William Webster, who had come from the FBI to become the new CIA director after Bill Casey’s death in May 1987, vowed to straighten out an agency tarnished by its reputation for deceit. Webster turned up the temperature on Pakistan by showing Bhutto exactly what the US knew about Islamabad’s nuclear program, including a mock up bomb. Bhutto recalled: “It was daunting. Half of this stuff I did not know. Missiles, Jets. Shopping for components to deploy our bombs. What could one say? So much had been withheld from me but I could not use that as an excuse. I was prime minister. The message took away was the need to wrestle back control of Khan and the program.”
[“Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons” by Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark]
On 29th December 1993, when the Benazir Bhutto flew into Pyongyang, with a series of CDs with Nuclear warhead designs in her overcoat to give to Kim-Il-sung, the wind had changed directions. The answer to the question of Pakistan’s perfidy with respect to the Nuclear Weapons had not – Benazir was still to say “No Pakistan does not”.
Politicians in Pakistan learn to toe the line of Pakistan Army and ISI. So, when a politician in Pakistan says “No, Pakistan does not” – it means two things:
– He/she does not know because the Pakistan Army and/or ISI has kept it in dark (and away from the politician), or
– He cannot say because that is the ONLY way for him/her to survive.
And to the outside world, it essentially means nothing!
As India handed over the 3 bodies of Pakistani Army soldiers who had infiltrated in Kargil . Pakistan denied any link to Kargil infiltration and Information Minister, Mushahid Hussain, told the BBC that the three men were on a routine patrol on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control when they were ambushed by Indian forces.
The Pakistani denial went on through out the conflict. Later on pressure from Bill Clinton and Pakistani Army’s capitulation on the ground, and loss of face for Pakistan, the hitherto called infiltrators were called back. The coup and the bickering between Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf into who sent the Pakistani Army to Kargil is now well known.
This was and would not be the first time that Pakistan, its establishment and its Army point blank denied any claims or involvement in any act of war on India. They follow a template created in 1948 by the founders of the nation, when the Pakistani regular soldiers dressed as tribals started attacking the THEN independent Kingdom of Kashmir.
Pakistan and its establishment has done an encore on the Mumbai attacks.
How do you define “Pakistan”
To really understand the complete import of the words “PAKISTAN IS NOT INVOLVED” after every act of terror and aggression, one needs to understand “Who” or “What” is Pakistan?? Is Pakistan the leader of the country who stands up to make statements? Well, from experience of Benazir Bhutto and that of Nawaz Sharif it surely doesn’t seem so.
Then is it the Army and its related establishments? Given the point blank denial and the subsequent obvious proof of those lies, it is quite clear that only a fool would believe the Army or ISI Chiefs or their representative on face value.
Zia ul Haq and his Army Chief, Mirza Aslam Beg were the architects of what was to be called the approach of “Strategic Depth” against India:
Beyond those common interests, Islamabad had its own separate reason for supporting the anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan: Pakistan’s traditional national interest in maintaining a supportive regime in Kabul to provide Pakistan with strategic depth in its conflict with India. That interest was buttressed by the resentment of Zia’s Islamic supporters at home and in other Muslim countries (led by the Saudis) at the fact that the atheist Soviets had seized control of a neighboring Muslim state.
[“Pakistan in America’s War against Terrorism Strategic Ally or Unreliable Client?” by Leon Haldar; CATO Institute]
The remnants of Afghan fighters who had lost their gory livelihoods, were to be used against India and Kashmir to bleed a “thousand cuts” until India broke up. Thus started a long journey of terrorism in South Asia that involved Khalistan and Kashmir and then the entire India.
ISI and its “achievements”
The Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan has been the key protagonist in creating, sustaining and maintaining the very broad and ambitious policy of “Strategic Depth”. Some key examples and reminders of what they have been upto in the past so many years and how they have used various terrorist groups to spread mayhem and hit other countries with undeclared wars!
– ISI link to 9-11: An Indian Airlines plane was hijacked from Kathmandu to Kandahar. India had to release two terrorists in return for the passengers – Maulana Mazood Azhar and Ahmed Umar Syed Sheikh. ISI Chief Lt. General Mahmood Ahmed had Syed Sheikh wire $100,000 to Mohammad Atta, one of the hijackers on 9-11. Later Syed Sheikh was to become infamous as the killer of Daniel Pearl. So how was he “punished”? He “…turned himself in to an ISI brigadier on Feb. 5, 2002, a full week before his “arrest” was announced to the world by Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president. “.
– ISI’s link to terrorism in Britain (7/11 et al): A UK Ministry of Defense think tank research paper was leaked in September of 2006, said: “Indirectly Pakistan (through the ISI) has been supporting terrorism and extremism – whether in London on 7/7 or in Afghanistan or Iraq” and “The US/UK cannot begin to turn the tide until they identify the real enemies from attacking ideas tactically – and seek to put in place a more just vision. This will require Pakistan to move away from Army rule and for the ISI to be dismantled and more significantly something to be put in its place. “
– ISI support for Taleban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: In May of 2006, a major commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan stated categorically that the headquarters of the Taliban forces was in Quetta, Pakistan.
Colonel Chris Vernon, chief of staff for southern Afghanistan, said the Taliban leadership was coordinating its campaign from the western Pakistani city of Quetta, near the Afghan border. “The thinking piece of the Taliban is out of Quetta in Pakistan. It’s the major headquarters,” he told the Guardian. “They use it to run a series of networks in Afghanistan.”
As recently as this month, unprecendented level of attacks on NATO convoys of arms and ammunitions have blocked supplies of NATO forces. 13 containers full of arms and ammunition, military vehicles and food were looted by the Taliban, forcing an entire NATO convoy from the southern port city of Karachi to stop in Peshawar. Asia Online reports that:
530 containers loaded with armored personnel vehicles, military trucks, Humvees, arms and ammunition have not yet been delivered. They were sent four months ago from Jabal-i-Ali in the United Arab Emirates to Karachi. Clearly, if this continues, NATO’s war effort will be severely compromised.
Taliban have expanded their influence and are now active in Peshawar and have been killing pro-government tribal chiefs in Bajaur and Mohamand Agencies. The pro-Taliban officers and people within the current and erstwhile ISI set up are supposed to be the main culprits:
High-level meetings between US intelligence and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have already been held at different levels to devise plans to cripple the support systems of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Two prominent names came under discussion at these meetings: retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul and a former ISI official, retired Squadron Leader Khalid Khawaja. Gul, a former head of the ISI, is suspected of providing political and moral support to the Taliban-led resistance in Afghanistan. Last year, former premier Benazir Bhutto named him as a suspect for the October 18 attack on her life in Karachi. She was subsequently assassinated in December.
Mafia, Terrorist organizations and ISI
1. The first indication and case of an end-to-end collboration of Terrorists, Taliban, ISI and Pakistan Government became visible during the Indian Airlines hijacking. In April of 2001, Pakistani diplomat Mohammed Arshad Cheema, – first secretary at the embassy in Kathmandu – was arrested on Thursday with 16 kg of RDX in Kathmandu. He was also the guy who met the IA 814 hijackers just before they boarded the plane from Kathmandu.
The first secretary carried a briefcase into the departure concourse. The briefcase went unchecked because Cheema and company used their diplomatic immunity to avoid frisking or rummaging by airport officials. One of the Pakistani officials handed over the briefcase to a person who, it was later ascertained, was one of the hijackers of IC 814. It is presumed that the briefcase contained arms and ammunition the hijackers used to commandeer the flight. Intelligence sources here say that Cheema is one of the ISI’s men in the Pakistan embassy in Kathmandu.
2. In March, 2008, a strategic decision was taken by ISI – to merge Lashkar e Toiba with Dawood Ibrahim’s gang. This merger, not unlike corporate types, was for increased depth and wider reach. The Dawood gang members were being trained in the use of weapons in the Bahawalpur centre of the LeT near Lahore. The financing was done via real estate projects:
Funds are being raised by investments in real estate and SRA projects in Mumbai and through smuggling of diesel and other essential commodities through the western coast spanning from Raigad to Mangalore along the Arabian Sea.
Why was it so important and what would it have done that Lashkar and ISI’s other associations and surrogate organizations could not do?
“The underworld’s penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is very deep. By synergizing the D-gang with the LeT, the ISI’s reach has increased manifold. An outfit like the Students’ Islamic Movement of India could not have provided the kind of reach which Dawood’s gang can provide.”
“Pakistan” then is?
It depends on who you talk to? For a citizen, it is their motherland – the “promised country”. For a politician its the tool to make money by keeping the ISI and Army off the back.
For the outsiders, who bear the brunt of a sick and twisted mentality, it is the country as a whole.
The Great Game of Obfuscation
So, while everyone in the political establishment and the media knows the power and the perfidy of the ISI, the terrorist Jihadi organizations, and the Pakistan Army, they deflect the issue by taking a stand that is patently false and hypocritic to begin with.
In all this, by citing their own society as a victim of terrorism, they forget to mention the common element… and why it is such a force.
By denying any responsibility, the average Pakistani, in my view is complicit in that terror and the murder as well. It is not that the common Pakistani does not realize or know who was behind the Parliament attack in India or who was responsible for Kargil even during the war, but none came forward to say categorically what the world knew.
No physical evidence has been enough for the common man of conscience in Pakistan to come out and say, “I live in a society that has created a monster. A monster that does not distinguish between human and animals, own or others, good or bad… but it wants power at any cost!”.
At some level the monster is not these organizations – ISI, LeT, Dawood Ibarahim – but the basic intolerance itself. What started on a June afternoon in 1946 as the intolerance for Hindus after the call for “Direct Action Day” by Jinnah, has ultimately engulfed every level of distinction in its wake – Bengalis, Mohajirs, Shias, Ahmediyas…
.. as the intolerance increases its circle of “own” shrinks! For example, the same person who helped these minds and people to smuggle Nukes to North Korea, when it was necessary, was killed in broad daylight and no one was ever caught.
No wonder that the terror that was once exported outside the borders has now found a permanent target within the borders of the originating country as well.
But this gameof obfuscation is being played at all levels in today’s Islamic world throughout the world.
Intolerants and Moderates in Islamic world
The intolerance in any religion starts with the distinction between believers and non-believers and special powers for believers and/or terrible consequences for non-believers. In my own analysis I have not found another religion that places such a strong emphasis on this distinction and the special treatment both ways.
The game being played in the world is of Aggression-by-Extremists-PLUS-Victim-playing-by-Moderates. This video on the right is a very good example of how this is played. While this extremist Anjum Choudhary spews venom on BBC, the moderates have NOTHING to say about such people but rather they go on talk ad nauseum about “how others behave towards the community”.
Serious Questioning Required
It is time that the moderates take on the Extremists. The world is getting tired now of the moderates going on to the world media to tell the world how the religion is of peace and most of the community is peaceful.
But how does that stop the Extremist? If the guys around a suicide bomber believe that Islam is the most peaceful religion and that person with the explosive belt – being part of the unknown majority – is also one of THOSE “peaceful majority”; does that save that soon-to-be-victim?
If not, then everyone needs to ask this question! Is that soon-to-be-victim responsible for the worldwide belief now that Islamic society is full of extremist UNTIL proven as harmless OR is it that suicide bomber who is allowed into a cafe despite him being a Muslim who is driven to kill JUST BECAUSE he is a Muslim!
These are serious questions. By pointing to other religions as people like this speaker in the video tries to do with the aim at obfuscation of the issue is what is NOT required! He goes on talking of Mussolini, Hitler et al. It is not what the name of the perpetrator of the terror was or his/her professed religion.. but the critical piece is WHAT DROVE HIM/HER TO VIOLENCE? In case of Islamic terrorists, the PRIMARY and SINGULAR motivating force is “Victory of Islam”. None else.
To understand this point, if 4 people kill others and profess their motivation as upholding the, say, values of “Harvard College”, then it is reasonable to believe that the “Value System” of that college is a DEFINING contributor to violence and terror irrespective if they all like different genres of movies, music and are of different religions! It is NOT The “peripheral” associations of a person as HE/SHE defines that centrality or otherwise.. but what is the DEFINING and the PRIMARY motivating force that is of essence!
So, the violence and terror mentality in Islam requires very serious and honest questioning. Until then, it is not only unreasonable but downright CRUEL to expect the non-Muslims to bear the cross of proving that religious ideology to be one of peace!!
Therefore, the Aggression-by-Extremists-PLUS-Victim-playing-by-Moderates policy has to be revisited and reviewed VERY VERY seriously by ALL – the non-believers and the believers!
Mumbai Attacks Reviewed
Here is a review of the attacks.. to unearth its reality.
1. The attacks were committed by Punjabi speaking – with accent from areas close to Lahore – people, who were seeking British, Americans and, as clearly shown later, the Israelis. Primarily the group of these killers did NOT start with the aim of killing the Hindus or Hindu leaders. In fact, the planning to kill the Israelis was so thorough that the killers were able to identify and isolate Jews from a center, that even some of the local Jews were not aware of!
What does that mean?
Any talk of the “atrocities” on Muslims and how Muslims are “underprivileged” in India is no more than a smokescreen! If they were indeed after those who broke the Babri Masjid, then they certainly had the wrong address – they certainly were not hiding in Nariman House or Oberois or Taj!! So, the ACTION and the RHETORIC of the killers bears no relation.
2. They came via sea using a ship that brought them to the Indian waters where they made the shift to a ship that brought them to the shore. They had huge cache of arms. The journey started in Rawalpindi and ended in Mumbai via Karachi and Gujarat waters.
What does that mean?
That journey links the two protagonists – Lashkar-e-Toiba (Punjab) and Dawood ibrahim gang (Karachi). It also justifies the actions and statements from Narendra Singh Modi – since his state was brought into picture. Specifically so because none of the national leaders was willing to make any kind of statement anyways!!
3. Killers had no demands, no ransom, no negotiations. They just got hostages and killed a lot of them.
What does that mean?
Generally hostages are held for two reasons – Social demands or Money demands. No other. In this case, although the rhetoric was always about the mistreatment of the Muslims but there was no ready list of demands. If this was an indigenous group, then they would know exactly what they wanted out of this! Intriguingly, when the killer (recording 1) was asked about his demands.. he fumbled… did not answer…. and then turned to his friend and asked “Kee Demanda haigiyan hai jee?” (“What are our demands.” in Punjabi – again despite the fact that he kept on asserting that he was from Hyderabad, AP). (Recording 1: Shahadullah Khan from Oberoi Hotel . Recording 2: Imran Babar from Nariman House)
It is clear that sans any demands or money needs, the hostages were taken for instilling fear and for targeted shooting and killing!
4. Killings were mafia style executions. Shootings were used as the primary means and not bomb blasts (the car with bomb was also used as well – but the main means was shootings).
What does that mean?
Every eye witness has said that the killers came in and sprayed bullets all over without any care of who they were killing. That is NOT how a person who is going in to an area with a major grievance against a certain system does it. Shootings as a means of terror and killing is most often used by the mafia. Al Qaeda terrorists use bombings – that cause large scale killings by one person.
The difference in tactics was what also took the Indian forces by surprise. This is a clear indication that this was a joint collaboration of Dawood Ibrahim gang and LeT.
What was the GOAL of this Attack?
This was NOT terrorism. It was an attack. When we term it as Terrorism, then we get into the debate of minorities and insecurities and other related issues. Given that none of these killers were actually from India and had no experience of any insecurity that may be prevalent in the minorities, killings BECAUSE of such “imagined atrocities” of others seems like an ingenuous claim.
How we term and define what happened will also fashion our response and future policy. We are very tolerant of terrorism against us. Even the Western experts now take it as a given. Raymond Tanter was speaking on MSNBC (he was part of the National Security Council in Reagan administration) and replying to a question on if India’s retaliation will jeopardize US “War on Terror”.. and he replied “No. India has a history of absorbing a lot of terror attacks, I am sure this will be absorbed as well if we can manage them.” That clearly showed how Indian policy on terrorism is viewed by Western experts. Of course, our own politicians also vindicate their analysis very effectively (read RR Patil’s statement (he is the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra) after the attacks).
We are programmed as such in face of terrorism. Let us break the pattern by defining it differently and as it really is!
From the Pakistani Perspective
As I have said, Pakistan should be viewed as TWO distinct constituencies: Common man and Extremist minds. Now the situation on the Western border with Afghanistan is such where US and the Pakistani forces (of course forced by US diplomacy) are bombing Al Qaeda and Taliban forces and others fighting along side. Now, this leads to situations where not only the extremists and terrorists but also innocent people.
While in this situation where those areas are being bombed, the Extremists and terror-masters within ISI and PAkistan Army are MORE concerned about their own “constituencies” (Taliban and Al Qaeda); the common citizen is angry at bombing on their own soil. The Terror-Masters use the concern of the citizen of their own country to try and turn away the US bombings. It was however, not working. As the Asia online link above shows, ISI and groups within Pakistan Army (specifically people with close contacts with Hamid Gul etc.) have started targetting the US and NATO shipments of arms openly!
As I had predicted a month back, Pakistani Terror-Masters would be itching to start a war against India, as that would be the ONLY way to stop the US campaign in its tracks! And the news that Pakistan has unilaterally announced that it is going to move 100,000 soliders to the Indian border to “anticipate” Indian war, is as strange as it is predictable! This statement from a top Army officer illustrates that very effectively:
“If something happens on that front, the war on terror won’t be our priority,” the senior security officer told journalists at a briefing. “We’ll take out everything from the western border. We won’t leave anything there.”
If US wants to have any chance of a sustained and useful engagement to end the War on Terror, then this is one BLUFF that it will have to call!
What should India do now?
I think action and work is required on two ends: Internal and External. Since this was an attack from outside, let us deal with the External side first:
1. Full Fledged War is NOT an option at this moment: Under normal circumstances, a War would have been what India should have gone for. However, given that the Terror-Masters in Pakistan are itching to use the Nukes, attacking them without adequately taking care of them would be suicidal.
So, first and foremost, India HAS to neutralize Pakistan’s Nukes. India should work with Israel and US and find ways to do that. It is ABSOLUTELY imperative for the long term peace of the world that every Nuke is accounted for and every equipment is neutralized.
Only THEN, should India plan a war. But the preparation for Nuke Neutralization SHOULD start now!
2. Call the Pakistani Bluff: Pakistan has been repeating ad nauseum that it is willing to help India and also willing to work with India on reducing the terrorism and that it is also a victim of terror. Sure, India should empathize with Pakistan and then present with these demands, short of preparation for war should be started. The XX point demand:
(i) Hand over Dawood Ibrahim and his gang members
(ii) Hand over Jaish-e-Mohammad cadre members that WE identify and name
(iii) Hand over Lashkar e Toiba cadre members that WE identify and name
(iv) Present evidence of involvement of people like Hamid Gul and other extremist elements and ask them to be handed over as well.
It should be announced that no Trial would occur for these guys. Simply neutralize them.
If Pakistan is indeed serious this is what will stop the war.
3. Engage the world on India’s strategic place: As the spectre of recession, indeed a Depression, enhances, centrality of India as the place which still houses the strategic and tactical IT infrastructure of the world and the ONLY way that businesses around the world can even hope to survive the next 5-10 years economically cannot be underscored enough! If India suffers, business world and economies around the world will suffer even more.
It is in the interest of the world – Western and other – to back India’s strength and stability and back up a long term strategy to end terror attacks on it, least because of the fact that in this attack, Israelis, Britons and Americans were also killed.
1. Engage Muslims: Indian Muslims have been at the mercy of corrupt Muslim sympathizers. This sympathy has not helped them getting any education. These sympathizers of course, want everyone to believe that more reservations is the way to go, but the truth is that marginalization of any demographic group has a DIRECT relation to the level of and emphasis on SECULAR education!
2. Close Madrasas and make secular schooling mandatory: This is a corrollary to the first point. Madrasas in general and those linked to Deoband and other large institutions, do not impart secular and useful education. They lead to a large population of youth that is illiterate and not fit for the employment market. Some will argue about the exceptions, but I am convinced that such exceptions should NOT be used as an excuse to move to a more meaningful education for the masses.
3. Give State encouragement to Sufism and other Spiritual practices and put down Wahabism: Sufism is used as a pop belief. Everyone loves to listen to Nusrat and others but when it comes to religious beliefs, the tide turns towards extremist Wahabi and Deoband led Islamic practices and beliefs. Situation in Islamic world is now such that Sufism is a spiritual COVER that is usurped to hide the EXTREMIST Wahabi practices. Government should sponsor programs, research, discussions and papers on Sufism and encourage its spread.
It is no longer useful to praise Akbar and his Din-e-Illahi or Dara Shikoh but give encouragement or be coy to Extremism of Aurangzeb! We have to put our actions on the right track. I know many Muslim celebrities keep talking of peaceful nature of Islam and keep praising Sufi singers and traditions to the hilt.. let them lead by example!! If one looks enough, one can still find Sufi Masters who follow the Spiritual schools of Sultan Bahu, Bulleh Shah, Rumi, or Hafiz. Let Kahlil Gibran come alive again!
Let the world take a different path this time!