Pakistan’s novel idea for dealing with terrorism.
In an interview with BBC Urdu, the Interior Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province Col (r) Shuja Khanzada offered the following when questioned on what was being done to counter the terrorist groups active in his province:
The government has increased its monitoring of those militant and sectarian groups in the province that are listed in the Fourth Schedule. Those individuals listed in the schedule now require permission from the police in order to travel outside Punjab province.
In the past the police had no way of monitoring the movements of these individuals. However, we are now planning to implant microchips in these individuals in order to monitor their movement.
The joint intelligence committee has listed 1,132 individuals who have been directly involved in or have instigated or supported militancy in the province. Of these individuals, 700 have already been arrested and we are in the process of implanting microchips in them to monitor their movement per the Fourth Schedule. [بی بی سی اردو]
What a novel idea.
Of course, implanting microchips is easy. A tougher question to answer is who is going monitor these 700 individuals on a continuous basis. Moreover, Punjab police is apparently counting on these individuals not being competent enough to use Google to determine how they can jam, spoof, or simply remove microchip implants.
But it doesn’t end there:
When asked whether the Government of Punjab planned to act against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jamaat ud-Dawah, the minister said that they were both proscribed organizations and if we feel at any time that they are breaking the law, we will act against them.
When asked if neither one of these two organizations had done anything to attract the attention of law enforcement agencies thus far, the minister indicated that they did not know of any unlawful activity attributable to these groups at this point, but that the government was taking action step-by-step.
This is par for the course. Despite claims of having turned the corner in its fight against terrorism, Pakistan continues to tolerate – to be charitable – or sponsor – to be more accurate – terrorist groups as long as they don’t pose an immediate threat to the government or military. In an apparent attempt to placate the U.S., Pakistan “banned” the Jamaat ud-Dawah and then very clumsily attempted to back out of its UN commitments after John Kerry’s visit in January, as Rezaul Hasan Laskar reports in the Hindustan Times.
The Long War Journal’s report earlier this week on files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad indicates that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif attempted to negotiate with al-Qaeda and wanted to establish “normal relations” with them “as long as they do not conduct operations in Punjab.”
Indeed, LWJ’s report is instructive in how state and federal governments in Pakistan go about dealing with terrorists groups: negotiate and plead with those that do not directly target the state, challenge (with varying degrees of sincerity) those that visibly target the military or government, and sponsor and obfuscate others that further the state’s security objectives.