Home > A very real threat – The Express Tribune

A very real threat – The Express Tribune

It is allege­d that RAW is workin­g throug­h local proxie­s, specif­ically banned organi­sation­s

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reports that there has been a tightening of security around Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and a number of other high-profile public figures are both welcome and not unexpected. The source of the threat is said to be the Indian intelligence agency, RAW. It is alleged that RAW is working through local proxies, specifically banned organisations. Perhaps, ironically, one of those being offered enhanced protection is Hafiz Saeed, himself a leader of a banned organisation, a player that India would dearly like to see taken off the board. There is nothing new in the use of proxies as political assassins, and of late there have been at least two attempts to kill prominent political figures, one successful and the other not. There has thus far been no suggestion that RAW was behind these attempts; but both incidents pointed at the sometimes grossly irresponsible attitude to personal safety by people who really ought to know better.

This development has triggered police actions against the regional offices of banned groups — which may also trigger a deadly circularity in that those of an extremist mindset may be more likely to fall into the welcoming arms of RAW as a direct result of actions designed to limit their reach and effectiveness. Extremism and anti-government sentiments are deeply rooted in some proscribed organisations, and they have for the most part been able to resist attempts to shut them down, having demonstrated a capacity to constantly reinvent themselves; possibly with support from shadowy figures within the establishment, who pursue their own agendas.

Thus, it is not in the least surprising that RAW would actively exploit gaps in the security environment, with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi being an obvious vehicle for proxy activity. The group has vowed revenge after the death in an ‘encounter’ with the police of their leader, Malik Ishaq, on July 29, and the prime minister would be high on its target list. Public figures are, as has been amply demonstrated recently, particularly vulnerable. Protecting them is never easy, but protect them we must because life behind concrete walls and Hesco barriers tells the terrorists they are winning.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2015.

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