In the recent time, India faced one of the biggest terrorist attack on 14th February 2019 at Pulwama on security personnel killing about 44 people. This attack was claimed by Jaish-e- Mohammed (J-e-M), a Pakistan based terrorist organization which is being nurtured and used by some of the army establishments of Pakistan to serve their strategic interest. India responded to Pulwama terror attack by aerial bombing of training camp of Jaish-e- Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan on 26th February 2019 destroying terror infrastructure. Next day on 27th February 2019, Pakistan rattled with anger on air strike in Balakot attempted air strike on security installations in India that was scuttled by Indian Air Force. In this process, one F-16 fighter aircraft of Pakistan and one MIG-21 aircraft of India were destroyed, and one pilot of Indian Air Force was captured by Pakistan. However, captured pilot was returned to India under Geneva convention under threating by India and pressure from international community. Pak P M Imran Khan showed restrain and displayed pragmatism by releasing Indian Air Force pilot to deescalate tension between India and Pakistan. However, cross-border firing across LoC between India and Pakistan continued.
Pakistan very well know that in conventional warfare, they can’t match India and that’s why they resort to cross border terrorism. Given the prevailing economic condition in Pakistan, reduction in aid to Pakistan and growing international influence of India, it again becomes more difficult for Pakistan to sustain war against India.
The biggest predicament of Pakistan is that after Gen Zia, there have never been civilian control of democratically elected governments on military. Defence and foreign policy in Pakistan is tightly controlled and dictated by Pak military in addition to intervention in affairs other areas of government. The main reason for this is that Pakistani people never beheld Pakistani political class in high esteem due to plethora of reasons including rampant corruption, nepotism, insensitivity to aspirations masses etc. Therefore, Pakistani people reposed more confidence in Pak military establishment compared to political class. That is how civilian government lost control on military. Now it has become culture in Pakistan that even it will be difficult for even responsible civilian government in Pakistan to control army. In order to prove themselves relevant in public eyes Pak military needs to create a sense of fear in Pakistani public from neighbouring countries even by provoking and intervening in the affairs of neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, India and Iran through terrorist activities. Now, game of terror and counter-terror activities is changing, and India is responding to terrorist activities sponsored by Pakistan with iron hand including imposition of various kinds of sanctions including economic one. Now it is in the interest of Pakistani people to understand and repose more confidence in civilian government. A strong civilian government can propel economic growth. Perhaps Pakistan can learn lesion from Bangladesh as how they are on path of rapid economic growth in recent times.