Indian ‘Agents’ and ‘Armed Proxies’ in Pakistan

Representative Photo: PTI
Representative Photo: PTI

During his visit to the headquarters of Pakistan army’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in September 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan had opined that “ISI is our first line of defence and stands out as the best intelligence agency of the world”. However, subsequent assertions of Khan, his advisors and party members tell an entirely different story- of how by successfully subverting loyalties across the board, fomenting secessionist movements, patronizing terrorist groups and infiltrating into every nook and corner of Pakistan, India’s intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing [R&AW] has not completely overwhelmed ISI, but also made it look more than a bunch of bumbling neophytes.

During a TV interview in October 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s National Security Advisor [NSA] Moeed Yusuf made the shocking claim that “Malik Faridoon [an Afghan national] who masterminded the [Army Public School Peshawar] attack from Jalalabad [Afghanistan] was in touch with handlers at the Indian consulate as children were massacred in broad daylight.” However, if his allegation is indeed true, then why did Tehreek-e-Taliban [TTP] not only put out a video message taking responsibility for this act and post a video in which a terrorist named Umar Mansoor claimed having masterminded the APS carnage? Where was the need for TTP to take the trouble of trying to justify this despicable genocide by saying, “We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females … we want them to feel the same pain?”

Furthermore, if Faridoon had indeed masterminded the APS Peshawar massacre, then two pertinent questions arise. First, why did Pakistani authorities claim that Umar Mansoor had merely conveyed TTP chief Maulana Fazlullah’s instructions to the operational commander of TTP’s Tariq Gedar group named Saddam Jan, and was it he who planned and carried out this attack? Second, since Jan was killed in an encounter with security forces nine days after the APS carnage, could it be possible that he was falsely portrayed as being the mastermind of this massacre in order to bolster the image of ISI as an efficient intelligence agency that was able to track him down so quickly? Therefore, coming six years after the APS carnage, doesn’t the allegation of an Indian angle to APS Peshawar massacre made by the Pakistan Prime Minister’s NSA debunk the claim of his boss of ISI being the “best intelligence agency of the world”?

On 2 January this year 11 Hazara Shia coalminers were killed after being abducted in the Machh area of Balochistan and Islamic State-Khorasan Province [ISKP] claimed responsibility for this horrific act. A week after this incident, under intense pressure from the Hazara Shias which was protesting against the government’s failure to bring perpetrators of this gruesome act to book, a helpless and beleaguered Khan tried to wriggle out of this crisis by doing what he does best- blaming India! However, in doing so, he ended up putting his foot into his mouth by his derisory allegation that “[though] this [carnage] that has been claimed by ISIS [ISKP]… [but] the opinion of all of us [and] our security agencies, is that India is backing ISIS [ISKP].”

Scrambling to wipe the egg off its PM’s face, Pakistani media attempted to endorse Khan’s puerile utterance by applying the equally fatuous logic that since the leader of the terrorist squad involved in Kabul’s Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib massacre in March last year was an Indian national who had joined ISKP, New Delhi’s links with this group was conclusively ‘established’ even though ISKP is proscribed in India. However, this argument has only made things even more embarrassing for Islamabad because if this very same yardstick is applied to Pakistan, then with it currently having the largest number of citizens and entities after Iraq and Afghanistan in the UN’s ‘ISIL [Da’esh] and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee list’, doesn’t Pakistan rightly become both the fountainhead and epicentre of global terrorism? After all, isn’t what’s sauce for the goose also sauce for the gander?

It was in October 2015 that Islamabad announced with great flourish that it had handed over dossiers containing “evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism and fomenting instability in Pakistan” to the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.” Exercising his ‘Right of Reply’ in UN General Assembly [UNGA], Pakistan’s representative further elaborated in the “The dossiers include details of Indian interference and support for terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi as well as its security and intelligence agencies link with the TTP, especially in FATA.” Interestingly, despite more than five years having elapsed, nothing has been heard about these dossiers that supposedly contain incriminating “evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism”.

Au contraire, it was Pakistan that ended landing up in the grey list of international terror funding watchdog Financial Action Task Force [FATF] for failing to curb financing of terrorism related activities. What’s ironical is that this happened even though then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had in his UNGA address, taken the high moral ground on the issue of combating terror by boasting of how Pakistan had undertaken the “largest, most robust and most successful anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world” and sermonised on how “terrorism must be addressed comprehensively and in all its forms, including state terrorism.”

Two months ago, Pakistan once again handed over yet another dossier to UN Secretary General which according to Pakistan’s envoy to the UN Munir Akram contains “irrefutable evidence” of India’s “systematic campaign to destabilise Pakistan through terrorist attacks, promotion of secession and subversion in what is called Hybrid/fifth generation war”.

Some of the specific charges against New Delhi contained in this dossier are:

  • Patronising and sponsoring proscribed terrorist organisations like TTP and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar [JuA], which were uprooted from Pakistan, to conduct cross-border attacks and creation of a new Nangarhar [Afghanistan] based militia, called “Daesh-Pakistan”.
  • Disrupting China Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] by sponsoring Baloch revolutionaries, investing Rs. 500 million for creating a special cell and raising a special clandestine force of 700 operatives and providing weapons, ammunition and IEDs to these groups to sabotage the CPEC project and undermine Pakistan’s progress and economy.
  • Merging TTP splinter groups and creating a coalition between the TTP and Balochi secessionists.
  • Using terrorists to execute targeted killings of important Pakistani personalities.

Weaving such an elaborate and multi-faceted web of intrigue and subversion is something that obviously couldn’t have been accomplished overnight. However, things get really serious if one takes into account Khan’s assertion that he’s “100 percent” certain that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is being supported by India and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in turn contending that Khan himself is a “Jewish agent” who had received foreign funding from Pakistan’s arch enemies- India and Israel!

Hence, even if a fraction of all these allegations is true, then the ISI has obviously been sleeping over its job for quite some time and for this unpardonable lapse that has resulted in several deaths, many heads within the so called “best intelligence agency in the world” should have rolled. But as this hasn’t happened and neither has the UN hasn’t taken any cognisance of Islamabad’s 2014 dossiers,  it certainly wouldn’t be presumptuous to conclude that Islamabad’s latest dossier ‘offensive’ is yet another attempt to and peddle its phantastic ‘false flag operation’ narrative!

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