Hatchet Jobs and Cover Ups

GHQ

I don’t usually agree with Ansar Abbasi, but when someone is right…they’re right. The Jang columnist recently wrote about the problems caused by intelligence agencies operating with complete lack of oversight. Little could he know how his thesis would be proven correct over the next few days as story after story added damning evidence against agencies.

After years of denials, ISI is finding itself facing new charges of support the 26/11 terrorist attack. Former CIA director Michael Hayden has now publicly revealed ISI’s involvement in his new book. The ex-US intelligence chief says that he was personally told of ISI’s involvement by none other than the DG-ISI Shuja Pasha.

“We had no doubt that the attack was the work of LeT, and there was mounting evidence that preparation for and direction of the attack took place from within Pakistan, where LeT enjoyed the protection and support of ISI,” Mr. Hayden said.

Pasha, who had come to ISI only a few weeks earlier and had no previous intelligence experience, came to the U.S. on Christmas Day and spent most of the next afternoon in his office.

“He worked carefully from notes. His investigation had revealed that some former ISI members were involved with Lashkar-e-Taiba [no surprise there]. Pasha admitted that these unspecified [and still uncaptured] retirees may have engaged in some broad training of the attackers, but he was characteristically vague about any detailed direction the attackers had gotten during the attack via cell phone from Pakistan,” Mr. Hayden wrote in the book.

This admission comes the same day that PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz admitted that one of the mobile numbers linked to Pathankot attackers was traced to Jaish-e-Mohammad headquarters in Bahawalpur. Once again, this admission comes after security officials strongly denied any links between the ISI-supported militants group and the terrorist attack.

These revelations follow a third shocking admission. Yesterday, former DG-FIA Tariq Khosa wrote a damning piece that exposed the entire ‘memo-gate’ saga as a drama written by GHQ and directed by ISI to neuter the civilian government.

With these three revelations facing us now, we should think about Tariq Khosa’s words of warning.

No heads rolled after the OBL raid; no one had the courage to ask the military elite some tough questions.

The establishment has acquired the art of turning its strategic follies to triumphs. It is this deep state that has curtailed and trimmed democracy, ensuring the country stays rigged in favour of a small but self-aggrandising elite. And until that changes, democracy in Pakistan will remain imperiled.

26/11, Pathankot, ‘Memogate’. These can all be categorised with other strategic blunders: Osama bin Laden living in the shadows of PMA Kakul. Kargil fiasco. Operation Searchlight. The list goes on and on and on. We have allowed agencies to operate with no oversight because they claim it is a matter of ‘national security’. But it is exactly this that has made the nation less secure. Agencies failed policies and strategies have made our neighbors suspect us and have allowed extremism to grow unchecked into the monster that we face today. To paraphrase Tariq Khosa: “Until that changes, Pakistan will remain imperiled.”

Did ISI accidentally work against itself?

Usman Khan

Interesting developments in the case of Usman Khan, an alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba militant captured by Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur on Wednesday. According to Indian sources, “Usman and his group were motivated by Pakistan’s Army and its external intelligence agency ISI to launch attacks against India”, a claim that the Foreign Office has rejected.

Unfortunately, the Foreign Office infamously lacks any credibility on this issue after repeated attempts to cover up similar embarrassing scenarios through misleading statements. However in this case, the FO’s rejection has been backed by another important institutional player: NADRA.

According to media reports, “NADRA dismissed Indian allegations on Thursday stating Usman Khan aka Qasim aka Mohammed Naveed is not Pakistani”. This certainly complicates matters of Indian claims that Usman is a LeT militant working under motivation of Pakistan’s security agencies. At least, it would, if another blockbuster report did not sink NADRA’s credibility also.

According to a breaking report, NADRA has been providing fake documents and covering up the identities of terrorists. Before you dismiss this report as Indian propaganda, please take note – NADRA is not being accused by RAW, but by ISI.

According to the ISI report — a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune — the agency, after a comprehensive intelligence scrutiny as part of its counter-terror operations, found many NADRA officials involved in facilitating attempts by terrorists and miscreants to obtain fake identity cards.

This ISI report describes the involvement of top ranking NADRA officials including retired military officers in helping terrorists obtain fake Pakistan passports and CNICs. If NADRA is exposed as working to help terrorists obscure their identities, how can they be trusted in their dismissal of Usman’s identity?

Ironically, Usman is accused of being a Lashkar militant working with the motivation of ISI, the very agency that has now discredited the institution that was trying to save him. Usman’s true identity as well as his objectives remains to be fully proven, but if he was a Lashkar operative it would appear that ISI may have accidentally worked against itself.

Syria, Iraq…Is Pakistan Next?

Kashmir

The civil war in Syria has quickly spilled over into Iraq, a strategy that has resulted in the country losing control of its borders. While military targets anti-Pakistan militants in Zarb-i-Azb operations, some have started to question whether any success will be undermined once Pakistanis fighting with ISIS return home. While the return of Pakistani jihadis from fighting in foreign wars is certainly a threat, there is another more immediate danger. Just as global jihadi groups hijacked Afghan, Syrian, and Iraqi, they have now set their sights on Kashmir.

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Taliban’s Punjab Army

Militants Preparing For War

In avoiding any responsibility for dealing with the growing threat of militants within our borders, many analysts both amateur and professional turn to the excuse that militant groups are not aligned and different groups fight for different causes. They point to LeT’s focus on Kashmir, LeJ’s focus on ethnic cleansing of Shia, etc etc etc. The supposedly ‘unrelated’ existence of domestic militant groups is proven a lie, however, by their common cause in supporting the Taliban’s fight to take over Afghanistan.

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Looming Threat To Pakistan: Hafiz Saeed

Hafiz Saeed

Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jamaat ud Dawa, the parent organization of Lashkar e Taiba, recently led a parade in Lahore to mark Pakistan’s 63rd Independence Day. A few days earlier on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, Hafiz Saeed led the Friday Eid prayers at Lahore’s Gaddafi stadium where he spoke about jihad in Kashmir, Palestine and Burma. According to his twitter feed this is what was said: “Time is near when those oppressed in Kashmir, Palestine and Burma will celebrate ‘Eid’ in the air of Freedom – Insha’Allah. #EidMubarak.” “So, we say Eid Mubarak to you in these testing times; soon world will say Eid Mubarak to you after your triumph. May ALLAH accept.”

As is often the case, Hafiz Saeed’s speech comprised veiled threats of terrorism against the United States, Israel and India. Why was it that someone whom the rest of the world views as “a terrorist mastermind” and “a man with $10 million on his head and implicated in the Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed, is given right in the heart of Lahore at Gaddafi stadium an open space to deliver explosive Eid sermons on jihad, focusing on Kashmir.”

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