India jumps to conclusions while NDU analyst explains strategy behind Uri attack

Uri attackAfter the deadliest attack on Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir, Indian officials were quick to jump to conclusions and take the opportunity to blame Pakistan. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh jumped at the opportunity to term Pakistan as a ‘terrorist state‘ on social media even before the smoke had cleared.

Pakistani anchors close to the establishment quickly responded with conspiracy theories, terming the attack as a ‘false flag’ and accusing Indian Army of killing its own soldiers just to blame Pakistan. Moeed Pirzada posted a long piece in which he asks this very interesting question:

So how does Pakistan or its institutions benefit from an attack on Army base in Uri in the morning of 18th September, which will be immediately blamed on Pakistan, just three days before the UN General Assembly speech of Pakistani Prime Minister where he was supposed to raise Kashmir and the continuous humanitarian violations by the Indian government?

Actually, the answer was given by NDU graduate Salman Javed who is now director of CSCR, a ‘think tank’ under the oversight of Lt Gen (r) Naeem Khalid Lodhi with possible links to national agencies.

Salman Javed with former DG ISI Gen Hamid GulSalman Javed visiting with Lt Gen (r) Hamid Gul

While many were trying to promote the ‘false flag’ conspiracy theory, Salman Javed was doing the opposite. On social media the NDU strategist praised the attack and tried to explain why it was in Pakistan’s interest.

NDU graduate Salman Javed explains Uri attack strategy

On Twitter the NDU strategist clarified that Uri attack was not a ‘false flag’, and was very frustrated that more people were not understanding the strategy behind the attack and asking social media activists to get in touch with actual jihadis fighting on the ground in Kashmir for further clarification.

salman-javed-uri-attack-not-false-flagsalman-javed-uri-attack-strategy-1salman-javed-get-in-touch-with-militantsThere is no doubt that human rights atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir have become a humiliation for India. Pakistani diplomats preparing to bring this case to the world’s attention at the UN, but India tried to distract attention away by pointing fingers at human rights atrocities taking place in Balochistan. According to this NDU strategist, Uri attack was timed to put attention away from Balochistan and back to Kashmir which is India’s weak point. It is important to note that in this thinking, if Kashmiri jihad is completely justified, so why deny it?

The facts about Uri attack are still coming out, but one thing is certain: This NDU strategist’s answer to Moeed Pirzada’s question, ‘how does Pakistan or its institutions benefit from an attack?’ is much more believable than claiming Indian Army killed its own soldiers.

Snakes and Ladders

snakesandladdersThere is a new game being played. Everything that we thought we knew is now wrong. It is different players and different rules now. Old allies are now our enemies, and old enemies are still our enemies too. This is the claim of the Munir Akram in his latest analysis of our national security, and it is probably the most important analysis to understand where we are going. I say this not because I am a huge admirer of Munir Akram, but because I was told it was important by Army itself.

Sometimes we are given signs in the streets. Yesterday we were given a sign on Twitter. Either way, we must read the signs to know where we are headed. So where has this latest sign pointed us? First let us understand who are the players.

According to the latest ISPR-approved analysis, our enemies are now India, Iran, Afghanistan, and the US. Our allies are China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. One might think this is not a good sign to have three of our neighbors as enemies, but then one sees our friends and everything starts to balance out. One problem, though. China is an atheist country that even bans fasting in Ramazan. Saudi Arabia funds radical madrassehs in Pakistan. What will happen if jihadi militants trained in Pakistan keep doing attacks in China? And what about the problem of radicalism in Turkey? How will this affect our strategic thinking if two-thirds of our allies are projecting radicalism?

On the other side of the table are sitting Iran, India, and Afghanistan who have been working together towards economic and diplomatic improvements. The most obvious result of this has been the new agreement on Chabahar. Dr Haider Shah explained this in his piece.

While Pakistan has relied heavily on its strategic assets like the Haqqani network to remain a key player in the Afghan game, India has been enhancing its influence by forging stronger economic ties with the war-battered country. As Pakistan has not facilitated Indo-Afghan trade by extending the transit land route to India, India aims to use the new link for a maritime route to enter Afghanistan. In times of estranged relations, the US may also like to use this route thus minimising its reliance on Pakistan.

The project is important for Iran as well. After years of economic sanctions the reformist government wants to play a more active role in the world affairs. Without economic revival such a vision is however not achievable. The Iranian hardliners, on the other hand, want to see President Hassan Rouhani fail in his attempts, as the state of despondency is always beneficial for radical elements. Chabahar is the first sign of international investment coming to Iran. Tehran is opening itself up to the world.

Our new enemies are all working together to build each other up, while our new allies all have very different priorities based on what is good for themselves alone, not the greater good of all. In this new game we are playing, those we are calling our enemies are quickly climbing ladders. We should beware that we do not find ourselves landing on snakes.

Panama Papers RAW Connection

Mossack FonsecaThe ‘Panama Papers’, the latest treasure trove of secrets to be leaked on the internet didn’t bring any amazing revelations. They just confirmed what was basically an open secret: The world’s rich and powerful protect their wealth by hiding it in secret overseas accounts. The leaks have brought down at least one Prime Minister and sent the global elite scrambling. In Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif finds himself in the cross hairs, but he is hardly alone.

Rehman Malik has also found himself getting attention for his ownership of a company in the Virgin Islands during the 2000s. The former Interior Minister has admitted that he was an owner of the company but that it was dissolved after a few years due to suffering losses and insists that everything about the business was perfectly legal and legitimate. Rehman Malik may be telling the truth about the legitimacy of this business, but what is more interesting was his first response to the leak, which was to term it a ‘RAW conspiracy‘, even though the documents exposed over 500 prominent Indians also. This is worth noting because it actually tells more about our problems than corruption.

If one thing has been learned from the ‘Panama Papers’, it is that corruption is not a Pakistani enterprise. It is a human one. What is a Pakistani enterprise, though, is trying to dismiss everything negative as a foreign conspiracy instead of admitting fault and fixing the problem.

Corruption in Pakistan is a Pakistani problem, just like corruption in India is an Indian problem. So also, terrorism in Pakistan is a Pakistani problem. Whatever Kulbashan Yadav was involved with, it does not explain every act of terrorism in Pakistan. Terming terrorism as a ‘RAW conspiracy’ to destabilise Pakistan only distracts from stopping the problem just like terming the Panama Papers as a RAW conspiracy attempts to distract from the corruption that is taking place here. Let us stop blaming RAW for everything. It gives too much credit to the Indian agency, and it prevents us from addressing our own problems.

The RAW Deal

RAW agent

The arrest of an alleged RAW agent in Balochistan has confirmed for many people what they already believed anyway, that India is trying to destabilise Pakistan by supporting separatist and terrorist groups inside our borders. Even though the headline will be accepted by much of the population, the details of reports raise important questions.

One important item to note is that, if reports are to be believed, there is a massive security failure on the Afghan border in Balochistan.

Yadev – a Commander in the Indian Navy – entered Balochistan through the Afghan border. He crossed the Pak-Afghan border 12 times. When the law enforcement agencies arrested him five days ago, he was in Balochistan for the last 15 days.

A RAW agent has been coming and going with no problems? Where were the security forces? If one RAW agent can do this, isn’t it expected that many others can do the same as well, and yet only one man has been caught? Are our security agencies napping again?

There is also the problem of what exactly this man was supposedly doing. According to some reports, ‘his main agenda was to sabotage the CPEC through propaganda‘. According to other reports, ‘the arrested RAW agent was in touch with the Baloch liberation parties and has been working in Balochistan’. Other reports claim that ‘The Indian spy was involved in financially supporting terrorists and also confessed to his involvement in Karachi unrest’.

Have we captured India’s James Bond? Next we will hear that he is giving weapons to TTP in Waziristan and stealing electricity also. How can one man be responsible for every one of Pakistan’s problems? Obviously it is possible that the captured man is a RAW agent who is working against Pakistan’s interests, but we should not try to make him the scapegoat for all of our troubles. We should also be asking if he is supporting Baloch separatists, why are there separatists to support in the first place?

The arrest of an alleged RAW agent in Balochistan is a serious matter and should be treated as such. It should not be used as a propaganda to whip up anti-Indian sentiments that make relations worse. If it is an authentic case, the Foreign Ministry should collect the evidence from intelligence agencies  and give it to the UN to pressurize India to stop such operations. However, it should not be used as an excuse to ignore our own problems and put the blame on India for everything under the sun.

Nuclear Insecurity

Pakistan nuclear missileA new report from Harvard University notes concerns about the security of the world’s nuclear weapons. Despite the very frightening details of the report for Pakistan, many media groups are celebrating the report because it suggests that ‘India’s nuclear security measures may be weaker than Pakistan’s. Across social media the media reports were tweeted with a feeling of delight, as if the insecurity of India’s nuclear weapons is something good for Pakistan instead of a dangerous threat! However, what is even more ridiculous is that those cheering this report for giving India a black eye are completely ignoring the even worse findings it has for Pakistan.

Putting Pakistan “at risk for nuclear theft”, the report says: “Overall, the risk of nuclear theft in Pakistan appears to be high,” citing “some of the world’s most capable terrorist groups, an environment of widespread corruption and extremist sympathies” as risk factors.

The possibility of collapse of the government in Pakistan or an “extremist takeover cannot be entirely ruled out”.

While there is “no clear trend, either upward or downward” regarding the level of risk for Indian nuclear sites, it highlights a trend “toward increasing risk” in Pakistan as its nuclear arsenal expands and the strategic doctrine shifts toward tactical nuclear weapons.

Some have accused that pointing out the warnings to Pakistan contained in the report is being ‘seeing the glass as half empty’ while celebrating the warnings to India is ‘seeing the glass as half full’. This is a dangerous mindset that must be overcome. India’s problems are not our victories, and ignoring our own problems does not make them disappear.