Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Every nation has an army, Pakistani army has a nation

Author: Tejinder Singh
16 December 2008 - Issue : 813

Pakistani establishments have acquired great tenacity to strongly believe their own bluffs even in the face of unquestionable proof. President Asif Ali Zardari's first statement that the sole surviving Mumbai terrorist is not a Pakistani to another statement of Foreign Minister that there is no proof against Jamaat ud Dawa proves the point.

The unmasking came in the form of an interview to the Pakistani Dawn newspaper by Amir Kasab, the father of Ajmal Amir Iman alias Ajmal Qasab, the lone Pakistani gunman arrested for the Mumbai terror attacks. The old man, a father of three sons and two daughters, from Faridkot in Okara district of Punjab in Pakistan, has unequivocally admitted that the captured terrorist, whose pictures were beamed across the world, was indeed his son.

Earlier, Britain's Observer correspondent had located Iman's home in Faridkot, Pakistan and got hold of the voters' roll which had the names of his parents Amir Kasab and Noor as well as the numbers on the national identity cards. BBC had also reported that Iman is indeed belonged to Faridkot and had joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba sometime ago.

Iman also revealed to Indian security personnel the identity of his nine other slain gunmen and their addresses in Pakistan. Despite all the accumulated evidence, Pakistani leaders, its expert commentators on electronic media and its diplomatic staff around the globe went to the town to prove that the terrorists are not Pakistanis but Indians. They shamelessly called the heinous terrorist attack as the handiwork of Hindu extremists or Indian Muslims or could be RAW or CIA.

Now, the UN Security Council has succeeded in placing not only Jamaat ud Dawa, the front organization of the Lashkar-e-Taiba on the list of terrorist groups but also four of its top leadership, including its chief Hafiz ul Mohammed Saeed. The earlier attempts by the UNSC to do so for the past three years failed as China conveniently came to the rescue of this terrorist organization by putting a "hold" on the resolution.

Hafiz ul Saeed demanded proof for he ever heading the Lashkar-e-Taiba or he ever promoting terrorism and jehadism. Had he cared to re-read the publications of the organization he is heading he would have got all the proof he needed.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore on December 24, 2001, Hafiz Saeed announced his resignation and the appointment of Maulana Abdul Wahid Kashmiri as the new LeT chief, stated the magazine, Jamaat ud Dawa. He made this announcement soon after the US State Departent had designated the Lashkar-e-Taiba a foreign terrorist organization, and a few weeks before the then President Musharraf was forced to ban the group on January 13, 2002.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa published in its April 10 edition an address by Hafiz ul Sayeed to convocation of students, where he proudly announced that his organization has sacrificed 4500 youth for the Jihadi cause and that preparation for Jihad was a must. He urged students to pray to God so that they could have a chance to sacrifice their lives for Jihad.

According the US Treasury Department, Hafiz Saeed "in 2005, personally determined where graduates of an LeT camp in Pakistan should be sent to fight and personally organised the infiltration of LET militants into Iraq during a trip to Saudi Arabia."

Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, who was one of the four Lashkar leaders placed on UN Security Council list of terrorists, was the supreme commander who had coordinated the Mumbai terrorist attacks and guided the gunmen on the action to be taken while they were holding the hostages. As Lashkar's chief of operations. Lakhvi has directed LeT military operations including in Chechnya, Bosnia, Iraq and southeast Asia. Lakhvi was born to Hafiz Aziz-ur-Rahman, a cleric linked to the neoconservative Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadis, on December 30, 1960. He lives in Chika 18L of the village of Rinala Khurd, in Okara—the same south Punjab district from where Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, the terrorist arrested in the course of last month's massacre in Mumbai, grew up.

Mahmoud Bahaziq, another Lashkar leader to be declared a terrorist, is a Saudi citizen of Indian origin. He is considered the main financier of the LeT and its activities in the 1980s and 1990s and coordinated LeT's fundraising activities with Saudi non-governmental organisations and Saudi businessmen. He is allegedly the brain behind recruiting Indian expatriate Muslims in Arab countries, particularly in Saudi Arabia, and sending them to Pakistan for training and subsequently launching them into terrorist activities in India.

Haji Mohammad Ashraf has assisted the expansion of the LeT in Saudi Arabia and Iraq and coordinating the terror activities there. Ashraf was born on March 1, 1965, and holds Pakistani passport.

Producing evidence to prove the culpability of Pakistan-based terrorist groups and their handlers in the military establishment is not an issue. There is enough now on Mumbai attacks. There was enough evidence of the involvement of Pak military establishment and Lashkar elements in the attack on Indian mission in Kabul in which two senior diplomats were killed besides several others.

The problem is that Pakistani military leadership views the Jehadi groups as their first line of offence and defence and the most effective weapon to bleed India, while maintaining its deniability. The 1999 Kargil war, designed and executed by the former Army chief and President Musharraf, clearly established this strategy. The Northern Areas Scouts, a wing of the Pakistani army, were sent as part of the jehadi groups. President Zardari himself is a victim of the jehadi outfits that the Pakistani army and ISI gave birth and nourished to an uncontrollable giant.

Enjoying "tea" at a Pakistani restaurant in Brussels, Belgium, this journalist, Tejinder Singh was told by Cheema Saheb, Head Chef citing something he heard on a TV talk-show: "Every nation has an army while Pakistani army has a nation."

The day the political leadership tames the army, that day augurs well for Pakistani people and their status in the international community. Until that happens, the world community will have to do the dirty work of corking up these "middle age" mammals.

UN bans Pakistani outfit but logical follow-up action should speed up

Author: Tejinder Singh
16 December 2008 - Issue : 813

Pakistani melodrama failed to stop the international community from acting recently as the UN Security Council swiftly placed the Lashkar-front "Jamaat ud Dawa" and four of its top leadership on the list of terrorists. Pakistan's feeble attempts to draw the linkage to Kashmir had no takers. Its ally, China, which had helped Pakistan using its veto-powers in preventing similar action by the Security Council in 2006, choose to keep distance with the problematic client.

An editorial in "The Daily Times," a leading Pakistani media outlet wrote on December 13, "It is the Chinese "message" that has changed our mind. The Chinese did not veto the banning of Dawa on Wednesday, and they had reportedly told Islamabad as much beforehand, compelling our permanent representative at the UN to assert that Pakistan would accept the ban if it came."
The Pakistani economy has reached near bankruptcy stage, while the political stability remains a far cry. Provoking India and a roll-back in the peace process is a time-tested strategy to re-gain Army's pre-eminent position. The memory of Kargil has not faded yet.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Western political pundit summed it up: "Army's policy to maintain its pre-eminence has three key features, namely the power monopoly under a sham democracy, anti-India orientation modulated by deniable terrorist cadres, and a client regime in Afghanistan."

While the Pakistan Army succeeded in provoking India with the Mumbai attacks, international community has seen through its strategy and refused to buy its Kashmir-tilt. Even President-elect Obama's innocent remark on finding a solution to Kashmir issue was played up and words were put into his mouth on the prospect of former President Clinton being chosen as his man-Friday for the purpose.

However, the situation was getting untenable with the Army increasingly getting sucked into the tribal quagmire and incessant American drone attacks challenging the sovereignty of the country.

It is not difficult to see through the unfolding strategy of the Army/ISI to wriggle out of its reluctant partnership to fight against terrorism on the western frontier and get the international focus turned to eastern border. They have long been waiting for an opportunity for this "U" turn. Despite the assurance given by the then President Musharraf to the world community not to allow its territory for terrorist activities in India, terror infrastructure remained intact.

Musharraf cleverly played a hide and seek game with gullible President George W. Bush, convincing him of his sincerity in fighting Taliban and Al Qaida and making him to cough over USD 10 billion in military aid. For eight years, American field commanders have been constantly complaining of Pakistan ISI/Army double game but to no avail.

The fine balance that Musharraf succeeded in creating got upset with some Army elements, eager to have a quick "U" turn, encouraged Taliban-Jaish elements to make an attempt on his life which finally culminated in Lal Masjid confrontation. With Musharraf's departure imminent, the option of Benazir did not fit in the Army-ISI strategy for a "U-turn" and therefore she also had to go.

The intricate entwining of Pakistani jihadis and Al Qaeda-Taliban is best portrayed in the Dec 13 editorial in "The Daily Times" stating: "Pakistan will need to cooperate with the international community in the coming days. The trend among our jihadi outfits so far is not to surrender to bans but to make a beeline for the Kohat Road pockets of terrorism and join the Al Qaeda-Taliban combine to kill our soldiers. Our army discovered all the banned jihadis when it confronted the militants at Darra Adam Khel. If Jaish was let off the hook after it attacked General Musharraf in 2004, it should now be confronted for providing the bulk of suicide-bombers to the Taliban and Al Qaeda."

There has always been alleged proof in plenty for every single incident of terrorist action in India, designed and choreographed by Pakistani Army and its "rogue" agency. The sole surviving terrorist called the Pakistani bluff and denial. He not only revealed his identity, and place of origin, which have been confirmed by the BBC and Los Angeles Times, but also exposed the details of all other nine terrorists and the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba commanders that trained them.

Pakistan's Army has again mis-read the mood of the international community against terrorism. Commenting on the UN move, a respectable political observer in Washington urged that the world rage against the terror attack by elements in Pakistan should not rest with the UN resolution and this has to be taken to its logical conclusion, adding on condition of anonymity, "The terror infrastructure in that should be eliminated to its last vestige. While this may not serve its army, it will perhaps lead the way for a peaceful and prosperous country serving the welfare of its people."

The editorial in "The Daily TImes," reconfirmed the expert view concluding: "Last but not least, Pakistan should act not because an "unfair international system" compels it to act; it should act out of conviction. Some commentators are already suggesting the kind of double-faced strategy adopted by Musharraf. It has been exposed as self-damaging and should not be embraced again."