The Pakistan army is showing its true colours
Disturbing evidence has emerged recently of growing public contact between top Pakistani army and security officers and representatives of jihadi groups. This suggests the Pakistani military establishment is not serious, if at all it ever was, about severing its ties with such organisations. Last week, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media arm, visited the hardline Jamia Rashidia seminary while on a trip to Karachi with the army chief, General Qamar Bajwa.
Images and videos have since emerged of General Ghafoor being feted like a rock star and addressing the seminary’s students. For most terror-watchers, Jamia Rashidia is best known for its links to Jaish-e-Mohammed and the 2002 murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. There are also images of officers of the Pakistan Rangers hobnobbing with Aurangzeb Farooqi, head of the outlawed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), accused of having a hand in the killing of hundreds of members of Pakistan’s Shia minority.
Over the past two years, the Pakistani military had apparently cut down on such contacts — or if they did happen, at least, they didn’t happen publicly — largely because of the stern message from Western capitals and bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Islamabad must take credible, verifiable and irreversible action to counter terrorism and its funding. It now appears the Pakistani military no longer wants to even go through the motions of pretending it has been working to snap its ties with such proscribed organisations. The portends for a country such as India, always at the receiving end of Pakistan-backed terror, are ominous.