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Time to take out Masood Azhar

By Manoj Mohanka
February 15, 2019 13:27 IST

'Making loud noises about a fitting response isn't the answer to Pulwama.'
'The only way to teach a rogue State a lesson is to keep them and their actors (State or otherwise) constantly under siege,' says Manoj Mohanka.

A protest against Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar. Photograph: ANI

IMAGE: A protest against Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist Masood Azhar, February 15, 2019. Photograph: ANI

The Indian State needs to learn realpolitik.

Making loud noises about a fitting response or going to town on a small scale surgical strike isn't the answer to Pulwama.

The only way to teach a rogue, recalcitrant, State a lesson is to keep them and their actors (State or otherwise) constantly under siege.

We don't even have to do much as the unrest already exists in Pashtun Afghanistan and the Baluch areas of Pakistan. We just need to encourage and support it.

We have let down the Baluch in the past, but we can build back that trust and have them serve our common purpose. Also, expand it to other geographies within Pakistan.

Every form of strife exists in Pakistan. We need to foment it and have adequate resources to do so.

If the ISI is kept busy dousing home fires, it may well be stymied from exporting terror is my simplistic, perhaps naive, take!


The Pakistan army and ISI in particular will understand that it is a vicious game that two can play. Thus far, they have been having a home run. India has steered clear for the last several decades by not intervening in Pakistan's internal issues and been working on creating a peaceful environment in the Indian subcontinent.

This has been because of a feeling that a failed Pakistan will be worse for India.

I fear that Pakistan is already near failed and if it does break up, the problems for India will be fewer.

We also need to conduct aerial strikes on terror bases and arrange for hits against their defence bases (ala Pathankot).

We can do this while steering clear of civilian targets and keeping collateral damage nil and at worst, bare minimum.

We should work on 'taking out' Masood Azhar and Muhammad Saeed who enjoy the establishment's protection in Pakistan. An eye for an eye only ends up making the world blind said the apostle of peace, but is there another way?

Last and most, we need to get our own house in Kashmir in order. Ensure that the south Kashmir insurgency doesn't spread to the north. Get religious leaders who preach peace in their weekly sermons rather than violence.

While being firm on curbing militancy, conduct a dialogue with anyone and everyone who wishes to within the ambit of the Constitution. We need to remember the guidelines of what a former PM said as well as attempted: Kashmiriyat, Jamooriyat and Insaniyat. Not to forget the international community to bring pressure to bear on Pakistan.

None of the above is possible within the next few months as elections loom including a decision on whether they should be held in Kashmir along with the rest of the country.

Our new government in May 2019 will do well to keep a multi-pronged approach in mind. I recall a conversation that I had with a former ISI chief sometime ago. "We can't let go of Kashmir as it will prove Partition a mistake. You can't let go of Kashmir as you want to prove Partition a mistake."

Manoj Mohanka is a Kolkata businessman with an interest in national and global issues.

Manoj Mohanka