Dr. Ikramul Haq
27 December 2020 marks the 13th death anniversary of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. She sacrificed her life courageously while resisting the agenda of fanatics and terrorists in Pakistan. She fought relentlessly against forces bent upon to make Pakistan a theocratic state so that it could never progress towards egalitarianism and democracy. Unfortunately her assailants and their abettors are still at large. Those arrested were exonerated on August 31, 2017 after trial lingered on for nearly a decade.
Since the tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto on 27 December 2007, it is tragic and shameful that the state machinery has utterly failed to unveil the real hands behind Benazir’s assassination even after a lapse of 13 years. After verdict by Anti Terrorist Court on August 31, 2017, PPP accused Pervez Musharraf of hatching a conspiracy for her assassination and in retaliation the General accused Asif Ali Zardari having the main beneficiary—the well-known motive theory was applied by him.
The wages of appeasement towards militants, inaction of the rulers against them and their protection by certain quarters culminated in the most lamentable barbaric incident in Peshawar on 16 December 2014 when seven terrorists of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) launched an attack on the Army Public School. They were clad in the uniform of the Frontier Corps and entered the school from the rear. They stormed the premises and held it in a-hour siege. They moved from classroom to classroom, killing innocent students and staff—nearly 150 lost their lives and many hundreds received serious injuries. Thereafter many attacks were made by these cowardly forces but their ability to strike without challenge is valiantly countered and largely destroyed by our armed forces.
The carnage in Quetta of August 8, 2016 killing 70 and injuring over 100 was another great jolt to the entire nation. It was documented in detailed Inquiry Report prepared by an honourable judge of Supreme Court. There was wanton attack on Quetta’s Police Training Centre on October 23, 2016 killing 59 cadets and injuring 116. Peshawar tragedy of December 16, 2014, sad killings of General Sanaullah Niazi, Lieutenant Colonel Touseef and others on September 15, 2013, Bashir Ahmad Bilour, senior and respected leader of Awami National party (ANP) and others on December 22, 2012, bomb blasts at many places, attacks on armed forces and civilians by the militants since 2001, are links of a single chain. These have been openly claimed by TTP and/or other banned militants/religious outfits—all proxies of Neo-Colonialists in their ‘New Great Game’.
It is a historic reality that in the past Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had been advocating “truce” with terrorists. The PTI received their wrath, losing Law Minister Israrullah Gandapur and many others, after sharing power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with Jaamt-i-Islami (JI)—an ardent and open defender of militant Islam. It is obvious that there exists a ‘Grand Design’ under ‘New Great Game’ aimed at keeping Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Iran, especially in the wake of China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), in turmoil by certain powers that needs to be analysed and understood in its entirety if our civil-military leadership wants to overcome the menace of militancy. The recent attacks in Balochistan prove that the agenda of India, backed by forces that want to contain China.
The ghastly attacks on GHQ Rawalpindi, PNS Mehran Base in Karachi, PAF Base at Kamra, intrusion in Abbotabad, invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, campaigns against Libya, Iran, Syria and other Muslim States should be seen in the perspective of keeping the threat of fundamentalismaliveby some hidden hands. They admitted to have created the monsters like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and provided them now billions. All these are well-designed ploys, observes Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan, in The Great Game Continues. His core argument is that “the purpose is not to eliminate the ‘Islamic threat’ but to contain it within manageable limits and to spawn the next generation of terrorists”. In Pakistan: Drug-trap to Debt-trap, detailed discussion is available how the Late Neo-Colonialistsinventing new enemies and eliminating the older ones as part of the ‘New Great Game’.
Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan says that “Islamic threat created through Al- Qaeda, the Taliban and ISIS etc is a leverage to intervene in countries for self-aggrandisement”. In the case of Pakistan, it’s prime goal is distancing Islamabad from Beijing and exploit energy resources abundantly found in Balochistan and, in the long run, perhaps derail US administration’s well-laid plans to bring Afghanistan to heel and to dominate Central Asia and its oil-rich Caspian Sea Basin,” Dr. Sachithanandam Sathananthan argues at length in The Great Game Continues.
The phenomenon of fundamentalism is complex and riddled with many puzzles. It cannot be understood without studying the foreign policy of United States in which terrorism, drugs, arms and war, play a pivotal role. This is not a recent phenomenon. From the early part of the twentieth century, US leaders have been using arms, drugs and war hysteria as tools to advance their foreign policy objectives. “Terrorism” is a tool in the hands of certain forces that want to impose the New World Order in the wake of 9/11.
Analyst and scholars have yet not examined assassination of Benazir Bhutto from the perspective of ‘New Great Game’ unleashed by powers at war in this region having economic interests. Benazir gave her life for resisting the designs of those who were and still supporting militants to destabilise nuclear Pakistan. This is presented with evidence in a dossier to United Nations by Pakistan. Our Ambassador to the United Nations also held a meeting on December 4, 2020 with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, and discussed repercussion of Indian involvement in terrorist activities against Pakistan.
Even after 13 years of the tragedy of losing Benazir Bhutto, our rulers and agencies failed to punish her assailants and forces behind terrorism. The responsibility for this rests collectively on all institutions. Benazir, as leader of the poor and dispossessed will always live in the hearts of Pakistanis. If the legacy of Benazir is to prevail, people from all walks of life must work hand in hand to resist and counter the terrorists, forces of exploitation, bigotry, extremism, fanaticism and fascism, which are part of ‘New Great Game’ aimed at controlling South Asian and Central Asian resources through the bogey of Islamic militants with the ultimate objective of sabotaging China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and destabilise Pakistan and Iran.
The writer, Advocate Supreme Court, researcher and author of numerous books, is Adjunct Faculty at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).