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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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