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Friday, December 31, 2010

Perfidious Musharraf and his Recent TV Interview - Part II

A friend who follows this blog sent me mail pointing out to the website of former Pakistani Air Force (PAF) officer who had in great detail described the involvement of the Pakistani Army (PA) in Kargil, something the venerable Gen. (r) Musharraf continues to deny vehemently. We have several sources today, very authentic, who have categorically stated the involvement of the PA in Kargil. The more Gen. (r) Musharraf adamantly sticks to his stand, the more he becomes the laughing stock thus confirming his well-known status as a liar of the very first order. In my opinion therefore, there is no need to even discuss this issue further.

The rest of the interview with Gen. (r) Musharraf on the Times Now channel was also very interesting. The interview dealt with such issues as Gen. (r) Musharraf's speech on Jan. 12, 2002 wherein he promised to take strong action to root out terrorism from Pakistan, Musharraf's own admission of guilt to the Der Spiegel magazine etc. When cornered, he would say that everybody was bothererd only about Pakistan while India went scot free in spite of its mischief in East Pakistan and Siachen. There can be no comparison between Kargil and the two events that Gen. (r) Musharraf has the habit of mentioning (this interview was not the first time he mentioned such linkages) everytime he runs out of points. These are selective narratives of rubbish history that the Pakistani Army and its supporters have made the gullible people of Pakistan gulp. Like helpless people tossed about in a raging sea from a wrecked ship, the Pakistanis try to clutch at these virtual straws and live in a world of denial, ignorant and therefore blissful.

The discontent in East Pakistan dates back to even Jinnah's euphoric days after Independence. The trampling of proud Bengali sensibilities of their language, culture and history by the supercilious West Pakistanis especially Punjabis, the haughty stance of 'Defence of East Pakistan lies in the security of West Pakistan', the economic swindling of East Pakistan to meet the insatiable demands and spendthrift ways of West Pakistan, the contempt with which East Pakistanis were looked down upon as rather cowardly, poor, short, dark and rice-eating cousins of the tall, fair and wheat-and-meat eating martial races of West Pakistan, their suspect loyalty to the very 'Idea of Pakistan', in the eyes of the West Pakistanis, because of a high percentage of Hindus among them and the resultant impurity of the entire East Pakistanis etc. had already created enough dissension within East Pakistan. The rejection of the 1970 election mandate by the Pakistani Army Generals and Z.A. Bhutto because that would have allowed an East Pakistani Sheikh Mujibur Rehman to become the Prime Minister of the nation, followed by the brutal genocide by state and non-state actors of West Pakistan only added fuel to the fire and culminated in the inevitable seccesion and this history is well known to the entire world, including Pakistanis themselves.

Thus, the landslide victory in the first elections of universal suffrage, considered by many to be the only free elections in the history of Pakistan, by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, a popular leader of East Pakistan, led immediately to the breakup of more than half the country. Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's Awami party swept the polls scoring twice the number of seats than his nearest rival, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of PPP. Since Mujib won all his seats in East Pakistan and Z.A.Bhutto similarly in West Pakistan, the Pakistani Army feared that Mujib as the Prime Minister would reduce the power of the Army which consisted mostly of Punjabis and Pashtuns, all from West Pakistan. The Army decided to put its faith in Z.A.Bhutto especially since it had close linkages with him ever since he was a Foreign Minister in the Ayub Government. In fact, he along with Army Generals, is reputed to have planned the 1965 war and cajoled a reluctant Field Marshal Ayub Khan to accept the plans. In any case, Z.A.Bhutto’s intransigence in accepting Mujib as the Prime Minister had the tacit backing of the Army and the deteriorating political situation led to the genocide in East Pakistan. The rest is history. Of course, in the final stages of their struggle, India was forced to help the East Pakistanis in their war with West Pakistan as millions of refugees poured into India straining her economy and destabilizing the region even as most of the rest of the world remained as a mute spectator. India never instigated these events in East Pakistan unlike what Pakistan has been doing in Jammu & Kashmir (and increasingly in other parts of India as well) since Independence.

Kargil was probably an attempt by the PA to execute what they could not do in Siachen. This suspicion is lent credence by the repeated linkages that Musharraf has expressed whenever Kargil was discussed. The occupation by India of the Siachen glaciers was prompted by Pakistan's insidious attempt to surreptitiously grab it. As in the 1947 and 1965 wars and later in Kargil, and so in Siachen, Pakistan was smugly assuming that India would not enlarge the envelope once the conflict broke out or if Pakistan seized the initiative. But, it paid a heavy price and yet never learned any lessons.

Now, a brief note on the geography of the region. The Siachen Glaciers are located on the Karakoram range, which is one of those five mountain ranges to join the Pamir Knot, the others being, from west to east, the Hindu Kush, Pir Panjal, Himalayan and Kun Lun which is to the east of Karakoram. The Karakoram Range has two important passes, one in the west known as the Khunjerab and the other in the east in Ladakh known as the Karakoram Pass. The Karakoram Highway that connects Pakistan to Xinjiang through the Pakistan occupied Balawaristan region of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) goes through this pass. On the other hand, the eastern Karakoram Pass was the traditional trade route for the Ladakhis from Leh to Xinjiang. Two limbs of the Karakoram are the Saltoro and the Sasser ranges and the Siachen Glacier is located between these two limbs. At the northern end of the Saltoro Range is the Sia La pass (almost at the Shaksgam Valley ceded by Pakistan to China in circa 1962)and about the middle is the Bilafond La pass, both of which help cross into the Karakoram. The Nubra River drains south from the Siachen Glacier into Ladakh and the Saltoro River drains west, both of which join the Shyok River (the River of Death) which in turn joins the great Indus River at Skardu (in Baltistan) where the Indus takes a deep bend to get to the plains of Pakistan. The Siachen glacier is on the eastern side of Soltoro while the Boltoro glacier is on the western side.

So, with the help of the American Defence Mapping Agency which in its 1974 edition wilfully and deliberately drew the border by itself favouring Pakistan in the Siachen area, the Pakistanis began to lay claim to the un-demarcated areas to the north and east of point NJ9842 in Ladakh up to the Karakoram Pass. Various Atlas producers in the US and the UK (part of the 3½ Friends Group of Pakistan) began to follow suit and wrongfully depict the glacier as belonging to Pakistan. (The map reference point NJ9842, or as it is also referred to as NJ980420 sometimes, was the closest point to military presence of Cease Fire Line, CFL, which was agreed to in Karachi when war ended in c. 1948. This reference point was also used in the Simla Accord in 1972 as the starting point of Line of Control, LoC, leaving once again border beyond that undemarcated by simply saying "thence north to the glaciers". The area further north was left undemarcated because of its remote, uninhabited wilderness) With this support from the US as a fait accompli, Pakistan began to issue 'permits' and allow mountaineering expeditions by the Japanese and others to climb the Saltoro Range. We can clearly see the help from Pakistan's 3½ Friends (or Masters, as some call them) in sustaining and nurturing hostility towards India. Then, in the 1980s, Pakistan began to issue maps that showed the LoC extending straight from NJ9842 to the Karakoram Pass instead of 'thence North to the glaciers' just as the US Defence Mapping Agency did in c. 1974. It has been pointed out by many that in a mountainous region, there can be no straight line boundaries without taking into consideration crests, rivers, watersheds etc.

In 1983, Pakistan tried to set up military posts in these areas, an effort that failed because of poor logistics. Therefore, they went in for massive purchase of winter gear and eqipment to overcome the earlier issues. On August 21, 1983, Pakistan demanded Indian troops to be withdrawn south of "line joining point NJ9842 and Karakoram Pass NE7410", a demand that India rejected. A second demand note was issued by Pakistan on August 29, 1983, betraying Pakistan's likely approach to Siachen in the upcoming summer of 1984. In the meanwhile, Pakistan had raised a special force codenamed Burzil Force in an operation codenamed Op. Ababeel to be launched in May/June, 1984. Thus, when India came to know of Pakistani plans to occupy the Siachen heights, they wasted no time in asserting their rightful claim on April 13,1984, through a daring operation, codenamed Op. Meghdoot. They occupied initially the two passes (Sia La and Bilafond La) on the Saltoro Range which acted as the gateway to Siachen and then further east to the Karakoram, and slowly extended the occupation to the other heights and passes on the ridges. The Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) today follows (from east to west) the NJ9842 - Gyong La Pass (the eastern most pass on the Saltoro Range) - K12 Peak - Bilafond La Pass - Saltoro Kangri 1 Peak - Sia La Pass and then up to Indira Col which is the western end of the Siachen Glacier. The LoC here has been termed as AGPL.

One can understand the bitterness in Gen. (r) Musharraf when he speaks about East Pakistan and Siachen.

In East Pakistan, he was starting as a novice officer and though he did not surrender to the Indian Army, having been withdrawn from being sent to East Pakistan at all, the surrender itself must have been very depressing. After having been brought up on a staple diet of cowardly kafir Hindu soldiers and the ratio of one Pakistani soldier for every ten Hindu Indian soldiers, 93000 of his comrades-in-arms surrendering at Dhaka on that fateful day of Dec. 16, 1971, beaten thoroughly and shaken badly, must have been painful indeed.

As for Siachen, it must have an even greater impact on Gen. (r) Musharraf than the events of Bangladesh. He was directly responsible for the loss of the important Quaid post (later renamed as Bana Post after Captain Bana Singh, PVC and his intrepid companions captured it in 1987) and later the decimation at Bilafond La pass in c. 1987. He planned the operations that failed miserably. His Pakistani Army does not fight India in Siachen, as it is generally believed, because PA cannot even access it through the Saltoro Ranges. It was no wonder that he wanted to avenge the defeat which landed him in greater despair and shame in 1999.

(To be continued. . . )


1. SIACHEN: Conflict Without End, Lt. Gen. V.R.Raghavan, Viking, 2002

Monday, December 20, 2010

Perfidious Musharraf and his Recent TV Interview - Part I

A few days back, Mr. Arnab Goswami of the Times Now TV channel conducted an interview with Gen. (r) Musharraf. He asked him a set of fifteen questions to which Gen. Musharraf, the once proud member of the SSG (Special Services Group) of the Pakistani Army (a position that he seems to value more than all the other illustrious positions that he held in the Pakistani Army) gave replies in his usual I-am-always-right-and-blunt demeanour.

Any lay audience would have easily found out the perfidy he paraded and the evasiveness he displayed. Mr. Arnab Goswami, in my opinion, had done his home work. He led Gen. (r) Musharraf step-by-step like a lamb being led to the slaughterhouse and Mr. Musharraf fell for it. Of course, as they say, once you lie you have to lie a thousand times more to cover up that original lie. Having built-up his recent career, at least from the time of his coup in circa 1999, entirely on lies and duplicity, Gen (r) Musharraf has but no option other than to keep lying even as the façade gets blown off rather quickly. I felt therefore that Mr. Goswami stopped short of embarrassing Gen (r) Musharraf completely though he could have done so easily. However, the interview left no one in doubt about the the liar that Gen (r) Musharraf is.

I thought therefore that I would dwell on some aspects of the interview that caught Gen (r) Musharraf like an emperor with no clothes.

The interview started off with the denial of visa recently by the Government of India (GoI) to Gen (r) Musharraf. On this trip, he wanted to visit several Indian cities and address meetings, like he has been doing recently in the US. The GoI was quite correctly wary of such a proposal coming from a General who as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistani Army (PA) refused to show the simple courtesy of saluting the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee when he visited that country, who plotted secretively the Kargil war even as the Indian Prime Minister was engaged in ground-breaking peace dialogue, who thundered in Muzzafarabad after usurping power from Mr. Nawaz Sharif that jihad had shifted decisively to Kashmir from Afghanistan, who on his very first Indian visit berated India in an editors’ meeting in New Delhi just before the Agra talks etc. etc.

In the aftermath of visa denial, Gen (r) Musharraf who felt slighted, had vowed never to visit India thereafter. When queried on this visa denial issue, a chastened (that was how I felt since he spoke in a conciliatory tone) Gen (r) Musharraf claimed that he had visited India thrice and he could not therefore understand what the fuss was all about. While it is true that he visited India thrice after his Kargil misadventure and the subsequent assumption of power in the coup, two of them were undertaken in his official capacity as the President of Pakistan (Indo-Pak Summit in July 2001 and April 2005) and the third was a private visit for attending a specific international conference organized by India Today. His current visit was meant to bolster his image back in Pakistan since he is now head of a political party, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), a proposition GoI would not like. Let us remember that it was India’s invitation to the then CEO of Pakistan, Gen. Musharraf, that legitimized him among the world community. He hurriedly relieved the then President Rafique Ahmed Tarar and assumed Presidency so that he could fly into India as the President of Pakistan. India did not want to allow its soil to be used for his rehabilitation once again. No amount of doing seminar circuits in the US would bring him the kind of publicity among the Pakistani masses that a single meeting in India can do

A digression at this point. President Tarar’s easing out from the Presidency itself was a hilarious drama. As soon as India foolishly called for the Agra Peace Summit, CEO Gen. Musharraf appointed himself as President through an Amendment to the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO), called "President's Succession Order, 2001". It reads, inter alia: "Upon the office of the President becoming vacant for any reason whatsoever, the Chief Executive of Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall be the President... and shall perform all functions assigned to the President... The Chief Executive shall hold office as President until his successor enters upon his office." It was later clarified that the Presidential Office will be held by Gen. Musharraf for a period of 5 years. But, Gen. Musharraf had to find a reason for throwing out the Nawaz Sharif nominee Justice Rafique Ahmed Tarar and here is where the Pakistani ingenuity came out in flying colours. A strange reason was adduced to the "easing out" of Pres. Tarar namely that since the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies had been dissolved, the President elected by such bodies ceased to exist !! Thus Gen. Musharraf who called himself a ‘reluctant coup leader’ began to assume all powers, President, CEO and COAS, all rolled into one. Later he even justified this ‘multiple hats’ as ‘unity of command’, another innovative phrase just like ‘enlightened moderation’. So, how did he justify this ‘unity of command’ ? When urgent repairs had to be done in the Tarbela dam, he asked the Pakistani Army engineers to carry them out and boasted that he could take such a decision because of ‘unity of command’ !

So, it becomes quite clear that it is generally difficult to engage with Gen (r) Musharraf, as it is with most Pakistanis for that matter, in a meaningful dialogue or a debate because he is far too righteous to be questioned by ordinary mortals, especially a kaffir. He will easily make a fool of the other party by himself talking foolishly. So, when Gen (r) Musharraf wondered why India should be harking back on events that happened more than ten years back, one cannot make him understand why. Anyway, he agreed that he was hasty in declaring his intentions of never visiting India because he was emotional at that point. One can understand that because he has never been denied a visa before. Is this probably a harbinger of things to come for Gen (r) Musharraf who has much to answer not only to the citizens of his own country but also several other countries ?

Anyway, the interview then moved on to more substantive issues from the minor visa issue. But, the visa issue set the stage for the next few questions because Mr. Goswami had suggested that it was perhaps because of his ‘misrepresentation of facts regarding Kargil’ that the GoI probably denied him a visa, an accusation that made Gen (r) Musharraf bristle. He emphatically denied that the PA was at all involved in the Kargil misadventure. He said that the Kargil operation was carried out by ‘the mujahideen and second-line forces’. Though this was interesting, he was not more closely questioned on this either because Mr. Goswami overlooked this formulation of Gen (r) Musharraf or he had to complete his prepared set of questions within the allotted time. Had he been questioned as to how thousands of these mujahideen and second-line forces came to posses heavy weapons that normally only the Armies of a nation could and how they could have reached those commanding heights without the PA ever knowing about them since the preparations must have gone on a large scale and for months together, or why the PA did not apprehend these 'mujahideen and second-line forces' upon their retreat after the pasting they received from the Indian Army, his standard reply would have been that the borders were porous and not every inch could be guarded which was why even the Indian Army with its 700,000 soldiers could not stop the infiltrators. What about the conversation between COAS Gen. Musharraf and Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Aziz that was taped by India's Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) that revealed the Kargil intrusion as entirely planned by the PA ? Oh, that would be dismissed as concocted, as such things can be easily done. See, it is difficult to argue with him reasonably.

But, Gen (r) Musharraf was squarely and truly cornered when Mr. Goswami quoted from Musharraf’s own book, ‘In the Line of Fire’ wherein he had stated that Kargil was indeed a turning point in PA’s history. Of course, the PA itself has recently released the list of PA officers and soldiers killed (453 in all) in the Kargil operation in the ‘Shuhada Corner’ (Martyr’s Corner) of their website along with such information as their rank, location, how they were killed etc. Why, the PA’s Shuhada Corner even glorified a Pakistan Army suicide attacker, a certain Naik (Corporal) Zulfiqar Ahmed, who died in a New Delhi hospital due to severe ‘nephrotic syndrome’ and when this was picked up in India, the PA website was taken down hurriedly, poor Zulfiqar’s name was quietly removed and a weak explanation offered of it being a data entry error in the first place. It puzzles one, then, as to why his operation was classified as ‘Suicide Attack’. Similarly, when cornered by a quote from his own book, Gen (r) Musharraf gave a completely elliptical and asinine answer when he said whatever he had to say at that time he had said and they were realities in which he believed !!

Anyhow, the reference to the ‘second-line forces’ was interesting and confirmed what everybody knew for a very long time. In circa 1971, Pakistan used Al-Shams and Al-Badr to massacre the East Pakistanis, especially the Hindus there. Let us understand what these outfits are and why they worked in close alliance with the PA.

These second-line forces are whom Pakistan euphemistically refers nowadays as ‘good Taliban’ because they identify themselves completely with the PA and by extension 'Nazriya-e-Pakistan' which has two basic principles. The first is to implement Nizam-e-Mustafa (Order of the Prophet or Government according to Shariah) and the second is to destroy India. Nowadays, there is a third addition as well which is to establish the new Grand Caliphate in Pakistan. Among the second-line forces that are helping PA enforce this 'Nazriya-e-Pakistan' are the Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) followed by Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM). We have discussed these outfits in other places. However, the Islamist political party founded by Maulana Abu ala al Mawdudi spawned two terrorist organizations Al-Shams and Al-Badr. Now, Al-Badr is named after the historic Battle of Badr (near Mecca) fought and won by Prophet Mohammed. Immediately after the 9/11 incidents, India shared with the US the locations of 120 terror training camps along with video footage in many instances. Many of those camps seemed to be run by Al Badr based on the insignias, slogans etc seen there. Now, Al Badr was the creation of ISI and very close to it too. The Al Badr cadres along with the PA took part in the genocide in the then East Pakistan. Al-Shams was the comrade-in-arms in that massacre. They were disbanded after that but Al-Badr was resurrected in 1979 and fought in Afghanistan under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami, another notorious ISI protegé. Later, they were let loose on India in J&K.

Since the PA has confirmed its involvement in Kargil and since we have no reason to disbelieve Gen (r) Musharraf either, who as the COAS was the chief architect of Kargil, we can easily come to conclusions. It was therefore awesome to hear the former President of Pakistan casually accept that these terrorist outfits are indeed part of the PA and make a passing reference as though such behaviour is totally acceptable.

Such are the vicissitudes of life and Pakistan.

(To be continued. . . )

Monday, October 11, 2010

Musharraf's Recent Admission of Guilt

Gen. (r) Musharraf is on a roll. His interviews in Der Spiegel, NDTV and Times Now (with Maroof Raza) have rivetted attention once again to the perfidious state of Pakistan. While he also talked about his political ambitions and the state of affairs within Pakistan, it was his references to terrorism that caught Indian attention. I will take up in another post the nonsense that Gen (r) Musharraf trotted about Pakistan Army's role in governance etc. For the time being, I will confine myself to terror emanating from Pakistan. Anyhow, Gen. (r) Musharraf 's outpourings are nothing 'revealing' to the Indians who have been watching Pakistan, even cursorily. Like a true, blue Pakistani, Gen. (r) Musharraf has audaciously admitted to Pakistan's use of terrorism as a policy of the State and justified it on the grounds that "The West was ignoring the resolution of the Kashmir issue, which is the core issue of Pakistan".  .Like a true, blue Pakistani, Gen. (r) Musharraf also believes that somehow the world will simply gulp this comically persuasive argument on why Pakistan had to choose terrorism as the most potent weapon of the State. In the NDTV and later in the Times Now interviews, he went ahead to suggest that terrorism in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir was nothing but freedom fighting and there was a great swell of sympathy for such activities in the entire state of Pakistan and so Pakistan cannot be faulted on that score. He went on to add that Pakistan would never accept the Line of Control (LoC) as a final solution to the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit, when confronted with the ex-General's revelations, denied them as 'baseless'. He further said, "I do not know really what prompted him (Musharraf) to say this because he is not in Pakistan and I would not really know as to the purpose of saying this". This hollow and comical denial that had Musharraf been in Pakistan he would not have made these comments only goes to add to the perfidious and fraudulent nature of Pakistani state's policies on terrorism directed against India.

Gen. (r) Musharraf's admissions, especially about the public sympathy within Pakistan for jihad against India, take us directly to the era of Nazi Germany and its comparison to present day Pakistan. Both regimes employed extensive, sometimes subtle but many times blatant, social engineering to condition the minds of their peoples. The Nazi Germans believed that all their obnoxious actions were morally correct, helped in this pursuit by the intelligentsia and the academic who justified Nazi actions through innovative theories. Same has been the case in Pakistan where the mullahs incite people and justify jihad, which is then touted by people like Gen. (r) Musharrf as 'great public sympathy' little realizing that irrespective of all the spin, such cross-border jihad is nothing but pure and unalloyed terrorism.

On similar line, can one assume that it was a similar 'great public sympathy'  that led to genocide and massacre in the then East Pakistan in circa 1971 ? Some of the atrocities committed in the then East Pakistan, like eliminating academics and intelligentsia, closely parallel techniques widely employed by the Third Reich. Let us remember that it was the Pakistani Army under Gen. Tikka Khan, nicknamed 'Butcher of Bengal' and later to become the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan, that indulged in this massive genocide along with jihadi fanatics of Al Badr and Islami-Jamia't-e-Tulaba (IJT). Nothing exemplifies the brutality of the Pakistani Army more than what its top most commander in East Pakistan, Gen. A.A.K. 'Tiger' Niazi said of the rapes there insensitively: “You cannot expect a man to live, fight, and die in East Pakistan and go to Jhelum for sex, can you?”. Both Nazi Germany and Pakistan employed terror as a tactics by the State organs to make their own people submit to the will of the State. The hundreds of missing Pakistanis are proof enough of this practice. The fact that the people of the rump Pakistan have not only kept silent for nearly forty years now on the biggest genocide since Nazi Germany but even been 'running to the {Pakistani Army's} general headquarters' whenever there is crisis within Pakistan because the Pakistani Army is the only 'disciplined, oraganised, stable, institution which integrates Pakistan', as per Gen. (r) Musharraf in the NDTV interview, confirms that the Pakistani Army and the people have the same agenda and the same terrorist outlook.  Now, if the Pakistani Army is so people-friendly and people-centric and if it is great sympathy that leads to the support for jihad by Pakistanis against India, shouldn't we conclude that the genocidal Pakistani Army supports such a jihad ?

Gen. (r) Musharraf then went ahead and described the Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT)as a group that fights Indian occupation in Kashmir. Let us recall what the chief of Lashkar-e-Tayeba, Prof. Hafeez Saeed, said as early as in November 1999, ‘The Jihad is not about Kashmir only. It encompasses all of India. Today I announce the break-up of India, Inshallah. We will not rest until the whole of India is dissolved into Pakistan’.  It is the same Prof. Hafeez Saeed who now heads the Jamaa't-ud-Dawah (JuD), an outfit banned by the UNSC as a terrorist organization, but which Gen. (r) Musharraf now praises in that NDTV interview as "one of the best performers in the relief during the earthquake and even now in flood". This best performance does not absolve LeT and its reincarnation, JuD, of terrorism and the Government of Pakistan is supposed to eliminate this group rather than praising it. When Gen. (r) Musharraf speaks eloquently about the Kashmir dispute, the UN resolutions and Indian obligations under that (though if anyone is to implement UN resolutions first, it is Pakistan by withdrawing its forces, handing over PoK including Balawaristan to India along with CoK and enabling a peaceful environment conducive for a plebiscite etc.), he should be reminded of the UNSC resolution banning LeT and JuD and requiring all nations to stop supporting these organizations.

And then, he goes on to blame India for creating a war hysteria after minor {emphasis is mine though intent is Musharraf's from the NDTV interview} incidents such as the parliament attack or the 26/11 Mumbai attack and unnecessarily blaming the ISI. Now, the involvement of the ISI, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani Navy are proven facts in the 26/11 attack and Gen. (r) Musharraf is either unaware of them or pretends to be so. It is strange that a man who admitted that the Pakistani Army trained the militants in Kashmir while the Pakistani government turned its head the other way, finds it difficult to believe that the ISI could be at all involved in the 26/11 attack. Lt. Gen. Shuja Ahmed Pasha, the ISI Chief, admitted to the Americans that only rogue elements from the ISI were involved in the attack as though that is condonable. Not only the captured LeT jihadi, Ajmal Kasab, but also the American CIA/DEA double agent of Pakistani descent, David Coleman Headley, has categorically explained the involvement of serving Army officers also in the planning and execution of the 26/11 attack. Pakistani bluff has repeatedly been called from the days the Father of the Pakistani nation, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, lied to the world that it was the tribals who were attacking Jammu & Kashmir in October 1947 after having sponsored them under the guise of 'plausible deniability', a ruse that this liar nation has unwaveringly followed ever since. Whether it was the 1965 war, or the hijackings of several Indian Airlines flights including the IC-814 to Kandahar in circa 1999, or the sponsoring of the Punjab terrorists in the 80s followed by terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, or the terrorism all over the country since c. 1993, or the Kargil intrusion and war, or the terrorist attacks in Kabul or the cold-blooded killing of Indian project workers in Afghanistan, or nuclear and missile proliferation, this ruse has been followed even when it was repeatedly blown to smithereens every time. The shameless Pakistanis remain un-embarrassed by the exposures.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Know Your Balawaristan

In an op-ed in the New York Times (NYT) on August 26, 2010, the well-known commentator and analyst, Selig S. Harrison noted that China was, according to estimates by local citizens of Balawaristan, heavily involved in infrastructure activities in those areas. As part of those activities, this area was witnessing presence of large-scale Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. One estimate put the number of PLA soldiers deployed as between 7000 and 10000. The NYT Op-Ed also alludes to 22 tunnels being built in these places where even Pakistanis are not permitted. Satellite imagery has since confirmed the existence of many of these tunnels with roads going into the tunnels. More permanent Chinese residential enclaves are also coming up in these areas. Satellite imagery has also picked up large army convoys moving on these roads. Various analyses attribute different reasons for the presence of the Chinese Army in these areas, though China itself has vehemently denied the presence of its Army in what it provocatively termed as ‘Northern Areas of Pakistan’. This is for the first time that China has denoted Balawaristan as ‘Northern Areas’, a term which Pakistan itself has changed to ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ (or, GB) after the 2009 Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment Act. While the Pakistanis have attributed reasons such as flood relief aid and aid to those trapped on the other side of the landslide-created Attabad lake for the presence of the Chinese, they are flimsy reasons and are not convincing enough for frenzied and very large-scale construction activities. On the other hand, some Chinese analysts have admitted that these indeed are road and railroad construction activities to link the Chinese-constructed Gwadar port on the extreme west of the Makran coast in the Balochistan province and bordering Iran as well as to link other naval facilities such as Pasni and Ormara, also along the Makran coast further to the west of Karachi.

Let us try to understand this remote area of Balawaristan.

1. Balawaristan is an area of approx. 38000 Sq. KMs. with a population of apprximately 1 million (based on the last census of Pakistan with suitable projection).

2. Balawaristan has six districts, Gilgit, Skardu, Ghanche, Ghizar, Diamar, and Astore, two States of Hunza and Nagar and the subagency of Chilas. In c. 1947, the Mir of Hunza, the Mir of Nagar, the Raja of Punial, the chieftains of Koh Ghizar, Yasin and Ashkoman were subordinate to the Governor of the Maharajah of J&K located at Gilgit.

3. The languages spoken in Balawaristan are: Shina, Balti, Wakhi, Khowar, Burushaski, and Domaaki.

4. The Pakistani government has thrown a ‘cordon sanitaire’ to a depth of 50 Kms from the border along the Afghan border (Wakhan Corridor) area and of 16 Kms along the Kashmir-border area.

5. Today Gilgit is 60% Shia (Twelvers), 40% Sunni; Hunza 100% Ismaili; Nagar 100% Shia; Punial 100% Ismaili; Yasin 100% Ismaili; Ishkoman 100% Ismaili; Gupis 100% Ismaili; Chilas 100% Sunni; Darel/Tangir 100% Sunni; Astor 90% Sunni, 10% Shia; Baltistan 96% Shia; 2% Nurbakhti; 2% Sunni. They do not consider themselves as Kashmiris and speak a number of languages.

6. Ethnically, the main groups are Baltis, Yashkuns, Mughals, Kashmiris, Ladakhis, Tajik, Mongol, Turkmen and some population of Greek origin.

7. In c. 1889, the British, worried about the Russian Czarist expansion, created the Gilgit Agency as the suzerain power. Gilgit Agency was taken on a 60-year lease from Maharajah Hari Singh by the British in 1935 due to fear of spreading Russian Communism and the civil war in China, especially in Sinkiang. The Gilgit Scouts (currently part of the enlarged Northern Light Infantry, NLI) was a British India force created to help the British Political Agent. In June, 1947, the lease was cancelled and the Agency was returned to the Maharajah. However, the J&K State had retained the services of Maj. William A Brown and Captain A.S. Mathieson of the Gilgit Scouts, a decision that proved fatal. In the night between October 31 and November 1, Maj. Brown and about 100 men of Gilgit Scouts surrounded the house of the Governor, Brig. Ghansar Singh, who had taken over from the British Political Agent, Lt-Col. Bacon, only on Aug. 1, 1947, and asked him to surrender. It now turns out from records that Lt-Col. Bacon and Major W.A.Brown had worked out ‘contingency plans should the Maharajah take over the state to India’ in June 1947 itself. We must remember that it was exactly what the duo did after the Maharajah had signed accession papers to India on Oct. 26, 1947. After a heavy exchange of fire throughtout the night, the brave Brigadier had to surrender the next morning as Major. Brown threatened to kill all non-Muslims in Gilgit if he did not do so. On November 3, 1947, this British Major, William A Brown, hoisted the Pakistani flag at the garrison and formed an Interim Government and within two weeks, a ‘political agent’ of Pakistan, Maj. Aslam Khan who had taken part in the invasion of Kashmir, took control of Balawaristan as Col. Bacon, now posted at Peshawar acted as the liaison between the British officers and the Pakistani Government, especially Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Iskander Mirza. Maj. Brown and Col. Mathieson opted to serve in Pakistan after this episode. Maj. W.A. Brown was bestowed with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) within a few months in c. 1948. No citation was announced as to why he was awarded the OBE.

8. Thus the incidents in Gilgit were plainly a mutiny by certain sections of the Scouts, aided by British perfidy, who took the Governor of the province a hostage, and not a rebellion by ordinary citizens and inhabitants of Balawaristan. In fact, the people of Gilgit wholeheartedly welcomed Brig. Ghansar Singh on August 1, at the thought of the demise of the British rule and the return of the Maharajah’s administration. The locals also protested on November 1, 1947, the arrest of the Governor but were suitably pacified by the leaders of the scouts. Pakistan later falsely claimed that ordinary citizens rose in revolt and they sent telegrams to the Government of Pakistan of their desire to unite with Pakistan. A ‘Republic of Gilgit-Astore’ that was setup was forcibly disbanded by Pakistan’s ‘political agent’.

9. The British perfidy in ensuring that Pakistan possessed Balawaristan has been described by C. Dasgupta in his book, ‘War and Diplomacy in Kashmir”, citing records from British archives. The IAF was prevented from attacking the Pakistani Airforce’s supply aircraft that ferried supplies to the Gilgit region, by the combined pressure on the British chief of the IAF, Air Vice Marshal Thomas Elmhirst, by the British Commanders of the Pakistani Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Perry-Keene, and Pakistani Army, Gen. Gracey, and the Commander in Chief of Indian Army, General Bucher. The IAF, which did attack one such PAF Dakota aircraft on November 4, 1947 was stopped from conducting similar operations afterwards by the British. AVM Thomas Elmhirst personally met Nehru and persuaded him from conducting such operations. Thus, Balawaristan was saved from Indian military operations, for its recovery from the mutineers.

10. It has now come to light how the British conspired to keep two territories for Pakistan, Gilgit and North Western frontier Province (NWFP, now called Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa), in order to meet the geo-strategic interests of the British.

11. Since then, Balawaristan has been directly under the control of the federal government through the Ministry of Kashmir and Northern Areas (KANA). Z.A.Bhutto introduced a locally elected ‘council’, Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC), in 1974 and Musharraf announced a reforms package in 2007 which were all cosmetic in nature.

12. After the annexation, Pakistan started referring to Balawaristan as Northern Areas. It did not want to term the annexation as ‘accession’ of Balawaristan as that would have weakened Pakistan’s claims on the rest of J&K which had acceded to India. Besides, ‘accession’ was a privilege that could be exercised only by the Maharaja and not by ordinary citizens or even governors appointed by the Maharaja for administrative purposes. Also, the Maharaja could only accede his whole state, not parcels of it, to either India or Pakistan. So, the status of Balwaristan was kept in a limbo within Pakistan.

13. Pakistan enacted the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self Governance) Order 2009 in Aug. 29 and changed its name from Northern Areas to Giligit-Baltistan. As per this act, Gilgit-Baltistan was accorded a province-like status with a federally appointed Governor, a Legislative Assembly and a Chief Minister. The Assembly will have 33 members, of whom 24 are to be directly elected; it will have powers to legislate on 61 subjects. The Governor will head a 12-member Council, with half the members from the Assembly and the other half appointed by the Governor. In that respect, it is very similar to the Kashmir Council of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) located in Islamabad, to which is subordinated the POK Legislative Assembly. Thus, the Secretary of Ministry of Kashmir and Northern Areas (KANA) actually rules POK, who, in turn, is controlled by the ISI and the Military Intelligence (MI).

14. Pakistan has explicitly barred the Legislative Assembly from dealing with Gilgit-Baltistan’s natural resources including minerals and water. The federal Pakistani government has awarded the construction of the multi-billion USD hydro-electric and water storage projects at Bunji (south of Gilgit) and Diamar-Basha to Chinese companies. India has vehemently objected to Chinese involvement in projects in areas which China itself accepts as 'disputed territories'.

15. This recent empowerment of Balawaristan is nothing but a farcical attempt as the Governor’s council oversees the powers of the Assembly. With half the ‘Council’ consisting of the Governor’s appointees, the federal government has complete and tight control.

16. The Pakistani intention is to separate the Balawaristan region from the J&K dispute. It feels emboldened because India, since even Nehru’s days, had not paid much attention to the recovery of Balawaristan from Pakistani occupation. Both the Kashmiris and the Balawaristanis consider themselves parties to the J&K issue, however.

17. Large scale migration of Pashtuns and Punjabis has been deliberately engineered by Pakistan over the years changing the demography of the region and imposing the Sunnis over the Shi’a. This has lead to frequent clashes and even rebellion which had been crushed with the Pakistani military ruthlessly.

18. The Balawaristanis first rebelled in c. 1988 which Gen. Zia-ul-Haq suppressed, an action in which a certain Brig. Musharraf played a significant role. The trouble erupted when the Shi’a celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr a day ahead of the Sunnis. The still-fasting Sunnis were angered and invited a lashkar from NWFP (now, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) who indulged in unfettered and large scale looting, arson and rape for several days. Many say, the lashkar was aided by the Pakistani Army. Thus, the 1947 spectre of tribal lashkar from NWFP invading J&K under the Pakistani Army’s patronage and guidance and indulging in an orgy of violence, massacre, loot and rape was repeated. The final death toll was 700 Shi’as killed.

19. Since 1996, the Balawaristanis have been angered by the Sunni-biased syllabus imposed upon their schools by the federal government.

20. Again, after the 1999 Kargil Conflict in which over 3000 soldiers of the Gilgit Scouts were said to have died, a revolt brewed in these areas which required direct and urgent intervention of the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. The 1999 Kargil invasion also resulted in large scale transplantation of Sunni jihadis into Balawaristan.

21. Pakistan has exported its sectarian conflicts into Balawaristan through the policy of deliberate settlement of Sunnis in Balawaristan. In January, 2005, a Shi’a leader, Agha Ziauddin Rizvi, was killed in Gilgit.

22. In March 2005, the ex-Inspector General of Police in Gilgit, Sakiullah Tareen, was assassinated by the Shi’a who claimed they had suffered a great deal under his tenure. He was a known Sunni sectarian and a pro-Taliban jihadi who was earlier a diplomat of Pakistan accredited to the Taliban regime at Kabul.

23. Since Pakistan does not allow journalists or human rights activists or international relief organizations into Balawaristan, these human rights violations do not get reported at all. In this respect, Balawaristan is handled similar to Balochistan. The remoteness of both these places along with a ruthless clampdown on news from these regions hide the large-scale violations of human rights that take place regularly.

24. The Ismailis, who owe allegiance to the Aga Khan, have been running a large number of welfare projects in this region which have been also targets of the Sunni sectarians though the Ismailis have largely never retaliated. The Ismailis have faced similar oppression in other parts of Pakistan as well and the Aga Khan University has been a frequent target.

25. Pakistan had concluded a Border Agreement with China on December 26, 1962, a day prior to the US-initiated India-Pakistan Peace Talks in Rawalpindi, thus upsetting the talks even before they started. The Agreement itself was signed much later on Mar. 2, 1963 in Beijing. Later, Ayub Khan claimed that the Chinese had tricked him by timing the announcement of the border agreement to wreck the peace talks. Some historians try to project a picture of these border talks having been initiated much before the 1962 Indo-China War and hence no ulterior motives should be attributed to the Pakistanis. But, the Muslim League and the Pakistani perfidy is such that these pious protestations fall simply by the wayside. First of all, no progress had been made with the Chinese in the border talks up until December 1962, by which time the India-China war had concluded with China having decisively dealt a blow to Indian military. The talks which started in Beijing in May, 1962 had stalled immediately because neither side had any legal records to claim their border alignment. Later, when the talks resumed in Pakistan this time on October 12, 1962, Ayub Khan records in his book, Friends not Masters, how the Chinese were ‘very difficult’ by claiming several areas on the Pakistan side including the Khunjerab Valley and the K-2 mountain peak. The Indo-China War was still more than a week away, October 20, 1962. After the India-China war ended abruptly on November 20, 1962, the Pakistanis were able to immediately find an innovative solution to their vexatious border problem with the Chinese based on the principle of using the watershed of the Indus basin rivers and the traditional grazing grounds used by the Hunza shepherds.

26. Thus, Pakistan conceded vast portions to China, including the Shaksgam Valley. The Official Pakistan Map of 1962 in this area included 11000 Sq. Miles of territory (to the north of the ‘Traditional Frontier’)which has been totally lost by Pakistan to China. Pakistan never staked its claim to these areas in c. 1962, choosing rather to go by the 'Traditional Frontier' several hundred Kms. to the South of the Official Frontier. This is the area bordering Xinjiang (Sinkiang) where the British had built a road all the way from Gilgit in Hunza to Kashgar in Sinkiang where they had a Consulate. In addition, Pakistan conceded another about 3200 Sq. Miles to the south of the ‘Traditional Frontier’ to arrive at the new boundary alignment (out of the 3700 Sq. Miles claimed by China, it was ‘gracious’ enough to give 500 Sq. Miles of cattle grazing ground to Pakistan).


1. Operations in Jammu & Kashmir: 1947-48, Ministry of Defence, Government of India
ISBN 81-8158-053-2

2. The United States and Pakistan 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies, Dennis Kux, Oxford Press
ISBN 0 19 579656 X

3. War and Diplomacy in Kashmir 1947-48, C.Dasgupta, Sage Publications,2002
ISBN 81-7829-069-3

4. The Shadow of the Great Game, Narendra Singh Sarila, HarperCollins, 2005

5. Facing the Truth, A.G.Noorani, Frontline, Volume 23 - Issue 20 :: Oct. 07-20, 2006

6. The Trouble in Gilgit, Khaled Ahmed, The Friday Times, July 8-14, 2005 - Vol. XVII, No. 20

7. Gilgit-Baltistan Autonomy Package Wins Few Friends, Nirupama Subramanian, The Hindu, Sep. 15, 2009

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pakistan Army and its Involvement in and Support for Terrorism - Part III

Recent weeks have witnessed significant events that bring out Pakistan armed forces and their deep connections with the terrorists.

First was the dramatic arrest of the fugitive Pakistani terrorist, Faisal Shahzad on May 3 from aboard a flight at New York, for plotting to bomb the Times Square two days earlier. Though the attempt to bomb looked amateurish, soon the connections began to unravel. For one, he was the son of a Retired Air Vice Marshal of the Pakistani Air Force (PAF). Though this might be incidental, one has to be wary of the fact that too many Pakistani military personnel had been involved in terrorism and that living in that cloistered environment could offer opportunities for somebody to link up easily with terrorist organizations. Faisal Shahzad was himself found to be in touch with a Major of the Pakistani Army's Signal Corps, Maj. Adnan Ahmed, even moments before he parked the bomb-laden SUV at the Times Square. As usual, Pakistan Army is trying to confuse and confound the issue regarding Maj. Adnan Ahmed. At one point, Pakistan claimed that the Major had been dismissed much earlier for insubordination in refusing to fight the Taliban when his unit was tasked with that. Another report said that the Major was dismissed after the Shahzad episode came to light. The Major himself claimed that there was some confusion and everything had been cleard up. In any case, when CIA Chief Leon Panatta  and and the NSA General James Jones visited Islamabad requesting access to Maj. Adnan Ahmed, the request was rejected by Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani. The bomb plot prompted Ms. Hillary Clinton to say, "We've made it very clear [to Pakistan] that if, heaven-forbid, an attack like this [Times Square failed car-bomb attack by Pakistani Faisal Shehzad] that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences. I think that there was a double game going on in the previous years, where we got a lot of lip service but very little produced".

Another development during the past few weeks that nailed the Pakistani Army decisively was the interrogation by Indian investigators of David Coleman Headley with one blue and another brown eye. Though he had revealed much information earlier, the Indian investigation, under the US Plea Bargain programme, assumed significance because of the immense knowledge of the Indian interrogators of the various Pakistani terrorist tanzeems that ensured that Headley spoke the truth. The following are now established as facts:
  1. Daoud Gilani started off as a US undercover agent who then became a jihadi.
  2. Prof. Hafeez Saeed was aware of and indeed directing the 26/11 attack.
  3. The ISI and the LeT are inseparable.
  4. The Pakistani Army (PA) was directly involved in providing logistical support for the 26/11 terrorists like paying for the boat.
  5. The Pakistani Navy's (PN's) frogmen were involved in training the 26/11 terrorists on sea-faring skills. (Earlier Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone survivor of the terrorist team, had described to the Mumbai police how the PN had trained them at the Mangla Reservoir in swimming, diving and underwater combat and provided them with navigation charts, GPS etc.)
  6. Headley was in constant touch with at least three ISI officers who held the rank of a Major who asked him to scout sites for terror attacks in Mumbai, New Delhi and other parts of India. He identified them as Iqbal, Sameer Ali and Abdul Rehman Saeed.
  7. Serving Pakistani army or ISI officials Major Iqbal, Major Sameer and Colonel Shah were involved in the planning of the 26/11 attacks. Another person who Headley claimed as a 26/11 planner was Major (retd.) Abdul Rehman Saeed who retired from the 6 Baloch Regiment in circa 2002.(In Pakistan Army officers are seconded to the ISI and then conveniently claimed as having retired from the Army. Maj. (retd.) Abdul Rehman Saeed appears to be one such case.)
  8. Headley has mentioned another serving officer of Pakistan army — Major Haroon Ashique— as having collaborated with the Laskhar terrorists. Major Haroon Ashique is an ex Special Services Group (SSG) officer and worked with LeT’s operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
  9. ISI also supplied Indian currency to the 26/11 terrorists.
  10. ISI had also trained Headley.
  11. The Director General (DG) of ISID Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha visited LeT’s operations chief Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi and another LeT fugitive Sajid Mir in jail.
  12. Ex Pakistani military official Major Abdul Rehman Saeed and Sajid Mir were the chief handlers of Headley. Major (retd.) Abdul Rehman Saeed worked for both LeT and Ilyas Kashmiri's Brigade 313.
 Maj. (Retd) Haroon Ashique, alias Abu Khattab, whom Headley implicated as an LeT collaborator, killed the ex-SSG Chief, Maj. Gen. Feisal Alavi at the behest of Ilyas Kashmiri, the Emir of 313 Brigade. Another brother of Maj. Haroon Ashique, Captain Khurram, who had also joined a terrorist organization had also been killed earlier. Maj (retd.) Abdul Basit was an accomplice of Maj. Haroon Rashi Ashique, also working for the same jihadi organization.

Maj. Haroon Rashid Ashique was also involved in kidnapping rich celebrities for ransom to make money for terrorist organizations. One of the famous cases he was involved in was that of the Karachi Hindu businessman Satish Anand, an uncle of a famous Indian actress.

One can be sure that the above is just a beginning and more will come out because as my earlier blogs show, the connection between pure-as-a-lily State Actors and the more pious Non-State Actors goes back to circa 1947 in Pakistan, the Land of the Purest.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pakistan Army and its Involement in and Support for Terrorism - Part II

In Part I, we saw about the nexus between the then ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Mehmood Ahmed, ex-SSG Ilyas Kashmiri, and the GHQ attack.

Lt. Gen. Mehmood Ahmed was not the first or the last ISI chief who lost his job for being openly in cahoots with the terrorists. The distinct honour of being the first ISI Chief to lose his job because of his close proximity with the terrorists and fundamentalists goes to Lt. Gen. Javid Nasir. The extreme religious views of DG, ISI, Lt. Gen. Javid Nasir, that sprang directly from his association with the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ), ultimately led him to be sacked. In the shuffling of the ISI that followed his dismissal, over two dozen officers were also transferred for their suspected links. No less a person than Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, the well known Pakistani diplomat, has described in her book how ultimately the US and even Pakistan's Arab friends demanded his removal. Of course, the born-again Muslim that he was, Lt. Gen. Javid Nasir was a regular member of the fundamentalist Tablight Jama'at and regularly took part in its congregations and activities. He was not alone in the Tablighi Jama'at congretations(ijtima) at Raiwind near Lahore; he was in the august and regular company of the then President of Pakistan Rafiq Tarar as also Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul and Lt. Gen. Naseem Rana, both the latter being former Director General of the 'angelic'  ISI (sarcastically referred to as 'The Angels' within Pakistan because the agents wear white shalwar kameez).

On the eve of the November, 2009 annual convention of the Tablighi Jama'at, 50 former high-ranking officers of the armed forces met under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen. ( r) Javid Nasir for a day in what was termed as "Halqa-e-Khawas" (group of special people), to deliberate on how to take the movement forward, possibly within the armed forces. The well known English-language newspaper of Pakistan, The Nation, reported this faithfully. Apart from Lt Gen (r) Nasir, there were Lt Gen (r) Agha Masood Hasan, former CNS, PN (Chief of Naval Staff, Pakistan Navy), Admiral (r) Karamat Rehman Niazi, Lt Gen (r) Aftab Ahmed and others. The Nation quoted an ex-Army officer as saying "There are thousands of serving armymen who have joined this party and no force disallows the soldiers from practicing their religion,". Such is the hold of the Tablighi on the armed forces. Thus, the non-salafist but equally fundamentalist and radical Tablighi Jama'at has huge following within the armed forces of Pakistan. It is another entirely different matter that the 'pious' Javid Nasir swindled Rs. 3 Billion of EPTB (Evacuee Property Trust Board, of which he was Chairman) funds and fled Pakistan. Probably, these funds were used to fund terrorism and tablighi activities. It may be wothwhile to remember here that the brutal daylight attack on the mosques (officially known as Ibadatgarh because of the law declaring Ahmedis as non-Muslims) of the Ahmedis on May 28, 2010, that killed 95 of them was carried out by a suicide squad which had been assembled in the Raiwind office of the Tablighi Jama’at. Richard Reid, the shoe-bomber, attended the mosques run by Tablighi. Several men connected with the aborted UK plane bombing of Aug, 2006 were members of the Tablighi. Tablighi Jamaat members were also involved in a failed coup against Ms. Benazir Bhutto. This coup was staged by Maj. Gen. Zaheer ul Islam Abbassi in Sep. 1995. Several members of the TJ are jailed in Central Asian Republic (CAR) countries for indulging in violence and terror. TJ is therefore not involved only in pure and simple dawah as it usually claims.

Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, who succeeded Lt. Gen. Ahfaq Pervez Kayani as the ISI Chief in September, 2007 was also forced to leave the position by the US as President George Bush complained in August 2008 that it was “impossible to share intelligence on the al-Qaeda and the Taliban with Pakistan because it goes straight back to the militants.” So much so, that when Gen. Ashfaq Kayani went aboard USS Abraham Lincoln to meet with Adm. Mike Mullen in late August, 2008, he took with him his DGMO (Director General of Military Operations), Maj. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha who replaced Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj within a couple of months. Of course, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, whose close confidante was Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, promoted him and gave him another plum post. During his tenure as the ISI Chief, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj had planned the 26/11 Mumbai carnage along with LeT and Al Qaeda, especially the 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri. Earlier, Nadeem Taj had played a crucial role as the Military Secretary of Gen. Musharraf and a member of the infamous 'Gang of Four' in Kargil and the 1999 coup that brought Musharraf to power.

Several months before 9/11 happened in circa 2001, the extremist Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania madrassah in Peshawar organized a meeting on Jan 9, 2001 which was attended, among others, by Gen. Hamid Gul, former DG of ISI and Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, former COAS of the Pakistani Army, wherein a declaration was made to defend Osama bin Laden and attack the Western countries as a sacred duty of Muslims. The significance of the meeting place, Maulana Sami-ul-Haq's Haqqania, could not be lost because it was a nerve production centre of mujahideen and later the Taliban. The noted Pakistani commentator, Zahid Hussain, in his book, "Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam" (Penguin; 2007) writes that in spite of a ban on meetings, the Pakistani government did not stop the January, 2001 congregation and it was conducted with the support of the intelligence agencies.

(To be Continued . . . )

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pakistan Army and its Involement in and Support for Terrorism - Part I

Iman, Taqwah, Jihad fi Sabilillah”. So says, proudly, the motto of the Pakistani Army. Faith, Fear of Allah, Jihad in the way of Allah was how the Islamist General Zia-ul-Haq changed the motto from Jinnah’s “Ittehad, Yaqeen aur Tanzeem (Unity, Faith and Discipline)”. The Pakistani Army has lived up to the new motto ever since it was coined.

No doubt that the Pakistani politicians and even the ‘usurper’ Generals have used the ‘religion’ card whenever it came to defending their power or defending their country against the infidel Hindu India. Field Marshal Ayub Khan who once ensured that one of the greatest Islamist jihadi thinkers of the previous century, Abu Ala Al Mawdudi was sentenced to death for inciting the Lahore riots against the Ahmedis and who later dropped the honorific adjective ‘Islamic’ from the reference to the Pakistani Republic, had to resort to compromises with the very same Islamist forces he opposed in order to defeat Ms. Fatima Jinnah. It was at the behest of a whisky-swilling and philandering Gen. Yahya Khan that the Pakistani Army encouraged the fundamentalist Islamist party of Jama’at-e-Islami to popularize the slogan, “Pakistan ka matlab kya Hai ? La Ilaha il Allah”. Ultimately, the mard-e-momin, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq made the Objectives Resolution, which disenfranchised the minorities of Pakistan, a Preamble to the Constitution of Pakistan.

Thus, Pakistan Army’s overt contribution to the strengthening of fundamentalism and extremism may be well known. For a long time, India has also been aware of the covert involvement of the Pakistani Army, and of course all sections of the Pakistani Government, in terrorism directed against India. They have been successfully portrayed as pro-Kashmiri freedom fighters by Pakistan, a line of argument accepted by the benefactors of Pakistan because it suits them geopolitically and geostrategically. Once the US and KSA decided to allow the ISID and the Pakistani Army to tactically control the Afghan jihad, and the CIA decided to upgrade the ISID significantly, the situation spun out of control. As it usually happens, such violent terrorists do not always remain committed to their benefactors and they do turn against them if and when the situation so demands. In the process, skeletons begin to tumble out of the cupboard.

Let us look at the emerging connections between terrorism and the Pakistani Army.

The most dramatic event in recent times was the 26/11 carnage at Mumbai. Two main actors of this carnage have spilled the beans. One was Ajmal Amir Kasab, held by Indian police and recently awarded death sentence and the other is a double-agent of US and Pakistani Army, Daood Gilani alias David Coleman Headley. Ajmal Amir Kasab spoke of how a certain ‘Major General saheb’ used to visit their training camps in the company of the LeT emir Prof. Hafeez Saeed and how he personally conducted the tests to select the group that eventually went on the 26/11 mission. For his part, Headley has implicated several Pakistani Army officers, both serving and retired. The serving officers whom he said were ‘handlers of the 26/11 terrorists’ were identified under their possible nom-de-guerre as ‘Major Iqbal’ and ‘Major Samir (Sameer) Ali’. He also identified Major Saeed and Colonel Shah as being involved in the planning of 26/11. Headley has also spoken of a certain Special Services Group (SSG) officer Maj. Haroon Ashique as being a collaborator with Lashkar-e-Tayba’s (LeT) operational commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Obviously, these serving officers could not have been involved in terrorism without the express knowledge of the Pakistani Army’s top brass. When the Government of India (GoI) handed over a dossier to Pakistan at the recent Foreign Secretary level meeting at Delhi and indicted Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali, the Pakistani government could only dismiss it as a ‘piece of literature’. Headley’s accomplice in the mass murder was Tahawwur Rana, who was himself a Pakistani Army Captain, who claims to have deserted it. Strangely, both Headley and Rana attended the same military school, the Hasan Abdal Cadet College.

We also know that apart from possibly being agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the CIA of the US, Headley was also involved with LeT and Al Qaeda, especially the Brigade 313 component of the latter. ‘Brigade 313’ is a particularly extremist organization led by another ex-SSG commando, the one-eyed Ilyas Kashmiri. His tentacles into the Pakistani Army are legendary. He lost one of his eyes in an Afghanistan operation when he was part of the Pakistani Army. After the Afghan jihad, the Pakistani Army asked him to direct his attention to the jihad in Kashmir and he joined the Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami (HuJI). He was captured by the Indian Army but escaped within two years. He ran a terrorist training camp in Kotli, his home town, which was frequently visited by the then Rawalpindi Corps Commander of the 10th Corps Gen Mehmood Ahmed. The Rawalpindi-based 10th Corps has responsibility for Kashmir operations and for pushing infiltrators across the LoC. Ilyas Kashmiri has also been described as chief of al-Qaeda’s shadow army—Lashkar-e-Zil, a loose alliance of al-Qaeda-and Taliban-linked anti-US militia which has distinguished itself by conducting unusual guerrilla operations, like the one that targeted the CIA’s Forward Operating Base in Khost on December 31, 2009, killing seven CIA officials. He has reportedly conducted several major military actions in India, including the 1994 Al-Hadid operation in New Delhi, to get some of his jihadi comrades released. He is even reported to have beheaded an Indian Army officer in c. 2000 for which Gen. Pervez Musharraf gave him a cash reward. The dividing line between the Pakistani Army and the Islamist jihadi terrorists thus disappears in most cases.

This does not mean that Ilyas Kashmiri had not hesitated to bite the hands that fed him once. In spite of receiving a cash reward from Gen. Musharraf, he tried to assassinate him later on. The Islamist cause is obviously more important than individuals, friendship and regimental loyalty. He was to prove this point once again in November, 2008 when he eliminated Maj. Gen. (retd.) Feisal Alvi, the ex Commander of his own SSG because he had conducted operations against the Taliban earlier. He used Major Haroon Ashique for this purpose. Later, in December 2009, he mounted an audacious attack on the General Head Quarters (GHQ) itself at Rawalpindi with the possible intention of capturing or killing Gen. Kayani, the Chief of the Pakistani Army. He made use of another ex-Army officer Col. Usman for that purpose.

(To be Continued . . . )

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Why Ajmal Amir Kasab Shoud be Hanged Quickly

26/11 was unlike any other terrorist incident before in India because it was nothing less than an urban warfare unleashed on not only unsuspecting Mumbaikars going about their normal daily business but also on the entire nation. It affected not only the residents of Mumbai but also people from many parts of the world who had come to Mumbai for business and pleasure. For three days, a large part of Mumbai was held to ransom by a mere handful of hardcore terrorists trained and motivated by a determined enemy. The calm voice of the handler asking the terrorists at Chabad House to kill their hostages in cold blood while keeping the mobile switched on because he wanted to hear the gunshots, was most cruel and spine-chilling. That too, after assuring the Rabbi’s wife that no harm would come her way if she followed his instructions. The Rabbi and his wife, as were many others in the Taj and Oberoi hotels, were murdered simply because of religious hatred. The telephone transcripts are there for everyone to see, however much some of the so-called secular brigade might wish to whitewash this and want us to believe otherwise. The rest of the attacks at CST, Cama Hospital and elsewhere were random in nature but were still carried out due to hatred and to instill a deep sense of fear. Kasab was part of this  group that also killed in cold blood the Captain and the crew of M.V. Kuber, who were simple fishermen.

As usual, some voices have been heard for showing mercy to Kasab. While pleading for commuting the death sentence to Kasab, one should not lose sight of the nature of the crime and the attitude of the convict. The convict belongs to a group which wants to wage a jihad against kafir India. It has conducted several fidayeen attacks on India for over two decades now, and continues to espouse its violent policies even after the UN Security Council ban. The 26/11 terrorists were trained in a military-like fashion for the 26/11 mission with extensive reconnaissance conducted before to help the terrorists inflict maximum fatalities and damage. Kasab never felt remorse while being interrogated or even in the court when trials were going on. In the last eighteen months, Kasab never sought forgiveness from the families who have suffered grievously and irreparably because of his actions. He never ever hinted that he understood the futility of it all or expressed repentance. On the other hand, he tried to wriggle out of the situation by spinning stories about how he had been caught by Indian police several weeks before the Mumbai carnage etc. He was caught red handed even as he shot Police Constable Tukharam Omble dead as the brave policeman tried to grab Kasab’s AK47 with bare hands. One is unable to see the use of keeping such an unremorseful, unrepentant, bigotted and violent person supported by a group which swears by jihad against Hindu India, in a maximum security person for the rest of his long life with the constant overhanging threat of attacks by the Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) to attempt to release him. Such attempts will certainly lead to more bloodbath. What is the sanctity of a Pakistani jihadi, who has been conclusively proved of mass murder, that we are willing to sacrifice more and more innocent Indian lives ? It is also morally repugnant to ask the very same persons who have lost their loved ones to this mindless terrorist, for no fault of theirs, and the rest of the country terrorized by him, to pay for his maintenance, upkeep and security through their taxes. That would be taking dhimmitude to greater and newer depths.

The basis of the argument of those who hold a candle to showing mercy to such hardened terrorists is that it is simply immoral to take the life of a person however strong the case may be against him/her. It is their argument further that a government cannot partake that act. However, they miss the point that the one of the first duties of any government is to provide security to its people. The common belief is that punishment deters future repetitions of crime thereby protecting society and laws are framed therefore on such a thesis. Even Islam, which is usually claimed to be 'a religion of peace' and to which religion Kasab belongs, prescribes severe punishments for crimes. If 'just punishment' is a false notion, we do not need courts at all as it not only negates man-made laws but even the God-given shariat. Obviously, the Government of India will not be extinguishing the life of an innocent, if and when it finally gathers enough courage to hang Kasab, but one who has on his hands the blood of scores of people he wantonly killed and maimed and who were complete strangers to him and had no quarrel with him whatsoever.

The message that this judgement gives is that India will punish the criminals through legal means after giving even a mass murderer every opportunity to defend himself/herself, however grave his/her crime is. Such arguments as ‘immorality of death sentence’ can be taken to any length and the entire justice system scrapped because any kind of punishment can be argued as immoral. What about the commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) killing the other nine terrorists in the two hotels and the Chabad House ? Can it be also argued that they were immoral too ? At least in the case of Kasab, it was a judge who after giving every chance to Kasab to prove his innocence, awarded him the death sentence, but, no such opportunity was given to those nine terrorists. Does it mean then, that no armed operation should ever be mounted against terrorists because that may potentially lead to their killing ? Would we be extending the same ‘morality’ argument if the terrorists detonate a nuclear bomb over us and we catch the perpetrators ?

What would be immoral though, is to delay the death sentence handed to a person after it has been confirmed by the highest court of the land. To keep a prisoner, awaiting death sentence, in jail for more than the minimum needed time is a violation of human dignity. We must support Afzal Guru's recent request to hang him rather than keeping him in solitary confinement. Already, India awards death sentence only in the rarest of rare cases and there is no reason therefore to delay such sentences by the Government once they are confirmed by the Apex Court. The practice of pardon by the President through mercy petitions can be only used an escape route in the rarest of the already very rare cases of death sentence in our country; and in cases like those of Kasab or Guru, who waged war against our country, the sentences should be processed forthwith.

Some have argued that a country that achieved its independence through non-violence cannot resort to the crude practice of the State itself hanging a criminal or a terrorist. They also argue that such punishments have not been known to curb crimes by a determined person or a group. It is true that a significant factor for our gaining Independence from the British was our sustained non-violent struggle; but, it must be recognized that it was not the only factor. The same non-violence could not stop Partition, could not prevent the millions from being massacred and could not subsequently prevent the enduring hostility between us and Pakistan. If himsa, in the context of capital punishments, has limitations, so is ahimsa. Besides, we should not mix governance and statecraft with our struggle for Independence or traits that we may follow in our personal lives. We cannot also quote Gandhi ji out of context in his ‘eye for an eye will make half the world blind’ remark. That was made in the context of personal practices, which does not apply even to a society much less a nation state. In any case, there are two obvious fallacies in that statement if we try to interpret it literally as the proponents of non capital punishment argue. If one half of the world has to go blind, then it is as though one quarter of the world is trying to blind another quarter. There are very few people indulging in such violence and the fear of half the world going blind is therefore purely rhetorical. But, even going by the same logic, at least, a quarter of the world would still go blind even if did not retaliate in kind, would it not ? Is that acceptable ?

Again, it is not for killing one person that Kasab is to be hanged as those who repose their faith in the ‘going blind’ theory seem to argue. It is simply not a ‘tit for tat’. The tit here is for a huge tat that ended up in waging war with a country due to religious hatred, taking the lives of many innocent people, orphaning children, maiming so many more and mentally scarring even more people. The argument that Kasab’s execution will only spur an evil ideologue to harden the stance and therefore bring us more of the same, can be equally counter-argued that non-execution will embolden his mentors to mount far more audacious acts because it is then misinterpreted as cowardice and submission to terror. This especially applies to Pakistan where such misinterpretations have gone on since the days of Ayub Khan who famously doled out the ratio of one Pakistani soldier being equivalent to every 10 Indian soldiers. Mrs. Benazir Bhutto whom many Indians mistakenly assume as a dove vis-a-vis India,  raised that ratio to 1:100, for her part !

Rather than wasting our time in the style of an argumentative-Indian, let us get on with the follow up to the judgement and implement it expeditiously now that the verdict is given.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Fraudulent Theory of 'Non-State Actors' - Part III

By 1970, Pakistan Army had developed close working relationship with the clergy, especially with the Abu Ala Al Mawdudi led Jama’at-e-Islami (JI). One of the reasons was the precarious condition in which the President of Pakistan, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, found himself after having announced the Presidential elections in 1965. His opponent in the form of the formidable Ms. Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the Founder of Pakistan, supported by the combined opposition, the high inflation and resultant economic woes, required him to seek the support of the clergy. The aftermath of the campaign by Ms. Jinnah and the 1965 war followed by the Tashkent agreement which was perceived as a surrender by Pakistanis, weakened the Presidency. FM Ayub Khan had already met JI’s chief Maulana Mawdudi twice and allowed him to preach his concept of jihad over Radio Pakistan. This led to concessions being given to the ulema who began to exercise their influence over an Army that was relatively secular till then. It was to be visible in the genocide of several million in East Pakistan in circa 1971 when these Islamist parties sent in their cadres to assist the Army implement its pogrom. Two of the most important ‘non-state actor’ outfits were Isla’ami Jamia’at-e-Tulba (IJT) and Al-Badr, both of which later played a significant role in stoking terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir in 1989. The Al-Badr consisted of the Pashtuns from the same tribal areas in NWFP from where lashkars were formed as ‘non-state actors’ to attack J&K in 1947. The IJT is the militant student wing of the JI. The IJT later sent its cadres to Kashmir for Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to fight India. Both the Al-Badr and the IJT have been close to the ISI. The nexus between the Islamist ‘non-state actors’ and the Pakistani Army grew considerably from then onwards. The Afghan jihad and the growing sectarianism within Pakistan spawned more Islamist jihadist tanzeems in the 80s.

The veteran Pakistani journalist, the late Khalid Hasan, has recalled how Gen. Musharraf in his very first official visit to the US in February, 2002 openly accepted that the LeT and Jama’at-ud-Dawa (JuD) were only doing jihad outside Pakistan. So, when Gen Musharraf thundered in Muzzafarabad on Feb. 5, 2000 that jihad had shifted from Afghanistan to Kashmir, one could understand in hindsight who was doing jihad and why Pakistan was doing nothing to take action against them. No wonder then that when Dar-ul-Uloom-Haqqania madrassah in Peshawar organized on January 9, 2001 a massive conference to support Osama bin Laden, the former Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Aslam Beg and former ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul openly attended it and pledged their support. Even when Gen. Musharraf had to ban these terrorist organizations under intense pressure after the Indian Parliament Attack on December 13, 2001, he took care that these organizations were not banned in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) or in Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA), both places where they had setup training centres and which they used as launch pads across India and Afghanistan. Promptly, LeT morphed into JuD a few days before the ban was officially announced on January 15, 2002, cleaned its bank accounts, and moved its headquarters to PoK. The support from the highest office in Pakistan to ‘non-state actors’ was quite discernible.

It is not that Pakistan had always meticulously hidden its nexus with ‘non-state actors’. It has sometimes not attempted to overly hide its linkages with them, possibly to send a crude message or to incite a sense of euphoria among Pakistani masses. For example, in 1971, when an Indian Airlines aircraft was hijacked to Lahore, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto went on board the hijacked aircraft and congratulated the hijackers, later describing them as heroes before they set ablaze the aircraft. On February 5, 1990, the then Chief Minister of the Punjab, Nawaz Sharif, inserted an advertisement in newspapers asking people to ‘pray for success of jihad in Kashmir”. The ruling PPP, led by Benazir Bhutto, not to be outdone in competitive politics, declared that day as a National Holiday. Since that time, Pakistan Army has been providing fire cover for the terrorists to infiltrate into India along the India-Pakistan border. Another recent incident when the ISI did not cover its tracks was in the Haqqani-led and ISI-ordered July, 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul. It was meant as a message that growing Indian influence in Afghanistan was unacceptable. The Indian intelligence agencies and the CIA had enough evidence to nail down the ISI, which was promptly passed on to that country which as usual refused to take any action. Even in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, there have been tell-tale signs of State involvement. We shall later see in another post, how Pakistani Army officers have had deep involvement in terrorism for a long time now.

A further proof of Pakistan's complicity in terrorism of the so called ‘non-state actors’ was the hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight, IC 814, from Kathmandu to the south-eastern Afghan city of Kandahar on Dec 24,1999, with the help of ISI, Pakistani terrorists and Pakistani diplomats in Kathmandu who supplied the would-be hijackers with weapons. The hijackers were helped in Kandahar by their comrades-in-arm, the Taleban as well as ISI-officers who were in constant touch with them during the entire duration of six days that the hijack drama lasted. They and the terrorists released by India in exchange for the passengers, later resurfaced in Pakistan to a hero's welcome and two of them have continued to operate freely till today, including collecting funds for jihad in Kashmir, an activity supposedly banned in Pakistan after the 9/11 events. All three of the terrorists released from Indian jails, Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Zargar, and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, indulged in terrorism against India and the US from Pakistani soil. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh arranged funds for the 9/11 terrorists and also was instrumental in the killing of Wall Street Journal’s reporter Daniel Pearl. The FBI traced USD 100,000 wire-transferred to the WTC terrorist Mohammed Atta and 9/11 leader by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh at the instance of Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed, chief of ISI.

The General lost his job on Oct. 8, 2001 after clinching evidence from India. It was the same General, who as Corps Commander, Rawalpindi was one of the “Gang of Four” who planned the Kargil intrusion in 1999 and also the coup on behalf of Gen. Musharraf. He was neither the first nor the last of the ISI Chiefs to lose his job for associating with terrorists. Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, who succeeded Lt. Gen. Ahfaq Pervez Kayani as the ISI Chief in September, 2007 also was forced to leave the position by the US as President George Bush complained that it was “impossible to share intelligence on the al-Qaeda and the Taliban with Pakistan because it goes straight back to the militants.” Earlier too, another Director General of the ISID, Gen. Javid Nasir, was removed from service along with a few dozen officers, for his extreme association with jihadi organizations. As for Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, he surrendered to Brig. Ejaz Shah (Retd.), the then Home Secretary of the Punjab on February 12, 2002. We are now aware that Brig. Ejaz Shah was Omar Saeed Sheikh’s handler when he was in the ISI. Several serving Army officers have been arrested in connection with the case of David Coleman Headly, and two of them were implicated in funding terrorism through him.

Pakistan’s support for terrorism in India is well documented and many terrorists who were captured in India have given detailed accounts of their activities and their sponsors back in Pakistan. Among all those Pakistanis caught in India on terrorism related charges, the most dramatic and prized-catch was that of Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab. Several pointers emerged later as Ajmal Kasab was interrogated. The ten fidayeen terrorists were all Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) operatives, they had been combat trained for several months by members of Pakistan’s serving and/or retired Army and Navy personnel, the Pakistani maritime authorities had supplied them with charts for the sea-borne operation, they were in constant telephonic contact with their cold-blooded handlers back in Pakistan who appeared to be hardened combat veterans and well versed in psychological operations pointing therefore to the involvement of the armed forces, communication facilities between the terrorists and their handlers had been arranged by a division of the Army, and they had been visited frequently at the training centre by a top-ranking General along with the chief LeT, Prof. Hafeez Saeed. The captured GPS confirmed four waypoints-route maps that point to Karachi, Porbander, Diu and the Mumbai coast. It soon turned out that Prof. Hafeez Saeed, ex-Amir of LeT and now JuD, was the mastermind behind the attack. However, even when Prof. Hafeez Saeed had been declared a terrorist by the UN Security Council as a result of this attack, even as he was being implicated by India as the mastermind and the Interpol had issued a Red Corner Notice to arrest him, top notch Pakistani politicians like ex-President Rafiq Tarar, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (Chief of PML-Q), Mushahid Hussain (PML-Q Secretary)and Sheikh Rashid (ex-federal minister and a self-proclaimed jihadi) condoled with him for a bereavement in his family by visiting his house. All cases brought against him in the Lahore High Court, the Supreme Court and the Anti Terrorism Court (ATC)were dismissed one after the other either for lack of evidence or for being bad in law. The Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik, has repeatedly talked of a ‘lack of evidence’ against Prof. Hafeez Saeed as though only other nations have to give that.

In the immediate aftermath of the 26/11 attack, as a nervous Pakistan whipped up war-paranoia, the Taliban jihadis who were mercilessly attacking Pakistan itself from within, ‘offered’ their support to ‘fight India’ and top Pakistani Army and intelligence officials immediately welcomed the offer and termed the Taliban as ‘truly patriotic’. Another Pakistani Army official claimed that “the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the Pakistani Army to save Pakistan, if India attacked that country”. This brings out clearly how the Army forged close links with the jihadi ‘non-state actors’ and were not averse to using them even when a few months earlier the same jihadis had called the Pakistani Army as ‘unIslamic’ ! It was no wonder therefore that several service personnel of the Army, Air Force, ISI and police were found to be involved in the assassination attempts against President General Musharraf in c. 2002 and 2003, in collusion with the very same ‘non-state actors’ that the Pakistani state had assiduously developed.

Several purportedly Islamic charity trusts in Pakistan have been known to fund terror activities internationally. Many of them, Rabita, al-Rashid, al-Akhtar, Wafa Humanitarian Organization, Ummah Tamer-i-Nau, Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, Afghan Support Committee, Aid Organization of the Ulema, al-Aqsa Foundation, and al-Harmain Foundation trusts were identified by the US State department on Oct. 12, 2001 as funding terror outfits. It was incidentally noticed that Gen. Musharraf, the then military-President of Pakistan, was one of the trustees of Rabita trust. The Secretary General of Rabita Trust, Wael Hamza Jalalidin, was one of the founder members of al-Qaeda. The link between al-Akhtar trust and al-Qaeda was established later. However, Pakistan decided to close down the Al-Rasheed and Al-Akhtar trusts only in Feb, 2007 even though the UN Security Council declared them to have links with terrorist organizations as early as 2001. The Pakistani interior minister later explained to the Pakistani population rather apologetically that even though the Pakistani government fought the case of the two trusts in the UN, they had to close them now due to the UN resolution as otherwise the nation will attract economic sanction. This shows the reluctance on the part of the Pakistani government to take action against the front-ends of the terrorist organizations. While Al-Akhtar and Al-Rasheed trusts were collecting funds for Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), the Al-Hilal and Al-Asar Trusts were doing so for Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Al-Ershad trust was collecting funds for Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami (HuJI). By June 2008, the US State Department determined that Al Rasheed trust was operating under the new names of Al Ameen Trust while Al Akhtar had morphed into Pakistan Relief Foundation and Azmat Pakistan Trust. Thus, the channels of funding to various terrorist organizations were protected by the State of Pakistan and when action was taken reluctantly, they acquired new names and the Government ignored the new Trusts.

The Punjabis dominate the Pakistani Army (roughly 70%) and the Punjab is also the most fertile ground for recruitment of jihadi terrorists. Organizations like JeM, LeJ, HuJI as well as LeT are centred around Southern and Central Punjab. Since the Army recruits come from the same region where jihadism is widespread, it is natural to expect such sentiments to be carried forward into the Army. By his own admission, the then DG, ISI, Lt. Gen Mahmoud Ahmed admitted as far back as circa 2000, that 15% of the army officer corps were religious extremists. Afghanistan, which has been one of the worst sufferers from the ‘non-state actors’ of Pakistan, has leveled serious accusations against the state of Pakistan for its support. In several interviews, the Afghan intelligence chief, Amarullah Saleh, has accused the Pakistani Army leadership and the Pakistani establishment for their support to ‘non-state actors’.

Since its Independence, Pakistan has also been in conflict with its western neighbour, Afghanistan, over the settlement of its border row with that country. The Durand Line which, by the mere stroke of a British pen divided the Pashtuns, has been the root cause of this problem. Within Afghanistan itself, a society steeped in feudalism and fractured by different identities, any reform had been met with stiff resistance by the feudal landlords, tribal chieftains and the clergy who feared loss of their traditional power. So, when new reforms were initiated by the new Leftist regime after the ‘Great Saur Revolution’ in April, 1978, the traditional stakeholders rose in revolt. The regime, unable to suppress the harassment by Ismail Khan of Herat and the Panjsheri Mujahideen supported by Pakistan, invited the USSR for help by invoking the provisions of the ‘Mutual Defence Treaty’. It was thus the USSR Army entered Afghanistan on Dec. 24, 1979. Pakistan, which had already been hosting Islamists like Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Rabbani, and Abdulrub Rasool Sayyaf used them in destabilizing the Afghan regime. Unfortunately, a deeply Islamist military General, Zia-ul-Haq was in power at that time in Pakistan and he had already established a close relationship with the wahhabi regime in Saudi Arabia in order to stem the rising influence of Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran among the Shi’a of both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. As part of this, he had initiated a large-scale Islamization of the Pakistani society, an initiative already started by the Islamic Socialist Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to retain his power. This led to violent changes within the Pakistani society and the clergy. Not content with the society, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq also started Islamizing the Army. Like his predecessor Field Marshal Ayub Khan, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq also turned to JI for support and this allowed JI’s student wing, IJT, unhindered access to all educational campuses across the country where all the other student organizations had been banned. The clerics of JI were affiliated to Army units. Thus a deep entwining with the Islamist ideology took roots within the Army. The Army and the ‘non-state actors’ became inseparable.

Thus Gen. Zia-ul-Haq transformed the charter of the Army from defending ‘frontiers of Pakistan’ to defending the ‘frontiers of Islam’. The motto of the Army was appropriately changed to ‘Iman-Taqwa-Jihad fi Sabilillah’ (Faith, Unity and Jihad in the Way of Allah). Successive Prime Ministers and Presidents have mouthed the same inanity of the Army being defenders of the Frontiers of Islam. Thus, Pakistani state and its armed forces cannot but support those ‘non-state actors’ who claim to be fighting to ‘defend frontiers of Islam’. The need for jihad thus unites the professional Army of Pakistan and the ‘non-state actors’ at the hip. Gen. Zia-ul-Haq appointed the Islamist jihadi and an Afghan veteran Prof. Hafeez Saeed, who founded the LeT later on, to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), an organization created by the State to ensure all laws of the land complied with Islam. So, when the Soviet Army marched across the Oxus river on the eve of Christmas in 1979, the Bear Trap set by the United States was triggered and the resources of the state of Pakistan along with its ‘non state-actors’ were thrown into the jihad. The Pakistani society was militarized with the help of the United States and Saudi Arabia to provide a constant supply of ideologically pumped up mujahideen to fight the evil Red Army. Pakistan’s calculi were two fold in its Afghan venture; one, to install a compliant regime in Kabul that will blunt Pashtun nationalism and allow it to build its ‘strategic depth’ against India and second, to gainfully use the huge army of ‘non-state actors’ including foreign jihadis deployed in the Afghan theatre, in its dispute with India. These overlapping linkages are steadily being revealed in terrorist incidents such as 26/11 where Pakistani naval personnel have helped the terrorists with their maritime requirements, and Army communication experts have been involved in setting up communication links. The still unraveling case of David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Rana reveal their connections with serving and retired Army personnel.

Even as the Afghan jihad was going on, Pakistan simultaneously developed its nuclear weapons in collusion with China and under the benign neglect of the USA, in order to blunt the asymmetry in power between India and herself and also force India not to escalate the tension into a full-blown war whenever the jihadis were later unleashed on India after the conclusion of the Afghan jihad. Thus, Pakistan made a complete and comprehensive investment in its policy and practice of ‘non-state actors’ since the early 80s. After the withdrawal of the Former Soviet Union (FSU) from Afghanistan in circa 1989, the Taliban were created by the Pakistani Army to take control of Afghanistan. So much so, that in the aftermath of the fall of Kunduz to the Northern Alliance in late 2001, the Pakistanis forced the Americans to airlift thousands of Pakistani military officers, soldiers and ‘non-state actors’ who were fighting along with the Taliban.

Pakistan’s ‘non-state actors’ have also wrought havoc within Iran. The Jundullah, a Sunni sectarian terrorist organization, which has recently been implicated in the suicide attack on the Iran Revolutionary Guards in the Sistan-Baluchistan area, has always been accused by Iran as being supported by the Pakistani intelligence agencies. After the recent attack, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad charged that the attack was planned from Pakistani soil and that the Pakistani intelligence agencies were cooperating with the terrorists. In late May, 2009, Jundullah bombed a mosque in Zahedan in the Sistan-Baluchistan province which angered Iran enough to warn Pakistan that it had “the power and military means to trace and hunt down terrorist groups in Pakistan if such activity is not stopped by Pakistan.” Pakistan routinely denies the presence of Jundullah in Pakistan.

So, how have these ‘non-state actors’ come into being and how are they sustained ? The powerful ISID, the indoctrinated Army & ISI officers both serving and retired leading to a close linkage between the regular Army and the terrorist organizations, the mullahs, the presence under the benign neglect or even support of the Pakistani state of militias of Uzbeks, Chechens, Turkmens, Tajiks, Uighurs, Indonesians and Arabs who have all cut deals with the tribes of NWFP for protection, hospitality and support, the lawlessness of the FATA where the Federal laws of Pakistan do not operate, the huge cache of funds and leftover arms from the Afghan campaign, increasing poverty, an opium industry patronized by the Taleban, Al-Qaeda and the ISI as an easy source of funding for procuring arms and promoting terrorist activities, the spiralling madrassahs generously supported by fundamentalist charity organizations from the Middle East especially the Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, spewing out the strict Wahhabi or Deobandi interpretation of Islam, the capitulation of the Government to the increasing Talibanized approach of these madrassahs, the indoctrination of young minds even in mainstream non-madrassah schools as a state policy, the collective hatred against the Americans, Jews and the Hindus (the Yahud-Hunud-Nasara conspiracy theory meaning Jews-Hindus-Christians were conspiring to deprive the Muslims of their rightful place which is popular in Pakistan ), and above all the State policy to use terror as a weapon against India and Afghanistan all acted as a potent mix, and continue to do so with increasing vigour, in the terrorism brew. Pakistan has also learnt to blame the ‘international community’ for the scourge of ‘militancy and extremism’ in today’s Pakistan forgetting conveniently that it was an equal and willing partner in the Afghan jihad for its own geopolitical and geostrategic reasons and even after the cessation of the jihad there, it nurtured and created more terrorist outfits for its India theatre of operations.

Therefore, all sections of the society such as common folk citizens, mullahs et al and all sections of the State such as the Army, intelligence agencies, bureaucracy, political leaders et al have contributed to preserving, nurturing and helping the ‘non-state actors’. Thus, Pakistan and its ‘non-state actors’ are indistinguishable.