Pakistan intends to lodge a complaint at the United Nations against India for ‘eco-terrorism’, a government minister said on Friday according to Reuters.
“What happened over there is environmental terrorism,” Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Malik Amin Aslam told Reuters, referring to Indian airstrikes on terrorist camps within Pakistani territory. “There has been serious environmental damage.” He also claimed that Indian jets had bombed a “forest reserve”. Pakistan had claimed that bombing by Indian Air Force jets had missed the targets and didn’t hit any terrorist camp. Instead, the bombs had fallen on a forest area nearby, which had damaged some trees and created craters on the ground, they had said.
But Pakistan seems to be confused about the eco-terrorism, as it does not imply damaging environment as they are implying.
According to Merriam-Webster, “Eco‑terrorism” has two definitions. It is an act of “sabotage intended to hinder activities that are considered damaging to the environment” or “political terrorism intended to damage an enemy’s natural environment”. Basically, ‘eco-terrorism’ means the use of violence or physical force to protect the environment. A lot of activities undertaken by Greenpeace can be termed as eco‑terrorism, for example. Environment activists often physically prevent economic activities for protecting the environment, and they have been charged with eco‑terrorism and affected organisations have filed lawsuits against such groups in various countries.
Therefore, the act of India can’t be termed as eco‑terrorism. India didn’t bomb the areas inside Pakistan to stop damage to the environment, it was done to destroy terror camps operating in Pakistan. In the process, few trees may have got affected as collateral damage, but that can’t be called eco‑terrorism as that will be the wrong use of the term.
The term “Environmental Terrorism”, on the other hand, does mean harming the environment. But India didn’t target the trees willingly, only terror camps were targeted, and few trees may have got damaged in the process. Whatever damage suffered by the environment was clearly accidental and not intentional. Moreover, whether the alleged destruction of 15 pine trees will be considered as a terrorist act by the UN will have to be seen.
Pakistan is known to harbour terrorism, various terror groups operating from the country regularly conduct terrorist activities in India and other countries. Terror leaders like Maulana Masood Azhar and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed openly roam in Pakistan. Such a terror-state is accusing India of eco-terrorism, that too for alleged destruction of few trees.
After threatening India with nuclear weapons for years, approaching the U.N. over ‘ecoterrorism’ appears to be another instance where the Pakistanis have failed greatly to live up to their incredible boasts.
Pakistan has been forced to swallow a lot of bitter pills lately. First, India entered its territory with nuclear-capable jets to strike at terrorist camps within their territory. Then, it was isolated at the international scene even as their ‘all-weather friend’ emphasized restraint. Next, the best aircraft in the Pakistani air force, the F16, was brought down by an ancient Indian MiG-21. Ultimately, it was forced to release Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan unconditionally due to international pressure even as they hoped to negotiate some sort of a deal with India using him as a hostage.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, Pakistan was forced to boycott the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference after its objection to the organization’s invite to India was ignored by the rest of the members even though they were one of its founding members.
Under such circumstances, it is only natural that the Pakistan government’s actions appear rather bewildering. It is also perplexing that the Pakistanis believe accusing India of ‘eco‑terrorism’ is more reasonable than acting against the terrorists it has been harbouring.