Monday, December 8, 2008

Mumbai's Puzzle Points to Indian Culpability

Mumbai attacks plot is thickening by the day. Several names and details are emerging that seem to implicate Pakistanis, Indians, Kashmiris, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and India's Intelligence Bureau.
For example, Calcutta police arrested Mukhtar Ahmed, an Indian Muslim, for procuring SIM cards for the Mumbai terror group without knowing that he was an undercover operative, according to a BBC report. He was on a long-term mission with police in Indian-administered Kashmir. Senior intelligence sources say a "high-value asset" has been blown and his family put at risk.

Police arrested four Indian Muslims for alleged involvement in a planned attack on Mumbai as early as February, a senior police officer who handled the case told The Times Friday.

One of them, Faheem Ahmed Ansari, was carrying a fake Pakistani passport and a list and maps of nine targets in southern Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal hotel and other sites attacked last week, the officer said. Ansari was born in a slum in Mumbai and was recruited by LeT when he took a job as a mechanic at a printing press in Dubai in December 2005, according to reports. He was taken by boat to the Pakistani port of Karachi a year later and then on to an LeT training camp in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

The revelation appears to undermine India’s assertion that the attack on Mumbai last week, in which 171 people were killed, was planned and executed only by Pakistani members of the Kasmiri militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which has had links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

The Times further reports that security officials and experts have told the Indian Government that it faces a growing threat from home-grown Islamic militants recruited from the country’s 150 million-strong Muslim population.

According to a report produced by a committee led by a former Indian chief justice, Rajender Sachar, Muslims are now worse off than the Dalit caste, or those called untouchables. Some 52% of Muslim men are unemployed, compared with 47% of Dalit men. Among Muslim women, 91% are unemployed, compared with 77% of Dalit women. Almost half of Muslims over the age of 46 are illiterate. While making up 11% of the population, Muslims account for 40% of India’s prison population. Meanwhile, they hold less than 5% of government jobs.

As the world focuses on the ISI and its possible role in support of LeT, it's important to also recognize India's intelligence agencies' involvement in promoting trouble in South Asian region. India's RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) involvement in Bangladesh, supporting both secular forces and the area's Hindu minority has been mentioned by Federation of American scientists (FAS). The involvement of RAW in East Pakistan is said to date from the 1960s, when RAW supported Mujibur Rahman, leading up to his general election victory in 1970. RAW also provided training and arms to the Bangladeshi freedom fighters known as Mukti Bahini. RAW's aid was instrumental in Bangladesh's gaining independence from Pakistan in 1971.

RAW has had a significant role in the creation of Sri Lankan terror outfits. During the course of its investigation the Jain Commission received testimony on the official Indian support to the various Sri Lankan Tamil armed groups in Tamil Nadu. From 1981, RAW and the Intelligence Bureau established a network of as many as 30 terrorist training camps for these groups in India. Centers were also established at the high-security military installation of Chakrata, near Dehra Dun, and in the Ramakrishna Puram area of New Delhi. This clandestine support to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), some of whom were on the payroll of RAW, was later suspended. Starting in late 1986 the Research and Analysis Wing focused surveillance on the LTTE which was expanding ties with Tamil Nadu separatist groups. Rajiv Gandhi sought to establish good relations with the LTTE, even after the Indian Peace Keeping Force [IPKF] experience in Sri Lanka. But the Indian intelligence community failed to accurately assess the character of the LTTE and its orientation in India and its political leaders. The LTTE assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was apparently motivated by fears of a possible re-induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and a crackdown on the LTTE network in Tamil Nadu, according to FAS.

An FAS report says Pakistan has accused RAW of sponsoring sabotage in its Punjab province, where it has been supporting the Seraiki movement, "providing financial support to promote its activities in Pakistan and organizing an International Seraiki Conference in Delhi in November December 1993". It adds: "RAW has an extensive network of agents and anti-government elements within Pakistan, including dissident elements from various sectarian and ethnic groups of Sindh and Punjab." There are also reports of RAW involvement in Baluchistan and Afghanistan to attack Pakistani interests. Throughout the Afghan war, FAS report says “the RAW was responsible for the planning and execution of terrorist activities in Pakistan” to deter Pakistan from supporting the Afghan liberation movement against India’s ally, the Soviet Union. The assistance provided to the RAW by the KGB enabled it to “arrange terrorist attacks in Pakistani cities throughout the Afghan war.”

It appears that the Indian investigators of Mumbai are operating with only a few pieces of a much larger and more complex puzzle of the tragic terror attacks in Mumbai. What is needed is a broader, more independent, high-level investigation that also looks into the role of Indian intelligence agencies before, during and after Mumbai attacks. Just based on the few reported pieces of this large and complex puzzle, it seems that Pakistan is at least partially culpable, but India must also share responsibility for the horrible treatment of its Muslim minority and the role its security officials and intelligence agencies have played in their dealings with unsavory characters and gangs involved in domestic and international terror.


Anonymous said...

I know you will never come out of denial..
just for spat sake:
The revelation appears to undermine India’s assertion that the attack on Mumbai last week, in which 171 people were killed, was planned and executed only by ..LeT..with links to ISI
->In fact it was never been claimed that "all people or LeT members are Pakistanis".But all "attackers" (11 of them) were Pakistanis and no report to the contrary exists.This was same in case of Parliment attacks,ayodhya attacks etc. Probably the use of all Pakistanis would be to avoid detection at planning or operational stages. Many Kashmir cadres of groups like Hizbul Mujahideen(with majority Kashmir cadre) have found to just surrender to security forces after infiltration through LoC. There are enough open content available of many Indians in LeT or JeM. But the trend have been to use Indians as "mules" i.e. to provide, logistics,recon etc. But operations are conducted by Afghans or Pakistanis.
Senior intelligence sources say a "high-value asset" has been blown and his family put at risk.
How does that implicate IB?, the guy's(informer) brother was killed by
militants and that's why he doubled for Kashmir Police's SoG. He was blown by overzealous Kolkata police even after telling them that he was SoG mole in LeT and it is reported that he passed all info he got to his senior intelligence officers of Kashmir Police.
What is needed is a broader, more independent, high-level investigation that also looks into the role of Indian intelligence agencies before, during and after Mumbai attacks.
FBI,Australian Secret Service,Shin bet(Israeli internal intelligence)..etc into carnage becoz their citizens were killed.Besides most of the electronic intelligence in Mumbai attacks were from US.
India must also share responsibility for the horrible treatment of its Muslim minority
Yawn! Yawn! Pot calls the kettle black..
Before Musharaf non-Muslims did not even have voting rights in Pak. Blasphemy law gives death sentence to people talking against holy prophet and allah. So this can give blanket cover to a muslim neighbour to claim blashphemy against hindu/christians..

At time of partition Hindu pop in Pak was around it is 1-2% or bellow..Give me a break Riaz. You are being hypocritical..
Its ur blog and all..but there is a saying that "your action speaks so loud,that i cannot hear what you say"

Anonymous said...

Why are some many terrorists from Pakistan? Why is so much of violence in Pakistan? Why is Pakistan so unstable? The world desires to know that, may be having knowledge will allow the world to help Pakistan. We will all be well off if Pakistan is well off. Never a day goes by that one not hears about some thing violent about Pakistan. Appeal to the world is " Please help Pakistan help itself".

Riaz Haq said...

As investigations by both India and the United States seem to suggest that Islamic militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba were behind the recent Mumbai attacks, commentator Yoichi Shimatsu believes that blaming that outfit is a "convenient solution" for the politicians who are trying to cement an Indo-American civilian nuclear pact.

On India’s “most-wanted” list of 20 suspects believed to have planned the recent Mumbai attacks is the name of fugitive crime boss Dawood Ibrahim, who ordered an earlier wave of bombings 15 years ago. Among those chief suspects, only Dawood has sufficient local knowledge, an entrenched organization -- known as D-Company -- and the deep pockets for such a complex operation in a world city.

The bold raid by young gunmen, who apparently came by sea, was preceded by extensive preparations by city insiders – mapping and targeting were specific and explosives were stocked inside hotel rooms rented before the attack. Most telling was an early police report that indicated one of Dawood’s lieutenants inside the Mumbai Customs House organized the transfer of guns and ammunition from warehouses on Sassoon Dock onto the speedboats used in the landing.

The assault was a made-in-Mumbai production much like the Bollywood crime movies about D-Company’s many bloody gang wars. A Hindu breakaway gang, in concert with conservative politicians and police officers, revived the turf wars in 2007 with a spike in shootings and arrests, along with gaining Pakistani approval for Dawood’s deportation. Then D-Company, with a few lowly recruits from Pakistan, stuck back.

Why then is New Delhi and Washington insisting that Islamic militants in Pakistan are primarily responsible for the attack while downplaying Dawood’s larger role?

Lashkar-e-Taiba is the convenient solution for the politicians who are trying to cement an Indo-American “civilian” nuclear pact and military allinace, and every such arranged marriage demands a common enemy.

Blaming the Lahore-based Lashkar is all-too easy since the outfit was once the West Point of the Kashmir insurgency. The Army of the Righteous, as it is known in English, was a paramilitary force par excellence that routinely mauled the Indian Army along the Himalayan ridge that forms the Line of Control of divided Kashmir. In an attack on the strategic town of Kargil in late spring 1999, Lashkar broke through India’s alpine defense line and came close to forcing New Delhi to the negotiating table.

Along the sawtooth LoC, Lashkar is respected by professional soldiers on both side. A Pakistani hero who fought on the Baltistan heights, Corporal Ahmed, told me of his admiration for the stoicism of these jihadis, who wore sandals to battle in the snow. At a checkpoint in Indian-controlled Kargil, an army captain wearing a Sikh turban said frankly that nobody in the Indian Army could fight man-to-man against Lashkar.

Lashkar earned its reputation in clean-fought mountain warfare, pitting lightly armed guerrillas against Indian armor and superior firepower.

In its finest hours, these fighters would never consider the dirty tactics used against civilians in Mumbai, for example, the gangland-style executions using a shot to the back of a kneeling captive’s head. That is more typical of the Mumbai underworld.

Like many of the misguided decisions in the war on terror, the banning of Lashkar by Pakistan in 2002 did more harm than good. Without central discipline and a unifying cause, splinter groups broke off and many a cadet went solo. During his residency in Karachi, Dawood is known to have sent his young recruits for training by former Lashkar instructors. The moralistic cause had degenerated into a school for hitmen.

Conservative politicians in New Delhi have seized on the brutal Mumbai attack to discredit the nationalist revolt in Kashmir and undermine the five U.N. Security Council resolutions (1948-1965) that call for a plebiscite on the status of the once-independent country. By linking Lashkar to Mumbai, the Indian right hope to deter President-elect Barack Obama from his oft-stated policy of bringing the Kashmir issue to the fore.

These same politicians hope to repeat their successful handling of Bill Clinton, who reversed the American policy of sanctions for India’s nuclear bomb tests in 1998 within two short years by proposing nuclear cooperation with New Delhi. The Enron gas-fired electricity plant outside Mumbai played a major role in that about-face.

So did the Battle of Kargil. A greater international leader would have seen that the Islamic tactical victory was the key for dislodging New Delhi’s institutional inertia against Kashmir talks. Clinton intervened in the Kargil battle by pressuing Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif to order a pullback, and the Indian artillery in violation of the truce opened fire on the retreating guerrillas.

The Kashmiris again lost their right of self-determination, the U.N. resolution remained unresolved, and America got nothing out of the deal. Worse yet, this policy failure shattered any lingering hopes among Islamic militants for American evenhandedness. The inevitable consequence of the Kargil betrayal was 911, and the rise not of Laskar-e-Taiba but of Al Qaeda.

President-elect Obama should not submit to the hysteria being whipped up over the Mumbai atrocities. Mumbai was a criminal event that India’s elite cannot face up to, for Dawood’s D-Company was and still is their procurer of starlets, smuggled gold, drugs, loans for gambling debts and urban land for their new hotels and office blocks. Don’t mix up the healthy oranges for the rotten apples Kashmir is a historic judgment awaiting the verdict of a popular referendum.

Yoichi Shimatsu. Former editor of The Japan Times in Tokyo and journalism lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Shimatsu has covered the Kashmir crisis and Afghan War.

Rishi said...

Riaz, you are groping like global warming deniers. Looking for the few and far between opinions to support your denial.

Anonymous said...

I think a bit of introspection for Muslim community and imbibing live and let live attitude.. will go a long way
instead of using the exotic(uninformed) opinions as alibis to justify horrible terror crimes.Inspite of similar ordeals Kashmiri Pandits(who faced ethnic cleansing from Kashmir Valley),Tibetans or Hindus in Bangladesh(leave alone Pak) never did a Beslan school massacre,9/11 and countless others to get justice what ever the 'cause'.

Japs havent seen anything remotely close to Islamic terrorism in their homeland except may be lots of tsunamis and earthquakes ..and may be North Korean nuclear TaeKwonDo threat;).

Anonymous said...

Well, if Pakistanis are not involved in terror attack on Mumbai, why arrest terrorists in Pak ?
Pakistan is guilty by arresting some terrorists.
It's not OK for India to blame Pakistan, but what is pakistan doing to stop terror from spreading ?

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I believe most Pakistanis are in denial that Pakistan is in grip of terrorism. Pakistan's establishments has been using these "non-state actors" but looks like they are now not ready to take orders from their erstwhile masters.
The father of the lone captured terrorists says that Ajmal kasab is his son but the amazing thing is that Pakistani government is denying that he is his father.This is ridiculous and makes mockery of Pakistan all over the world. Father claims the gunmen was his son but government claims that he is not his father.

Your blog reader.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Washington Post story on Indian intelligence agency's incompetence:

India’s intelligence agency sparked outrage in Pakistan and self-deprecatory jokes at home this week after it listed ordinary Pakistani shopkeepers as dreaded terrorists on a mission to attack some of India’s landmark institutions.

The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s premier intelligence agency, issued an advisory to state governments, saying five trained militants from Pakistan’s banned Lashkar-i-Taiba group had sneaked into India with fake identities to attack a nuclear facility, oil refinery, sea port and defense academy.

On Wednesday, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton left New Delhi after some tough talk on Pakistan, the Mumbai police released the names and photographs of the five men.

Within hours, a Pakistani television channel claimed that three of the men on the list were shopkeepers and a guard living in Lahore.

“India Bungles, Pak laughs,” the Mail Today newspaper said of the embarrassing blunder. Twitter buzzed with unflattering jokes about India’s RAW, with some tweeters offering their own list to the agency.

The revelations sparked outrage in Pakistan. Muhammad Fayyaz Butt, the head of a traders’ association for an electronics market where two of the suspects own shops, condemned India’s “irresponsible and biased attitude.”

The two shopkeepers went to the Lahore High Court on Thursday, seeking protection from possible action against them by India.

Indian Law Minister Salman Khurshid offered an explanation to reporters in New Delhi on Friday: “We can’t be too careful. We have had some bad experiences in the past. And therefore to err on the right side is something we can’t complain about.”

It was not the first time that India has made such a faux pas. A year ago, the government released a most-wanted list of 50 Indian fugitives who it claimed were hiding in Pakistan. Two men on the list turned out to be in India, one of them a prisoner in a Mumbai jail.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Haq,

I think we must strive for more consistency in our narratives.

It does little good for our effort to tell "our side of the story" to the world when we recklessly take stands that are mutually contradictory.

On one hand, the original 2008 article potrays India's RAW as some all powerful agency that is involved in everything, including, Seraikistan, Sindudesh, MQM, Hindkowanis,Balochistan, Pashtunistan, Awami League, Secular Forces, Hindu-minority militants, Mukti-bahini, Shanti-Bahini, LTTE, LFTE, Nepal-royalists, Sikkim uprisings, floods, droughts, rainfall and cylones.

On the other hand, in your own update May 11, 2012, you now expose that RAW is ridiculously incompetent.

Well, which is it? If RAW is as omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent as we say, then we should be worried and should look for the hand of RAW in everything that happens. On the other hand, if RAW is incompetent as we say, then it would be trivially exposed when it botches up and fails at everything it does.

If you look at India's "side of the story", they likewise speak of ISI's involvement in everything. That is the story they tell the world, especially the West. And it looks like the West (especially US & UK) are now starting to believe them. BUT--note this--they NEVER speak of the ISI as "ridiculously incompetent", because that would destroy the case they are trying to make. They are internally consistent. They stick to their side of the story and present it cohesively and cogently.

I hope I am getting my point across. Consistency is the key to the success of any narrative. There is no guarantee of success with consistency, but without it, failure is almost always assured.

Thank you.