Special Report – Tabish Qayyum
Pakistan has been pushed to the wall since 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 even though we have faced the worst kind of terrorism since last decade; there hasn’t been a day when India missed the opportunity to whine and malign Pakistan on diplomatic, media landscapes formally and informally in talks with leaders and delegations from around the world. Irony is that we live in a world where information is taken as a fact. Most often pace and volume of what we are provided as ‘information’ ends up defining its veracity; which obviously is a disturbing norm that leads to contradictions and conflicts.
As soon as US Secretary of State left India after completing her three day visit which accumulated serious intimidation against Pakistan (Ayman Al-Zawahiri presence and Hafiz Saeed Bounty confirmation along with Do-More Mantra) significantly on Indian soil, there were yet again headlines about ‘Mumbai’ similar to the one’s we saw in November 2008. Indian media had aired a Major terror aert involving the infamous Kashmiri resistance group ‘Lashkar-e-Taiba’ who had allegedly planned a sea-borne attack by dispatching yet again a well-trained 5 men squad from Pakistan via sea route to wreck terror in the heart of financial capital of India – Mumbai, at multiple locations; all this unfolds at the most volatile time this region is going through as Pakistan-US face a dead-lock over the Afghan War transition or perhaps to an unpredictable closure to a decade old conflict with un-ending violence.
According to reports, central intelligence agencies in India alerted Mumbai Police on Sunday by issuing 5 colour photographs of Pakistani terrorists aged between 25-30 who had landed safely in the city via sea and were warming up for the assault at naval installations, Bombay Port-Trust, petroleum installations in Mahul, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Tata Power station and some strategic rail tracks and bridges between Pune and Mumbai. Given the gravity of the situation Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik called a high level meeting on Monday to discuss heightening of security at important installations. Coastal police officers, deputy commissioner (port zone), additional commissioner (south region), additional commissioner (protection and security), Central Industrial Security Force personnel and Bombay Port Trust officials were among those who attended.
As the alert continued, Indian media pulled socks to air packages and marathon transmissions adding frenzy and sensations to the anticipated attack on the contrary ignoring the negligence of its agencies who were unable to apprehend any threat that succeeded to enter India from similar procedures as claimed to have been applied before. Any attack from Pakistani foot-print has long been anticipated to be a game changer between Pakistan and India, in fact this notion is used as a pretext and tagline by US-INDIA to haunt Pakistan by implying dire consequences, in case it does happen.
Luckily for Pakistan, all plans and preparations of Indian media evaporated on Wednesday evening when it turned out that the photographs of ‘terrorists’ issues by Indian Central Intelligence agencies to Mumbai Police are actually of Pakistani citizens, two of them traders in a ‘Hafeez Center’ Mobile Plaza in the centre of Lahore and one of them a security guard of the building. Our breaking story that was immediately published on the information provided by a source who identified the men with their complete identities and contact numbers in Lahore. The shopkeepers and guard were left in shock, once they found out that they have been labelled as ‘terrorists’ allegedly planning spectacular attack across the border. Detailed coverage was then done by covered by Mubashar Lucman at Duniya TV. An F.I.R has reportedly been launched and a protest has been planned later on Thursday against Indian government by Lahore’s Hafeez Plaza trade union according to president of the union Muhammad Fayyaz Butt who told us that he along with every Pakistani was deeply offended by the allegations by Indian agencies and irresponsible anti-Pakistan Media against innocent citizens of Pakistan. SP Gulberg Lahore, Tariq Aziz has said that the case would be handed over to cyber crime joint committee, which will probe on the acquisition of Pictures of Pakistani nationals by India; alleged Pakistanis have requested for security from police as well.
Lets discuss later about the competency and role of Indian agencies on this misfire but let’s ask ourselves, who would have bothered if eventually there had been an act of violence of any magnitude following the alert? Hadn’t these men been identified within hours, who would have even thought of waiting for facts or investigations? Any minor or major assault, massive bombing or a cracker leading to injuries and causalities in India given the ‘Pakistani-Terror-Alert’ would have been catastrophic to say the least. How different it would have been to what we say 4 years back? Let’s take a trip back to the future of what seemed to have been thwarted in the very final stages of execution.
What if this ‘False Flag’ turned out to be a successful one?
Since 2008, we have been hearing this almost on daily basis, what if a similar attack does happen? The usual cliché of events would have followed. Both nuclear armed rival armies would have been on borders, volcanic ash would have encompassed the whole of south-Asia; Hafiz Saeed would obviously have been under arrest, his most efficient charity and disaster-management capable organization Jamat-ud-Dawa would be forced to shut down offices, few sold-out media personnel would have tabled stories of who these 5 men roved on ‘rubber-ducks’ and reached ‘Gateway of India’ by using ‘Harry-Potters’ witchcraft tactics and DNA samples by Hafiz Saeed’s lips found on their foreheads as he would have kissed-off the boys from Karachi. Perhaps, our brave defence minister (who recently reminded us of International-Sanctions if we remained reluctant in re-opening supplies) would have accepted the responsibility of possibility of such an attack by non-state actors. No one can guess what Interior minister Rehman Malik would have come up with. But, yes! This time there is another player involved who claims to have averted a possible attack by India in 2008 which could have affected her Afghan war effort; US would be willing to give every thrust that India need at this juncture where her defiance on drones and persistence on opening of critical supply route needs no logical or justifiable reasoning by any parliamentary committee or diplomatic norm. Hell-bent on making Pakistan a scape-goat of failures and to be very honest ‘humiliating defeat’ in Afghanistan, US would have happily given the slaughtering-knife to India in case any mass-level attack took place, regardless of any evidence, facts or leading investigations similar to what they themselves did post 9/11. Containing the out-break of any adventurism between nuclear armed militaries can be beyond anyone’s guess.
Are we oblivious to the Ambiguities of 26/11; role of Indian Intelligence agencies and Investigations?
Official Indian stance on the modus-operandi remains vague as ever, 11 Pakistani men crossed 506 nautical miles in a boat undetected by the Indian navy – which is on the move in these waters 24/7 (hundreds of fisherman are caught and released every month for accidentally crossing into Indian. Holding the city hostage for 62 Hours, with all varieties of Indian elite force unites ranging from Black cats to Marcos (India’s elite Marine commandoes who failed to respond to the call of duty) unable to apprehend terrorist who held them back despite the weeks journey on rubber-boats. Let’s closely analyze some intriguing pieces of this deadly puzzle.
The details of attack, attackers and their suspected ‘handlers’ are already available on the media. Let us remind you that in a stark resemblance the pictures of alleged attackers were released by Indian authorities, total 8 pictures were rereleased whereas 5 of them appeared to be passport-type ID photos, and other 3 were of dead bodies barely recognizable 2 Images not shared for unknown reasons among the 10 attackers. What is interesting to note is that Indian police claims that they found these photos on the Identity cards found on the attackers, Surprised? (It happens only in India). Let’s talk facts, given the sophistication implied by LET, they sent their fighters with ID cards? Why didn’t the Indian competent agencies find the resumes that they might have brought to apply for jobs once they were done with the attack; alright, lets believe for a second that they did bring the I.D cards, what were the numbers then ? As we join the dots, let us remind you at this point that recent visit to India by Pakistan’s judicial commission requested to probe the doctors who conducted the autopsy’s of these attackers were blatantly refused by India without any justifications. Who knows if these men in photographs turn out to be living in some secret Indian Jails, or working in some villages or mobile shops somewhere in Pakistan.
Proceedings of the case brought against the only attacker caught alive, by the name of ‘Ajmal Kassab’. Despite the fact that the newly formed agency NIA (National Investigation Agency) declared initial investigations flawed and incomplete, Pakistan folded under international pressure from its allies and has been detaining seven Pakistani citizens to this day without any solid evidence or proof of their involvement in these attacks. On the other hand, the lone surviver Kassab is facing a death penalty in India – his plea is pending at supreme court. Indian turned the tide very cleverly in its favour in the initial phases of the investigation, due to smart media management and diplomacy. The twist in the story can be seen now when the judicial commission from Pakistan is currently on a visit to India and Indian officials rejected outright their request of cross examining magistrate who took Kassab’s confession, potentially the star witness against the men Pakistan continues to detain – as well as other witnesses. This is because there are a lot of blundres in the statement itself. One such example is that magistrate wrote in the statement that Kassab is from Pakistan, who only had an education upto 4th or 5th grade, but at the same time she is also writing that he is an expert of writing, reading and speaking of Hindi language. Does that make sound in anyway?? The Pakistani commission will only now take statements from the magistrate, doctors and some other witnesses (excluding Kassab) and will return to proceed on the case in Pakistan on the basis of these statements.
Missing Links and the Inside Job
What is even more interesting in this background is the Indian complicity in the case. There are many missing links which can potentiallly help solve the case and which may lead towards a more specific trial of accused ‘masterminds’ of this attack. The cases of Tauseef Rehman, Mukhtar Ahmed, Fahim Ansari and Sabaudin are the most important. Let’s have a look at the case of Mukhtar Ahmed, one of the missing links. It surfaced on the media after his arrest that he was an under-cover agent of Indian-Occupied Kashmir police department, and belonged to the counterinsurgency section. According to his department, he joined the ranks of police after his brother was killed by militants. This ‘under-cover agent’ was arrested on suspicion of buying mobile phone cards used by the gunmen – provided to him by Tausif ur Rehman; a clerk of eastern city of Kolkata.
Mukhtar Ahmed on his arrest told the same story of his under-cover duty to the officials of Calcutta police, for whom he was a big catch. At the same time it was considered a big blow for the intelligence agency for whom Mukhtar was a high-value-asset. His exposition puts his family and other assets at risk. Mukhtar Ahmed was later released by the courts of India, and his name was absent from the dossiers provided to Pakistan. Remarkably, like other Indian assets, Mukhtar Ahmad has now disappeared from the case investigation. It can be concluded by studying Mukhtar’s case that Indian intelligence agencies, or rogue agents either penetrated a militant cell or directed the attack, made to look like an attack by the LeT militants – killing and maiming hundreds in the process – and use it as an opportunity to target Pakistan and ISI and have them declared sponsors of terror at the global stage.
Who killed Hemant Karkare (ATS Chief ) ?
Karkare, who was killed along with Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar in the first hour of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was probing the 2006 Malegaon blast and the 2007 ‘Samjhota Express’ train attack – in which over 60 Pakistanis were burnt alive on Indian soil – alongwith a number of other blasts in which a serving Indian Army Lt. Col. Shrikant. It should be noted that over recent years, serving Indian military and Intelligence officers have been found involved in a number of terror attacks accross India, killing hundreds of innocent citizens, in terror attacks that were also initially blamed on the LeT and ISI. The man investigating many of these attacks in which extremist Hindu terrorist outfits infiltrated and successfully used Indian security forces personnel to bomb innocent civilians, was none other than the chief of Maharashtra state’s , Hemant Karkare, killed within the first hour after the MumbaiAnti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) siege commenced. The book ‘Who Killed Karkare’ by the former Inspector General of Maharashtra state police, S.M. Mushrif, makes a fascinating read and lifts the lid on the horrifying facts allied to the mindset of Hindutva terror.
Indian-Media’s ‘moral stand’ against Pakistan
Indian media is unmatched when it comes to hyper-patriotism, in fact insanity if to be precise. Their ‘Agent Vinod’ mind-set seems unchanged even though they claim to be meeting world standards; in Pakistan’s context they remain as ridiculous as ever. Recent revelations have exposed the bleak picture of India media which barely sees or dares to see the other side of the picture. If they were to be honest, they should have asked hard-hitting questions to the Mumbai-police that issued the vague alert after a hi-level meeting. Where were the Unmanned sea-surveillance vessels provided by Israel to guard their coasts ? They should have asked about the tax-payers money that was spent to reimburse security at coastal ports and vulnerable points. The Indian coastal security program destined to secure 7000km coastal line by ICG (Indian Coastal Guard) and Indian Navy by modernising with transponders, radars, and state-of-the-art warning systems also investing immensely to fortify Lakshadweep Islands; they should have been asked how these 5 men sneaked in, despite the magnanimous effort? It was only last month when Defence minister A.K Anthony review security situation in monthly meeting with all services chiefs in India, seemingly satisfied with their arrangements to welcome sea-borne intruders, yet they failed as if. Had been the media in India sensible enough to carry out their professional duties they would have done some great deal of help for their country, but yes they are still landing after the ‘Hillary-go ride’ as one Senior Indian NDTV anchor/Journalist Barkha Dutt gloats on her interaction with Sec.State Clinton on micro-bloggin site, Twitter.
@BDUTT had a great time moderating Hillary Clinton’s Kolkata Townhall. Found her candid, firm, focused, funny and easy going all at once.
Indian Media needs to critically analyse the whole Mumbai-drama right from the where it began to where it stands today after history of deceit by their defence system. Their mature approach in dealing with such sensitive issues and reassessment on the ‘library of dossiers’ (Inadmissible in court of Law as US considers them) will help them see four fingers pointing in their own direction.
Hate Mongering, Aman Ki Asha, MFN and Pakistani Media Response?
After initial stance four years ago, Pakistani media has completely given up any transparent investigations that could have led to facts clear enough as this recent debacle of Indian propaganda machine, our foreign office could have emphasized more aggressively on Kashmir and Water issues lest they hadn’t given in to the Mumbai propaganda quietly accepted in verbatim. Back foot diplomacy lead Pakistan nowhere instead further dented the legit Kashmir cause giving path to vulnerable and vested ideas of ‘Aman ki asha’ and “MFN” Most-Favoured Nation to boost economic ties that have never helped Pakistan’s economy in history; there remains no sense in wasting resources and energy in meaningless engagements with explosive issues under the rug. This is a false impression that Hafiz Saeed or DPC (Difa-e-Pakistan) is the spanner in the works between India-Pakistan relations, trade and cultural ties; on the contrary it has been proved by this incident with complete audacity about how Indian establishment and government is back-stabbing the efforts to normalize tensions instead they seem to be working on a different plan altogether, lets discuss this apparent plan briefly. Pakistan’s media and supporters of foundation less normalization should re-draw the map with some concrete engineering that can sustain a durable peace based on justice and facts. Serious issues of Water, Baluchistan, Siachen, Kashmir must be brought to priority to serve true demand of the volatile region.
Who is the ‘Principal Architect’; US footprints?
This could be the most alarming situation for Pakistan if US has resorted to some manoeuvring as a sign of desperation to the blockade of logistic supplies. Re-winding few weeks we saw US declare a ‘bounty’ of $10 Million on Hafiz Saeed same amount of money placed on Mullah Omar. Tough questions were faced by spokespersons at Pentagon and State Department and after Hafiz-Saeed’s famous “give me the money, I am telling you my location” press conference meters away from Pakistan Army’s GHQ in Pindi, US had to rephrase the bounty destined for information that could lead to arrest and convictable evidence against Hafiz Saeed. Only to make already well-known figure in Pakistan, US made a super-hero out of Hafiz Saeed. Later, Cameron Munter retracted the bounty and surprised by saying there is no such bounty; in circumstances which are mysterious Mr.Munter has stepped down from his office before the term of his assignment two days ago, the same time when Sec.Clinton re-confirmed the ‘bounty’ offer on Saeed. This whole saga lifted the curtain to shed light on an extremely embarrassing position of US that was without any doubt taken only to appease India for obvious reasons of a larger role in Afghan end-game.
Same desires could have been behind the recent hoax terror-alert by India which ironically coincides with CIA double agent foiled ‘underwear’ bomb attack thwarted in final stages. We have already discussed the consequences of what this adventurism could have meant for the region, lest it did served American interests to engulf the south-Asian region in to a larger conflict that can make Afghan-defeat microscopic in front of a massive potentially nuclear conflict or perhaps more practically as per US-IND point of view to surrender Pakistan to their demands of resumption of supplies, continuity of drone program and military operation against religious organizations in urban provinces and of course long awaited rampage in N.Waziristan.
Pakistan needs no more indications on what threats it faces from US and Indian nexus, this failed false-flag should steer the way for a consensus between all institutions and a strong diplomatic, legal and factual response must be given to India and the world. Pakistan should stand its ground on regardless of the intimidation and pressure tactics that are in full-swing against the nation that has rendered the most sacrifices in this war against terror. Pakistan needs to re-assert itself, and with instance get out of the ‘Mumbai’ blackmailing by India by exposing Indian forged investigations and any verbal or physical attack on any citizen victimized by India or US, be it Hafiz Saeed, shopkeepers or those waiting for justice since four years in Pakistani prison for a false-flag attack 26/11 should be defended by all means, or it will turn out to be lethal as it had already been since 2008, and as it was about to be if the designers of anarchy hadn’t failed at the early stages, thanks to vigilant Pakistani people who pointed out at the right time.