Geopolitics Behind Pakistan’s Sehwan Shrine Bombing
Mayhem stalks South Asia as a series of terrorist bombings ripped through Pakistan in February.
The most horrific targeted worshipers at one of Pakistan’s most famous and magnificent Sufi shrines at Sehwan.
At least 88 people died and hundreds were injured as a suicide bomber detonated his vest filled with ball bearings and bolts inside the crowded shrine.
Pakistan blamed Afghanistan directly and India indirectly with its Interior Ministry stating foreign elements and [intelligence] agencies were involved in these incidents.
This sort of conclusion is scourged out by Afghan and Indian analysts and also by critics of Pakistan admittedly dysfunctional and dishonest security apparatus.
The modus operandi after every terrorist attack is basically blame everybody, arrest everybody, and when possible kill everybody.
Indeed after the Sehwan attack, initial reports stated that the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar faction of the Pakistan Taliban, which operates out of havens along the Pakistan – Afghanistan border, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Then the attribution switched to ISIS, which Pakistan together with Russia and China is pumping up as the key members in the region.
Now the investigators are saying well maybe someone else did it.
But I think it would be a dangerous mistake to leak to the conclusion that Pakistan is simply engaged in political ass covery and accusing India and Afghanistan.
Anybody who wants to get anything done in Afghanistan deals with terrorists.
I suspect the recent atrocities were executed with the encouragement and facilitation of the Indian secret services through their extensive apparatus and assets in the region including the Afghan security services.
To provoke her prizes for poison relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and sabotage ongoing discussions brokered by Russia and China that are designed to bring the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan back into Kabul at India’s expense.
The most recent round of discussions held in Moscow on February’s 15 concluded to the disgust of India with a call to include the Taliban.
An editorial in The Indian Express criticized the talks warning that they would play into Pakistan’s hands and bring back the Taliban.
The editorial concluded “New Delhi along with Kabul needs to remind the global community of the dangers of turning the clock back and undoing the gains made in Afghanistan in the past 17 years. It is an uphill task but it will have to be done.”
A day after the conference ended, the Sehwan bombing occurred.
Maybe but maybe not.
Maybe, it was a reminder and maybe also a message to China which is a member of the pro Afghan Taliban alignment, a key ally of Pakistan and a meddlesome rival of India.
Essential element in India’s diplomacy and security policy is trying to wedge China away from Pakistan by any means necessary.
You are disrupting the Afghan peace process, the reason terrorist attacks may have been intended as a message to China [that] Pakistan is extremely vulnerable, indeed a failing state and a strategic liability.
Perhaps the attacks were also meant as a demonstration of what Chinese interests might expect to suffer if China doesn’t moderate its support for Pakistan.
In an indication that China was not turning its back on Pakistan, Pakistan media reported on not one but two letters of condolence from China on the Sehwan attack, one from President Xi Jinping addressed to the president of Pakistan and one from PRC Premier Li Keqiang to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In contrast India and the United States limited themselves to trust statements of sympathy through foreign affairs spokesperson.
In case you’re wondering, No, the Eiffel Tower was not lit up in Pakistani green and white.
The 100 victims were either not innocent enough or not white enough.
The useful tell, concerning Chinese attitudes toward India is whether or not China permit the designation of one Masood Azhar as a terrorist by the UN sanctions committee.
Masood is rather unambiguously a terrorist with long-standing develop, shelter and cooperate with Pakistan’s Intelligence services.
India has been pushing for him to be designated as a terrorist and China which could put a hold on the designation in this role as permanent member of the Security Council has blocked with the designation again and again.
A few days ago, China said it needed more evidence to support the designation.
I doubt china will be inclined to make a genuine tilt from Pakistan toward India since India strategic bottom line is to expel china from South Asia.
And a reasonably functional Pakistan is china’s best hope to protect its strategic interests in the region.
I often said that the first major projection of Chinese military power in this century maybe into the Af-Pak.
If the PRC feels the situation is getting out of hand, especially if it feels it is getting out of hand because of Indian meddling I could see the PRC government dispatching forces to assist Pakistan and maybe even conducting some kind of unilateral security operation in northern Afghanistan near the Chinese and Pakistan borders.
China really doesn’t want to do that especially in a Muslim country but it will if it has too.
I think the Russian experience in Syria has given the PRC the idea that this kind of intervention can work with the right circumstances, the right forces and the right local partner.
The combination of Pakistan’s weakness, India’s hostility and China’s determination to support Pakistan probably makes South Asia the most dangerous region in the world and that’s even before you add in the US factor.
With the United States power and India eager to contain china and desperate to see that’s own bacon in Afghanistan.
Need I mention all these countries have nuclear weapons.
In my opinion the terror attacks last week are an escalation and another step on the road to war.
A road the Governments of India, Pakistan and China are all preparing to take.
By Peter Lee