It is a hopeful sign when China, our inveterate foe, sheds its habitual animosity to sign on a condemnatory statement of terrorist attack in Pulwama. In the past, instead of staying neutral, it has vetoed any statement condemning Pakistan directly or impliedly for masterminding such attacks from its soil against India.
It reasoned that since Jammu and Kashmir is a `disputed territory,’ the Security Council had no business to comment on it. But thanks to agile diplomacy, working the phones in Beijing and Washington, and listing the support of Paris and Moscow, India succeeded in getting China to be a co-signatory to the statement. It ‘strongly condemned the attack in Jammu and Kashmir Pulwama district…’
In fact, China was persuaded to append its signatures to the statement which specifically named Jaish-e-Mohammed for the ‘heinous and cowardly suicide bombing.’ To the extent, it condemned the attack, Pakistan will have reason to feel concerned at the weakening of support of its ‘all-weather friend.’
China could have held back signing on the statement only at the risk of its isolation when every SC member sought to strongly register its protest. Further, naming JeM specifically will annoy Pakistan further because it knocks the bottom of its excuse that it had nothing to do with the attack.
If it was not believed by the world earlier that the JeM was located in that country, the takeover of its mosque-cum-seminary broadcast the truth of Pakistan harbouring the terrorist organisation. The Bahawalpur-based complex, a spokesperson of the Interior Ministry of the Punjab province said, was taken over after a meeting of the National Security Committee which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan hours after the UNSC condemnation.
Of course, this is not the first time Pakistan has taken action against the main centre of the JeM. Earlier, following the Pathankot attack it had taken similar action without ensuring that it did not return to terror- training activities in the garb of running madrasas and other religious activities.
It is more than likely that the Pakistan authorities will relax controls of the JeM once the Pulwama terrorist killings recede from the front pages and the world moves on to fresh events. That is the pattern Pakistan has followed all through. But what may be different this time is China becoming a co-signatory to the statement other members of the Security Council did not need any persuasion to sign on.
Meanwhile, apprehending retaliation, Pakistan has put its security services on high alert, with the army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visiting the Line of Control to keep the morale of its troops high. But if India launches retaliation it is unlikely to do so when it is most expected. What shape, place and time India will punish Pakistan will most likely be when Pakistan least expects it. But pay back Pakistan it must for its perfidious and cold-blooded killing of the forty CRPF men.