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l November 03' l

The Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 3, No 7 l

S P O T L I G H T

Pakistan: HQ, Jihad Incorporated

B Raman


India has been the victim of the use of cross-border terrorism by the State of Pakistan and its intelligence agencies since 1956 to achieve their strategic objectives, which are three in number. First, to create a religious divide between the Hindus, who are in a majority, and the Muslims, who are in a substantial minority. Second, to keep the Indian State destabilised and preoccupied with internal security tasks in order to hamper the economic development of the country. And third, to annex the State of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), which is an integral part of India.....

In 1989, the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment turned its attention to Jammu & Kashmir and to the Muslim community in other parts of India in order to spread terrorism to the Muslim-inhabited areas and exploit the anger caused by the State's counter-terrorism operations for driving a wedge between the Muslims and the Hindus and between the Muslims and the State.

Even before 1989, there had been sporadic incidents of terrorism in J&K, but these were few and far between. For example, in 1971 two members of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) hijacked a plane of the Indian Airlines Corporation to Lahore and blew it up with explosives given at Lahore by the Pakistani authorities after asking the passengers and the crew to leave the aircraft. In 1983,some members of the JKLF in the UK kidnapped an Indian diplomat posted in Birmingham and killed him when the Government of India refused to concede their demand for the release of their leader from jail.

In the late 1980s, the ISI set up a number of training camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan where recruits brought from J&K were trained and armed. They were then sent to Afghanistan to get jihad experience from the Afghan Mujahideen and thereafter infiltrated into J&K to indulge in acts of terrorism.

Since then, the Pakistan Army and its ISI have been waging a proxy war against the Indian Security Forces through these surrogates without themselves getting involved in any direct confrontation with the Indian Army. This proxy war has passed through the following phases:

1989-93: The terrorists involved were mostly Kashmiris from India and Pakistan. Very few foreign mercenaries were involved. They initially operated mostly with hand-held weapons, but subsequently started using explosive devices, land mines and hand-grenades to indiscriminately kill civilians. The average number of local terrorists killed by the Security Forces came to 848 per annum. As against this, the average number of foreigners, mostly Pakistanis, killed came to 32 per annum only. The average recoveries of military material other than AK-47 rifles, light-machine guns, rocket launchers etc by the Security Forces came to 100 KGs of explosives, 426 mines and 2760 hand-grenades per annum.


1994 to 1998:Finding that the indigenous terrorists were not making any headway in their operations against the Indian Security Forces, the Pakistan Army and the ISI started infiltrating foreign merceneries, who had fought against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, most of them Pakistani nationals, in increasing numbers. There was an increase in the use of explosives, landmines and hand-grenades. The average number of local terrorists killed came to 1069 per annum and the average number of foreign jihadi terrorists killed came to 172 per annum. The average recoveries per annum came to 405 KGs of explosives,628 mines and 4085 hand-grenades.


1999 to 2003:This period saw two important developments. The Pakistan Army headed by Gen.Pervez Musharraf staged a coup and seized power in October,1999. Four Pakistani jihadi organisations operating in J&K joined Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People, which had been formed in 1998. These were the HUM, the HUJI, the LET and the JEM. Under the influence of bin Laden, they introduced suicide terrorism for the first time in J&K. Before 1999, there was no suicide terrorism in the State. Since, 1999, there have been 46 acts of suicide terrorism or fedayeen attacks, of which 44 were carried out by the LET and the JEM. The remaining two were by unidentified (possibly local) terrorists. The infiltration of foreign mercenaries, mostly Pakistani nationals, increased and they started operating under the guise of Kashmiris and took over the leadership of the militant movement.The average number of local terrorists killed came down to 726 per annum and the average number of foreign mercenaries killed went up steeply to 951 per annum. The average recoveries per annum were 866 KGs of explosives and 5336 hand-grenades.Figures in respect of mines are not available.


The killing of a large number of foreign mercenaries has not yet affected the capability of the Pakistani terrorist organisations to maintain a high level of violence since those killed are immediately replaced through fresh infiltration of trained mercenaries.The Pakistan Army and the ISI have managed to maintain a total of about 1,600 foreign mercenaries always active in J&K---more in the Jammu Division where the Hindus are in a majority and less in the Kashmir Division, where the Muslims are in a majority.


In addition to the foreign mercenaries, about 1,700 Kashmiris recruited from J&K as well as the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) have also been got trained by the ISI in camps located in the POK and elsewhere and infiltrated into J&K. They largely belong to the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), the militant wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, which calls for the merger of J&K with Pakistan.The JEI of J&K is an appendage of the JEI of Pakistan, which is a strongly anti-US , anti-India and anti-Israel organisation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, of Al Qaeda, believed to be the master-mind of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US which brought down the World Trade Centre in New York killing over 3,000 innocent civilians and damaged the Pentagon building in Washington DC killing many more, was caught in the house of a women's wing leader of the JEI in Rawalpindi in Pakistan in March last. Some other Al Qaeda members were also found to have been sheltered by the JEI of Pakistan.

An idea of the extent of the Pakistani assistance to the terrorists in J&K could be had from the fact that the total recoveries since 1989 of hand-held weapons, rocket-launchers etc supplied by the ISI to the terrorists would be sufficient to equip one Division of a conventional army.One does not know how many weapons are still left with the terrorists. None of the countries which have been designated by the US as a State-sponsor of International Terrorism is known to have issued hundreds of mines of different kinds to terrorists as Pakistan has been doing.

The second significant development after 1993 relates to the spread of jihadi terrorism to other parts of India outside J&K. The Kashmiri terrorist organisations describe their objective as confined to J&K and claim that they do not have any agenda outside the State. But, the four Pakistani jihadi organisations, which are members of bin Laden's IIF, follow his pan-Islamic ideology and call for the re-organisation of the Islamic Ummah into a number of Caliphates, including one in the South Asian region.

In pursuance of this, they describe J&K as the "gateway to India" and say that after having "liberated" J & K, they would "liberate" the Muslims living in other parts of India, as a prelude to the formation of an Islamic Caliphate consisting of Pakistan, the "liberated Muslim homelands" of India, Bangladesh, the Muslim majority areas in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean.....

The JEM and the HUM have also been setting up secret cells in New Delhi and other parts of India.Since 1999, the LET has carried out a number of terrorist strikes in New Delhi (attack inside the Red Fort and on the Parliament House), Ahmedabad (attack on Hindu worshippers in a temple in Gandhi Nagar) and Mumbai, where a number of explosions has been organised, the latest being the twin blasts on August 25,2003, which killed 53 innocent civilians.

The third significant development relates to the ISI's resumption of the use of hijacking as a weapon to force the Government of India to release Pakistani terrorists arrested and detained by the Indian Police. The ISI had instigated the Sikh terrorists to carry out five hijackings in the 1980s, but it gave up the use of hijacking as a weapon in its proxy war against India after the death of Gen.Zia-ul-Haq in 1988 which led to the restoration of democracy in Pakistan.

Between 1988 and 1999, when democratically elected civilian Governments were in power in Islamabad, there was no hijacking by Pakistan-trained terrorist groups. In December,1999, hardly two months after the army, under the leadership of Musharraf, seized power again, an aircraft of the Indian Airlines flying from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked by terrorists belonging to the HUM and forcibly taken to Kandahar in Afghanistan, which was then controlled by the Taliban. On the way to Kandahar, they killed one of the Hindu passengers. Because of the non-helpful attitude of the Taliban in terminating the hijacking, the Government of India had to concede the demands of the hijackers for the release of three Pakistani terrorists, who returned to Pakistan via Kandahar. One of them subsequently played a role in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl.

In the 1980s,the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment refused to extend mutual legal assistance to India for bringing the Sikh hijackers to trial and gave them sanctuary in Pakistan. Similarly, the Musharraf Government too has refused to extend legal assistance to India for bringing the December,1999, hijackers to trial and given them shelter in Pakistan.

CONTINUED SUPPORT TO TERRORISM AFTER 9/11

During his visit to India in 2001 for the summit talks at Agra with the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Musharraf refuted Indian charges of jihadi terrorism in J&K and described the terrorists as "freedom-fighters similar to the Palestinian freedom-fighters". While he did not deny that innocent civilians had died, he contended that such deaths could not be helped during a "freedom struggle."

However, after 9/11, apparently under US pressure, he started condemning attacks on innocent civilians as terrorism, but denied that these attacks were carried out by Pakistan-based organisations.In his telecast of January 11,2002, he said that resort to terrorism could not be justified whatever be the cause. Subsequently, on January 15,2002, he banned the LET and the JEM and ordered the arrest of their leaders and many of their cadres. All of them have since been released on the ground that there was no evidence of their involvement in acts of terrorism in Pakistani territory. Pakistan does not accept evidence of their involvement in acts of terrorism in Indian territory.

During 2002, following a visit by Mr.Richard Armitage, US Deputy Secretary of State, to Islamabad for talks with Musharraf, the latter gave an assurance that no more infiltration of trained terrorists into J&K would be allowed. Despite this, infiltrations continue to take place as would be evident from the following figures of detected infiltrations of armed terrorists into J&K from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK):

2000 ----- 2284
2001 ----- 2417
2002 ----- 1400
2003 ----- 1410  (up to September 30)


The ISI continues to use the HUM, the LET, the JEM, the HUJI and Al Badr, all Pakistani organisations, for sponsoring acts of terrorism in Indian territory. Of these, the HUM is a founding member of bin Laden's IIF.The HUJI, the LET and the JEM joined it subsequently. The US State Department designated the HUM as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in 1997 under its then name of HUA. It designated the LET and the JEM as Foreign Terrorist Organisations after 9/11. The HUM has not so far been banned in Pakistan despite its involvement in acts of terrorism not only against Indian nationals, but also against American and other Western nationals. There has been no ban on the HUJI either. Musharraf banned the LET and the JEM on January 15,2002, but the ban order applied to only their activities in Pakistani Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). It did not apply to their activities in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan) and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).......


No action has been taken by Pakistan against the training camps in Pakistani territory run by the Pakistani and Kashmiri terrorist organisations. These training camps are located not only in the POK and the Northern Areas, but also at Muridke, near Lahore, in Pakistani Punjab and at different places and madrasas in Sindh and the NWFP.


IMPLICATIONS FOR THE US COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICY


The USA's continued reluctance to act against Pakistan and make it pay a prohibitive price for helping the jihadi terrorists is coming in the way of an effective counter-terrorism strategy.Encouraged by this US reluctance, the Pervez Musharraf regime continues to keep the jihadi terrorists alive and active in the hope of using them to retrieve the lost Pakistani influence in Afghanistan and achieve its strategic objective of forcing a change in the status quo in India's Jammu & Kashmir.

One is already seeing the result of this not only in the continuing acts of terrorism in Indian territory by terrorists sponsored, trained ,armed and infiltrated by Pakistan, but also in the similar cross-border infiltration of re-grouped,re-trained and re-armed cadres of the Taliban from the sanctuaries in Pakistan into Afghanistan.According to Ahmed Rashid,the internationally renowned Pakistani expert on the Taliban, about 2,500 well-trained and well-equipped Taliban cadres are presently in the Pakistani territory waiting to be infiltrated into Afghanistan.About 1,400 plus trained and armed terrorists are infiltrated into India every year by the ISI.

The continued availability of the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory poses a serious threat not only to peace and stability in India and Afghanistan, but also to the US and other allied troops and the personnel of international organisations in Iraq, which are trying to restore normalcy in Iraq and lay the foundation for its emergence as a modern, liberal democracy. Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda and the Pakistani jihadi organisations subscribing to his ideology look upon India, the US and Israel as the main obstacles in their efforts to spread jihadi terrorism across the world and achieve their pan-Islamic objectives.

Any counter-terrorism policy followed by the US, in its capacity as the head of the international coalition in the war against terrorism, cannot be effective unless it acts firmly not only against terrorist organisations and their leaders, but also against States using terrorism as a weapon to achieve their strategic objectives.

Even if the US has difficulties in taking punitive action against Pakistan, it should at least ensure that Pakistan sincerely implements the provisions of the UNSCR 1373 against all terrorist organisations whether their terrorist activities are directed against the USA, India, Israel or any other country.Any further US economic and military assistance should be linked to this condition . As a first step, the US should insist on Pakistan arresting and handing over to India the 20 terrorists wanted for trial in India, effectively enforcing a ban on the HUM, the LET, the HUJI and the JEM and removing all training and other terrorist infrastructure in its territory, whether of Pakistani or Kashmiri organisations.Pakistan's claims of freezing terrorist accounts need to be closely scrutinised. If they are found to be false, Pakistan should be held accountable before the UN Security Council. (22-10-03)

 

Abridged version of the text of the testimony at  the joint hearing of the Sub-Committees on Asia and the Pacific and international terrorism, non-proliferation and human rights of the House Committee on International Relations on October 29, 2003.  

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