Paper No. 824 30.10.2003
(Text of advance testimony given by the author at a 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 at Washington DC on October 29, 2003)
by B. Raman
Hon'ble Chairmen, Hon'ble Members of the Sub-Committees on Asia and the Pacific and International Terrorism, Non-Proliferation and Human Rights,
I thank all of you for inviting me to testify at this joint hearing today and to give my assessment of cross-border terrorist challenges facing India and their implications for the counter-terrorism policies of the United States.
2. 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.
3. When India and Pakistan became independent in 1947, the Muslims constituted about 11 per cent of India's population. Today, they constitute about 14 per cent. In 1947, in the territory, which is now known as Pakistan, the Hindus constituted a little over 10 per cent of the population. Today, they constitute about two per cent. The rest of them were either massacred or driven out of the country or forcibly converted to Islam.
4. Today, India has the second largest Muslim community in the world with about 140 million plus, after Indonesia. India has more Sunnis and more Shias than Pakistan. They are guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution of India, which was inspired by the Constitution of the United States of America.
5. The Indian Muslims suffer from no discrimination from the State and are entitled to occupy any office of the Governments of India and the constituent States, however highly placed, however sensitive. Three distinguished Muslim sons of India have held office as the President of India. Mr.Abdul Kalam, the current President of India, was a distinguished space scientist and had served as the Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence of the Government of India before he was elected as the President of India.
6. Illustrious Muslims of India have held office as Cabinet Ministers, as the Chief Justice of India, as Ambassadors to important countries, including the USA, as the Cabinet Secretary, which is the senior most post to which an Indian civil servant can aspire to rise in his career, as the Home Secretary, as the Chief of the Air Staff , as Lieutenants-General in the Army and as the heads of Police and Para-Military organisations. The Cabinet Secretary co-ordinates the functioning of the different Ministries of the Government of India and of its sensitive intelligence agencies. The Home Secretary exercises important internal security tasks and, in that capacity, monitors the working of India's Intelligence Bureau (IB), which is responsible for internal intelligence. No Hindu has ever been posted to such sensitive posts in Pakistan. Hindus have served as members of the Council of Ministers in Pakistan, but without any sensitive charge.
7.If one leaves aside the State of Jammu & Kashmir, which has been affected by Pakistan State-sponsored terrorism since 1989, no Indian Muslim from other parts of India went to Afghanistan in the1980s to join the jihadi mercenary force which fought against the Soviet troops. When the US-led international coalition launched its Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, no Indian Muslim, not even from J&K, responded to the call of the jihadi terrorist organisations of Afghanistan and Pakistan to go to Afghanistan to wage a jihad against the US troops. There were no major anti-US demonstrations by the Indian Muslims to protest against Operation Enduring Freedom.
8.Similarly, at a time when pro-Osama bin Laden jihadi terrorists are gravitating towards Iraq to wage a jihad against the US troops there, not a single Indian Muslim has responded to the call. Whereas the various fundamentalist and jihadi organisations in Pakistan have been collecting funds for the so-called jihad against the Americans in Iraq, there have been no such instances in India.
9. Hon'ble Chairmen, Hon'ble Members, if you happen to take a stroll in the streets of many Asian cities, you will find bin Laden T-shirts, bin Laden caps and other mementoes glorifying him. But not in India. Since 9/11, many books on bin Laden and his Al Qaeda have been published-- some correctly projecting him as a contemptible terrorist and some glorifying him as a great Islamic leader. Many of these books figure in the best-sellers' lists of other countries. But not in India.
10. It is often not realised that as many young Muslim students from other countries come to India for their higher education as they go to Pakistan, if not more. There have been only two instances in the history of jihadi terrorism of foreign Muslims, who had studied in India, joining jihadi terrorist groups. In 1992, the Israeli security forces arrested a Palestinian terrorist, who was found to have been educated in India. The second instance is that of Abu Zubaidah, who used to be reportedly No.3 in Al Qaeda, and who was arrested in Pakistan in March,2002. He was a law-abiding student of computer technology in India, but when he crossed over into Pakistan, he joined Al Qaeda.
11. All other foreign Muslim students, who were educated in India, went back to their countries of origin as constructive, modern and law-abiding citizens of their country and are doing well as public servants, academics, media personalities etc. The most illustrious example of recent times is that of Mr.Hamid Karzai, the interim President of Afghanistan, who has rightly won the admiration of the international community and of the leaders and people of the USA as a proud, modern Muslim wedded to liberal ideas. Why? He did his higher education in India and spent some of his formative years in the two greatest democracies of the world---India and the USA.
12. Kindly do compare this with foreign Muslim students who go to Pakistan for their studies. Many of them returned to their countries of origin as destructive citizens--as jihadi terrorists, as narcotics smugglers, as counterfeiters of US dollar notes etc.
13.It is said that the USA's counter-terrorism experts have been interrogating in the detention centres in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and other places nearly 6,000 jihadi terrorists arrested during Operation Enduring Freedom. They are of many nationalities, but reports say that there is not a single Indian Muslim amongst them.
14. The USA has a large number of Muslims of Pakistani and Indian origin. In the 1990s, a Muslim extremist organisation called the Jamaat-ul-Fuqra was active in the US and Canada. Its activities figured in the annual reports of the Counter-Terrorism Division of the State Department on the Patterns of Global Terrorism. It had indulged in acts of violence against the Hindus and the Jewish people in the USA. It is said that Daniel Pearl, the young American journalist, who was kidnapped and brutally killed by the jihadi terrorists of Pakistan last year, had gone to Karachi to investigate reports of possible links between the so-called shoe bomber and the Jamaat-ul-Fuqra.
15. It was reported in the media that last year the FBI had arrested some Muslims of Yemeni origin at Lackawanna, near Buffalo, in the USA who were found to have been taken to Pakistan and Afghanistan by the Pakistani branch of an organisation called the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) and brainwashed there. The TJ has its headquarters in India. Its Indian branch does the humanitarian work for which it was established during the British days, namely, to help the Muslims to become better Muslims. But, its Pakistani branch has degenerated into a front organisation for the recruitment of foreign Muslims to various jihadi terrorist groups.
16. Recently, the US law enforcement authorities were reported to have detected in US territory the activities of a secret cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisation, which was designated by the US in 2001 as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation. It has been reported in sections of the media that some of its members were Muslims of Pakistani origin.
17. In February 1995, the "News", the prestigious daily newspaper of Pakistan, had carried a series of investigative reports on the activities of the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), a Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisation, which re-named itself as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) after it was designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in October,1997. The articles quoted an unidentified representative of the HUA as claiming that amongst the foreign Muslims trained by it were 16 Afro-American Muslims from various cities of the US.
18. The paper reported on March 27,1995, as follows: "Official investigation has revealed that dozens of Saudis committed to jihad all over the world have been visiting the military training camps inside Afghanistan. Sources estimated that at least 2,000 persons, mostly Pakistanis and Arabs of different nationalities, are currently engaged in military training in those camps for jihad in Kashmir and elsewhere in the world. These sources estimated that since the expulsion of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, at least 10,000 Pakistanis belonging to the Islamic parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, the HUA, the Markaz Dawa Al Irshad and the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam have acquired training in making bombs, hurling grenades, firing from light and heavy weapons and in laying mines. The Harkat and all other militant organisations committed to Islamic jihad all over the world have acknowledged sending their guerillas to Tajikistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, the Philippines, Burma and Kashmir. The Jamaat-e-Islami, the Harkat and other organisations have never been challenged by the Government in their campaign to recruit committed Muslims to commit jihad anywhere in the world. These organisations are also permitted to collect jihad funds anywhere in the country."
19. One would be entitled to ask : How is it that the Muslim migrants from India conduct themselves as constructive and law-abiding citizens or residents of the USA and do not indulge in activities which could threaten US nationals or interests, but many Muslim migrants from Pakistan indulge in clandestine activities for carrying the jihad to the US homeland?
20. An objective examination of this question would show that one cannot blame Islam as such for the spread of jihadi bloodshed in the world. What one has to blame is a particular interpretation of Islam by some religious clerics and madrasas of Wahabi-Deobandi orientation in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This interpretation holds, firstly, that a Muslim's first loyalty is to his religion and only then to the country of which he is a citizen or a resident; secondly, that Muslims recognise only the religious frontiers of their Ummah and not the national frontiers; thirdly, that they have a sacred right and obligation to go to any country to wage jihad to protect the Muslims of that country; and, fourthly, that they have a religious right and obligation to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD), to protect their religion and the Ummah, if necessary. They project Pakistan's atomic bomb as the Islamic bomb to counter the Christian bomb, the Jewish bomb or the Hindu bomb.
21. This interpretation of Islam emanating from Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for some years now is as subversive of democracies and as threatening to international peace and security as international communism was before 1991 and has to be combated as resolutely by the liberal democracies of the world as they combated the evil of international communism. In fact, even more resolutely, because one did not find in international communism the kind of irrationality that one finds in pan-Islamic jihadi Islamism. International communism projected itself as forward looking and moving ahead. Pan-Islamic jihadi Islamism is backward looking and wants to take the Islamic world back to the medieval ages, with the Muslim communities of the world organised into a number of Caliphates.
22.The Indian Muslims have largely remained uninfluenced by the winds of medievalism blowing from Pakistan. The religious fundamentalists and the military-intelligence establishment of Pakistan cannot understand how a Hindu majority State like India can produce such good Muslims. What is called the two-nation theory is the basic philosophy of Pakistan. It holds that Muslims and non-Muslims cannot be part of the same nation. It is in pursuance of this theory that they campaigned for the partition of India.
23.This theory was falsified by the independence movement in the former East Pakistan and the consequent birth of Bangladesh. The remarkable spectacle of millions of moderate Muslims, not subscribing to the jihadi ideology, living and working peacefully and side by side with non-Muslims in the democratic State of India further negates this theory. They are, therefore, determined to create a religious divide in India through the use of jihadi terrorism in order to re-establish the validity of their two-nation theory.
24. It is this determination, which has been behind the use of State-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan against India. Its claim that the so-called dispute over J&K is the cause of the terrorist violence killing thousands of innocent civilians is a spin and a diversion. Kashmir is not the cause, but only a pretext for creating bloodshed in India. Just as Palestine is not the cause, but only a pretext used by Al Qaeda and others of the same persuasion for killing hundreds of Israelis and Americans. Unless and until this jihadi terrorism is crushed by the common understanding and joint efforts of India, the USA and Israel, the three greatest democracies and pluralistic societies of the world and the most bleeding victims of it, the international community will continue to bleed at the hands of the jihadi terrorists.
25. Since 1993, the international community has seen a prairie fire of jihadi terrorism spread across the world by Osama bin Laden, his Al Qaeda and the various constituents of his International Islamic Front (IIF) For Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by the jihadi terrorists owing allegiance to bin Laden in New York, Washington DC, Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Bali, Jakarta, southern Philippines, various cities of India, Karachi, Islamabad, Mombasa, Casablanca, Riyadh, Moscow, Chechnya, Xinjiang etc .
26. If one makes an objective analysis of these incidents, one would invariably find that practically all of them had a linkage to the jihadi terrorism triangle of Pakistan-Afghanistan-Saudi Arabia. Many of the terrorists were either the nationals or residents of these countries; or had studied there and had been brainwashed by the religious fundamentalists there; or were funded from there; or were trained, armed and motivated from there ; or provided sanctuary in those areas.
INDIA'S NORTH-EAST: THE BEGINNING
27. It is against this background that one should examine Pakistan's use of terrorism as a weapon against India. Its initial use of the weapon in the tribal areas of India's North-East starting from 1956 had nothing to do with Islam. It exploited the grievances of the tribals of this region to instigate them to start a movement for independence from India on the ground that they were ethnically different from the people in the rest of India.
28. Its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) provided the tribal insurgents sanctuaries in the then East Pakistan, where they were imparted guerilla training and given money, arms and ammunition. The birth of Bangladesh in 1971 considerably reduced Pakistan's ability to sponsor insurgency and terrorism in India's North-East.
29. This led to a peaceful political solution being found to the problem of insurgency in Mizoram where normalcy has been prevailing since 1985. In Nagaland too, a large section of the Naga insurgents gave up violence and reached a political solution to their grievances through negotiations with the Government of India in 1975. Only a small section belonging to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac Swu-Muivah group) has not yet given up its insurgency, but it has been observing a cease-fire and is presently negotiating with the Government of India.
30. Insurgent groups in other parts of the North-East such as Assam, Manipur and Tirupura are still active. Some of them remain in touch with Pakistani intelligence agencies through clandestine contacts in Bangladesh and other third countries.
31. After its ability to use insurgent and terrorist groups in the North-East was weakened because of its loss of East Pakistan in 1971, it instigated some sections of the Sikh diaspora in Western countries such as the UK, the USA, Canada and the then West Germany to start a movement for an independent State for the Sikhs to be called Khalistan in the State of Punjab in India bordering Pakistani Punjab.
32. Over half a dozen Sikh terrorist organisations came into existence. Their cadres were trained by the ISI in camps set up in Pakistani territory and provided with arms and ammunition and explosives. During their training in Pakistan, the ISI motivated them to emulate the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and other anti-Israel terrorist groups and indulge in attacks on civil aviation and large-scale use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in order to cause indiscriminate civilian casualties and weaken the confidence of the population in the ability of the State to protect them.
33. Religion was sought to be used as a weapon to drive a wedge between the Hindus and the Sikhs. Dozens of civilians were killed in explosions in Punjab and New Delhi, five aircraft of the Indian Airlines Corporation were hijacked to Lahore in Pakistan, an aircraft of the Air India called Kanishka was blown up in mid-air in 1985 off the Irish coast by an ISI-motivated and trained group of Sikh terrorists of Canadian origin, resulting in the death of about 200 passengers, an unsuccessful attempt was made to blow up another Air India plane in the Narita airport in Tokyo the same year, an abortive attempt was made to kill the Indian Ambassador to Rumania in 1991 and, the same year, a Rumanian diplomat posted in New Delhi was kidnapped in order to secure the release of some Sikh terrorists who were then in detention.
34. The Sikh terrorist movement in Punjab petered out after 1995 due to a lack of support from the local people and the close co-operation between the intelligence agencies of India and the West in countering the activities of the terrorists following their action in organising acts of terrorism in foreign territory. However, some of the Sikh terrorist leaders, including a hijacker of Indian aircraft, continue to enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan, which has consistently refused to arrest and hand them over to India for trial.
35. It was during the Sikh terrorist movement that the ISI tried unsuccessfully to inject suicide terrorism into Northern and Western India. During the training of some terrorists of the Babbar Khalsa, a Sikh terrorist organisation, the ISI asked them to join the Mumbai (Bombay) Flying Club, take a trainer aircraft up and crash it on the off-shore oil platform off Mumbai. They did not carry out the instructions since they did not believe in suicide terrorism.
36. It was also during the Sikh terrorist movement that the ISI started teaching the terrorists the importance of attacking economic targets such as the irrigation canal systems, oil production facilities, stock exchanges etc in order to disrupt the Indian economy. They did not carry out these instructions either as they were afraid that the resulting economic hardships for the population might turn public opinion against them.
JAMMU & KASHMIR AND OTHER PARTS OF INDIA
37.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.
38. 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.
39. 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.
40. 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.
41.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.
42. 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.
43. 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.
ECONOMIC TERRORISM & USE OF DAWOOD IBRAHIM
44. There have been three other significant developments since 1993. Having failed in its efforts to motivate the Sikh terrorists to take to economic terrorism, the ISI started making use of trans-national crime groups for organising terrorist strikes against economic targets. Before March 1993, the Dawood Ibrahim group, which indulges in large-scale smuggling, money-laundering and other criminal activities, was operating from Dubai. In March 1993, this group organised at the instance of the ISI a series of explosions directed at important economic targets in Mumbai---such as the local stock exchange, which is the biggest in India, a local hotel for tourists run by the Air India etc.
45.Subsequent investigation brought out that the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism, all Indian nationals, had been got recruited, at the instance of the ISI, by Dawood Ibrahim in Mumbai, taken to Pakistan via Dubai for training in the use of arms and ammunition and explosives and then sent back to Mumbai via Dubai. The Pakistani Consulate in Dubai issued them plain paper visas so that their passports did not carry any entries of their visit to Pakistan for training. However, Indian investigators managed to get xerox copies of the passenger manifests of the flights by which they went to Pakistan via Dubai for training. After they returned to Mumbai from Pakistan after the training, the explosives and other arms and ammunition required by them for organising the terrorist attacks were sent by the ISI by boat with the help of Dawood Ibrahim and clandestinely landed on the Western coast of India.
46.After carrying out the explosions, the perpetrators escaped to Pakistan, some via Dubai and some via Kathmandu, and were given sanctuary in Karachi by the ISI. When the Govt. of India took up with the Dubai authorities the question of the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim, the Dubai authorities pressured him to leave their territory. He took shelter in Karachi and has been living there since then along with some of the perpetrators, who have been given Pakistani passports under different names. Repeated requests by the Govt. of India to Islamabad for arresting and extraditing/deporting them to India have been turned down by Pakistan, which denies their presence in Pakistani territory. Red-cornered notices of the INTERPOL for their arrest have not been honoured by Pakistan.
47.This matter was again taken up by the Govt. of India with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan when he visited India in July,2001. He denied their presence in Pakistani territory. Subsequently, "Newsline", a prestigious Pakistani monthly, in its issue for September, 2001, carried a detailed article on their presence and activities in Karachi. The Pakistani media reported that the journalist who wrote this article (Ghulam Hasnain) was detained and harassed by the Pakistani authorities. The "Herald", the prestigious monthly journal of the "Dawn" group of Karachi, has also (August 2003) carried a detailed report on their presence and activities in Pakistani territory.
48.On October 16, 2003, the US Department of Treasury announced that it was designating Dawood as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224 and that it would be requesting the UN to so list him as well. The designation would freeze any assets belonging to Dawood within the U.S. and prohibit transactions with U.S. nationals. The UN listing will require that all UN Member-States take similar action.
49."This designation signals our commitment to identifying and attacking the financial ties between the criminal underworld and terrorism,"" stated Juan Zarate, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. ""We are calling on the international community to stop the flow of dirty money that kills. For the Ibrahim syndicate, the business of terrorism forms part of their larger criminal enterprise, which must be dismantled."
50. A press release of the US Department said: "Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian crime lord, has found common cause with Al Qaida, sharing his smuggling routes with the terror syndicate and funding attacks by Islamic extremists aimed at destabilizing the Indian government. He is wanted in India for the 1993 Bombay Exchange bombings and is known to have financed the activities of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (Army of the Righteous), a group designated by the United States in October 2001 and banned by the Pakistani Government -- who also froze their assets -- in January 2002. "
51. A fact sheet attached to the press release said: "Ibrahim's syndicate is involved in large-scale shipments of narcotics in the UK and Western Europe. The syndicate's smuggling routes from South Asia, the Middle East and Africa are shared with Usama Bin Laden and his terrorist network. Successful routes established over recent years by Ibrahim's syndicate have been subsequently utilised by bin Laden. A financial arrangement was reportedly brokered to facilitate the latter's usage of these routes. In the late 1990s, Ibrahim travelled in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban."
52. It added: "Ibrahim's syndicate has consistently aimed to destabilise the Indian Government through inciting riots, acts of terrorism and civil disobedience. He is currently wanted by India for the March 12, 1993, Bombay Exchange bombings, which killed hundreds of Indians and injured over a thousand more."
53. It also said: "Information from as recent as Fall 2002, indicates that Ibrahim has financially supported Islamic militant groups working against India, such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LET). For example, this information indicates that Ibrahim has been helping finance increasing attacks in Gujarat by LET. "
54. The US authorities also indicated that Dawood Ibrahim was living in Karachi and held a Pakistani passport, whose number was also given by them. The Government of Pakistan has denied the US contention that he was living in Pakistan and claimed that the passport No. given by the US authorities belonged to another individual and not to Dawood.
SPREAD TO OTHER PARTS OF INDIA
55. 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.
56. 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.
57. To achieve this objective, the LET has already set up secret cells in other parts of India such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, Chennai in Tamil Nadu etc. While the LET headquarters at Muridke, near Lahore, in Pakistan co-ordinate the activities of its cadres in J&K and other parts of North India, a branch of it located in Saudi Arabia has been co-ordinating the activities of its cadres in Mumbai and South India. The LET has been using a banned Muslim extremist organisation of India called the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) for this purpose and has been making recruitment amongst Indian Muslims working in the Gulf region.
58. 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.
HIJACKING AS A WEAPON
59. 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.
60. 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.
61. 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
62. 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."
63. 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.
64. 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 upto September 30.
The number of armed terrorists infiltrated came down in 2002, but has gone up this year. 1410 new terrorists were infiltrated till September 30, 2003, as against 1028 during the corresponding period of 2002.
65.While co-operating with the USA in its operations against terrorists of Al Qaeda and other organisations such as the HUM, the JEM and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), who pose a threat to American lives and interests in Pakistani territory, the Pakistani Government has refused to act against terrorist organisations and their members indulging in acts of terrorism in Indian territory. It has avoided implementing the provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373 as would be evident from the following:
* MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE IN BRINGING TERRORISTS TO TRIAL: It continues to refuse to arrest and hand over to India for trial 20 terrorists involved in major acts of terrorism in Indian territory. Of these, one (a Sikh terrorist, who is an Indian national) is wanted for trial in the 1981 hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft to Lahore; five Pakistani terrorists, all members of the HUM, which is a founding member of bin Laden's IIF, are wanted for trial in the 1999 hijacking of an Indian aircraft to Kandahar; five terrorists (all Indian nationals) of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, which has links with Al Qaeda and the LET according to the notification dated October 16, 2003, of the US Treasury Department, are wanted for trial in the Mumbai (Bombay) explosions of March 1993, in which 250 innocent civilians were killed; four Sikh terrorist leaders, all Indian nationals, are wanted for trial in connection with acts of terrorism in Punjab before 1995; one Pakistani national is wanted for trial in the case relating to the attack on the Indian Parliament in December, 2001; two terrorists are wanted for trial in connection with a conspiracy to assassinate the Deputy Prime Minister of India; and two other terrorists, both Indian nationals, are wanted for trial in connection with some other terrorist incidents. Pakistan continues to ignore the red-corner notices issued by the INTERPOL for their arrest and handing over to India for trial. In the case of the Indian nationals, it has been taking up the stand that they are not in Pakistani territory despite the fact that the Pakistani media has been reporting about their presence and activities in Pakistan. In the case of the Pakistani nationals, it has been contending that there is no evidence of their involvement in terrorism.
* SANCTUARIES TO TERRORIST LEADERS: Five Sikh terrorist leaders, the Amir of the Hizbul Mujahideen, and Dawood Ibrahim, the leader of a trans-national crime group supporting Al Qaeda and the LET, continue to enjoy sanctuary in Pakistan. All of them were Indian nationals, when they sought sanctuary in Pakistan, but Dawood Ibrahim, who was declared by the US on October 16, 2003, as a specially designated global terrorist, has been given a Pakistani passport under a different name.
* CONTINUED USE OF PAKISTANI ORGANISATIONS FOR SPONSORING ACTS OF TERRORISM IN INDIAN TERRITORY: 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). Their leaders and many of their cadres were arrested and kept in jail or under house arrest for some weeks. They were subsequently released on the ground that there was no evidence of their involvement in acts of terrorism in Pakistani territory. Both these organisations continue to be active under different names. Their leaders travel all over Pakistan to collect funds and recruit volunteers for jihadi training. The Pakistani media has reported that even after the so-called ban the LET has acquired immovable property of considerable value in Pakistani Punjab and Sindh. On October 14, 2003, the US Treasury Department moved for the freezing of the accounts of a Pakistani charity organisatioin called Al Akhtar Trust on the ground that it was funding jihadi terrorist activities not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also in Iraq. This Trust was founded by the JEM after Musharraf had ostensibly banned it. In September, 2003, the Pakistani authorities claimed to have rounded up Gungun, the brother of Hambali, who is reported to be the operational chief of the Jemaah Islamiya (JI) of South-East Asia and some other Indonesian and Malaysian students studying in two madrasas of Karachi. The JI is stated to have masterminded the Bali bombing of October last year. According to the Pakistani media, one of these madrasas is run by the LET and Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the chief of the LET, was taking a class in the madrasa when the police went there for the arrests. Even though he is the head of a banned organisation, he was not arrested.
* CONTINUED TERRORIST INFRASTRUCTURE IN PAKISTANI TERRITORY: 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.
* CONTINUED SUPPLY OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION, EXPLOSIVES, DETONATORS, TIMERS, LANDMINES AND HAND GRENADES: There has been no decrease in their supply.
* AVOIDANCE OF ACTION AGAINST TERRORIST FUNDING: The action taken by the Pakistani authorities against all suspected bank accounts in Pakistan under the UN Resolution continues to be an eye-wash. The "News" of Islamabad reported as follows on January 1, 2002: " Experts said the policy to freeze the accounts in "pieces" gave ample time to most of these account-holders to withdraw their money." On June 14,2003, Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan's Finance Minister, placed on the table of the National Assembly a statement giving details of the accounts frozen by the authorities. In the statement figured three accounts in Peshawar banks held in the name of bin Laden and one in the name of his No.2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri (name of the branch not given). Of the three accounts of bin Laden, two were joint accounts held by him along with others and one was an account only in his name. The three bin Laden accounts, according to the statement, had balances of only US $ 306, US $ 342 and US $ 1585 and the account of Al-Zawahiri had a balance of US $ five only. The statement contained a remark that the account of Al-Zawahiri had remained dormant since 1993. There were no such remarks in respect of the accounts of bin Laden. Hence, they are presumed to have been active. The statement remained silent as to what were the various deposits made in the accounts and withdrawn or transferred from them before they were frozen, who were the beneficiaries etc. According to the same statement, the HUM had three accounts with balances of US $ 62, US $ 48 and US $ 35. The JEM had one account with US $ 14.The seizure of only such paltry amounts speaks eloquently of the insincerity of the Pakistani authorities in circumventing the directives of the UNSC to act effectively against terrorist funding. When the State of Pakistan itself, through its Inter-Services Intelligence, has been distributing an estimated US $ 40 million per annum to different terrorist groups, where is the question of its acting against terrorist funding? More than a half of this goes to the four Pakistani terrorist organisations, which are members of bin Laden's IIF.
IMPLICATIONS FOR THE US COUNTER-TERRORISM POLICY
66. 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.
67. 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.
68. 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.
69. 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.
70. 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.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Convenor, Advisory Committee, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Chennai Chapter. E-Mail: email@example.com )
A Global War against Terrorism
“Millions of innocent people and thousands of cops have lost their lives, fighting terrorism but the thirst for human blood of the creators and fumigators of terrorist has not been quenched so far.”
Terrorism has now become a worldwide phenomenon. Since independence, India has been facing the problem terrorism in different parts of the country. Terrorism means an armed violent movement directed against government as well as non-government targets, involving pre-meditated attacks with arms, ammunition and explosives against civilians, and resorting to intimidation tactics such as hostage taking and hijacking, but not seeking territorial control. Terrorism can also be defined as an organized way of intimidation and violence especially for political purpose. Political frustration, Political necessities, Religious and Racial Fanaticism and person political interests are some of the main causes of terrorism. Terrorist are encouraged by the vested interest of some countries, external powers, to create instability in other countries. Terrorists indulge in looting, kidnapping, murder shooting, arson and other unlawful activities to serve their very purpose of creating instabilities or deter the innocents so that either they support them or don’t support the legal Government machinery.
India has faced exclusively terrorist movements in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Pakistan, terrorist movements in the northeast, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh; in Bihar, bordering Nepal; and in certain interior States like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa that do not have international borders.
India has also faced terrorism of an ephemeral nature, which sprang suddenly due to religious anger against either the government or the majority Hindu community or both and petered out subsequently. For example the explosions in Mumbai on March 12, 1993 which killed about 250 civilians and the simultaneous explosions in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in February 1998. Tamil Nadu has also faced the fallout of terrorism promoted by LTTE elements on its political rivals living in the State and the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.
India has also faced, for some years, Hindu sectarian terrorism in the form of the Anad marg, which, in tis motivation and irrationality, resembled to some extend the Aum Shinkriyo of Japan. The Marg, with its emphasis on mediation, special religious and spiritual practices and use of violence against its detractors, had as many followers in foreign countries as it had in India. Its over-ground activities have petered out since 1995.
In Assam and Tripura the political factors that led to insurgency-cum-terrorism included the failure of the government to control large-scale illegal immigration of Muslims from Bangladesh.
In Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar, there are economic factors that include the absence of land reforms, rural unemployment, exploitation of landless labourers by landlord etc. These economic grievances and perceptions of gross social injustice have given rise to ideological terrorist groups such as the various Marxist/Maoist groups operating under different names.
Mainly seen in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur due to feelings of ethnic separateness.
In Punjab, some Sikh elements belonging to different organizations took to terrorism to demand the creation of an independent state called Khalistan for the Sikhs . In J & K, Muslims belonging to different organizations took to terrorism for conflicting objectives. Some terrorist groups such as the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation front, want independence for the state, including all the territory presently part of India, Pakistan and China. Others such as the Hizbul Mujahideen, want India’s J&K State to be merged with Pakistan. While those who wand independence, project their struggle as a separatist one, those who want merger with Pakistan project it as a religious struggle.
There have also been sporadic acts of religious terrorism in other parts of India. These are either due to feelingsof anger amongst sections of the Muslim youth over the government’s perceived failure to saeuard their lives and interests or due to Pakistan’s attempts to cause religious polarization.
The maximum number of terrorist incidents and deaths of innocent civilians have occurred due to religious terrorism. While the intensity of the violence caused by terrorism of a non-religious nature can be rated as low or medium, that of religious terrorism has been high or very high. It has involved the indiscriminate use of sophisticated Improvised Explosive Devices, suicide bombers, the killing of civilians belonging to the majority community with small weapons and resorting to methods such as hijacking, hostage-taking, blowing up of aircraft through IEDs, etc.
All terrorist groups, religious as well as non-religious have resorted to kidnapping hostages for ransom and for achieving other demands. The non-religious terrorist groups have targeted only Indians, whereas the religious terrorist groups target Indians as well as foreigners. The Khalistan Commando Force, a Sikh terrorist group, kidnapped a Romanian diplomat in New Delhi in 1991. The JKLF kidnapped some Israeli tourists in J & K in 1992. HUM, under the Name Al Faran, kidnapped five Western Tourists in 1995 and is believed to have killed four of them. An American managed to escape. Sheikh Omar, under trial for the Kidnap and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi in January last year, had earlier kidnapped some Western tourist near Delhi. They were subsequently freed by the Police.
Non-religious terrorist groups in India have not carried out any act of terrorism outside India territory. Of the religious terrorist groups, a Sikh organisation blew up an Air India place off the Irish coast and unsuccessfully tried to blow up another plane in Tokyo the same day, plotted to kill then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi During his visit to the US in June 1985 (the plot was foiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation), attacked the Indian ambassador in Bucharet, Romania, in October, 1991 carried out a number of attacks on pro-government members of the Sikh Diaspora abroad. The JKLF kidnapped and killed an Indian diplomat in Birmingham, England, in 1984. In the 1970s, the Anand Marg had indulged in acts of terrorism in foreign countries.
The Sikh and the indigenous Kashmiri groups projected their objectives as confined to their respective State, but the Pakistani pan-Islamic terrorist groups project their aim as extending to the whole of South Asia – namely the ‘liberation’ of Muslims in India and the ultimate formation of an Islamic Caliphate consisting of the ‘Muslim homelands’ of India and Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The Sikh terrorist groups demanded an independent nation of the ground that Sikhs constituted a separate community and could not progress as fast as they wanted to in a Hindu-dominated country. They did not deride Hinduism and other non-Sikh religious. Nor did they call for the eradication of Hindu influences from their religion. The indigenous Kashmiri organizations, too, follow a manlier policy. But the Pakistani pan-Islamic Jihadi organizations ridicule and condemn Hinduism and other religious and call for the eradication of what they describe as the corrupting influence of Hinduism on Islam as practiced in South Asia.
Religious as well as non-religious terrorist groups have external links with like-minded terrorist groups in the other countries. The link between the Marxist groups of India with Maoist groups of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; the link between the indigenous Kashmiri organizations with the religious, fundamentalist and jihadi organizations of Pakistan; the link between organizations such as the Students Islamic Movement of India with jihadi elements in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia; and the link between the Pakistani pan-Islamic jihadi organizations operating in India with Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are well know.
Religious as well as non-religious terrorist groups draw moral support ad material sustenance from the overseas Diaspora. The Khalistan movement was initially born in the overseas Sikh community in the UK and Canada and spread to Punjab in India. The Indigenous Kashmiri organizations get material assistance from the large number of migrants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, called the Mirpuris, who have settled in Western Countries. The Marxist group get support from the Marxist elements in the overseas Indian community.
The terrorism in India is mainly nurtured by external agencies especially Pakistan, in the bordering States of Kashmir and Punjab. In North-Eastern States, ULFA and NSCN are also indulged in terrorist activities. Pakistan has been the main source of arms, ammunition and training for religious terrorist groups operated in the Punjab in the past and operating presently in J&K and other parts of India. The training is given by the ISI, either directly or through religious fundamentalist and pan-Islamic jihadi organizations, in various makeshift camps located in PoK, the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan) and the North-West Frontier Province.
Under US pressure, President Musharraf has banned the activities of LET, JEM and LEJ in sindhi, Punjab, the NWFP and Baluchistan, but not in PoK, the Northern Areas and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas. The activities of HUM and HUJI which are closest to Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment, have not been banned anywhere.
In a recent judgment against some Pakistani doctors accused of providing sanctuaries and medical assistance to Al-Qaeda members, the Pakistani Supreme Court pointed out that the Pakistan government has not, till now, declared Al-Qaeda-a terrorist organization and banned its activities in Pakistan as required under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Between 1989 and 1993, terrorism in J&K was mainly due to the activities of indigenous Kashmiri organizations. Since 1999, the Pakistani jihadi organizations have taken over the leadership of the anit India movement and have been operating in India territory under the guise of Kashmir’s. Out of the 46 suicide terrorist attacks reported since 1999, 44 have been made by Pakistanis belonging o these jihadi organization. The principal leaders of these organizations are Pakistani Punjabis and the majority of their cadres are Pakistani nationals. These Pakistani jihadi organizations project J&K as the gateway to India and say that after ‘liberating’ J&K from the control of the Hindus, they will ‘liberate’ the Muslims in other parts of India and set upto more independent ‘homelands’ for Muslims – one in north India and the other in South India. As part of this long-term aim, they have been setting up clandestine cells in other parts of India and have launched some major operations such as the attack inside the Red Fort in New Delhi in January 2001, the attack on the Indian parliament in December, 2001, and the attack on Hindu worshipper in Akshar Dham Temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in September 2002.
There have been a number of terrorist incidents in other parts of India such as the attack on the security guards outside the US consulate in Kolkata in January 2002, the four explosions in Mumbai in 2002-03, the latest on March 13, 2003, killed 12 innocent train passengers and the explosion in a Hindu religious place in Hyderabad last year.
Till now, Al-Qaeda’s Arab members have not operated in India territory, Some Arabs were arrested in J&K during counter-terrorism operations, but they were member of Pakistani pan0Islamic jihadi organizations and not of Al-Qaeda. However, HUM, HUJI, LET and JEM, the Pakistani jihadi organizations which are members of Bin Laden’s IIF along with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, have been responsible for most of the religious terrorist incidents in J&K and other places in India.
India has more than 140 million Muslims, the second largest Muslim community in the world after Indonesia. Only a very small section of the community has taken to terrorism due to various grievances and instigation by the ISI and Pakistan’s religious, fundamentalist and jihadi organizations.
The overwhelming majority of Indian Muslims are loyal, law-abiding citizens. They have not allowed their anger against the Indian government or the Hindus for any reason to drive them into the arms of terrorist organization. India has the most modern, peaceful and forward-looking Muslim community in the world. It is important to note that when the US started its air strikers on Al-Qaeda and the Taliban training camps in Afghan territory on October 7, 2001, there were demonstration in India. Even after the Us-led coalition started its war on terrorism in Afghanistan, hundreds of Muslims from many countries went to Pakistan and Afghanistan to join the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in their fight against the coalition troops. There were no Indian Muslims among them.
These factors show that Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda have had little impact on the Muslim community in India. The Indian Muslims, including the aggrieved sections of the Kashmiris, have kept away from them. The government of India believes that a genuine and well-functioning democracy, good governance, responsiveness to public grievances, effective policies and economic development are the best antidotes to terrorism. India has not allowed the intimidator violence of terrorism to come in the way of the electoral process. In 1990s, elections were held in Punjab at the height of terrorist violence. Elections were held in J&K in September last year despite instructions from the ISI to the Pakistani jihadis to disrupt the process. Foreign diplomatic missions in New Delhi wre encouraged to send their observers to the State to satisfy them that the elections were free and fair. All of them have certified this. Elections to the Nagaland assembly were held recently. The government has not allowed terrorist to disrupt the economic development of the affected areas. Even at the height of terrorism, Punjab continued to be the granary of India, producing a record wheat crop year after year. In J&K, the fall in revenue due to decline in foreign tourist’s arrival is being sought by encouraging greater domestic tourism. In 1990s, when terrorists prevented the holding of examinations in Srinagar, the government flew the students to Jammu at its cost to take the examination.
The government has announced many packages for the economic development of the affected areas and trying to implement them despite the terrorist violence. The government has refused any king of concessions to terrorists resorting to intimidation tactics such as hijacking, hostage-taking, etc. The government has refused to hold talks with terrorists until they give up violence, but began to search for a political solution through talks once the terrorists give up violence.
The government is maintaining an open mind to suggestions coming from all sections of J&K for improving the political and administrative set-up. It has recently appointed former home secretary N.N. Vohra to enter into a dialogue with all the elected representatives of the State on their demand for greater autonomy.
India has been the victim of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism since 1950s. in those years, Pakistan’s ISI had supported the insurgent/ terrorist groups in India’s northeast region and provided them sanctuaries, training, arms and ammunition in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of the then East Pakistan. India’s anisette stop this, played an important role in its assistance to the people of East Pakistan to liberate themselves. Since 1980, the ISI has been providing sanctuaries, training, arms and ammunition in Pakistan to religious terrorist groups operating in Punjab, J&K and other parts of India. It is also infiltrating the mercenaries of the Pakistani pan-Islamic jihadi organizations into India of promote cross-border terrorism. India has taken up this issue with the US since 1992 and wants Pakistan declared a State sponsor of international terrorism under US laws and his punitive action taken against it. In 1993, the Clinton administration placed Pakistan on a watch list of suspected State sponsors of international terrorism for six months and forced Nawaz Sharif who was then in power to sack Lieutenant General Javed Nasir, then ISI’s director-general, and other senior officers. This did not have any effect on the use of terrorism by the ISI. Since Nov. 9, 1993, Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment has been collaborating with the US in taking action against Al-Qaeda elements posing threat to US nationals and interests. But it has not taken any action against cross-border terrorism directed against India and to destroy terrorist infrastructure in PoK and the Northern Areas.
After the attack by LET and JEM on the Indian Parliament in December 2001, India mobilized and deployed its Army on the border in response to public pressure for action against the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. In response to appeals from the Us, UK and other friendly governments, India refrained from action against Pakistan. Under US pressure, Pakistan banned LET and JEM, but not HUJI and HUM and arrested some of their leaders and cadres. They have since been released.
US officials themselves admit Pakistan has not implemented its assurances that it would gut a stop to cross-border terrorism J&K. despite this, the US is reluctant to act against Pakistan because of its cooperation in assisting the US in neutralizing Al-Qaeda elements who have taken shelter in Pakistan.
India has made it clear that there will be no question of any talks with Pakistan on the moralization of bilateral relations till it stops cross-border terrorism, winds up the terrorist infrastructure in its territory and gives up the used of terrorism as a weapon against India. India has also been greatly concerned over the use of Bangladesh territory by religious and non-religious terrorists operating against India. The non- terrorist organizations, HUJI has an active branch in Bangladesh. Some Al-Qaeda elements who escaped into Pakistan from Afghanistan have found their way into Bangladesh where they have been given shelter by HUJI. There is active complicity between the ISI and its counterpart in Dhaka in this matter. The Bangladesh authorities have not been co-operating with India in taking effective action against the large-scale illegal immigration into India. However, keeping in view the otherwise good relations with Bangladesh, India has been trying to have these problems sorted out bilaterally at the political and diplomatic levels. But the progress so far has been disappointing.
Global war against Terrorism:
The much talked about ‘Global war against Terrorism” is one of the cruelest jokes of present time. It is ironical that Pakistan, the epicenter of Global Terrorism, is the greatest ally of USA, fighting Global Terrorism. India has regularly been drawing attention of the US and other countries to the atrocities committed by the terrorists, trained and funded by Pakistan but of no avail. Rightly said by some ‘only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches’ USA realized the danger of terrorism only when terrorists struck at its hear on 11th Sept. 2001 when twin towers of ‘World Trade Centre’ New York were reduced to debris by suicide squads of terrorists. USA that boasted of its Super Power status, Military might and Intelligence suddenly forced to release its vulnerability. USA feared that its fortress was also not impregnable and therefore, wanted to eliminate the kingpin, the notorious dreaded Qsamabin Laden and its Al-Qaeda. But President Bush couldn’t identify the God-father of all the mischief in the terrorist world, Gen. Pervez Mushrraf, instead joined hand with Mr. Musharraf to fight the terrorism globally. The removal of Osamabin Laden from Afghanistan has not eliminated the threat of terrorists attack on USA. The American people even today are living under the long shadow of fear. The Military might and world’s most powerful intelligence agency CIA could no longer eliminate the fear from the general American’s mind. The tape of Osama bin Laden released by Al-Zazira in Sept. 2003 has again threatened the USA Government of his determination to teach a lesson to the US Government.
Every person entering USA is being frisked by the authorities thoroughly. There have been thousand of instances when passengers are down loaded on strength of suspicion. Once bitten, twice shy, they don’t want to leave anything to chance. But is that all cover the insecurity prevailed among the minds of Americans? The US ambassador to India has time and again asserted that Global Terrorism will not end until the problem of Trans border Terrorism across India’s borders is tackled. The crux of the story is that the USA is having double standard in dealing with terrorism and formulating its foreign policy to suit its interest. In the name of destruction of WMD (Weapons of Mass destructions), US destroyed the Iraq, ousted the Saddam and till date, not even a trace of Biological, Chemical or Nuclear weapons has found. Indian government again and again drew the attention of US’ appeasement policy towards Pakistan. Appeasement of devilish elements can result in more unforeseen catastrophe.
India has to fight its own with the terrorism being funded and encouraged by the neighboring countries. How can we expect that USA or Britain will feel the pinch of Terrorists attack in India? To look for support from either of them would be a folly. Just like any other country, we have to empower ourselves, we have to tackle our problems in our own ways. Terrorism has to be dealt firmly with determined efforts and indomitable political will with the full and all out support of all political parties and every citizen.