Speech: An Anti-climax
President Gen.Pervez Musharraf's televised speech of May 27,
2002, came as an anti-climax, belying the expectations of many
analysts that he would address more sincerely than in his speech of
January 12, 2002, the concerns of the Government and the people of
India relating to the use of terrorism by Pakistan's
military-intelligence establishment as a weapon against India to
achieve its strategic objective of annexing Jammu & Kashmir
(J&K) by keeping the Indian security forces bleeding.
speech was evasive without any reference to specifics and his tone
was unyielding and even defiant. Even the self-criticism, which one
noticed in his January 12 speech, was absent and there was no
condemnation of the activities of the Pakistani Punjabi terrorist
groups, which a well-known analyst of Pakistan had recently referred
to as the Punjabi Taliban, in J & K and other parts of India.
What struck one was his over-anxiety to avoid any criticism of
Pakistan's religious extremist parties, which have been used by the
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) since 1989 to keep blood flowing
in our territory.
at the risk of repeating once again what this writer has been saying
and writing again and again, one has to underline that what we are
facing since 1993 is no longer Kashmiri militancy due to feelings of
deep alienation in the local population, but Pakistani Punjabi
terrorism in the name of the Kashmiris. Terrorist organisations such
as the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
(HUM), the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the Al
Badr etc are pure and simple Pakistani Punjabi organisations, which
are not interested in the welfare of the Kashmiris. Even
according to the HUJI's own publications, only 200 of its 650
cadres killed by the Indian security forces since 1991 were
Kashmiris. The remaining 450 were Pakistanis, with the Punjabis
constituting the largest number.
interests have nothing to do with the interests of the Kashmiris.
These are pan-Islamic organisations of the same mould as Osama bin
Laden's Al Qaeda and members of his International Islamic Front For
Jehad Against the US and Israel. Their aim is not just "the
liberation of Kashmir", but the "liberation" of the
Muslims of India, their Talibanisation and the creation of a new
Islamic Caliphate extending from Pakistan to Indonesia, consisting
of Pakistan and the "liberated Muslim homelands" of India,
Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, which they look upon as
rightfully belonging to the Malay Muslims, Brunei, southern
Philippines and Indonesia.
ranks have been swelled and their irrationality has been hardened
after October 7, 2001, by the influx of the dregs of the present war
against terrorism in Afghanistan, who pose a serious threat not only
to India and the US, but also to the countries of the ASEAN and to
international peace and security. Before October 7, 2001,
there were two terrorist infrastructures in the epicentre of
international terrorism as the Pakistan-Afghanistan region came to
be called---one directed against India located in Pakistan and the
other anti-US and anti-West located in Afghanistan.
one located in Afghanistan has now been shifted to Pakistan, with
the knowledge and complicity of Pakistan's military-intelligence
establishment, and the two have been acting in tandem targetting
Indian as well as Western nationals and interests. It will be
totally unwise and suicidal to think that Musharraf has no control
over them and that they are being activated by rogue elements in
Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment beyond his control.
Al Qaeda and the other constituents of the International Islamic
Front were the joint creations of Gen.Musharraf, Gen.Mohammad
Aziz Khan, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and
Maj.Gen. (retd). Mahmud Ali Durrani, when they were the blue-eyed
boys of the late Zia-ul-Haq. They raised this "Army of
Islam" for use against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan and
diverted it against India post-1993. The pre-1998 "Army
of Islam" has become the post-1998 International Islamic Front.
expect Musharraf to become a repentant sinner, give up the use of
terrorism and destroy his own creations would be to live in a
dangerous world of illusions. Till September 11, 2001, Musharraf
used to project in public the capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban
as his and the Pakistan Army's greatest success story since the
defeat of 1971 at the hands of the Indian Army.
and his officers were hoping and continue to hope, despite the
defeat of the Taliban by the international coalition in Afghanistan,
that this "success story" could be repeated in India with
the help of these Pakistani Punjabi Talibans. He has been able
to persist with his perfidious actions because he thinks that the
US, the UK and other Western countries would not pressurise him
beyond a point to meet India's concerns. Unfortunately, he has been
proved right till now in his assessment of the Western ambivalence.
international coalition led by the US has been fighting against
terrorism in Afghanistan for over six months. Apart from having the
Taliban replaced, their achievements have been inadequate.
Over 80 per cent of the Al Qaeda and the Taliban and of the
components of the International Islamic Front, including their
leaders, are intact and alive and kicking in Pakistani territory.
have stepped up terrorism not only against India, but also
against the US and France. They are threatening to target the
UK too shortly. What intelligence Musharraf has given to the
coalition? How genuine has he been in his co-operation with the US?
What action has he taken to smoke out the dregs from their Pakistani
sanctuaries? Why has he made a farce of the investigation and trial
of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist, who was kidnapped and
brutally murdered? Why has there been no progress in the
investigation of the grenade attack in an Islamabad church on March
17, 2002, when two Americans were killed, and of the suicide bomb
attack on the French in Karachi on May 8,2002?
objective examination of the answers to these questions would enable
the US to remove the blinkers from its eyes, but it does not want
these blinkers to be removed lest it start seeing Musharraf for what
he really is--- the godfather of international terrorism emanating
from this region.
he joined the Army in 1964 Musharraf has grown up with the belief
and conviction that he can fool all people for all time. We have to
prove him wrong.
are the options available to India? New Delhi would be
totally---legally, morally and ethically---justified in taking
military action. But, before doing so, we must carefully
examine whether the direct military option would help us achieve the
objective of putting an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
immediate-short term option has to be decided by the Government on
the basis of the intelligence, information, insights etc at its
disposal and all should support the Government in implementing its
over-all plan has to have short, medium and long-term options.
It is here that the importance of covert action as an essential
component arises. Unfortunately, in India, there is no proper
understanding of the role and importance of covert action. Seeing
what Pakistan has been doing, we tend to equate covert action with
terrorism and recoil in horror at the very mention of it. For
Pakistan, covert action means terrorism, but it is not so for
democratic and civilised countries such as the USA, the UK, France,
etc all of which have and admit to having an effective covert
possession of an effective covert action capability and the
willingness to use it, if and when necessary, is the only deterrent
against an adversary such as Pakistan which thinks it can achieve
its objective against India through covert action.
1968, India had a covert action capability whose role was
significant in the then East Pakistan. But for the effective
use of this capability, there might not have been peace in Mizoram
and we might not have put an end to anti-national elements in Sikkim.
The role of our covert action capability in putting an end to the
ISI interference in Punjab by making such interference prohibitively
costly to Pakistan is little known and understood. The
goodwill which India enjoys today in Kabul might not have been
possible but for the benign use of our covert action capability.
action is not terrorism. Covert action is identifying the
sensitive points of the adversary and exercising sustained pressure
on those points through deniable means till results are achieved.
particularly the State-sponsored kind, is an unconventional war.
To be effective, the response to it in thinking and action has to be
writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of
India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,
special arrangement with South Asian Analysis Group, New