven for his ignorance about Kashmir. But, he should know that after 9/11, when Afghanistan stopped being a safe haven for jihadists, it was in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that Osama bin Laden and his closest lieutenants found shelter and support.
Kashmir may once have been a problem between Hindus and Muslims, but for many years now the real problem has been the spread in the Valley of jihadist Islam. It is this evil ideology that persuades young Kashmiri boys to become suicide bombers. I use the word evil consciously because the fundamental tenet of the jihadist interpretation of Islam is that infidels and idolators are meant to be killed because this is the will of Allah. In my infidel eyes that is truly evil. India would have been fair game even if we did not have our Kashmir problem because it is hard to find a country so filled with idols and idol-worshippers.
If Kashmir was the only problem between India and Pakistan, as Imran Khan believes, then can he explain why Mumbai was attacked? Can he explain why temples across India have been targeted by suicidal jihadists? The real problem between India and Pakistan is that jihadist terrorism has been nurtured and financed by the Pakistani State ever since the defeat in Kargil proved that India was undefeatable in a conventional war.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister loves to repeat that no country has suffered more from terrorism than the Islamic Republic. Last week, in a whiney post on social media, he said, “We lost 70,000 people. We lost over $100 billion (from) the economy. And in the end, we were blamed for the Americans not succeeding in Afghanistan. I felt it was very unfair to Pakistan.” He was addressing foreign correspondents who may have been easy to convince but he would find it a lot harder to convince Indians of this.
Personally, as someone who has known him for a very long time, I find myself gasping with astonishment every time he makes a new speech. What shocks me, particularly, is the manner in which he repeats, ad nauseam, that ever since he became Prime Minister he has tried his best to reopen a dialogue with India and that all his efforts have been rebuffed. He does this without once accepting that relations between our two countries deteriorated after the attack on Mumbai. And, Pakistan’s refusal to accept that the 10 jihadist killers that were involved in our 9/11, were guided at every step by someone in Pakistan speaking in Punjabi. Even before David Headley, from his prison cell in America, gave details of the total involvement of Pakistan in 26/11, there was evidence in India that Pakistani military men were behind it. Imran Khan should ask himself if he would have been so eager to talk to India if the Indian government had committed a similar atrocity on Pakistani soil.
The Indian government, in any case, has other things to deal with. It must take urgent, visible steps to win the peace in the Kashmir Valley and it must do more to convince the world that Pakistan has no business to be giving anyone lectures on ‘human rights’ as long as it remains the epicentre of an ideology that has been correctly likened to the Nazism of our times. When Imran Khan compares Narendra Modi to Hitler and Hindutva to Nazism, does he even know what he is talking about? How would he describe jihadism that is founded on the principle that those who do not accept Islam must be killed?
Follow Tavleen Singh on Twitter @ tavleen_singh