Srilankan team has been attacked in Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium. 12 gunmen ambushed the team’s convoy close to the cricket stadium with rockets, hand grenades and automatic weapons. They killed 8 pollicement, and 5 Srilankan players were hurt, but not critically. All the gunmen fled the scene after the ambush. The team members ducked on the floor when the attack happened. The van was bullet ridden, the tires were blasted, and radio system disabled. One rocket fired by the terrorist barely missed the bus and a few hand grenades thrown under the bus failed to explode. So, what could have been a terrible and bloody tragedy was somehow avoided. Importantly and intriguingly, none of the gunmen was caught despite the open area and forces guarding the Sri lankan team.
Let us understand who could be the players involved.
In 1999, an LTTE operative, Subhalakshmi, was arrested at the Kolkatta airport. She was trying to go through to Bangladesh to target Sheikh Hasina. The entire plot had unravelled as the Indian intelligence got the whiff of it at the last moment. Days before this arrest, owner of a software company was killed in a car acciddent. He was “selling” software products with a “decent” margin to a former military officer, Col. Munirul Islam Chowdhury “Munna”, who ran a software company in North Virginia in the US. The money that “Munna” deposited in the Indian Bank in Kolkatta was frozen as the owner died and no one could operate it. It was then that Harkat-ul-Jehad of Bangladesh went to Plan B and detonated RDX in a Sheikh Hasina rally.
In 1993, as B. Raman – an ex-Indian intelligence officer – cites , an Indian Coast Guard caught hold of an LTTE ship carrying arms and ammunition gifted by Harkat ul Mujahideen (HuM) [the Pakistan counterpart of HuJI] in presence of ISI and Pak Army officers. This gift was for help that LTTE gave to HuM in smuggling arms to Jehadis in Philippines.
Let us understand the relationship between the three main terror organizations – Lashkar-e-tayibba, Harkut-ul-Mujahideen, and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Lashkar e Tayyibba: It was founded by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Zafar Iqbal in the Kunar province of Afghanistan, and is currently based near Lahore, Pakistan and operates several training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. It has been in the news for the Mumbai Attacks recently.
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen: It was established in 1985 initially opposing the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The founders of the group had splintered from Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami. This organization was banned in 2005. Its three main leaders were arrested by the Indian forces in 1993-94: Nasrullah Mansur Langaryal, chief of the former Harkat-ul Mujahideen in November 1993; Maulana Masood Azhar, General Secretary in February 1994, and Sajjad Afghani (Sajjad Sajid) in the same month in Srinagar.
Jaish-e-Muhammad: Arrested in February 1994, Masood Azhar was released by India in an infamous swap in December 1999. Most of the cadres and infrastructure of HuM folded into JeM.
In December 13, 2001 the attack on the Indian Parliament was attacked in New Delhi by a joint group of LeT and JeM.
It is very possible that LTTE is in some way involved in this. But in my personal view, it is continuation of the “journey” that Taliban/LeT/AlQaeda and the “Terror Minds” in ISI/Pak Army started last year – Marriott, Benazir Bhutto’s death, Mumbai Attack and now this attack are simply milestones in this series. The aim is COMPLETE TAKEOVER of Pakistan by the Jehadis to create a Taliban like haven that will likely stretch from Pakistan all the way to Iraq. And of course, with Pak Nukes in their back-pockets.
Again, whatever I am saying is not what I want should happen.. but what I think will happen. My reading of the situation points in that direction. The more Indian and US forces delay in neutralizing Pakistan Nukes, the more the world will regret these months and days just a few years from now.
As for Pakistanis, I think the common man has lost the time now. It is not possible anymore for its citizens to stop the Jehadi juggernaut from taking them over. Again, I hope I may be wrong, but the truth is that the ruthless honesty required to bring out a fearless “champion of change” is completely absent. There is too much insistence and revelation by the citizens in conspiracy theories and in oneupmanship and the vision required is completely missing.