These days a lot is being said by Rahul Gandhi and Congress against Ajit Doval and IC 814 hijacking. As dastardly and sad as that entire situation was, Doval, along with his team, was entrusted the most impossible task of going to Kandahar and negotiate with the hijackers when everyone in that place (Kandahar) was against the team.
Two Critical Takeaways
Takeaways from what he says about the whole episode:
- that the hijackers had almost real time information from the Indian media on what was happening in India
- they constantly kept on chiding the negotiators from India on how the Indian media will create enough pressure to get the passengers released. In fact the way Doval narrates, they were smug about the role that Indian media was playing.
That shows something. One important thing is how ISI and Pakistan Army had handled and continues to orchestrate the Indian media to its advantage in every terror situation – whether it was the IC 814, 26/11, Kargil or even post Pulwama strikes. The pressure and the narrative that they wanted to unleash on the Indian public was done through the Indian media.
And, if there was any doubt about this being a joint Pakistan Army/ISI, Taliban and Jehadi operation, then Zahid Hussain, the Pakistani journalist settles it in his book – Frontline Pakistan – The Path to Catastrophe and the Killing of Benazir Bhutto. In this book, Zahid Hussain – who was there at the Kandahar airport – explains how behind-the-scenes coordination between ISI, Taliban and Jehadis was going on. Read a passage below.
So with this information, now watch how Ajit Doval explains what happened on the inside – which he was privy to. It is just mind-boggling – both the abject failure of the Government of the day, and how the whole media worked so willingly to the delight of Pakistani establishment.
Here is another video of Doval, where he is discussing similar details but some extra stuff which is important to know.
India had enough space for action IF the nation had had any character!
When I watch these videos and Doval’s assessment I find that had there been enough will power in the political establishment along with some basic common sense, some calculated risks could have been taken.
Here are the things that are very obvious:
- The whole hijacking was done by Yousuf Azhar, brother of Masood Azhar. Prior to the hijacking, Masood’s brother had tried to do a jail break and he was desperate to get Masood out.
- Apparently, with so many actors participating in the IC 814 Hijacking drama – Taliban, ISI, Jehadis – in this whole thing shows that Pakistanis as an establishment was desperate to get Masood Azhar back.
- When Doval says that they didn’t know if the Jehadis would blow up the plane or killed the hostages one by one, which is what happens in a hijacking, I disagree. Here is why:
- This was by far the most desperate and daring move to get anyone back and just the lengths they went to shows how much it mattered and why they could not lose this time
- the hostages were the ONLY guarantee they had to make their plan succeed, and
- If you read Zahid Hussain’s book, you know that Taliban and ISI had invited foreign press to witness the whole drama at Kandahar airport. With the hijackers openly coming out of the plane and going in, would the Pakistan and Taliban establishment have risked creating a reprehensible spectacle of dead bodies falling?
So you see if one had the guts and the nerves along with the executive backing, there was enough room to beat the shit out of the Pakistanis.
But Pakistanis ensured that such national strength did not show up in India by probably handling the media personnel of India.
The real game changer for the spectacular failure of India in the IC 814 hijacking was the failure of the Indian establishment to do things promptly and the influence that media exerted on the national psyche.
In a subsequent post we will discuss the weak and pusillanimous national character displayed by those who were in the hijacked plane as was the case of behavior of their relatives. Nobody betrayed India more than the hijacked people and their relatives.