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l June 2004 l

The Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 4, No 2 l


Pakistan: The Raging Jihad
B Raman

In the second fortnight of May, 2004, it became evident that under US pressure Gen.Pervez Musharraf was planning to resume military operations in the South Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan in order to hunt for Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda and Taliban dregs. The Hizbut Tahrir (HT), the strongly anti-Musharraf terrorist organisation with some following in the Armed Forces, re-circulated amongst the military personnel copies of anti-Musharraf statements issued by it in March and April during an earlier similar operation, which had ended in a fiasco for the Army. Both these statements were attributed to Naveed Butt, described as its spokesman.

2. The first of these statements titled " Musharraf is transforming Pak Army into Colonial American Army" said: " The war, which Musharraf joined under the pretext of “Pakistan First”, is now being fought inside Pakistan. The people were informed that providing assistance to kill our Afghan brothers will save Pakistan but that lie has been exposed now. Today Pakistani army is killing Pakistani Muslims on Pakistani territory. Musharraf has reduced Pak Army into a Colonial American Army. Their motto has been practically changed from “Jihad Fi Sabil lillah” (Jihad in the way of Allah) to “Qital fi sabil Amrica” (Fighting for the sake of America). The butcher of Afghani Muslims is now busy in massacring the Muslims of Pakistan.These days the government repeatedly announces that killings in the tribal area are only carried out by Pakistani troops and there are no American troops involved in the operation. Most certainly, why would America risk her own troops while through the courtesy of Musharraf, she has Muslim blood at her disposal for free? To stop a civil war, the Ummah should eject Musharraf and establish Khilafah. We strongly advise the Army not to raise arms against their Muslim brothers since
according to the Hadith of the Messenger , abusing a fellow Muslim is “Fisq” (transgression) while hitting him is “Kufr” (disbelief)."

3. The second, titled "By threatening people of Pakistan, America works to provide Musharraf the justification to carry out operations in the tribal region", said:" American Ambassador in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad’s claim of carrying operations against Taliban in the Pakistani territory is nothing but a hollow threat. Approximately 19,000 exhausted coalition troops stationed in Afghanistan do not have the courage to penetrate a column of 70,000 Pakistani troops standing at the border and carry out operations in the tribal belt whilst they cannot even enter the territories of small Afghan warlords. Nor they are willing to sacrifice “precious lives” required for such a guerilla action. The real motive of this pseudo-threat is to give Musharraf an excuse which he would use against the people and his fellow Generals to justify that Pakistan army has to continue to fight his own Muslim brothers otherwise the US troops would cross the border in order to carry out military operations. In the past, Musharraf and America have repeatedly issued statements to facilitate each other politically. To provide America with a reason to pressurize Pakistan, it was Musharraf himself who declared that Osama and Al-Qaida elements could be hiding in the Pak-Afghan border area. It was none other than Musharraf himself who claimed that the scientists might have proliferated for their own benefit long before the completion of the investigation. The people have well understood Musharraf-American nexus and they cannot be terrorized by such pseudo-threats. People should reject this deceptive plan of Bush and “Mush” and work to stop this military operation. Furthermore, the people should establish Khilafah and liberate the whole Ummah from the current humiliation and slavery."

4. On the orders of Musharraf, the Pakistani security forces, in violation of an amnesty agreement signed with the tribal leaders of South Waziristan after an earlier round of fighting in March,2004, imposed an economic blocade on the South Waziristan area, ordered the closure of shops belonging to non-co-operative tribal leaders and were deploying themselves at different places before resuming the military operations in the area on the night of June 9,2004.

5. They were completely taken by surprise when many groups of well-armed tribals pre-empted the planned offensive of the Pakistani security forces and launched simultaneous attacks on a number of Pakistani military and para-military posts in the area on the night of June 8,2004. In the ensuing fighting, which has continued for over 48 hours, 41 persons have already been killed ----- 17 of them officers and men of the security forces and the remaining the local tribals who have taken to arms against the security forces. A number of innocent civilians have also been killed.

6. As it usually does after every operation in this area since October last, the Musharraf regime has claimed to have killed or captured a number of foreign terrorists who had taken shelter with the local tribals, but has not been able to produce convincing evidence in support of its claims. According to reliable reports from local police sources, the fighting till now has been largely between the Security Forces on the one side and the local tribals backed by the Uzbeck, Chechen and Uighur members of the International Islamic Front (IIF).

7. After the tribals launched their pre-emptive strike,Nek Muhammad, the most important and dreaded (by the Pakistani military) tribal leader of the area, who had helped the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the past, gave an interview to a Pusto language service of BBC Radio in which he warned of attacks throughout Pakistan in retaliation for the Wana (capital of South Waziristan) operation. He warned that the resistance against the Wana operation would spread throughout Pakistan and Karachi would see the result before the evening (of Thursday) and added ominously: "And wait and see what happens in the other big cities in a few days.”

8.A few hours thereafter, seven Army personnel, three policemen and a sanitary worker were gunned down and 12 others sustained injuries when 10 unidentified armed men, in a stolen car, ambushed the convoy of the Corps Commander of Karachi, Lt-Gen Ahsan Saleem Hyat, near the Clifton Bridge of Karachi on the morning of June 10. While the Corps Commander escaped, his driver and six other Army personnel of his security detachment were killed.

9. Within 15 minutes of the incident, as Police and Army officers were inspecting the scene, a suspicious-looking bag was detected by a policeman, who picked it up and threw it away into a nearby empty plot of land.It exploded without causing any damage. The police recovered another bag containing 20 kilos of explosives connected with a mobile telephone which was defused by the police bomb disposal squad. It was reportedly similar to the improvised explosive devices used in the Madrid bombings of March.

10.The unsuccessful attempt to kill the Corps Commander is the sixth major act of terrorism in Karachi since the beginning of May. Sixty-one persons have died in these attacks. The particulars of these incidents are given below:

May 7: A suicide bomber ( a police constable) killed 23 Shia worshippers in an imambargah.The anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) is suspected.

May 25: A parcel bomb exploded at the gate of Karachi port, killing two people. No responsibility established so far.

May 26: Two car bombs exploded within 20 minutes of each other outside a private English school called the Pakistan American Cultural Center and near the US Consul-General’s residence, killing one policeman and injuring 10 others.

May 30: Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Binori madrasa, the mentor and godfather of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the LEJ, the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and other jihadi organisations, was gunned down along with a son and a nephew. Anti-Saudi ruling family elements in Al Qaeda are suspected because of his opposition to their terrorism campaign against the Saudi ruling family.

May 31: A suicide bomber killed 21 Shia worshippers. The LEJ is suspected.

11. No organisation has so far claimed responsibility for the unsuccessful attack on the Corps Commander. After the two abortive attempts to assassinate him at Rawalpindi in December last year, Musharraf had made a series of changes in the senior posts of the Army.Lieutenant-General Ahsan Saleem Hayat, who was then working as the Quarter-Master General in the GHQ at Rawalpindi, was transferred and posted as the Corps Commander of the V Corps in Karachi. He was commissioned in 1967 in the Armoured Corps. The speculation in Pakistani Army circles was that if Musharraf really decided to give up his post as the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) at the end of this year as he has promised to do so, Lt.Gen.Hayat would be one of the three Lts.General favoured by him to succeed him, the other two being Lt-Gen Javed Hassan of the 30 Corps in Gujranwala and Lt General Tariq Waseem Ghazi, Commandant of the National Defence College.Since then, there have been indications that Musharraf is reluctant to hand over as the COAS lest his authority over the Armed Forces be weakened.

12. The manner in which the ambush was planned and carried out and the terrorists managed to escape after the attack indicates inside knowledge which they had of the plans of the Corps Commander and his likely route. It is almost certain that there was an involvement of elements from the Armed Forces in the ambush. Well-informed Police sources in Karachi also believe that there was a strong insider involvement. Altaf Hussain, the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), who lives in exile in the UK and whose party is a leading member of the ruling coalition in Sindh and controls the Police Department, has also been quoted as saying in a statement disseminated from London: " “The attack is the work of the same group of religious extremists and terrorists who were involved in the attack on President Musharraf.The people arming the ‘religious extremists’ and getting them safely into Karachi should be identified.The attacks on the President and the Corps Commander clearly indicate that there are organised groups within the military and intelligence agencies who are supporting religious terrorists." He is believed to have issued this statement after consulting his party's representatives in the Sindh Cabinet.

13. There was an abortive attempt to kill Musharraf in Karachi in 2002 in which the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (Al Alami meaning International) was involved. There was also suspicion of the involvement of some para-military personnel posted in Karachi. The present indications are that the attack on the Corps Commander was, most probably, carried out by the Pakistani components of the pro-bin Laden International Islamic Front (IIF) with the collaboration of the pro-HT elements inside the Pakistani Armed Forces.

14. The Pakistani organisations, which are members of the IIF, are the HUM, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the JEM, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-Al-Islami (HUJI) and the LEJ. Of these organisations, the HUJI has a strong following in the Armed Forces and was involved in an aborted attempt of 1995 to assassinate Mrs.Benazir Bhutto, the then Prime Minister, and Gen.Abdul Waheed Kakkar, the then COAS. It was also suspected along with the JEM in the two unsuccessful attempts to kill Musharraf in December.

15. The HT projects itself as a politico-religious organisation and denies any links with terrorism. It is not a member of the IIF.But, its denials are not taken seriously. It is a highly motivated jihadi terrorist organisation which advocates the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate.

16. The sequence of events since June 8,2004, clearly indicates a linkage between the terrorist incidents in South Waziristan and the attack on the Corps Commander. It is an act of terrorism mounted against the Army and one of its senior officers considered close to Musharraf, in retaliation for the military operations against the dregs of the IIF in South Waziristan.

17. This incident, coming in the wake of the attacks on Musharraf, indicate the growing influence of the IIF in the Armed Forces and the continuing high morale and motivation of the jihadi terrorists of Pakistan.

The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Distinguished Fellow and Convenor, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Chennai chapter. By arrangement with South Asia Analysis Group, New Delhi.

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