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Accepting the obvious at snail’s pace

October 1, 2009

It has taken the west ages to understand what people in India have known all along. There are no dividing lines between the Pakistan establishment and the terror outfits. These terror outfits, whether it is the Lashka-e-Taiba or Jaish-e-Muhammad or the Taliban are but branches that sprout from the main tree that is the Pakistan army and the ISI. To be fair to Pakistan at least the Taliban was created with blessings from Washington. However, this movement at snail’s pace has reached so far as to acknowledge that the ISI is in direct touch with the LeT and knew about the Mumbai attacks of 26/11. The Times of India has reported these ‘startling revelations’ as follows:

‘Ten months after the devastating attacks in Mumbai by Pakistan-based militants, the group behind the assault, Lashkar-e-Taiba, remains largely intact and determined to strike India again, according to current and former members of the group, and intelligence officials.

Despite pledges from Pakistan to dismantle militant groups operating on its soil, and the arrest of a handful of operatives, Lashkar has persisted, even flourished, since the Mumbai carnage last November.

Indian and Pakistani dossiers on the Mumbai investigations, copies of which were obtained by The New York Times, offer a detailed picture of the operations of a Lashkar network that spans Pakistan. It included four houses and two training camps here in this sprawling southern port city that were used to prepare the attacks. But a senior American intelligence official said the ISI was believed to maintain ties with Lashkar. Four Lashkar members, interviewed individually, said only a thin distance separated Lashkar and the ISI, bridged by former ISI and military officials.

One highly placed Lashkar militant said the Mumbai attackers were part of groups trained by former Pakistani military and intelligence officials at Lashkar camps. Others had direct knowledge that retired army and ISI officials trained Lashkar recruits as late as last year.’

It has taken so long for the world to understand what India and Indians have been saying all along – that the ISI and the Pakistan army are behind most of the terror attacks that are carried out in India whether it was Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Delhi, Guwahati, Coimbatore, Varanasi, Bangalore or other places. Mumbai was the culmination of a series of attacks on India. But this is definitely not the end. The Israeli, Australian and American governments have issued travel advisories to their citizens warning them of further terror attacks in India. It must be understood that Lashkar or Jaish are but an extension of the Pakistan establishment. That is why they shall not take any action against Hafiz Saeed and other demagogues because they are very much a part of the Pakistan game plan.

We must also understand that Pakistan is in a very precarious financial state. They have a balance of payment deficit and were going to default on their financial commitments. The US has again bailed them out. It has also been established that Pakistan army and the establishment is in league with the Taliban and Mullah Omar, the Taliban chief is operating his shura from Quetta. For all practical purposes Mullah Omar’s organization is a parallel government in the region. It is being said that he may be shifted to Karachi as Pakistan was concerned that he might be targeted by Predator drones. If Mullah Omar is so much a part of the Pakistan establishment then it will not be wrong to say that Osama bin Laden could also be in the safe custody of the ISI.

Why would the Pakistani’s be so keen to harbor Omar and Osama in safety? The reason is that Taliban was always Pakistan’s baby. Taliban was created by Benazir Bhutto and her interior minister Nasrullah Babar.  The US had then supported this move. Pakistan wants to have influence in Afghanistan. They also know that the Americans are not going to stay in Afghanistan forever. They therefore are backing the Taliban and their operations in Swat were only to ensure that the Taliban is pushed into the FATA region. The Taliban were coming too close to Islamabad and that gave them the shivers. They wanted to ensure that they do not expand such that they become the omnipresent power in the country. Besides they wanted to show the west that they were fighting the Taliban and were a part of the war against terror. Yet they would hate to see the Taliban vanquished militarily. Because like the Lashkar and Jaish that operate on the eastern borders, they have the Taliban to control the western borders and Afghanistan. Radicalism of Pakistan is complete. There are some islands where ‘modern’ lifestyle is tolerated and these are the enclaves where the army personnel and some of the rich landlords and industrialists live. The rest of Pakistan is in the grip of the Islamic fundamentalists. Pakistan is waiting for the Americans to leave before unleashing the Taliban again on the hapless Afghans. And this time they will try and make sure that the Taliban overrun the whole of Afghanistan including the northern regions where the Tadjiks are in majority.

Till such time that the Americans are in Afghanistan, they are trying to milk them for all they are worth. The speech given by President Asif Ali Zardari in the UN was centred around how Pakistan would like to contribute to the war against terror provided the world community led by the US gives them arms and resources to do the needful. He maintained again and again that they need the resources. The Pakistanis are out there with the begging bowl. The US has been magnanimous and has given more than $7.5 billion in aid. This money is also meant for the ‘hearts and minds’ initiative of the west, which is basically to provide education, health care and such basic necessities as electricity and clean drinking water to the people in Pakistan, especially western Pakistan which is Taliban infested. Zardari mentioned the need for funds for these projects also. There is this other fact that the west has been ignoring. The majority of the militants that have carried out terrorist attacks across the world come from the eastern Pakistan, from Punjab and most of them are not Pashtuns. Pashtuns have traditionally been very conservative, yet having a way of life that respects others. They are not the terrorist kind. The rise of the Taliban is because of the machinations of the west and the Pakistan army. Pathans are very earthy people and will not harm anyone unnecessarily. It is the Punjabi Taliban that is the problem. I may add here that Pashtuns never wanted an Islamic state of Pakistan and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan or Frontier Gandhi of the Red Shirts movement and his son Wali Khan were thrown into prison for decades by the Pakistan army. Gaffar Khan had strongly advocated a united India but the Congress betrayed the Pashtuns. Gaffar Khan died a broken man. He was given the highest civilian order Bharat Ratna by Indira Gandhi, maybe to condone the mistakes of her predecessors and the earthy Pathan had come in his traditional clothes with a stick on which was tied a small bundle that were his belongings, hanging over his shoulder, to receive the award in Delhi. The sheer simplicity of the man shook the conscience of us Indian’s at that time. He was a votary of  non-violence and was therefore called Frontier Gandhi. The Pashtuns are a much misunderstood people. They will harm no one, if they are left in peace.

The Pakistan army is also Punjabi dominated as is their polity. If The US and the west were serious about fighting terror they need to focus on the radical outfits in eastern Pakistan in Punjab that is the hub of terrorism. Muridke near Lahore is the centre of terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba.

This time around, it appears that the US has placed a rider on the financial and military aid that they have given to Pakistan. This includes that the aid shall not be used against any other nation. Former Pakistan President  Parvez Musharraf has said that once the arms are given to the Pakistan army there is no way anyone can check as to where they will be used. This is a factual statement and the US riders on the aid therefore have little meaning. This also shows as to how eager Pakistan is to get the aid. These are resources that go directly into the pockets of the powerful military bosses. They will promise the world and more to the west as long as the aid keeps flowing. They will also keep on supporting terror outfits like Lashkar and Jaish and the Taliban to have leverage against the west and India. They see these outfits as strategic assets and use them as such. India should expect attacks sooner rather than later. It will take India and the west ages to officially accept that Pakistan establishment is behind these attacks. In the meantime the arms and the money keeps flowing to the very fountain head of terror structure that has become a constant migraine for the world. Let me stick my neck out on this one. India will be struck by terror attacks soon after the bulk of aid reaches Islamabad. We need to monitor the flow of money and keep our guard.

Update 21.11.2009: The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh has termed as ‘unfortunate’ that Pakistan has made ‘terrorism’ as its state policy. He further added that this has made things difficult for India to ‘normalize’ relations with Pakistan.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. neel123 permalink
    October 1, 2009 3:32 pm

    The author is naive…!
    The west did not take time to understand this, the knew it all along, but chose not to act as long as their own interests remain protected.

    Pakistani state sponsored Jihadi terrorism against the Soviets and India is nothing new. But the turing point was when the British, the Americans and the Europeans were hit by their own creation.

    Pakistan has been an useful tool for the western powers, they have invested way too much in Pakistan over the decades and do not want to lose it now.

    The western powers are desperate to have a foot-hold in a region that borders Russia, China, Iran, India and Central Asia. For Pakistan, there is not a better opportunity to milk the westerners of billions of dollars in exhange.

    • sharma24 permalink
      October 2, 2009 5:07 am

      It is true that the west has done things for their own interest all along and the strategic location of Pakistan cannot be denied. They have used Pakistan as they have wished. As for their investment in Pakistan, I am not sure that is substantial, either economic or military. Besides their law is such that they can take back whatever arms they have given Pakistan. And they have enough leverage to implement their law.
      By the way, Russia does not border Pakistan. Even to Central Asian republics, except for Tajikistan, they have to go via Afghanistan.
      Lastly, no country is indispensible for any other country, and that holds for relations between US and Pakistan. In that the US has given Pakistan way too much – much more than they should have. US has been gullible, especially in their support to Pakistan post fall of the Berlin wall.

  2. neel123 permalink
    October 2, 2009 8:28 pm

    The US Pakistan relation is much more complex than one can imagine. There is a lot more than meets the eyes.

    It is an absolutely evil unholy nexus, which has cost India dearly in terms of its security.

    • sharma24 permalink
      October 3, 2009 6:40 am

      Neel,
      I know what you mean. The west has made Pakistan their bunny and find them handy. Pakistan’s ruling class is ready to barter the country for their personal gains and there is no accountability. You may find my article on A.Q. Khan interesting.

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