After the Pulwama Attack, the situation in Pakistan became extremely tense. India accused a Pakistan-based outfit named Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) of involvement in said attack. The name of JeM chief, Masood Azhar, has been in the headlines of international media in the past as well.General Pervez Musharraf was the ruler of Pakistan on December 24, 1999, when Indian Airlines Flight 814, which was flying to Nepal, was hijacked and forced to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan. At that time, there was a Taliban government in Afghanistan. The objective of this entire operation was to obtain the release of Masood Azhar from jail in India. In the end, the hijackers’ plan was successful and India gave in. Masood Azhar was released and then came to Pakistan, where he has resided ever since. Ever since that time, India has tried repeatedly to move a resolution against Masood Azhar forward so that he could be declared an international terrorist. But, as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), China has vetoed all efforts in this regard every time they have arisen. After the recent Pak-India tension, India handed a dossier over to Pakistan which allegedly contains the name of Masood Azhar. Nevertheless, Pakistan has initiated an operation against outfits connected to Maulana Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, taking control of several madrassas and hospitals during the process. Pakistan’s point of view is that the decision to carry out the operation had already taken place a few months ago and was not at all a result of any pressure from India or from the international community. This raises the question that if these outfits had been banned, why were they allowed to remain operational for so long?After 9/11, the war on terrorism began worldwide. As a result of this war, many terrorist organisations were eradicated completely. There were dozens of such small groups in Pakistan, most of them carrying out extremist activities. One part of Pakistan’s history, which has sadly been almost forgotten, is that the bloodiest decade of Pakistan was not after 9/11 but rather it was the 1990s. This historical omission seems to be the part of an effort to build a narrative by which the dominant class of Pakistan can pin the blame of the bloodshed on foreign powers by claiming that Pakistan was pushed into the war and, therefore, it was not our war. However, the truth is that the war was more Pakistan’s war than anyone else’s. The immense loss of innocent civilians that Pakistan incurred, caused by the sectarian militants, was primarily the product of Pakistan’s own erroneous internal and foreign policies. The doctrine of “strategic depth” and the narrative “Ghazwa-e-Hind” were nurtured, creating chaos not just inside Pakistan but also on Pakistan’s borders and beyond. The militant outfits were a safe cover for the sectarian groups operating inside Pakistan. They could come and go from these safe havens as they pleased. The ’90s was a bloody decade, where a number of religious scholars, doctors, and ordinary and government employees were targeted and killed in Pakistan simply because of their faith. This bloodbath that started in the mid-’80s, reached its prime in ’90s and continued into the subsequent decade before eventually tapering off over the last 10 years. The bloodiest decade of Pakistan was not after 9/11 but rather it was the 1990s. This historical omission seems to be the part of an effort to build a narrative by which the dominant class of Pakistan can pin the blame of the bloodshed on foreign powersAfter 9/11, Pakistan benefitted from international support that aimed to take action against the armed groups in Pakistan who could damage the roots of the state. Pakistan received billions of dollars from the international community to that end. But perhaps Pakistan could not bring about clear change internally or the state did not have enough power or will to deal with all of the armed groups at the same time.In the present standoff between India and Pakistan, the tough economic situation Pakistan is of the paramount importance. Last year, I had the honor of meeting the world’s top intellectual, Noam Chomsky, who was also of the opinion that the USSR lost the Cold War to the US because the Soviet Union was economically weak. This allowed the arms race to destroy the economy of the USSR and caused it to collapse. He also said that whenever there is an arms race, the situation becomes worse for the country with the weaker economy. Perhaps this is the reason why at the moment that the present government took up the reins of power, efforts have been made to improve relations with India and Afghanistan. Any decisions with respect to the method adopted for such efforts should be made after careful consideration. Today, Pakistan itself is carrying out an operation against many outfits while also claiming that these are banned outfits. This strengthens the viewpoint of opponents that these outfits, whose madrassas are today being taken into custody by the government, actually exist in Pakistan. This suggests that as they were not in the government’s custody previously, they should have been tackled beforehand. Therefore, they must have been involved in some kind of negative activity. Otherwise, why would they be taken into custody?If the promotion of extremist actions within the country is a crime, then carrying out such activities in other countries from Pakistani soil should also be considered a serious crime and should be dealt with as terrorist activities. This formula applies to India, Pakistan, and any other country. Similarly, India should also ban such individuals and outfits that serve to incite different groups and nationalities in Pakistan to act against the state. Sending agents like Kulbhushan Jadhav to Pakistan is also extremely inappropriate. Pakistan and India should understand that if they want peace as well as economic growth in the region, then cracking down on such extremist outfits and ideologies is imperative. The writer hosts a current affairs talk show on PTV NewsPublished in Daily Times, March 20th 2019.