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.

Evidence Against Indian Terrorism: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

In January, government sources reported that Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel “presented evidence to the United States (US) which shows India’s involvement in the various terrorist incidents that have occurred in Pakistan”. However when asked by reporters about this evidence, the US appeared puzzled and said they were unaware of any delivery.

Now questions about the reality of evidence are not coming from Washington, they are coming from Islamabad.

The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs was told on Thursday that dossiers given to the United States and United Nations Secretary General on India’s alleged involvement in terrorism in Pakistan did not contain ‘material evidence’.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which met with Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in the chair, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the dossiers instead contained the “pattern and narrative” of Indian involvement.

Sadly, this report did not surprise anyone. When official photos were released of the dossiers being delivered, many commented that it didn’t look like there was much there.

Maleeha Lodhi delivers dossiers on Indian involvement

Creating more confusion, though, was that the same day that media reported Sartaj Aziz’s statement about lack of material evidence, the same media also reported a statement by Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah that “the dossiers contain ‘hard’ and ‘irrefutable’ evidence”.

Which is the truth? Which is a lie? Both Sartaj Aziz and Qazi Khalilullah cannot both be correct. Either there is irrefutable evidence or there isn’t. Both are government officials of the same government, and both are singing a different tune. It is sadly something that we have become immune to. We know we are being misled, but we allow it as long as we are being misled to believe what we want to believe instead of having to face any reality that we don’t like.

The reality of the mysterious dossiers is known only to government high ups in Pakistan and US. The only thing we can know of them is what we are told. In Pakistan, what we are told is contradictory. Maybe to find the truth we should look at what the reaction has been from Washington…which is nothing.

‘Otherising’ Terrorism: Paris to Peshawar

Paris attack

The terrorist attack in Paris was too familiar to many of us. Scenes of panic as people try to figure out what is happening, not knowing if they are safe or if they will be the next target. Reports of well trained gunmen, casually walking through crowded buildings and killing innocents calmly, smiling even as they commit atrocities most of us could not even imagine in our sickest nightmares. Heartfelt grief and support poured out from around the world as we watched helplessly while another tragedy unfolded before our eyes on our TV screens. These sorts of scenes have become too common, and now it does not even take a day before questions and accusations are thrown about.

Almost before the first report of a Syrian passport was broadcast, already there were people claiming the attack was a ‘false flag’ intended to stop the settlement of refugees. I am not going to dignify such idiocy with a proper debunking, but will only point out that no  country, European or anywhere else, needs to murder its own citizens in order to refuse refugees. Actually, it serves the agenda of Daesh much more than it does the West if refugees are refused, which should be enough in itself. Now, this part of Daesh’s plan seems to be coming true. Nations are re-thinking to let refugees in, essentially relegating them to a fate of choosing between joining Daesh or dying. It is the ancient strategy of conversion by the sword.

We have taken great pleasure in pointing out the cold hypocrisy of abandoning war refugees, even while we resent and try to get rid of the millions from Afghanistan that have taken refuge here. But there is a bigger lesson that I think we should not miss.

Western countries want to refuse refugees because they are afraid that some terrorists will sneak in with them and carry out new attacks. The idea is that they will be safe if they seal their borders. But this assumes that the terrorists are someone ‘other’ than European. However except for possibly one person, the attackers appear to be Europeans. This is the important point that is being missed: There are thousands of Europeans joining Daesh. Why would they need to smuggle in refugees?

This is an important warning for Europe, but it is also an important lesson for Pakistan. After every terrorist attack here, we point to someone outside the country. Usually it is India, and even GHQ has taken the unprecedented action of blaming India for terrorism.

A recent survey found that most Pakistanis believe that foreign powers are behind terrorism in the country.

According to the survey, about 55 percent of respondents believe India is involved behind terrorism in Pakistan. Another 29 percent blame the US for sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan. Overall, 79 percent of the respondents see a foreign hand behind terrorism in Pakistan.

This belief is firmly held even though the people caught for committing the terrorist acts are never Indians or Americans but always Pakistanis. Salmaan Taseer killer? Pakistani. Sabeen Mahmud killer? Pakistani. PAF Badaber attackers? Pakistani. APS Peshawar attackers? Pakistani. Wagah bomber? Pakistani. Jacobabad attackers? Pakistani. The list goes on and on and on.

When Europeans place the blame of terrorism on refugees, they are missing the point that the threat of extremism is already spreading within their own societies. Daesh does not have to invade with people because they have already invaded with ideology. They have converted Europeans to their madness and now those Europeans are turning on their own people. Just like the extremist ideology has spread here and it is our own people who are turning on us.

In order to defeat terrorism, we have to stop looking to blame someone else. From Paris to Peshawar, it is the extremist mindset and jihadi ideology that is at the root of these atrocities. We have experienced this for decades and suffered the most from it’s poison. We should be able to warn Europe and correct their mistaken strategy of blaming refugees and an ‘other’ for threatening terrorist attacks. But before we can save anyone else, we will have to save ourselves by admitting that it is the same problem we are facing also.

Time to bury the ideology of jihadi generals

Mian Saifur Rehman has written a piece of exceptional analysis, laying the facts plainly before anyone who will read them. He has done such an excellent job that there is not much more than can be added.

It’s about time we realised the reality that the dangers to the country are from within more than dangers from one or two foreign countries and their agencies. The solid fact must not be overlooked that no inimical agency of the world can operate so freely, frequently and at the spot of choice and against the personality of choice without facilitation from inside Pakistan. Then, unfortunately, a large number of our people, especially those hailing from some areas within the tribal and semi-tribal belt and in some parts of southern Punjab and southern Pakistan (meaning Karachi and Balochistan) possess the inherent tendency of dealing with others through gun. They subdue the people around them or those in business with them with the show- and use- of weaponry and flee to safe havens that have, however, squeezed in tribal belts following the Operation Zarb-e-Azb. Now these people have started taking refuge in ‘other parts’ of the country with the tacit- or sometimes open- support of people who mistake terrorists for Jihadists fighting a holy war which, in fact, is not at all a holy war but simply a madness-driven bloodbath unleashed by Muslims against Muslims. This is the most painful aspect of the whole terrorism saga that Muslims are eliminating Muslims just for no reason or rhyme. No religion allows the killing of any human being in this manner. A faithful has no moral, religious, social or legal right to kill any other human being, let alone faithful from any faith. If all owes to some conspiracy, regional, local or global, the conspirators are superb people (or outfits, if not institutions like RAW etc) that they have been successful in putting a wedge in the unity of people who stand committed to one faith. But these conspirators are less to blame than our own brethren who become their tools. Even strategically and for all practical purposes, little can be done (something can be done through counter-espionage and other similar acts but that won’t be too much advisable or frequently practicable) about foreign conspirators.

It should be noted that this wisdom has been published while the nation is in the midst of celebrating the lives of two Generals Hamid Gul and Ziaul Haq who are more responsible than most for creating the sad and dangerous situation we find ourselves in. If Pakistan is to live, it is the ideology of these jihadi Generals that must be finally buried with them.

Blinded by obsession: Why ISI keeps failing to stop attacks

ISI vs RAW

It was a report that wasn’t really supposed to be about the ISI, and yet it was. Like many investigative reports, the most important piece of information was floating accidentally in the middle of a sea of unrelated facts. It was a few mere words contained in a statement by a jihadi terrorist that, while seemingly innocent, contained they key. Continue reading