PAK ESTABLISHMENT SUSTAINS ITSELF ON TERROR
By Samuel Baid
A news item in Indian newspapers said on June 28 that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India would interact with each other on terrorism and the Mumbai terror conducted by Pakistan based terrorists in November 2008. A decision to this effect was announced by India’s and Pakistan’s Home Ministers Mr. P.Chidambaram and Mr. Rehman Malik who attended SAARC Home Ministers conference in Islamabad on June 27.
The two Home Ministers had two rounds of talks. Mr. Chidambaram’s reply to journalists’ query if he was satisfied with these talks was: “Nobody is questioning intentions, we are looking for outcomes. Outcomes alone will decide if we are on the track”.
It is true that Indians did not suspect General Pervez Musharraf’s intentions in January 2004 when he assured then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Bajpayee that the soil of Pakistan and the areas under its control would not be allowed to be used against India. Indians were thrilled. But the outcome of this assurance was zero.
Nobody can suspect the intentions of the present Pakistan People Party (PPP) government headed by Mr. Asif Ali Zardari. But it is a fact that this government has not been free to deal with Pakistani culprits of the Mumbai carnage although their identity is well-known in Pakistan. The negative response to India’s dossiers shows that some non-political forces are calling the shots. These forces made a fool of the PPP government by making it deny initially that Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani national.
The truth is that no government in Islamabad whether military or civilian can take decision about terrorism or militancy. See for example, in 2006 Secretary General Mushahid Hussain and President Choudhary Shujat Hussain of the ruling Muslim League (Q) had reached an agreement with Baluch leader Akbar Bugti. But, as Mr. Mushahid Hussain told Urdu, BBC, the Establishment sabotaged this agreement and attacked and killed Bughti thereby unleashing insurgency in Baluchitan. Peace in this province is not acceptable to the Establishment.
Baluchistan is one case which gives reason to believe that domestic peace is not always acceptable to the Establishment. It is generally said the Establishment needs insurgency in this province to justify massive presence of the Army there to protect among other objectives, the Afghan Taliban guests there while denying their (Taliban’s) presence.
Those who have studied post-independence India–Pak relations must have quotations from ex-serviceman and ISI-influenced Urdu newspapers saying that peace with India is poison to Pakistan’s existence. Pak intelligence must stage incidents just as it did in Mumbai to sustain and strength this thinking.
When we talk of peace dialogue or reaching an understanding with Pakistan, our reference happens to be to the government is Islamabad. But the “outcomes”, do not happen because these governments are under the control of the Establishment. As is well-known, the Establishment means unanswerable military, ISI, Jehadis. Some rightist political parties and bureaucrats who subscribe to the ideology of no-peace with India.
While Indian leaders talk to the Pakistan government leaders, they know very well that the “outcomes” depend on the Army. But Indians adopt a proper channel of keeping themselves confined to the government leaders. As against us, the powerful Americans do not leave things to the government in Islamabad. See, for example, United States President Barack Obama, while professing his support to the present civilian government of Mr. Zardari, keeps Pakistani Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani in good humour and occasionally reprimands Mr. Zardari’s government for being ineffective. It is because of his strategy that Americans have been able to make Pakistan Army fight against Pakistani Taliban in the Malakand Division, South Waziristan, Bujaur and Ouakzai.
India just cannot do that. It is not to suggest that we should also cultivate Pak Generals by passing the government in Islamabad. We cannot do that because our pro-democracy ideology will not allow that. We also know very well that it is the Pak Army /ISI which organizes terrorist incidents in Kashmir and other parts of India. If we talk to Pak Generals it will be like keeping a thief’s help in a theft which he himself has committed.
It is to be seen how the CBI and FIA will cooperate. Past joint efforts to curb terrorism have not worked for the above reasons. The idea of sharing intelligence has also not worked. Before the United States began pounding terrorists’ citadels in tribal areas, its leaders complained that any intelligence shared with Pakistan government percolated to terrorists thus frustrating the whole exercise of intelligence sharing. India too fears that sharing intelligence with Pakistan will meet the same fate. Pakistanis are not willing to punish those who were involved in the Mumbai carnage.
The fact is that the civilian government of Mr.Zardari cannot take any action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage because the Pakistan Army was involved in it. According to reports, Pakistani American David Headley, who conducted this carnage, told American FBI and Indian investigation team that two serving officers of the Pakistan Army, namely Major Sameer and Major Haroon and also Major Iqbal (rtd.) planned terror attacks in India as part of the Karachi project. Headley is an operative of the Lashkar-i-Tayyaba which has the Army’s support and which is involved in all terror attacks in India.
It should be noted that a day before Mr. Chidambaram landed in Islamabad on June 25, the pro-Pakistan Gilani faction of the Hurriyat Conference gave a call for a quit Kashmir movement. According to the plan of the movement, Hurriyat conducted processions and confronted the police. In the three days of protests some very young people died in the police firing. Among the killed were two Lashkar-i-Tayyaba activists indicating that this ISI backed terrorist organization was leading the agitations.
The present Kashmir trouble means two things: One, the Establishment wants to sabotage any peace move between India and Pakistan especially mutual effort to curb terrorism against India. Two, the establishment wants to make up the Kashmir issue at a time when the unwilling Pak Army is under pressure to launch an attack in North Waziristan against the Haqqani group which has Pakistan’s support and which organizes attacks in Afghanistan.