India: When the Centre for Peace Security and Development (CPSD) in Pakistan hosts a seminar on 'radical' India and 'responsible Pakistan, it is time to sit up and take notice. A bit rich, I would say, coming from a country that has the dubious distinction of appearing on the FATF grey list three times. There are frogs in the well and dogs in their mangers - but CPSD has outdone itself this time. The Deep State in Pakistan has time and again showed the world that peace, security, and development are misnomers when mentioned in their context.
In a country where military-led foundations siphon off large amounts of money from the national economy and where the allocation of a 'corner plot' to a uniformed officer is the acme of his professional achievement, it would be more than logical to seek from CPSD its opinion of Pakistan's contribution to peace, security, and development of the region that other South Asian nation is willing to endorse it.
The sense of despondency and frustration is well visible in the state (and the deep state) machinery of Pakistan. The louder their assertions of being under constant threat from unstable neighbors and also themselves being a 'victim' of terrorism, the more one can be sure that their plans are unraveling and that they are no longer able to fool anyone.
Any narrative can be accused of bias so one must naturally establish its credibility. This is much easier done by raising some questions. Where was Osama bin Laden hiding for many years and living without fear, in comfort, and with state protection? Where are the minorities in 'stable' Pakistan and how does one account for their rapid disappearance? How did a globally watched international terrorist go 'missing' from his house a few days after his arrest was announced? Who has a stated policy of nuclear First Use but constantly raises the specter of nuclear instability at every possible opportunity? Who has constantly failed to internationalize the Kashmir issue, and shows abject lack of understanding of the UN Resolution that is quoted incessantly? Who professes to be champion of Muslims all over the world while studiously in the fate of millions of Muslims under oppression by their all-weather friend? Who has traded in the sovereignty and political independence of the nation for a few roads and bridges? And finally, who claims to be a democracy and breaks into rapturous celebrations because an 'elected' government completes one term in office without being shown the door by the deep state?
The answers to these questions point to the single factor of instability in South Asia today - and by extension the immediate geo-strategic landscape. What is evident in the narrative and actions of Pakistan is a country that is unable to face its own demons - ones they have nurtured for many decades. The world no longer simply takes at face value what they have to say or show. And this worries the polity (and the generals) of Pakistan. That explains the construction of a new narrative - if one does not want to be seen as a culprit, then portray yourself as the victim!
Look at the propaganda machine unleashed by Pakistan in the recent past and you will see this emerging in their stories. They were not responsible for the Uri attacks, but 'suffered' retaliation by an unjust India. They were not responsible for the Pulwama attack, but once again were 'subjected to an unprovoked attack from India. Sadly, for them, the world is no longer willing to digest the lies spewed by the Pakistani propaganda machine. This has shaken them to their core as what they do best - obfuscate, lie and falsify - no longer works. Thus emerges a new arrow from their quiver - claim false-flag operations.
To be fair, false-flag operations do occur and are employed to gain political or strategic mileage. A global research agency has averred that there are at least 53 proven false-flag operations. Admittedly, these won't be the last and will continue to be part of statecraft.
What is important to examine in this context are the 'antecedents' of someone claiming a false-flag operation. Using non-state actors to destabilize the region is a false-flag operation 2 NLI soldiers disguised as 'freedom fighters' is a false-flag operation, Operation Grand Slam was a false-flag operation. General Musharraf was already planning duplicitous incursions in Kargil even as Prime Ministers Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif were engaged in peace overtures. The world has seen on TV channels the Pakistani Mullah-Military cabal propagating the myth that the 9/11 terror attacks were an American false-flag operation. Need more to be said? Yes! There is more to be said. When it comes to manipulation of truth, Pakistan's track record is unparalleled. Pakistan even claimed that the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai was a false flag operation by India, until one of its own TV channels went to Ajmal Kasab's home in Faridkot village, Okara district of Pakistan's Punjab, and confirmed his identity as a Pakistani citizen.
Mouthpieces of Pakistan's military are engaged in repeatedly propagating a narrative of false flag operations by India, both on social media and in the news, the latest being an article on strafasia.com titled 'Kandla Port Incident: Another Indian False Flag Operation’. So, what does this latest bluster about false-flag operations really signify? The writing on the wall is clear: desperate times call for desperate measures. Having faced humiliation at all forums across the world, the Pakistan deep state is readying for the only response they know - pursue proxy war and step up terror activities. These rants could well be the prelude to a terror attack orchestrated by the Pakistani military to deflect public attention from their failures during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Given their proclivity, they could well be planning terrorist attacks in India, claiming false-flag operations in advance.
However, their miscalculations are twofold: One, the world no longer has the patience or naivety to believe them. Two, any act of terror will be met with an immediate and proportionate response from India. One must not be presumptuous enough to think that the responsible nations of the world will be swayed by this frail attempt at obfuscation by Pakistan but a pretender needs to be called out as such!.
( The writer is a Defence observer. All views and opinions expressed are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of NewsMeter as an entity, or its affiliation with it )