Wednesday, December 2, 2009



An alert official of the Pakistani naval intelligence in plain clothes and a naval security guard in uniform deployed outside the building of the Pakistan Navy Headquarters in Islamabad prevented what could have been a major terrorist strike against the Naval Headquarters by an unidentified suicide bomber on December 2,2009. Spotting a suspicious-looking individual outside the NHQ, they stopped him and searched him. He turned out to be a suicide bomber wearing a concealed suicide vest. However, they could not prevent him from activating the explosive device in the vest.One person was killed on the spot and another succumbed to his injuries later.

2. This was the second jihadi terrorist attack on a naval target since the commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007. The Lal Masjid raid made the Pakistani Taliban known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) turn against the Pakistani security forces.Since July 2007, there have been many suicide and suicidal attacks on personnel of the Armed Forces and the police----not only in the tribal areas, but also in non-tribal areas , including in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and in heavily guarded cantonments.

3.The first attack on a naval establishment took place on March 4, 2008. Two unidentified suicide bombers, operating in tandem, attacked the prestigious Naval War College located in a high security area of Lahore. They were both on motor-cycles. One of them rammed his motor-cycle against the security gate at the rear of the building breaking it open. The other drove through this opening into the parking area and blew himself up. Their target was the naval institution and not any particular individual or individuals inside. They wanted to demonstrate their ability to penetrate the campus and cause damage. Six persons were killed--- one of them a naval officer, three members of the security guards at the gate and the two suicide bombers.

4.The Pakistan Navy has had no role to play in the operations in the Lal Masjid, the FATA ( Federally-Administered Tribal Areas) and Swat.However,the logistic supplies for the NATO forces are brought to the Karachi port, unloaded there under the protection of the Pakistani Navy and then transported to Afghanistan by trucks. While the Pakistani Army and Air Force have no operational role to play in the US-led military operations in the Afghan territory against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban, the Pakistani Navy is a member of the US-led international naval force which patrols the seas to the west of Pakistan to prevent any hostile activity which could hamper the operations in Afghan territory. The Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, established near the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, comprise naval forces from France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The task force conducts maritime security operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. The leadership of the Task Force is rotated amongst the participating navies. A Pakistani naval officer has been commanding it off and on when the turn of the Pakistan Navy comes.

5.During the election campaign of 2008, one of the issues raised by Mr. Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister, was the need to re-examine the implications of the US declaring Pakistan a non-NATO ally. He apparently felt that this declaration was meant to facilitate the involvement of the Pakistani Navy in the Afghanistan-related joint naval operations of the NATO and wanted a re-think on it. He has not been raising this issue in recent months. The TTP has not raised this issue either.( 3-12-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail -- )

Thursday, April 23, 2009



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 Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan 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.

Subsequent investigation brought out that the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism, all Indian nationals, had been 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.

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.

This matter was again taken up by the Govt. of India with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan when he visited India in July last. He denied their presence in Pakistani territory. Subsequently, "Newsline", a presitigious 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 article stated as follows:" Dawood Ibrahim and his team, Mumbai's notorious underworld clan, including his right hand man Chota Shakeel and Jamal Memon, are on India's most wanted list for a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai and other criminal activities. After the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, the gang have made Karachi their new home and operating base. Living under fake names and IDs (identities), and given protection by government agencies, they have built up their underworld operations in Karachi employing local talent like Shoaib and Bholoo.

" In Pakistan, Dawood managed to establish another huge empire, comprising both legitimate and illegitimate businesses. In fact, the last few years have witnessed Dawood emerge as the don of Karachi. Dawood and his men have made heavy investments in prime properties in Karachi and Islamabad and are major players in the Karachi bourse and in the parallel credit system business--hundi. Dawood is also said to have rescued Pakistan's Central Bank, which was in crisis at one point, by providing a huge dollar loan. His businesses include gold and drug smuggling. The gang is also allegedly heavily involved in (cricket) match-fixing. "

The article added: " Not only have the Pakistani authorities turned a blind eye to the gang's activities within Pakistan, but many in the corridors of power have partaken of Dawood's hospitality.....He is said to have the protection of assorted intelligence agencies. In fact, Dawood and his men move around the city guarded by heavy escorts of armed men in civies believed to be personnel of a top Pakistani security agency. A number of Government undercover agents, who came into contact with Dawood because of their official duties, are now, in fact, working for him. Nearly all the men, who surround him for security reasons, are either retired or serving officers, claims an MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) activist."

The article further said: " According to informed sources, Dawood is Pakistan's number one espionage operative. His men in Mumbai help him get whatever information he needs for Pakistan. Rumour has it that sometimes his men in Karachi accompany Pakistani intelligence agents to the airports to scan arriving passengers and identify RAW (Indian external intelligence) agents." (End of citation from the article)
Though the laws of Pakistan do not provide for "economic citizenships", the Pakistan Government informally provides them to international criminals and terrorists, who maintain a minimum dollar deposit in Pakistani banks and help the Government. Dawood Ibrahim, who had reportedly lent money to Pakistan in the past for the clandestine procurement of missiles and connected technology from China and North Korea, has been given informal "economic citizenship" in order to protect him from the arms of the Indian law and provided with a Pakistani passport under a different name .

After the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, the Govt. of India has given to Pakistan a list of 20 terrorists, wanted for trial in India, who have been given sanctuary in Pakistan. The list includes the names of Dawood Ibrahim and other members of his mafia group wanted for trial in connection with the explosions in Mumbai in March 1993 and other crimes. Pakistan continues to take up the stand that they are not in its territory.

It is alleged that Dawood Ibrahim played an active role in organising the recent referendum campaign of Musharraf in Karachi and in bringing voters to the polling booths in trucks to vote for Musharraf.

------ Extract from a paper titled "CONTROL OF TRANSNATIONAL CRIME & WAR AGAINST TERRORISM: An Indian Perspective" presented by me at a meeting of the Working Group on terrorism of the Council on Security Co-operation Asia Pacific (CSCAP) held at Shanghai in May,2002. The paper is available at

DAWOOD IBRAHIM: The Global Terrorist

Shortly after the commission of the terrorist strikes in the US on September 11, 2001, US President George Bush signed Executive Order (EO) No.13224 on September23, 2001, declaring a national emergency to deal with terrorist threats to the USA.He said in his EO: " I also find that because of the pervasiveness and expansiveness of the financial foundation of foreign terrorists, financial sanctions may be appropriate for those foreign persons that support or otherwise associate with these foreign terrorists. I also find that a need exists for further consultation and cooperation with, and sharing of information by, United States and foreign financial institutions as an additional tool to enable the United States to combat the financing of terrorism."

2.The annual report on the Patterns of Global Terrorism during 2001 submitted to the US Congress in May, 2002, by Gen.(retd) Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, described the significance of this EO as follows: "EO 13224 enables the US Government to block designees' assets in any financial institution in the US or held by any US person. It also expands US Government authority to permit the designation of individuals and organisations that provide support or financial or other services to or associate with, designated terrorists. EO 13224 designations allowed the US Government, as well as coalition partners acting in concert, to block tens of millions of dollars intended to bankroll the murderous activities of Al Qaida and other terrorist groups."

3.Under this EO, the US Government has so far designated 322 individuals of different nationalities and organizations as terrorists and terrorist supporters and frozen over $136.8 million in terrorist assets by acting in concert with other member-nations of the UN.Apart from terrorist organisations such as the Al Qaeda, the Jemaah Islamiya, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) etc which have been so designated under this EO, a number of individual terrorists wanted for acts of terrorism in different countries have also been so designated. Important amongst them are Osama bin Laden, his No 2 Ayman Al-Zawahiri and other leaders of the Al Qaeda.

4. While the US Government has designated the HUM, the LET and the JEM as Foreign Terrorist Organisations, none of their leaders has so far been designated as global terrorists. The only individuals living openly in Pakistan who had been brought under the purview of this EO till October 15, 2003, were Sultan Bashir-ud-din.Mahmood, Abdul Majeed and Mahammed Tufail, who were suspected of trying to help bin Laden in the clandestine acquisition of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They were so designated on December 20, 2001, and their bank accounts, wherever found, were ordered to be frozen.

5. Dawood Ibrahim, the mafia leader- cum- terrorist living in Pakistan since the 1990s, became yet another individual terrorist leader living in Pakistan to be brought under the purview of this EO on October 16, 2003, when the US Department of Treasury announced that it was designating him 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 Membe-States take similar actions.

6."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."

7. 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. "

8. 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 Osama 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."

9. 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."

10. 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. "

11. The statement and the attached fact sheet do not say how the US Government came to know of Dawood's links with the Al Qaeda, bin Laden and the LET. However, it needs to be noted that last week the US Government also designated the Al Akhtar Trust, a supposedly charity organisation based in Pakistan founded by the JEM, for purposes of freezing its accounts under this EO. It described the Al Akhtar Trust as the successor organisation to the Al Rashid Trust, which had earlier been brought under the purview of this EO.

12. The Treasury Department statement indicated that it suspected the Al Akhtar Trust of funding jihadi terrorist activities not only in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also in Iraq. Since February last, I have been drawing attention to reports that the HUM and the LET have been sending small numbers of their cadres to Iraq to participate in a jihad against the US troops there and that the LET has been collecting funds in Pakistan for assisting the families of its "martyrs" in Iraq.The statement reveals that the JEM has also been indulging in activities in support of the jihad in Iraq through the Al Akhtar Trust.

13.The fact sheet attached by the US Treasury Department to the order relating to the Trust says as follows at two places: "During a custodial interview in early 2003, a senior Al Qaida detainee related that AL AKHTAR TRUST and Al-Rashid Trust were the primary relief agencies that Al Qaida used to move supplies into Qandahar, Afghanistan. " Again it says: "During a custodial interview in mid-April 2003, a senior Al Qaida detainee stated that Al-Rashid Trust and Al AKHTAR TRUST provided donations to Al Qaida."

14. The USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officers in Pakistan had got hold of two senior Al Qaeda operatives during this period---Khalid Sheikh Mohammad,who is suspected to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the USA and who was caught in Rawalpindi in March last, and Walid bin Attash, the principal Al Qaeda suspect in the case relating to the bombing of the US naval ship USS Cole in Aden in October, 2000, who was caught in Karachi in April last.

15. The interrogation of Walid bin Attash by the FBI had not yet started by mid-April. It would, therefore, be reasonable to infer that the action against the Al Akhtar Trust was probably based on information provided by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad. Since the action against Dawood followed two days after the action against the Trust, there is a strong possibility that the information obtained during the same interrogation about his links with the Al Qaeda triggered off the action of the Treasury Department.

16.What next? The designation of Dawood as a global terrorist does not automatically freeze his bank accounts and the accounts of the organisations with which he is associated. It only directs all banks and other financial institutions in the US to identify such accounts and freeze them. How effective is the follow-up action depends on how effective is the identification of the accounts.

17. The Treasury Department order does not give all the aliases of Dawood. It names him as Dawood Ibrahim, also known as Dawood Ebrahim, also known as Sheikh Dawood Hassan. Only all accounts held in these names will be affected by this order. If he has been holding accounts under other names, those would not be affected till identified to be his.

18. The UN Security Council, in its capacity as the monitor of the implementation of its Resolution No.1373 calling for action against terrorism by member-nations, would now be moved by the US to issue instructions to all member-nations, including Pakistan, to freeze the accounts of Dawood held under these three names.

19. Whenever such instructions were issued by the UNSC in the past, the Government of Pakistan circumvented them by alerting organisations and individual terrorist leaders named by the EO and the UN about the impending freezing of their accounts, thereby enabling them to withdraw the bulk of the balance to their credit or transfer it to other accounts under different names.

20.This has been repeatedly happening since January last year. As a result, when the accounts were finally frozen, they were found to contain paltry amounts.

21.The last one year has also seen a tremendous increase in the remittance of funds from overseas bank accounts to accounts in Pakistan. The total remittances during this period were estimated at US $ four billion. The Pakistani authorities attributed this increase to the fact that Pakistanis living abroad have started using normal banking channels for their remittances due to fears that the use of the informal hawala channels as in the past might attract the suspicion of the FBI. Even if this explanation is true, it could account for the transfer of only about US $ 1.5 billion from overseas accounts to accounts in Pakistan.

22. Following suspicion that the steep increase in the remittances flowing into Pakistan might be due to the transfer of the money held overseas by the so-called Saudi charity organisations associated with terrorism to accounts in Pakistan and the use of new accounts in Pakistan by organisations based in Saudi Arabia for funding terrorism, the FBI is reported to be closely monitoring all remittances of over US $ 1,000 to accounts in Pakistan. The Washington correspondent of the "News", the Pakistani daily newspaper, has reported (October 1, 2003) that the Pakistani authorities have agreed to a request from the US to report to the FBI details of all such remittances.

23. The action taken by the Pakistani authorities against all suspected bank accounts in Pakistan continues to be an eye-wash. 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.

24.. 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.

25. 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.

26.Over the years, Pakistan, its military dictator Gen.Pervez Musharraf and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have fine-tuned the art of hoodwinking international community and particularly the US Administration-- whether it be in respect of its clandestine WMD assistance to North Korea and Iran, its sponsorship of cross-border terrorism into India and Afghanistan or evasion of action under the UNSCR No.1373 against terrorists and other organisations.

27. Unless India takes advantage of the slight opening provided by the US designation of Dawood as a global terrorist and acts proactively and aggressively through the UN monitoring mechanism and through bilateral channels to ensure that Pakistan does not again wriggle out of its obligations under the UNSC Resolution 1373, we will find history repeating itself.

28. In my paper No.515 of September 1, 2002, ( "INDIA'S NATIONAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT & 9/11") available at, I wrote as follows: "After 9/11, the purely legalistic approach to the question of blocking terrorist funding has given way to a more pragmatic approach, with actions now being taken by the international community against suspected terrorist accounts even on the basis of strong suspicion instead of waiting, as in the past, till legally sustainable evidence was forthcoming. This should have been taken advantage of by us by moving for the freezing of the bank accounts of Dawood Ibrahim and other members of his mafia group wherever they are held--whether in Pakistan, the UAE, South Africa, Nepal, Thailand or elsewhere. Our plea for action could have been justified on the basis of the strong evidence at our disposal regarding their involvement in the Mumbai blasts of March,1993."
29. In a paper (available at presented at a panel discussion on Terrorism in the Indian sub-continent , organized by the US-India Political Action Committee and the US-India Institute for Strategic Policy at Washington DC on July 16, 2003, I had stated as follows: " About 400 survivors of the 500-strong hardcore of Al Qaeda had crossed over into Pakistan from Afghanistan giving a slip to the US security forces in the beginning of last year. Of these, about 75 are estimated to have since moved over to Yemen and Saudi Arabia and 30 are estimated to have crossed over into Iran via Pakistan’s Balochistan. Of the remaining, about 75 took shelter in Karachi and 220 in Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Balochistan, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). Of the 75, who took shelter in Karachi, about 50 are still holed up in various hide-outs there with the assistance of their Pakistani sympathizers and the mafia gang led by Dawood Ibrahim, who is wanted by the Indian authorities for prosecution in connection with the Mumbai (Bombay) blasts of March,1993, a precursor of mass-casualty or catastrophic terrorism."

30. India should act on the US order and move against Pakistan before it is too late.

31. Annexed is an extract from a paper on terrorism and transnational crime presented by me at a meeting of a working group on this subject held in Shanghai, China, in May last year. "Herald", the monthly journal of the prestigious "Dawn" group, has since come out (August,2003) with more details on the presence of Dawood in Pakistan and his activities there.

-----Copy of a paper prepared by me on October 19,2003. Available at


Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader, was living in Karachi with a Pakistani passport under a different name since the explosions in Mumbai in March,1993, in which over 300 innocent civilians were killed. The entire operation was orchestrated by him from Dubai, where he was living before March,1993.He had the perpetrators of the blasts trained clandestinely by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan in Pakistani territory. After the training, they returned to Mumbai and carried out the explosions with the help of explosives, detonators and timers given by the ISI. These were clandestinely shipped to landing points on the western coast of India in boats hired by Dawood.

2. When his involvement in the blasts was proved, the Government of India requested the Dubai authorities for his arrest and deportation. The Dubai authorities advised him to leave their country. He shifted to Karachi and started living there. Sections of the Pakistani media reported from time to time about his presence in Karachi and the activities of his mafia group from Pakistani territory. They also reported that many retired officers of the Pakistani intelligence community had been employed by him as his security officers.

3. At the request of the Government of India, the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) based in Lyons in France issued many look-out notices for his arrest and deportation to India if he was found in the territory of any member-country. The look-out notices also gave his Karachi address.

4. In response to these notices, the Pakistani authorities kept denying the presence of Dawood in their territory. The matter was taken up by Mr. A.B.Vajpayee, our former Prime Minister, with President Pervez Musharraf during their meeting in Agra in July,2001, and again during their meeting in Islamabad in January 2004.Dawood's name also figured in the list of 20 terrorists wanted for trial in India, which was handed over by the Government of India to Islamabad in the beginning of 2002. The stock response from Musharraf was that Dawood Ibrahim was not in Pakistan.

5. In the meanwhile, the Karachi-based Dawood developed contacts with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and Al Qaeda elements such as Ramzi Binalshibh (since arrested by the Pakistani authorities and handed over to the US), who had been given sanctuary in Karachi by the LET.

6. Following the receipt of information about his contacts with Al Qaeda and the LET, the US took serious notice of his presence in Karachi. The US Treasury Department issued a notification in October, 2003,declaring him an international terrorist. The notification, which recommended to the UN Security Council the freezing of his bank accounts because of his involvement in global terrorism, specified that he was residing in Karachi and gave his address. The Pakistani authorities contended that no person by the name Dawood Ibrahim or resembling him was living in Karachi at the address given by the US.

7. Thereafter, references to his presence and activities in Pakistani territory became less and less in the Pakistani media. Then suddenly, on June 18, 2006, the "News" of Pakistan carried a detailed report on him. It claimed that he had changed his physical appearance by undergoing plastic surgery, that he had shifted from Karachi to Afghan territory and that the Afghan security forces were searching for him.

8. The "News" report said inter alia: " The US-backed Afghan National Army and the Afghan Police have launched a new hunt---this time for an Indian fugitive by the name Dawood Ibrahim. The tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, which were being searched for Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, are now being combed for the man accused of the Mumbai blasts of March,1993....Sources in the Pakistani intelligence agencies, however, express ignorance about the whereabouts of the wanted Indian national. Afghan sources also claim Dawood Ibrahim might be having a safe sanctuary in Pakistan, where, they say, he continues to maintain close links with militant outfits..... According to a theory doing the rounds in Peshawar, close friends in Pakistan may have convinced Dawood Ibrahim to re-locate himself amid fears he will be targeted by his enemy (Chhota Rajan)......... The Afghan sources rule out Dawood's presence in Nangarhar Province, but hint the restive Kunar and even the troubled eastern provinces of Paktia, Paktika and Khost could be the possible hide-outs of the terror suspect. "This is highly unlikely though," says an Afghan security official."

9. Quoting unidentified Indian officials, sections of the Indian media reported on July 7,2006,that the Pakistani authorities have informed the INTERPOL that Dawood Ibrahim was not living in Pakistan as stated in its notices and requested it to delete from its notices the references to his so-called Karachi address. Questioning the contention of the Pakistani authorities, Indian officials have asserted that they have evidence that Dawood Ibrahim was in Karachi at least till May,2005 (the "Indian Express" of July 8,2006).

10. According to some sources, fearing that Dawood might unwittingly expose his presence in Karachi to the US intelligence through the careless use of his telephones, the ISI has shifted him to the Waziristan area, where the hide-outs of Osama bin Laden and his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri are also located. These sources say that he is in Pakistani and not Afghan territory and lives under the protection of the ISI as well as his security guards, all of whom are retired officials of the Pakistani intelligence.

11. During his stay in Dubai and Karachi, Dawood Ibrahim was not only indulging in narcotics smuggling and other acts of organised crime and terrorism, but was also running some legitimate business enterprises. One of them produced documentaries and other features for the local TV channels. It would be worthwhile enquiring whether the company (Sahab), which usually produces and disseminates the features and messages of Al Qaeda, including those of bin Laden and Zawahiri. has any links with Dawood.
-----Copy of a paper prepared by me on July 8,2006, available at

Many Caribbean and South Pacific countries offer fugitives from justice what is called 'economic citizenship' to enable them to evade arrest and deportation to countries where they are wanted for crimes. This citizenship is sold in return for a minimum deposit in foreign currency kept by them in local banks.

Pakistan does not have any laws providing for such 'economic citizenship', but its government, on the ISI's advice, informally awarded economic citizenship to Dawood Ibrahim, who was issued a Pakistani passport under a different name. Similarly, Chhota Shakeel has a Pakistani passport under a different name.

It is believed that in the 1990s, Dawood Ibrahim had financially helped Pakistan in the clandestine procurement of nuclear and missile technology and components and that this factor too probably influenced Islamabad's decision to grant him economic citizenship.
---Extract from an article written by me for on August 21,2001, available at


Tahir's family was closely connected with Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader living in Pakistan, who had helped the nuclear and missile establishments of Pakistan in their clandestine procurement and shipping activities. The Dawood group is well-entrenched in Singapore and Malaysia. Its activities in Singapore include: Investment in real estate; a shipping company (name not known) and hawala operations to South India. Among the hawala operators of Singapore allegedly associated with Dawood is a company called the Abdul Gafoor and Company. Before Musharraf visited India in 2001 for the Agra summit, the ISI secretly sent away Dawood to Malaysia through Singapore with the help of one Rakesh Tulshiyan and Shahid Sohail. He stayed in Malaysia as a guest of Tahir's family. He returned to Karachi later. Dawood is believed to have extensive mining interests in Malaysia from where he and his group indulge in the smuggling of silver into India via Nepal
-----Extract from an article written by me on February 23, 2004, , which is available at


B. Raman

As the US-led war against international terrorism completes five years on October 6, 2006, with no end yet in sight, it is uncomfortably apparent that Operation Enduring Freedom has turned into Operation Enduring Taliban in Afghanistan.

2. After having re-established its presence, despite the repeated attacks of the NATO forces led by the UK, in the Pashtun majority areas of Southern and Eastern Afghanistan adjoining Pakistan's Pashtun majority areas, the Neo Taliban is inexorably creeping its way up northwards to Kabul. The sporadic acts of suicide terrorism in Kabul and the anti-US and anti-Hamid Karzai demonstrations witnessed earlier this year in Kabul following a traffic accident show that since the beginning of this year the internal security situation in Afghanistan except in the Tajik and Uzbeck areas has been steadily deteriorating. Neither the induction of the NATO forces nor the raising of a multi-ethnic Afghan Army nor Police has been able to stop the inexorable rise of the Neo Taliban.

3. The figures of the large number of fatal casualties ( about 2,500), which the NATO forces have claimed to have inflicted on the Neo Taliban during the last two months or so have been questioned by the Neo Taliban. It admits that about 2,500 persons have been killed by the NATO forces, but asserts that only about 20 per cent of them are its cadres. According to it, the remaining fatalities were of innocent civilians killed due to the indiscriminate use of air strikes and the heavy artillery by the NATO forces.

4. The NATO forces, while denying the Neo Taliban figures of civilian casualties, do admit that civilian casualties have taken place, but in much smaller number. They attribute this to the Neo Taliban's practice of taking shelter in the midst of civilian population when chased by the NATO forces.

5. The Neo Taliban is qualitatively different from the pre--October 7, 2001 Taliban. The Taliban of the past was a ragtag militia of students recruited from the Deobandi madrasas of Pakistan. It was a force with considerable religious fervour, but with very little professional fighting capability. It dispersed and vanished into the villages on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border at the first sign of confrontation with the US-led forces. Even the religious fervour of its cadres was not strong enough to induce them to take to suicide terrorism.

6. The Neo Taliban is an increasingly professional fighting force of well-trained, well-equipped, well-motivated and well-led cadres with a capability for conventional as well as unconventional operations against the NATO forces and the Afghan Security forces. Its conventional capability, remarkably acquired over a short period of three years, is demonstrated by its knowledge of military craft and tactics and its ability to use them effectively against the NATO forces.

7. It is also demonstrated by its ability to operate in section, platoon and company strengths and to stand up and fight instead of vanishing at the first sign of contact with the NATO forces. Its unconventional capability is reflected in its increasing resort to acts of suicide terrorism. According to one estimate, there have been nearly 90 acts of suicide terrorism this year. There was more Arab than Pashtun involvement in suicide terrorism last year. There has been more Pashtun than Arab involvement this year.

8. The suicide attacks have killed more Afghans than members of the NATO forces. One would have normally thought that Afghan anger over the indiscriminate killing of the Afghans by these Neo Taliban suicide strikes would have turned public opinion against it and come in the way of its recruitment to its conventional as well as unconventional fighting units. It has not.

9. Whereas religious fervour was the main driving force of the Taliban, a mix of religious and nationalist fervour is the driving force of the Neo Taliban. The Neo Taliban and its cadres view their conflict with the NATO forces not only as a jihad against the infidels, the crusaders and their Afghan surrogates, but also as a war of national liberation against foreign occupiers of Muslim territory. The religious fervour fuels the acts of suicide terrorism and the nationalist fervour fuels the conventional battles. The fight is viewed as a jihad to liberate the Muslim soul as well as territory.

10. Urban terrorism and rural insurgency are the two faces of the Neo Taliban's tactics. The increasing resort to rural insurgency by the Neo Taliban provides an opportunity to the NATO forces to make use of air and artillery strikes to inflict hopefully debilitating casualties on it. The inability of the NATO forces to prevent civilian casualties is playing into the hands of the Neo Taliban. Civilians angered by the NATO tactics are in the forefront of the new recruits for it.

11. There are questions to which correct answers could be found only in the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army and in the headquarters of its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). How many of the Pashtuns in the Neo Taliban are Pakistani nationals and how many are Afghans? How many of the Afghan Pashtuns have been recruited in the Afghan villages and how many in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistani territory? One knows their source of funding (the ISI and narcotics), but where from are they getting their modern arms and ammunition?

12. And the most important of all: where are they being trained and by whom? One can acquire unconventional suicide terrorism capabilities by watching the TV and browsing the Internet and in the training camps of Al Qaeda and its associates, but one cannot acquire conventional set-piece battle capabilities from the TV and the Internet. They could be acquired only in training camps manned by experienced conventional instructors. Neither the Al Qaeda nor the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan nor the Pakistani jihadi organisations can impart such a capability to the Neo Taliban in their training camps in the Waziristan area of Pakistan, adjoining the Afghan border.

13. Everyone, who has his eyes and ears open --- President Hamid Karzai and his officials, Western and Pakistani media, non-governmental analysts----could see that the roots of the Neo Taliban are in Pakistan---in the Pashtun majority districts of Balochistan, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Until the roots are eliminated, the Neo Taliban cannot be defeated.

14. The US intelligence agencies, security forces and political leadership are aware of this. The other NATO countries are equally aware of this. Dealing with the roots means writing off Gen. Pervez Musharraf. They do not as yet have the courage to write him off. With Musharraf, things are bad. Without him, they could be worse. So they think. Between the bad and the worse, they prefer to put up with the bad now, hoping they could prevent the worse. They are unlikely to.

15. The US' bleeding preoccupation in Iraq has made Musharraf a more confident man---just as it has made President Ahmadinejad of Iran a more confident person. Both have concluded---each independently of the other--- that Iraq has set the limits to the US power. What the US did to Saddam Hussain in 2003, it cannot do to them. Their conclusion is reflected in Ahmadinejad's increasing defiance of the US on the nuclear issue and in Musharraf's increasing insensitivity to the US concerns over his inaction against the Neo Taliban.

16. The US finds itself with no cards against Ahmadinejad. He is popular at home and has no enemies. It still has cards against Musharraf if it decides to act against him. Musharraf has enemies within----in the political parties, in the circle of retired military officers and in the general population. By helping them as the next year's elections in Pakistan approach, it can undermine him and pave the way for the return of the political parties opposed to him. The Government of the political parties may be less competent, but will be more sincere in its co-operation in the war against terrorism.

17. Of late, Musharraf has been projecting the Neo Taliban as more a resistance movement than a terrorist organisation and saying that it can be tackled only politically and not militarily. He wants the Neo Taliban to have its share of power in Kabul, if not the whole of power. His ill-concealed efforts to have the Taliban, in its new version, re-ensconced in power in Kabul have to be countered if one has to prevent Afghanistan from sliding back to the pre 9/11 days. That could be done only through a regime change in Islamabad---politically through the elections and not militarily. The US has to start working for it now.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:


B. Raman

Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), who is a close associate of Osama bin Laden and who had disappeared from public circulation since March last, is back in circulation. He has been visiting mosques and madrasas controlled by the HUM in Pakistan and addressing religious congregations. He has been appealing to the Muslims to step up the jihad against the American and British forces in Iraq, against the NATO forces in Afghanistan and against the Indian security forces in India's Jammu and Kashmir. He has been claiming that Osama bin Laden is hale and hearty and preparing another major terrorist strike in the US homeland. He has been calling for a united jihad against the NATO forces in Afghanistan under the leadership of Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban.

2. It is learnt from reliable sources that the Maulana was kept all these months in a safe house of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and was released on November 19, 2006. According to the "Post", a daily of Peshawar, ( November 21, 2006), "with a new vigour, his followers plan to regroup themselves for helping their Afghan brothers and free the neighbouring Islamic State from the US-led NATO forces." With the HUM joining the Taliban, Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami and Al Qaeda, an intensification of acts of jihadi terrorism, including suicide terrorism, in Afghanistan is likely. The HUM is also expected to assist the Hizbul Mujahideen in J&K in stepping acts of terrorism.

3. The HUM is one of the founding-members of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People and Maulana Fazlur Rehman was one of the signatories of bin Laden's first fatwa of 1998 against the US.

4. This may please be read in continuation of my earlier article of March 31, 2006, titled "MYSTERIOUS ATTACK ON BIN LADEN'S ASSOCIATE" at .
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: ))


B. Raman

Rashid Rauf is from a Mirpuri family of Birmingham. The Mirpuris are the Punjabi-speaking residents of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK). He disappeared from the UK in 2002 after the British Police suspected him in connection with the murder of one of his relatives in Birmingham. Their search for him did not produce any clues---either in the UK or in Pakistan.

2. Then, suddenly, on August 9, 2006, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) claimed to have picked him up from a house in Bhawalpur, southern Punjab, which he had bought after coming to Pakistan in 2002. He had married a woman related by marriage to Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, which was involved in the aborted attack on the Indian Parliament in December, 2001.

3. The Pakistani authorities claimed that he was in close touch with Al Qaeda and that it was his arrest that gave them an inkling regarding the imminence of the plot of a group of jihadi extremists based in the UK to blow up a number of US-bound planes. The discovery of the conspiracy and the arrest of many UK-based suspects were then announced by the British Police. The final results of their investigation are not yet known.

4. Since Rashid Rauf was projected by the Pakistani authorities as the most important player in the plot and as the man, whose arrest led to the unearthing of the planned terrorist conpiracy in the UK, one would have thought that his being handed-over to the British for interrogation would have been of the highest priority to the British investigating authorities. But, no action has been taken so far. The Pakistani media had reported that a team of British Police officers had visited Pakistan to question him, but it is not clear whether Rashid was questioned by them and, if so and if his questioning did indicate his involvement in the plot, why they have not so far moved for his extradition.

5. It is clear from the facts available so far that as with Omar Sheikh, the principal accused in the case relating to the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, in the beginning of 2002, and Dr. A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist with links with Iran, North Korea, Libya and Al Qaeda, in the case of Rashid Rauf too, the Pakistani authorities are avoiding handing him over to the British or American investigators.

6. Reliable police sources in Pakistan say that the reluctance of Gen. Pervez Musharraf to hand over Rashid Rauf to the UK or US is due to the fear that his independent interrogation by them might bring out that Rashid Rauf was aware of the training of some of the perpetrators of the Mumbai blasts of July, 2006, in which over 180 suburban train commuters were killed, in a camp of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Bhawalpur and that the ISI was aware of his presence in Bhawalpur ever since 2002, when he fled to Pakistan from the UK. These police sources say that the ISI's contention that it came to know of his presence only in the beginning of August, 2006, is not correct.

7. The Government of Pakistan told a court on October 30, 2006, that Rashid Rauf had been detained under the Security of Pakistan Act. A Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorism Judge, Justice Safdar Hussain Malik, passed orders on November 21, 2006, approving his judicial custody in the Adiala jail. This could rule out his early transfer to the British Police for interrogation.

8. Under the joint anti-terrorism mechanism recently set up by the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan, India should also request the Pakistani authorities for permission to interrogate him on the LET training camp in Bahawalpur. If Pakistan refuses to co-operate, the international community should be informed about it.

9. Extracts relating to Rashid Rauf from some of my past reports are annexed.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )



Musharraf and his officials proclaimed that it was Pakistan, which discovered the plot and alerted the British about it on August 9. They projected Rashid Rauf, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, as the chief co-ordinator of the plot on behalf of the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. What strip-tease they have been playing about Rashid Rauf! They said he was arrested while crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan a week before the British announcement. Sections of the Pakistani media reported that he was actually arrested in Bahawalpur in southern Punjab on August 8. He had acquired an expensive house there and married the sister-in-law (wife's sister) of Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), which was designated by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in December, 2001. After the publication of the report of his arrest in Bahawalpur, the Pakistani officials changed their version. They said they had actually arrested an associate of Rashid Rauf while crossing over into Pakistan from Afghanistan and he led them to Rashid in Bahawalpur. They have not given the name of this associate. They said that the entire plot was conceived by the No.3 of Al Qaeda who, according to them, is based in Afghanistan, but they could not give his name except to say he was close to No.2 Zawahiri. Then, they said it was actually a son-in-law of Zawahiri, who conceived the plot and tried to use Rashid to have it executed. They gave the name of the so-called son-in-law. When it was pointed out to them that this son-in-law was reported by them earlier this year to have been killed in an American air raid in the Bajaur tribal agency, they have gone silent. Musharraf has advised his agencies not to give any more briefings to the media. Musharraf has suddenly become a stickler for the law. In the past, the Pakistani authorities had informally handed over to the Americans without following the due process of the law Mir Aimal Kansi, Ramzi Yousef, Abu Zubaidah, Ramzi Binalshib, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Abu Faraj al-Libi and many others without informing their courts about their arrests. Abu Faraj was handed over despite the fact that he was the principal accused in the case relating to the plot to kill Musharraf in December,2003. In the case of Rashid Rauf, they are following the entire procedure as laid down in the law. They informed a court of his arrest. They produced him before a magistrate and obtained his remand in police custody for interrogation. They have reportedly requested the British for a formal written application for handing him over so that they can put it up to the Magistrate for orders. A British police team is waiting in Islamabad patiently for an opportunity to question him. Any police would have been anxious to question him as urgently as possible in order to neutralise any other threat before it materialises, but not the British. It is now 10 days since the plot was discovered, but the British are yet to interrogate the so-called principal co-ordinator of it. They are showing remarkable patience. It is like a clip in slow motion from a Charlie Chaplin movie. The whole case relating to Rashid is moving at a pace which would make the proverbial snail look a great sprinter. Rashid Rauf may well go down in history as the terrorist, whom nobody wanted to interrogate. The Pakistanis don't want to interrogate him too much lest their duplicity be exposed.The British and the Americans don't want to be in a hurry to interrogate lest their own gullibility be exposed.Moreover, there is a great danger if it comes out that they again let themselves be taken for a ride by Musharraf.Not only will their credibility be in ruins, but they may even face claims for damages from airline companies and passengers, who incurred losses amounting to billions of dollars as a result of the drama staged by the British police. (

Bahawalpur, which is the home-town of Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), has generally been known as the stronghold of the JEM, but the LET too has a training camp there, which is run by Azam Cheema, a Pakistani national. Azam Cheema alias Baba, who is No.3 in the LET of Pakistan and reportedly co-ordinates its operations in India, is Professor of Islamiat at a degree college of Faislabad in Pakistani Punjab. Abu Zubaidah, the No.3 in Al Qaeda, was arrested by the Pakistani authorities in March, 2002, in the house of an LET operative in Faislabad. The US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had come to know of his having been given shelter by the LET in Faislabad. The ISI arrested him, at the prodding of the CIA, and he was flown out of Pakistan by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for interrogation. At that time, there were reports that Azam Cheema had brought Abu Zubaidah to Faislabad after he had escaped from Afghanistan and organised shelter for him there. Despite this, he was not arrested by the Pakistani authorities and Cheema continued to co-ordinate the operations of the LET in India. The presence of an LET training camp in Bahawalpur came to notice during the interrogation of two LET operatives ---Feroz Abdul Latif Ghaswala alias Abdullah and Mohammad Chippa alias Ubedullah---arrested by the Delhi police in May, 2006. Their interrogation also brought out that they were taken to Teheran via Dhaka with valid visas and immigration stamps on their passports and then clandestinely taken by road from Teheran into Balochistan and then to Bahawalpur for the training. They returned to India after the training by the same route. It would appear that the Indian members of the LET, who had participated in the Mumbai blasts of July 11, 2006, had also travelled to Bahawalpur via Teheran for training with valid Iranian visas and immigration stamps, but with no entries regarding their further travel from Teheran to Bahawalpur via Balochistan. It is interesting to recall that the three British citizens of Pakistani origin, who carried out the London blasts of July, 2005, were also reported to have visited Bahawalpur and that Rashid Rauf, a Mirpuri absconder wanted in a murder case of Birmingham, who was reported by the Pakistani authorities to have acted as a cut-out with an Afghanistan-based Al Qaeda leader in planning the operation to blow up some US-bound planes in August, was arrested in Bahawalpur, where he had been living for three years in a house bought by him. He had married a woman related to Maulana Masood Azhar (



(To be read in continuation of my earlier article titled "The Al Qaeda Striptease" of August 29,2004)
How big a catch is Abu Faraj al-Libbi, a 40-year-old Libyan married to a Pakistani, fluent in Urdu and Arabic and suffering from lucoderma, whose arrest was announced by the Pakistani authorities at Islamabad on May 4,2005?

2.They have not announced how and where he was captured, but reports from non-governmental sources indicate that a Pakistani security patrol near Mardan, 30 miles north of Peshawar, had stopped for identity check a man on a two-wheeler with a person in burqa sitting behind him. The person in burqa opened fire and they tried to escape. They were captured after a chase. The person in burqa turned out to be Abu Faraj. In the wake of his arrest, the Pakistani authorities in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have reportedly arrested seven Pakistanis, three Uzbeks, one Afghan and one Chechen.

3. In the past, Abu Faraj had been described as an operative of Al Qaeda in North Africa, who had shifted to Afghanistan from the Sudan along with Osama bin Laden in 1996 and had been assisting him in his work in Afghanistan. Some reports of the past had described him as his personal assistant and some others as one of his bodyguards.

4.He apparently did not occupy any high place in the Al Qaeda hierarchy as would be evident from the facts that he was not one of the top guns of Al Qaeda for whom the FBI had issued look-out notices after 9/11 and that his name did not figure prominently in the report of the US' National 9/11 Commission, which had at its disposal details of the interrogation of all the Al Qaeda operatives arrested in Pakistan, including that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM), the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, who was arrested at Rawalpindi in March,2003.

5. Nor did his name figure prominently in the reports regarding the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the journalist of the "Wall Street Journal" and other terrorist attacks directed against French and American nationals in Karachi and Islamabad by suspected pro-Al Qaeda jihadi elements in 2002 and the attempt to kill the then Corps Commander of Karachi in June 2004.

6. His name figured for the first time in May,2004, as the suspected mastermind of the two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf at Rawalpindi in December,2003.After the two attempts to kill Musharraf, the only other incident in the investigation of which his name figured was the attempt to kill Shaukat Aziz, the present Prime Minister and the then Finance Minister, in July last year. Initially, the Pakistani authorities had described him merely as an Al Qaeda operative, but by September,2004, they started describing him as the successor to KSM as the No.3 in the Al Qaeda.

7. Similarly, initially, they had projected him as the co-ordinator of the Al Qaeda operations in Pakistan, but by October last started describing him as also the co-ordinator of its operations in Europe and the US as well. Shortly after the July,2004, Lahore arrest of Mohammad Naeem Noor Khan , a Pakistani, who was said to be the computer expert of Al Qaeda , and the death of Amjad Farooqi, projected as another big fish of Al Qaeda, in an encounter with the security forces at Nawabshah in Sindh in September last, Abu Faraj found himself promoted by the Pakistani and US authorities and the non-governmental Al Qaeda watchers of the world as the No. 3 in Al Qaeda and a vigorous man hunt was launched for him in the South Waziristan area.

8. According to reliable police sources in Pakistan, the US intelligence had been convinced since September last year that Abu Faraj was operating from sanctuaries in the South Waziristan area and kept up pressure on Pakistan's military-intelligence establishment to smoke him out. The same police sources believed that he was operating along with Tohir Yuldashev, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, who once narrowly escaped capture by the Pakistan Army.

9. It is interesting to note that while all the important arrests and killings of Al Qaeda leaders till now were made in major towns of Pakistan like Lahore,Faislabad and Gujarat in Punjab, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Nawabshah in Sindh, the arrest of Abu Faraj is reported to have been nade in the tribal areas, thereby indicating that he felt himself safer in the tribal areas than elsewhere in Pakistan.

10. The Pakistani authorities have not so far taken their public into confidence regarding the details of the two plots to kill Musharraf in December 2003, in which four junior officers of the Army and six of the Air Force were allegedly involved. One of the army officers named Islamuddin has already been court-martialed and sentenced to death even before the investigation is complete, but the Pakistani authorities have denied media speculation that he has already been executed. Another army officer named Havaldar Younis has been sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. Much to the discomfiture of the authorities, one of the Air Force officers, who was being held in custody in an Air Force station, managed to escape in November last.

11.In December,2004, the Lahore Police arrested a band of four hoodlums who used to indulge in mugging. The chief investigating officer projected them as the trusted men of Abu Faraj and their arrests as yet another major break-through in the hunt for Abu Faraj , al-Zawahiri and bin Laden. According to the police, one of the hoodlums admitted that Abu Faraj had takem him in his car to the vicinity of a UN vehicle in February,2004, and asked him to throw a hand-grenade at it. Abu Faraj could have thrown the hand-grenade himself. Why should he take an eye-witness in his car and ask him to throw it? What kind of an Al Qaeda top general he is if he did not have the confidence to throw a hand-grenade himself? Other police officers debunked the claim of the investigating officer that the hoodlums belonged to Al Qaeda. The "News", the prestigious daily of Pakistan, reported on January 8,2005, as follows: "In the post-September 11 scenario, Pakistani intelligence agents admit, there are multiple problems in identifying the actual enemy of the State."

12. In the reports relating to the investigation leaking out of the police and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from time to time, the names of various organisations had figured as the perpetrators of the two plots to kill Musharraf---the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), the Harkat-ul-jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ),the Jundullah and finally Al Qaeda. In August last, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the head of the HUJI, was arrested by the Dubai authorities and deported to Pakistan. One does not have the details of his interrogation.

13. One need not be surprised that President Bush seems happier than even Musharraf over the arrest of Abu Faraj, whom he has described as a top General of bin Laden and whose arrest he has hailed as a critical victory in the so-called war against terrorism. It should help temporarily in drawing attention away from the continuing rampage of the resistance fighters and terrorists in Iraq, who have already killed 12 Americans and about 200 Iraqis, mainly Shia and Kurdish recruits to the Police, since April 29, thereby negating the claims of the US that the resistance movement and the foreign terrorists headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were showing signs of internal dissension and loss of morale since the elections earlier this year.

14. In my three decades with the Indian intelligence, I have learnt one lesson. Never make a tall claim. Tall claims have a nasty way of coming back to haunt you.

15. Will the arrest of Abu Faraj turn out to be yet one more striptease act in the long show in Pakistan since the beginning of 2002 or will it be the prelude to the ultimate striptease, namely, the arrest or neutralisation of bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri? I wish I had the answer.
16. One does not know when the ultimate striptease will come about. So long as the show lasts, let us not leave the ringside seat. Interesting days and sights ahead.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Friday, April 10, 2009

AN ISI WITHIN THE ISI ( 7-5-2005 )


The investigations into the two unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Pakistan's President Gen.Pervez Musharraf in December, 2003, brought to light the penetration of jihadi terrorist organisations into the Pakistan Army and Air Force at the junior and middle levels. Four officers of the Army and six of the Air Force were found to have joined hands with an assortment of jihadi terrorist organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM),the Jundullah, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and the Al Qaeda in hatching the conspiracy to have Musharraf killed as a reprisal for his co-operation with the US in the so-called war against terrorism.

2. They could not forgive him for helping the US-led coalition in Afghanistan in its military operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. He became an apostate in the eyes of the Al Qaeda despite his continued support to the jihadi organisations for their activities in India's Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and had to be eliminated at any cost. In fact. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No. 2 to Osama bin Laden in Al Qaeda, had openly called for the overthrow of Musharraf and warned that his continuance in power would help the Hindus of India in destroying Islam in Pakistan.

3. The leadership role in the planning and execution of this conspiracy was played by the LEJ and Al Qaeda, represented by Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the Libyan, who was arrested by the Pakistani security forces earlier this month.

4. There are still many unanswered questions about this conspiracy. Who took the initiative in planning this conspiracy? These officers or the leaders of these jihadi organisations? When was the conspiracy hatched? How did Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Intelligence Directorates-General of the Army and the Air Force remain unaware of this conspiracy despite the fact that the conspirators had allegedly held some of their preparatory meetings in their living quarters in military cantonments and Air Force stations? Was there a complicity in the intelligence establishment itself? If so, at what level? Why has the Government not been able to identify so far those in the intelligence establishment involved in the conspiracy? Was there an involvement of the Hizbut Tehrir, a highly secretive organisation which came into existence in Pakistan for the first time in 2000, in this conspiracy?

5. These questions have re-surfaced in the wake of the arrest of Abu Faraj and the re-arrest of a civilian employee of the Air Force involved in the conspiracy, who had managed to escape from custody in November last while under interrogation. It may be recalled that when a section of Army officers led by Maj. Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam Abbasi joined hands with the HUJI in 1995 in plotting to have Mrs.Benazir Bhutto, the then Prime Minister, and Gen. Abdul Waheed Kakkar, the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), assassinated and then to capture power, the Directorate-General of Military Intelligence had come to know of the conspiracy and crushed it before the conspirators could make progress. But the detection at that time was accidental. The capture of a jeep carrying arms and ammunition from the North-West Frontier Province in which an Army Brigadier and Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the Amir of the HUJI, were travelling together led to the detection.

6. In the case of the conspiracy against Musharraf there was no detection. The conspirators were able to complete their preparations and actually execute the conspiracy. If Musharraf survived it was partly due to God's grace and partly to the use by his security guards of a remote-control de-activation device.

7.That there are apprehensions in the minds of those close to Musharraf over the role of sections of the intelligence establishment in the entire conspiracy and over the failure of the investigating agencies so far to unravel the entire conspiracy became evident from an interview given by Dr.Aamir Liaqat Hussain, Minister of State for Religious Affairs, to the prestigious "Daily Times" of Lahore, on May 5,2005. An advance summary of the interview was carried by the newspaper on May 6,2005. This summary has quoted the Minister as warning that Musharraf had a lot of enemies ‘within’ who could make an attempt on his life again at any time. He said that there were certain elements within the forces who could attack the General. He added: “No common people could attack President Musharraf, but certainly there are elements in the forces who can launch yet another attack against him. There is an ISI within the ISI, which is more powerful than the original and still orchestrating many eventualities in the country.” The Minister said he feared a threat to his own life because he supported Musharraf's call for an enlightened and moderate Islam and has been given the task of preparing the texts of sermons advocating enlightened and moderate Islam to be used at all mosques of the Armed Forces.

8. Well-informed sources in Pakistan say that apart from the failure of the intelligence establishment to identify and weed out the pro-jihadi elements in the Armed Forces and the intelligence establishment, another cause for serious concern is the continuing failure of the intelligence establishment to identify all the leaders of the highly secretive Hizbut Tehrir (HT) and its supporters in the Armed Forces and arrest them.

9. This organisation, which has built up a world-wide presence since 1953, made its appearance in Pakistan for the first time in 2000. It had little role to play in the jihad of the 1980s against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Like Al Qaeda, it advocates an Islamic Caliphate in which the Sharia will be supreme, but says it wants to achieve it through peaceful mass agitations and not by resort to terrorism or other acts of armed violence. Even though it was born long before Al Qaeda, many believe that the HT now functions as the political wing of the Al Qaeda. What the Al Qaeda seeks to propagate through jihadi terrorism, it propagates through political means.

10. There is nothing secretive about its ideological propaganda in favour of an Islamic Caliphate, which is open. What is highly secretive are details of its leadership, organisational structure, methods of recruitment, membership and sources of finance.

11. What is equally disturbing is that the HT, while advocating open AGITPROP (Agitation-Propaganda) methods for spreading its ideology, lays equal emphasis on the importance of a clandestine penetration of the security forces since, in its view, it would not succeed in establishing an Islamic Caliphate if the Armed Forces remain opposed to it.

12. The HT ideology and operational methods were imported into Pakistan from the UK by its supporters in the Pakistani community in the UK. It is said that within five years it has been able to make considerable progress not only in setting up its organisational infrastructure, but also in recruiting dedicated members in the civil society as well as the Armed Forces. It is said that no other jihadi organisation has been able to attract as many young and educated members and as many supporters in the Armed Forces as the HT despite the fact that it has been present in Pakistan hardly for about five years now.

13. It has been carrying on a campaign -- open as well as secret--against Musharraf on various issues such as his alleged betrayal of Islam by supporting the US against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, his failure to "liberate" J&K from the control of India, his failure to condemn the US policies in Iraq etc.

14. In a statement circulated on April 27, 2005, on Musharraf's recent visit to New Delhi for talks with the Indian leaders, it said: "Musharraf’s claim that he has not taken a U-turn on Kashmir is an absolute lie. As a matter of fact, in Delhi, his statement that he has come to India with a ‘new heart’ exposes that he has taken a U-turn on Kashmir. In expressing his view ‘new heart’ he proposed to make Line of Control a ‘soft border. Not only this, the General also explicitly called for working out arrangements where ‘boundaries become irrelevant.’ During his visit, Musharraf for the very first time claimed that there existed a representative Kashmiri leadership other than All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a clear shift in policy. In the past Pakistan was calling for solving Kashmir first, but now it maintains that trade, cultural exchange and other CBMs (Confidence-building Measures) should get preference. Hence, the Indian stance i.e. all issues should not be linked to Kashmir, is now being propagated by Musharraf himself. The Ummah should get rid of such rulers and the Muslims be united under a single leadership by establishing Khilafat. Consequently, it will be able to resolve problems such as Kashmir, Chechnya and Palestine with a great ease."

15. There was no credible evidence of the HT's possible involvement in the anti-Musharraf plots of December,2003, but its present call for "getting rid of such rulers", which is similar to the call issued in the past by al-Zawahiri, is ominous.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.


The "Daily Times" of October 4, 2004, carried the following report on HT activities in Pakistan: Hizbut Tehrir defies ban, continues to draw educated Pakistanis

They are considered a new breed of Islamic fundamentalists, who study at top British and American schools yet abhor Western values, advocate a pan-Islamic state and favour the removal of Pakistan’s pro-US government.

Militancy and violence is not part of their agenda and they want to achieve their “lofty goals” through a peaceful and non-violent struggle. But analysts say such men, fired by the passion of an Islamic renaissance, stand on a thin line dividing political and violent struggle.

Hizbut Tehrir, an international Islamic group with roots from England to Central Asia, is a recent addition to myriad radical organisations striving to enforce “true Islam” in Pakistan. The group was outlawed in Pakistan in November 2003, just three years after it started operations, but its members continue undeterred, distributing party literature and holding small meetings in efforts to expand their base. Pakistan, an ally of the United States in the war on terror, banned several militant Islamic groups, but most re-emerged under new names. Hizbut Tehrir has refused to change its name despite the closure of offices and the arrest of several members.

British and US nationals of Pakistani origin comprise the backbone of this secretive group formed in Jerusalem in 1953. It wants to establish a supra-Islamic state on the model of the caliphate that existed in the early days of Islam. The group came to Pakistan through second-generation Pakistanis living in the West, particularly in Britain and the United States. They claim they had supporters in Pakistan for a long time but formal operations took time to establish.

Many members abandoned what they call the luxuries of the West to come to Pakistan to live among fellow Muslims and work for the country’s transformation into a puritanical Islamic society of their dreams. “In terms of living standards, England is better. You don’t confront problems such as water shortages and power failures there,” said a Hizb member, who works as an executive at a bank.

“But you cannot safeguard the Islamic way of life in Western society. You become alienated,” said the 32-year-old, who migrated from his birthplace, London, to Pakistan two years ago.“We believe a change will come in the Muslim world from places like Pakistan, where an overwhelming number of people are Islamic-minded,” he said in a clipped British accent. Scores of young men like him moved to Pakistan mainly from Britain and the United States to work for the Islamic cause.
With their trimmed beards and Western clothes, they stand in contrast to the turban and skull cap-wearing traditional followers of local Islamic parties. But their anti-West rhetoric is as radical as that of their more orthodox counterparts.

Intelligence officials say the shadowy network is taking root among educated Pakistanis and a few of its members are under surveillance. Group members include engineers, chartered accountants, computer experts and doctors. Several of its members, some on the condition of anonymity, said the number of their supporters was increasing.

“We advocate unity amongst Muslims,” said Ismail Sheikh, a frail 34-year-old British national of Pakistani origin who was arrested for distributing pamphlets outside a Karachi mosque in July.
But an anti-terrorism court acquitted him on lack of evidence last month and he was back to organisational work the same day, saying the arrest only strengthened his resolve. “They questioned me whether I had links to Al Qaeda, or if I had visited Afghanistan,” said Mr Sheikh, a dentist from the University of Wales. He abandoned his medical career in London and moved to Karachi in 1999 to become one of the group’s pioneer members. The government sees Hizbut Tehrir as a threat.

“Its activities were found prejudicial to national interest,” said Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, an interior ministry spokesman. “Its members incite people against the government through their writings and leaflets.”
But Naveed Butt, a spokesman for Hizbut Tehrir, said that to bring about a change one needed political, not militant action. “We are being associated with militancy because we preach an alternative ideology,” said Mr Butt, an engineer from Chicago, where he was first introduced to the group in the mid-1980s.

“The best yardstick for our success is that we were banned within three years of our activities here.”

Ahmed Rashid, author of a book on the Afghan Taliban, said Hizb was a movement based in Europe.

“Young Muslims living in the West get exposure to their culture through religion. I don’t think they have any real popular support. Given the enormous number of Islamic schools and parties, it is difficult for someone like Hizb, which is seen as an import from England, to come in the field and make room for itself,” said Mr Rashid. He said despite its radical ideas, there were no indications Hizb was involved in militancy.

“The membership of Hizbut Tehrir could just be a passing phenomenon for Islamic radicals rather than a permanent one. From here they could move on to militant groups,” Mr Rashid said.