I. TRICKY MUSH: Caught With His Pants Down
It is said that you can
fool some people all the time, all people for some of the time, but
not all the people for all the time.
General Pervez Musharraf
of Pakistan, whom the late General Asif Nawaz Janjua, Chief of the Army
Staff (COAS) during the first tenure of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister,
used to describe as "Tricky Mush", had always believed that
he could fool all people for all time. Not quite where terrorism
is concerned, as he is finding out to his embarrassment and confusion.
The whole world without
exception is coming down on him like a ton of bricks to stop his
sponsorship of jihadi terrorism against India. There are no longer any
takers for his pleas of injured innocence and for his sermons about
the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters.
The US, the UK, France,
Germany, Russia, Japan and every other country, which is concerned over
the depredations of jihadi terrorists bred in the snake-pit of terrorism
that is Pakistan, now know who is the Godfather of the terrorists seeking
weapons of mass destruction (WMD), who is the breeder of the venomous
Tricky Mush was by
appointment terrorist-breeder to the late General Zia-ul-Haq. With the
assistance of General Mohammad Aziz Khan, now Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff Committee, and Major General (retd) Mahmud Ali Durrani,
former station chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at the
Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC, he bred a dreaded army of terrorists
euphemistically called the Army of Islam.
There was a symbiotic
relationship between Tricky Mush and Osama bin Laden. He created
bin Laden and made him into the dreaded terrorist that he is today or
was, if he is dead. He used him against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan
and, in 1988, when a Shia revolt for an independent Karakoram State
rocked Gilgit in the Northern Areas, he let loose bin Laden and his
murderous tribal hordes on the Shias. More Shias were massacred in Gilgit
in 1988 than in the Hazara area of Afghanistan under the Taliban post-1996.
The dubious ‘exploits’
of bin Laden helped Tricky Mush, till then considered a mediocre commando,
upwards in his career. But for bin Laden’s services it is doubtful if
he would have ever become the COAS. Thus, Tricky Mush was the creator
and the creation of bin Laden. And yet, when Larry King of the CNN asked
him in his programme immediately after 7 October 2001, about his relationship
with bin Laden, he replied without batting an eyelid, "I had never
known him." When Larry King persisted by asking him, "You
mean, you have never met him?" "Never", replied the commando
without a moment’s hesitation.
It required gall to
deny it with such confidence because Tricky Mush would have known that
his American buddies from the days of the Afghan Wars of the 1980s were
aware of his snake-farm, which was funded by the Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA). In fact, he bred bin Laden and other snakes at the CIA’s
instance for use against the Soviet troops.
If there is one person
in Pakistan today who would know the whereabouts of bin Laden, that
is Tricky Mush. Instead of taking hundreds of Al Qaida and Taliban members
to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and interrogating them, if only the Americans
had taken Tricky Mush there and given him the works, bin Laden
would have been by now a dead man, if not already dead, and the Al Qaida
on its death bed. Instead of doing that, they showered lollipops on
him. And what honours for the terrorist-breeder when he visited Washington
DC in February last!
What did the Americans
get in return for the lollipops? A wild goose chase with a string of
botched-up operations in Afghanistan with exotic names like OP Anaconda,
OP Mountain Lion, OP Snipe, OP Condor, etc. And a string of horrible
tragedies in Pakistan - the kidnapping of Daniel Pearl, the American
journalist, and his brutal killing by slitting his throat like the Muslims
kill the sacrificial goat to propitiate God; the death of an American
lady and her young daughter while praying in an Islamabad church and
the slaughter of 11 French experts who were mistaken for Americans outside
a Karachi hotel.
Not one of these cases
has been solved convincingly. In the meanwhile, Pakistan, including
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the Northern Areas, is swarming
with the terrorist dregs from Afghanistan - Arabs of the Al Qaida, the
Pashtuns of the Taliban, the Pakistani Punjabis of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
(HuM), the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI), the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT),
the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and the Sipah-e-Sahaba, and the Chechens,
the Malaysians, the Indonesians, the Arakanese, the Filipinos and the
Bangladeshis of one knows not which organisation.
Tricky Mush was gratified
and concerned. Gratified because more trained and bitter terrorists
meant more jihadi killers available for making the Indians continue
to bleed. Concerned because some of these terrorists, particularly the
Arabs and the Pashtuns, insisted on continuing in Pakistani territory
to settle scores with the Americans. Not knowing whom to fight - the
Indians in Jammu & Kashmir, the Americans in Pakistan or their own
governments back home, the Bangladeshis, the Arakanese, the Malaysians,
the Filipinos and the Indonesians have taken to brigandage and Shia-slaughter
in Karachi, rendering an already ungovernable city even more ungovernable,
while waiting for their passage home.
Tricky Mush suddenly
finds that he is no longer believed by the outside world. His word no
longer counts, even with the Americans, who are, however, not yet prepared
to ditch him.
India has been shouting
hoarse since 1993 that what we are facing in J&K is not Kashmiri
militancy, but pure and simple Pakistani Punjabi terrorism, that it
is not a Kashmiri freedom-struggle as projected by Islamabad, but an
indirect war of aggression through the intermediary of the Pakistani
Punjabi Army of Islam of Musharraf’s creation.
For the first time
after nine years, India is heard, India is believed. The Government
of India has every reason to be gratified by the turn of events and
deserves to be congratulated for its skilful diplomacy. But, the credit
is not due to India alone. It is also due to the dozens, if not hundreds,
of the communications experts of the USA’s National Security Agency
(NSA) deployed by the USA in Afghanistan and Pakistan to intercept
the communications of the terrorist snakes, wherever they are found
in this region - in Afghanistan, Pakistan or India. They have been telling
their government in Washington DC that India has been wronged all these
years by not believing its complaints, that India is right, that the
Godfather of these terrorists projected as freedom-fighters is none
other than a tricky guy called General Pervez Musharraf.
Washington DC is stepping
up the pressure on Tricky Mush, but is not yet prepared to abandon him.
India should keep up the pressure of its diplomacy. Tricky Mush may
still have a couple of more tricks up his sleeves to ingratiate himself
back into the favour of the US.
Will there be a war
over Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism against India? One does not
know. One hopes not. India will fight only if forced to by circumstances -
by the unwillingness of the rest of the world to call Tricky Mush to
account. But, if it fights, its soldiers will be fighting not only to
make India free from terrorism, but also to make the USA, West Europe,
Russia, the Central Asian Republics, China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Singapore,
Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the rest of the world
free from Pakistani-bred terrorism. The roots of the terrorist cancer
afflicting the world are in Pakistan.
And India’s soldiers
will be fighting to ensure that there is no more 11 September 2001,
neither in the USA nor anywhere else in the world. The civilised world
has a moral obligation to rally to the support of India.
1 June 2002
- NUCLEARISATION OF TERRORISM
Addressing a press conference
at New Delhi on 28 May 2002, Jaswant Singh, India’s Minister for External
Affairs, described as highly disturbing some of the recent statements
and interviews of General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan regarding the
readiness / willingness of the Pakistani military to use its nuclear
weapons in the event of a military conflict with India and referred
to what he described as the danger of "nuclearisation of terrorism"
on Pakistani territory.
This danger has not
received the attention it deserves from the international community.
While the USA and the UK have been focusing on the threat likely to
be posed to the international community if any weapons of mass destruction
(WMD) in the possession of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq pass into
the hands of terrorists and calling for the resumption of a vigorous
inspection regime under the UN auspices in Iraq in order to pre-empt
this danger, a similar attention is not being paid to this danger in
The danger is greater
and more real from Pakistan than it is from Iraq. Baghdad’s possession
of a WMD capability is yet to be established. Apart from the allegations
being made and suspicions being voiced by the USA and the UK from time
to time in this regard, there is so far no credible evidence of Baghdad
having such a capability even though, in the past, it did try to acquire
it. As against this, Pakistan is an established nuclear and missile
power, that acquired its nuclear and missile delivery capability, partly
with the collusion of China and North Korea and partly through thefts
of technology and equipment from Western countries. The sanctions imposed
on Pakistan by the then Bush Administration in 1990 under the Pressler
Amendment did not deter Islamabad from pressing ahead with its clandestine
efforts to strengthen this capability.
its nuclear and missile capabilities through a series of tests / firings
since April 1998, Pakistan refused to subscribe to the "no first
use" doctrine, justifying its refusal by citing a similar stand
adopted by the NATO powers during the Cold War. Its contention was and
continues to be that in view of India’s conventional superiority, there
could be contingencies where it might not be able to protect its territorial
integrity in the event of a military conflict with India except through
the use of its nuclear weapons. In this context, certain aspects regarding
Pakistan’s nuclear capability need to be underlined:
development and possession of this capability and the responsibility
for developing a nuclear doctrine and a command and control system
have been exclusively in the hands of the military-intelligence establishment,
with the elected political leaders of the past, even when in power,
having been kept totally out of the picture. Bruce Riedel, a senior
official of the US National Security Council Secretariat during the administration
of President Clinton, had recently pointed out in an article, how
at the height of the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan in
1999, the Clinton Administration had detected initiation of action
by Pervez Musharraf, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) under Nawaz
Sharif, the then Prime Minister, for the deployment of Pakistan’s
nuclear-capable missiles without the authorisation or knowledge of
Sharif and how the latter was surprised when this was mentioned
to him in July 1999, during his visit to Washington DC for talks with
Clinton. In her past interviews, Benazir Bhutto has repeatedly mentioned
how during her two tenures as the Prime Minister, Pakistan’s military
leadership had kept her in the dark about developments in the nuclear
field despite her being the elected leader of the country.
Pakistani nuclear and missile establishment has had rogue elements,
often not amenable to any control, either political or military. It
is known how Dr AQ Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan’s
atomic bomb, had maintained clandestine contacts with the Saddam Hussein
regime in the 1990s and had even allegedly paid a secret visit to
Baghdad during the days preceding the Gulf War of 1991, without the
knowledge or authorisation of Nawaz Sharif, the then Prime Minister.
Subsequently, he was also reprimanded by Sharif for allowing a group
of Saudi scientists to visit Pakistan’s sensitive nuclear establishments
without his clearance.
as the Pakistan Army has many pan-Islamic extremist elements in the
lower and middle levels recruited since the days of the late Zia-ul-Haq,
similarly in its nuclear and missile establishment too there are pan-Islamic
extremist elements who gained entry during the days of Zia and thereafter.
In their accounts of the past annual conventions of the Lashkar-e-Toiba
(LeT) at Muridke near Lahore, a member of Osama bin Laden’s International
Islamic Front for Jihad Against the US and Israel, which has been
in the forefront of suicide terrorism in India’s Jammu & Kashmir
(J&K) and which was designated by the Bush Administration as a
foreign terrorist organisation in December 2001, Pakistani media had
reported about the support enjoyed by the LeT even in Pakistan’s scientific
community and the presence of some of the scientists (not identified)
at the annual conventions. The detention and interrogation post 7
October 2001, of two Pakistani nuclear scientists (Sultan Bashiuddin
Mehmood and Abdul Majid), by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI) under pressure from the USA, brought out their past contacts
with bin Laden under the cover of a non-governmental organisation
(Ummah Tamir-e-Nau - Reconstruction of the Ummah), ostensibly doing
humanitarian work. This NGO has since been brought within the purview
of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373 against international
terrorism and its bank accounts ostensibly frozen by Pakistan under
a directive from the UNSC Monitoring Committee. While no credible
evidence could be found that these rogue scientists might have helped
bin Laden in his search for a WMD, the investigation of their activities
brought to light the nexus between some sections of Pakistan’s nuclear
and missile establishment and international terrorists.
is not unique to Pakistan. There are other Islamic countries, which
have seen and continue to see the sweep of fundamentalist ideas. However,
what is unique to Pakistan is a very pernicious concept of fundamentalism
and extremism spawned by the Madrassas of Pakistan and particularly
by the Binori Madrassa of Karachi. The Taliban and its obscurantist
ideas and jihadi organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM),
the Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)
and Sunni extremist organisations such as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan
(SSP) were the offspring of the Binori Madrassa, which has also been
training a large number of Muslim students from Malaysia, Indonesia
and the Philippines and giving them jihadi inoculation in the
battlefields of Afghanistan. Among the few dead bodies discovered after
the recent OP Anaconda in eastern Afghanistan was that of an Indonesian
jihadi, reportedly trained in Binori.
This pernicious concept
Muslim’s first loyalty is to his religion and then only to the nation
of which he is a citizen.
there is a conflict between considerations of national solidarity
and those of Islamic solidarity, considerations of Islamic solidarity
Muslim does not recognise national frontiers. He or she recognises
only the frontiers of the Ummah. A Muslim has the right and the religious
obligation to go to the assistance of Muslims anywhere in the world
suffering from oppression.
atomic bomb belongs to the Ummah and not to Pakistan alone. Pakistan
has a duty and a religious obligation to share its nuclear knowledge
and technology with other Islamic countries that may need them for
the protection of Islam.
have not only the right, but also the religious obligation to use
WMD for protecting their religion if there was no other way of doing
Bin Laden’s advocacy
of the right and duty of Muslims to seek WMD and to use them, if necessary,
to protect Islam was the result of the influence of the Mullahs of Pakistan,
and particularly of the Binori Madrassa, and his ISI mentors during
his long years of interaction with them since the 1980s. WMD seeking
terrorism is a typical product of the madrassas of Pakistan. One does
not find such irrational ideas about the rights and obligations of Muslims
to acquire and use WMD to protect their religion in the ideologies propagated
by jihadi terrorists in countries not influenced by Pakistan.
The tenor and language
of the highly irresponsible statements recently emanating from Musharraf
and his senior colleagues and officials such as Munir Akram, Pakistan’s
Permanent Representative to the UN, remind one disturbingly of the tenor
and language of the irrational statements emanating from time to time
from bin Laden and the jihadi organisations. They show that nuclear
irrationality is not confined only to bin Laden and his brand of international
terrorists, but is also found in the mindset of Musharraf and other
leaders of Pakistan’s military intelligence establishment.
The international community
and the UNSC should take urgent note of this and impose international
control and inspection over the WMD assets of Pakistan and initiate
action to have them dismantled, to prevent their falling into the hands
of international terrorists. This is a task, which is far more important
and urgent than the task of similar action in Iraq.
1 June 2002
III. OP ENDURING UNCERTAINTY
The US led war against
terrorism, code-named OP Enduring Freedom, is yet to make a decisive
break- through against international terrorist groups forming part of
the Osama bin Laden led International Islamic Front for Jihad Against
the US and Israel. Neither in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the spawning
grounds of these terrorist organisations, nor in southern Philippines,
the most badly affected area in Asia after Afghanistan, Pakistan and
India, have the US led (in Afghanistan and Pakistan) or US guided (in
southern Philippines) offensive actions against the terrorists severely
damaged their morale. Despite losses in manpower and infrastructure,
the elan of the dregs of the Al Qaida, the Taliban and other organisations
in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and of the Abu Sayyaf in the southern
Philippines continues to be undented.
The protection enjoyed
by bin Laden and the dregs of his International Front in the Pashtun
belt on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has frustrated
the efforts of the coalition forces to get at them. While pretending
to cooperate with the US and now also the British forces deployed in
the Pashtun belt on the Afghan side of the border, large sections of
the local population as well as the administrations of Baluchistan,
the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and the Federally Administered
Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan, as well as serving and retired officers
of the local military-intelligence establishment, have been undermining
the effectiveness of the coalition’s operations by covering up the activities
of these dregs on Pakistani territory.
Either President Pervez
Musharraf too is playing a double game or else he has no effective control
over these elements in the military-intelligence establishment, which
while pretending to carry out his orders, have been rendering them ineffective.
I have been repeatedly pointing out that:
safest place for bin Laden and his dregs to take shelter in would
be the FATA and the adjoining tribal areas of Pakistan.
sections, serving as well as retired, of Pakistan’s military-intelligence
establishment have been not only protecting the dregs, but also giving
them advice as to how to conduct their operations and psychological
warfare against the allied forces.
military-intelligence establishment has been deliberately over-estimating
the involvement of Arabs and Chechens and under-estimating the extent
of the Pakistani involvement.
is Pakistani elements, private as well as some from the ISI, which
have been helping the Al Qaida in producing its video cassettes and
sending them to Al Jazeera.
The arrest of Abu Zubaida,
stated to be No. 3 in the Al Qaida, and 19 other members of the Al Qaida
at Faislabad in Punjab on 28 March 2002, provided proof, if further
proof was needed, of the kind of protection enjoyed by the dregs not
only from Pakistani jihadi organisations such as the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen
(HuM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI), the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT)
and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), but also from the mentors of these organisations
in the military-intelligence establishment. It is this protection, which
enabled them to come down to the non-tribal areas in Punjab and take
Well informed police
sources of Punjab allege that among the 16 or so Pakistanis arrested
by the Pakistani security personnel along with Abu Zubaida and subsequently
released, were members of the staff of Al Jazeera attached to the Al
Qaida for helping it to produce its video cassettes and for covering
its activities for the TV. One does not know whether the Pakistani authorities
informed the USA about this and gave the officers of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) an opportunity to question them.
For the first time,
Governor Khalid Maqbool of Punjab, in an interview to the News
(27 April 2002), the prestigious daily of Pakistan, has admitted the
extent of the large Pakistani involvement with the International Islamic
Front. The paper has quoted him as saying: "It is surprising that
around 60-70,000 Pakistanis were engaged in whatever was going on in
Afghanistan." As if the military-intelligence establishment was
not aware of this earlier! It was the establishment which had sent them
into Afghanistan since September 1996, to make Afghanistan an appendage
It was these Pakistanis
who were fighting for bin Laden against the allied forces and the Northern
Alliance, whether it was in Kunduz, Mazar-e-Sharif, Kabul or southern
and eastern Afghanistan. The estimate given by the Governor is much
higher even than that which I had been giving on the basis of my information
As I had mentioned
in the past, the Pakistani media had been estimating that about 6,000
of these Pakistanis were killed in the fighting and 3,000 captured by
the Northern Alliance. My own estimate, based on independent and reliable
information, is that about 8,000 were killed. I have no independent
estimate of those captured by the Northern Alliance.
Thus, out of the 60,000
to 70,000 Pakistanis mentioned by the Governor, only about 11,000 have
been neutralised by the coalition. The remaining 49,000 to 59,000 are
still available to bin Laden and his dregs for their operations against
the allied forces. It is learnt that many of them, mainly Pakistani
Pashtuns and some owing loyalty to Gulbuddin Heckmatyar of the Hizbe
Islami, have managed to be recruited to the new Presidential Guard raised
and trained by the British in Kabul to form the nucleus of an all-ethnic
Afghan Army and are waiting for an opportunity to eliminate Ex-King
Zahir Shah and Hamid Karzai, the head of the interim administration.
The rest of them have
taken shelter in the Pashtun belt on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan
border. Many of them played an active role in the fight against the
Americans in March, 2002, (OP Anaconda). While there have been no major
encounters or clashes after OP Anaconda, these elements, in conjunction
with the dregs of the Al Qaida, have managed to keep up a continuous
level of harassing and intimidatory actions such as firing of rockets
in places such as Kabul, Kandahar and Gardez, circulation of intimidatory
pamphlets, either anonymous or in the name of a hitherto unknown organisation
calling itself the Afghan Al Fatah, etc. With the help of their computer-savvy
supporters in other countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, they have
been trying to maintain the morale of the dregs through websites giving
news of their activities.
The current visit of
Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, to Afghanistan and the statements
and news reports emanating from Washington DC before his visit give
the first indication that the US Government is slowly coming round to
the realisation that threats from international terrorism would not
diminish unless and until the focus of the allied operations is extended
to Pakistan too, instead of remaining confined to Afghanistan only.
There are as yet no
confirmed indications of the actual participation of US military personnel
in ground or air operations on Pakistani territory. However, there has
been a steady increase in US intelligence and covert action personnel
on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan border, many of them US and European
residents of Afghan origin, apparently recruited on the recommendation
of Hamid Karzai. Since the Faislabad raids of 28 March 2002, the US
intelligence and covert action teams have been playing a more activist
role in Pakistani territory - more as guides, spotters, intelligence
collectors, etc than as fighters on the ground.
If the increase in
the presence of such personnel on Pakistani territory continues, it
will not be long before it reaches and possibly even exceeds the level
during the height of the Afghan War of the 1980s against the Soviet
The problem is that
while the US personnel might be able to operate, though with some difficulty,
in Baluchistan and the NWFP, the FATA is hostile territory even for
the Pakistan Army. General Musharraf’s action in covertly permitting
this activist role by US personnel on Pakistani territory, while overtly
denying any such presence and role has not so far met with any opposition
from other Corps Commanders, who have till now gone along with his decisions
However, there is already
some irritation amongst sections of his senior officers over his decision
to retain his second hat as the Chief of the Army Staff after winning
the referendum on his continuance as the President for five years. It
remains to be seen whether these sections try to create difficulties
for him over his increasing clandestine cooperation with the US against
the dregs in Pakistani territory.
Sections of the Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) are definitely trying to undermine his policies and
have been colluding with the dregs. Aware of this ambivalence in the
ISI, the USA has been trying to nudge Musharraf into giving a more active
counter-terrorism, intelligence collection and border security role
for the Intelligence Bureau (IB), which comes under Lieutenant General
(retd) Moinuddin Haider, the Interior Minister, who, like Musharraf,
is a Mohajir. Lieutenant General Ehsanul Haq, the DG of the ISI, is
a Pashtun with a past history of close personal friendship with Qazi
Hussain Ahmed, the Amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).
Haider is scheduled
to visit Washington DC from 7 May 2002, for talks with the Director
of the FBI and his officers. Five US helicopters and three fixed wing
aeroplanes, equipped with latest war and espionage
technology, which are expected to reach Pakistan in June, 2002,
to help in aerial surveillance across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border,
are to function under the control of the Ministry of the Interior and
the ISI will have no control over them. It is proposed to base them
in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan. The USA is also planning to train
a large number of IB officers and have them attached for short periods
to some Latin American countries where the USA is playing an active
role in counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics.
In the southern Philippines,
the three (21 April 2002) explosions in the Christian majority General
Santos City, which resulted in the death of 14 persons, should be a
disturbing indicator to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that the US
presence and assistance have not made the terrorists wilt. The responsibility
for the explosions have been claimed in the name of Harkat-ul-Islamiyah
(HuI) and attributed to the Abu Sayyaf, which has had a long history
of association with the Afghan Mujahideen, the HuM of Pakistan, Osama
bin Laden, is a member of the International Islamic Front.
In the 1990s, many
members of the HuM travelled to the southern Philippines under the cover
of preachers of the Tablighi Jamaat, trained the cadres of the Abu Sayyaf
and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and participated in their
operations against the Philippine security forces. Many of them who
got killed lie buried in Southern Philippines. The HuM continues to
provide assistance to the Abu Sayyaf and, of late, reportedly to the
Abu Sayyaf has had
no difficulty in getting fresh recruits, who are being trained in Southern
Philippines itself by HuM instructors. The projection of the jihad against
the US by the Al Qaida as a new anti-Christian crusade and the support
of the Christian residents of southern Philippines to the presence and
activities of the US troops is aggravating the mental divide between
the Muslims and Christians and driving more Muslim youth into the waiting
arms of the Abu Sayyaf and, possibly, the MILF too.
28 April 2002
OF TRANSNATIONAL CRIME & WAR AGAINST TERRORISM: AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVE
The credit for the recognition
that organised crime should be treated with the same seriousness as
any other threat to national security goes to the Commission on Organised
Crime, headed by Federal Judge Irving Kaufman, which was appointed by
the former US President, Ronald Reagan in 1983 and which submitted its
report in 1986.
In 1995, the then US
President, Bill Clinton, broadened the definition of what constituted
a national security threat to include international crime. Shortly thereafter,
in October of that year, he signed Presidential Decision Directive (PDD)
No 42, directing a cooperative federal effort against international
criminal organisations and money laundering. The US Departments of Justice,
State and the Treasury as well as the US Coast Guard, the National Security
Council, intelligence agencies and other federal entities were instructed
to work together to confront and counter this threat to US national
security and international stability.
On 15 October 1998,
the US Congress passed the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy
Act of 1998. The Act called upon the President, acting through the Secretary
of the Treasury and in consultation with the Attorney General, to develop
a national strategy for combating money laundering and related financial
Another key element
of the International Crime Control Strategy and PDD-42 was the imposition
of sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)
against narcotics traffickers, the entities they own or control, and
those persons acting for them or supporting their narcotics trafficking
activities. In December 1999, Clinton signed the Kingpin Designation
Act that empowers the President to impose sanctions against foreign
drug kingpins so designated.
In 1994, the British
Government too was reported to have accepted a recommendation by Stella
Rimington, the then Director-General of the Security Service (MI-5),
that activities of organised crime groups should be brought within the
definition of possible threats to national security in order to enable
the MI-5 to monitor their activities and help the police and other law-enforcers
in dealing with them. Her suggestion was that only strategic threats
to national security arising from money laundering, organised crime
groups, triads etc should be monitored by the MI-5. She did not want
it to cover tactical financial intelligence relating to violations by
individuals not associated with organised crime groups, which would
continue to be the responsibility of the departments concerned, with
the MI-5 playing no role.
On 9 December 1999,
the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for Suppression
of Financing of Terrorism. It was opened for signature from 10 January
2000 to 31 December 2001. It came into force on 10 April 2002, after
22 member-countries had ratified it. It requires the member-states to
criminalise the provision or collection of funds with the intent that
they be used, or in the knowledge that they are to be used, to conduct
Article 18 of the Convention
requires the member-States to cooperate in the prevention of terrorist
financing by adapting their domestic legislation, if necessary, to prevent
and counter preparations in their respective territories for the commission
of offences specified in Article 2.
Article 18 also encourages
the implementation of numerous measures such as prohibiting accounts
held by or benefiting people unidentified or unidentifiable; verifying
the identity of the real parties to transactions; and requiring financial
institutions to verify the existence and the structure of the customer
by obtaining proof of incorporation; making it obligatory for financial
institutions to report complex or large transactions and unusual patterns
of transactions which have no apparent economic or lawful purpose, without
incurring criminal or civil liability for good faith reporting; requiring
financial institutions to maintain records for five years; supervising
(for example, through licensing) money-transmission agencies; and monitoring
the physical cross-border transportation of cash and bearer negotiable
The December 2000 signing
of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime
in Palermo, Italy, was a recognition by the international community
of the serious threat posed to international security by transnational
organised crime and money laundering. The Convention was signed by over
125 countries and will enter into force after 40 have ratified it.
The UN Convention is
the first legally binding multilateral treaty specifically targeting
transnational organised crime. Its objective is to prevent and combat
it through commonly adopted criminal law techniques and international
cooperation. It requires the member-States to enact laws criminalising
the most prevalent types of criminal conduct associated with organised
crime groups, including money laundering, obstruction of justice, corruption
of public officials and conspiracy. The Article on money laundering
requires the member-states to institute a comprehensive domestic regulatory
and supervisory regime for banks and financial institutions to deter
and detect money laundering. The regime should focus on the need for
customer identification, record keeping and reporting of suspicious
As a result of various
international anti-money laundering measures taken in the late 1990s,
53 countries have set up Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to focus
exclusively on the collection of financial intelligence.
To be effective, action
against organised crime groups has to tackle not only the sources of
their revenue, but also their ability to plough back the ill-gotten
wealth into legitimate sectors of the economy through money laundering.
To promote a coordinated approach to this problem, the G-7 (Canada,
France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA) economic summit of
1989 set up a Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which functions as
a wing of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), Paris. In addition to the G-7, the members of the European Union,
the Gulf Cooperation Council and certain other countries faced with
serious money laundering problems have also joined it. It had 29 members
at the end of 2000. A number of regional FATFs have also come
The annual report for
2000 of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
of the US State Department says, "Money laundering has not only
adverse economic and social consequences, but is also a serious threat
to national security. It provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists,
illegal arms dealers, corrupt public officials and other criminals to
operate and expand their criminal enterprises.
"Crime has become
increasingly international in scope, and the financial aspects of crime
have become more complex, due to rapid advances in technology and the
globalisation of the financial services industry. Modern financial systems,
in addition to facilitating legitimate commerce, permit criminals to
order the transfer of millions of dollars instantly, using personal
computers and satellite dishes.
is not only a law enforcement problem, but poses a serious national
and international security threat as well.
is now being viewed as a central dilemma in dealing with all forms of
international organised crime because financial gain means power. Fighting
money launderers not only reduces financial crime; it also deprives
criminals and terrorists of the means to commit other serious crimes,"
According to the US
report, among new modus operandi which have come into vogue for laundering
illegally-acquired money are:
purchase of "economic citizenships" in order to escape arrest
and extradition to a country where a crime had been committed. Such
"economic citizenships", which can be bought by keeping
a minimum deposit in the country/territory offering them, are now
sold, often through the Internet.
gaming executed via the use of credit cards and offshore banks. Virtual
casinos can be extremely profitable for governments that sell the
licenses and get a share of the operator’s profits.
To enforce a greater
transparency and better oversight over the functioning of the offshore
financial services industry is the objective of two recent international
The first is the Financial
Stability Forum (FSF) set up in 1999 at the initiative of the G-7 Finance
Ministers to promote international financial stability through information
exchange and international cooperation in financial supervision and
surveillance. At its first meeting in April 1999, the FSF established
a Working Group on Offshore Financial Centres (OFCs) to consider the
significance of OFCs in relation to global financial stability. In its
report of April 2000, it placed the OFCs into the following three groups
depending on the level of transparency and supervision to which they
I: Cooperative OFCs with high quality supervision.
II: Potentially cooperative OFCs with low quality supervision.
III: Non-cooperative OFCs with low quality supervision.
The IMF agreed in July
2000 to a programme that contemplates three levels of assessment to
review principally the supervisory and regulatory arrangements in place
for banking, securities and insurance activities in countries placed
in Groups II and III. The first level would be a self-assessment, the
second an assessment led by the IMF and the third, a more complex assessment,
also to be led by the IMF. Participation in the programme would be voluntary
and no IMF assessment would be made public unless the assessed jurisdiction
voluntarily agrees to its release.
The second initiative
was by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Money Laundering. Following
the G-7 Finance Ministers 1998 Birmingham Summit, the FATF set up an
Ad Hoc Group on Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT.) After
a detailed review by the Ad Hoc Group, the FATF at its June 2000 Plenary
identified 15 jurisdictions as non-cooperative in the international
fight against money laundering. All but three of them are OFCs.
Fourteen other jurisdictions, all OFCs, were identified as having deficiencies,
but were not placed on the non-cooperative list.
At the July 2000, G-7
Finance Ministers Summit held in Japan, the participating countries
issued advisories to all their financial institutions to "give
enhanced scrutiny" to financial and business transactions involving
the above-mentioned 15 countries, which were declared as non-cooperative.
In October 2000, 11
world banks agreed to a set of anti-money laundering guidelines
— known as the "Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles"
— for private banking activities. The guidelines state at the outset,
"bank policy will be to prevent the use of its worldwide operations
for criminal purposes." The participating banking organisations
are hopeful that other banking organisations and financial institutions
will adopt these anti-money laundering principles.
The FATF acts as a
nodal agency for studying the experiences of the member-countries and
others in tackling money laundering, identifying legal and administrative
loopholes and making recommendations on how to better deal with this
problem. Initially, its charter covered only money laundering by narcotics
smugglers, but this was expanded in January 1994, to cover money laundering
by all organised crime groups.
This expansion was
due to an apprehension amongst the member-governments that while narcotics
smuggling "is still the single most important source of criminal
proceeds, white collar crime is emerging as a problem of almost equal
seriousness." Amongst examples of such white collar crime are invoice
manipulation, counterfeiting of currency notes, bonds etc, manipulation
of stock exchanges, futures and commodity markets, bank frauds, bankruptcies
and so on.
There has also been
concern over the fact that as Switzerland and other countries, with
long traditions of secrecy of banking transactions, tighten their laws
and procedures, money launderers have started using banks of other countries
where financial law enforcement is weak as well as non-banking methods
for ploughing their criminal proceeds into legitimate sectors of the
Suspicion has been
voiced that money launderers have been trying to subvert banks and other
financial institutions by having their nominees placed at decision-making
levels and through equity-participation in order to use them for their
purposes. Amongst the non-banking channels reportedly being used by
them are the commodity markets such as the coffee market in Latin America,
car dealerships, leasing companies, insurance companies, construction
There has also been
concern amongst financial law-enforcers that organised crime groups
may benefit from the trend towards rapid globalisation, introduction
of information technology in the operation of financial institutions
without adequate control and creation of new free trade groups.
In a reference to these
concerns, the report on money laundering during 1994 submitted by the
Clinton Administration to the US Congress said, "There are few
controls on electronic transfers and, compounding the problem, the bank
(or non-bank) of origin is increasingly based in a non-major financial
centre which does not adequately control money laundering and other
financial crimes….The implementation of free trade agreements / compacts
and creation of trading / economic zones, especially cross-border agreements,
could increase the use of international trade as a mechanism for laundering
the proceeds of criminal enterprises." Not so explicitly expressed
in the report was the concern over the possibility of the simplification
of customs, banking and other procedures and visa rules for businessmen
in free trade areas being misused by organised crime group leaders masquerading
TERRORISM & TRANSNATIONAL
Before explaining the Indian
experience, it would be useful to cite in detail the views of Neal
A Pollard, Director, Terrorism Research Centre of the USA, as expressed
by him in a recent study on "Counter-terrorism and Transnational
Organised Crime: Implications of Convergence". This study brings
out lucidly why any nexus between the terrorist organisations and transnational
crime groups should be of concern to counter-terrorism experts. He states
"For the foreseeable
future there will probably remain significant differences between terrorist
and other "common" (i.e., motivated by greed) criminal groups
in objectives and methods. After all, terrorism is a political crime,
and by definition differs from other crimes in that the beneficiary
and the perpetrator are frequently different people. In addition, terrorist
groups organise quite differently — in operations and logistics — than
organised crime syndicates. However, there may be connections of efficacy
that have a profound evolutionary effect on the way both terrorist groups
and other criminal syndicates organise to do business. Such an evolution
holds implications for governments constructing strategies to counter
are currently interacting with transnational organised crime syndicates,
especially narcotics cartels. Peruvian Shining Path and Colombian FARC
guerrillas have provided mercenary security support for narcotics production
and trafficking lines in South America, and there is strong evidence
that the Palestinian PFLP-GC has been using its infrastructure in Lebanon
to support drug trafficking. In return, these terrorist groups receive
enormous amounts of money, more so than in "traditional" fund-raising
operations such as kidnapping and bank robbery — operations that are
far riskier than supporting narcotics trafficking. Furthermore, this
interaction offers smuggling routes long established and tested by crime
syndicates for drug and arms running, potentially providing terrorists
with logistical infrastructure to clandestinely move people, arms and
"Taken to its
logical end, there might be a natural partnership between some terrorist
groups and transnational organised crime syndicates. Organised crime
syndicates frequently have access to and influence with political leaders,
making such syndicates beneficial to terrorist groups that would seek
to influence and intimidate, rather than destroy, a government. In return,
organised crime syndicates can exploit terrorist campaigns, for the
power vacuum present in regional instability, as a paramilitary wing
of the syndicate, or to further coerce a weak government to "look
the other way." As offshore banks and inner city laundromats were
once notorious mob fronts, so may terrorist campaigns become operational
fronts for organised crime. Such a trend would find a welcome home in
many former Soviet republics whose governments are fertile grounds for
corruption and organised crime — regimes which once depended upon the
backing of the military for "legitimacy" and political survival
will find themselves relying on warlords or crime lords now. Indeed,
we may see the rise of superficial terrorist campaigns serving as "fronts"
for regional organised crime syndicates; campaigns that do not truly
seek a political objective save that of creating a climate of anarchy
and fear in which it is impossible for local law enforcement to prosecute
or even hinder organised crime operations.
the objectives and methods of terrorist groups remain significantly
different than those of transnational organised crime syndicates. Terrorist
groups generally seek an overthrow of the status quo, using spectacular
operations that seek to attract the attention of the world. Transnational
criminal organisations derive their power through a low profile, working
within the existing structure, seeking not to attract the attention
of "legitimate" powers. However, criminal syndicates do work
for money, and there is no clear reason, given the right price, that
such syndicates would not lend their logistical, communications, and
transportation infrastructures to support terrorist operations.
"This holds two
important implications for US counter-terrorism strategy. Firstly, if
terrorist groups increasingly interact with organised crime syndicates,
they may evolve organisationally, to adapt to such interaction. Such
an organisational evolution would require a re-thinking of infiltration
and targeting strategies as terrorist organisations come to resemble
more closely, for example, the narcotics cartels in South America.
is a trend of increasing lethality of terrorist attacks. The logical
end of this trend is, of course, terrorist use of WMD. If terrorist
interaction with transnational crime syndicates is successful enough — especially
with narcotics traffickers — the infrastructures of these interactions
might be robust enough to provide terrorists with real opportunities
for WMD proliferation, including the introduction of a weapon of mass
destruction into the United States."
THE INDIAN EXPERIENCE
Threats to national, regional
and international security and peace from transnational crime groups
arise due to the following factors:
to economic security and well being due to their activities such as
smuggling, counterfeiting of currency, money laundering, tax evasion
etc. Economic security is now viewed all over the world as an essential
component of national security.
to ethics of governance and the health of democracy due to their
activities such as the acquisition of political influence, corrupting
public servants and distorting of the governmental and regulatory
processes through the use of their illegitimate power derived from
the proceeds of their crime.
to the integrity of the free market due to their activities such as
organised violations of intellectual property rights in order to enhance
their earnings through the sale of counterfeit music discs, video
cassettes, computer software and other consumer articles on a large
to the health and future well being of society through the production,
smuggling and sale of narcotics.
to law and order and political stability due to their nexus with domestic
and international terrorist groups and the dangers of this nexus leading
to the transnational crime groups making available to interested terrorist
organisations the funds required by them for the clandestine acquisition
of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
sponsorship and use of transnational crime groups by certain states
in order to achieve their strategic objectives against adversaries
and to meet their own economic difficulties.
While the first four
factors have received considerable attention from the international
community, the last two have not received the attention they deserve.
In this connection, the experience of India could be of interest.
The transnational crime
groups (TCGs), which are of concern to India, can be divided into the
following two categories:
TCGs, whose activities are confined to India and its immediate neighbours,
mainly, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. These
groups are essentially of professional smugglers, indulging in the
smuggling of consumer articles, precious metals, chemicals used for
heroin extraction, narcotics, and counterfeit currency. They operate
either independently or as part of much larger multinational TCGs.
TCGs, whose activities are spread over a much wider geographic area
covering not only India and its immediate neighbours, but also other
countries of the region, particularly in the Gulf area and in South-East
Asia (SEA). While the smuggling of the articles mentioned above continues
to constitute an important, if not the most important, source of their
revenue, they have been increasingly acquiring a foothold in legitimate
sectors of the economy through their illegitimately acquired money
power. Such legitimate sectors include the film and the music industry
in Mumbai (Bombay), the travel industry in Nepal etc. There have also
been suspicions and allegations of their penetration into the airline
Since the early 1980s,
a nexus has developed between these two categories of TCGs and terrorist
organisations operating against India due to the following reasons:
dependence of terrorist organisations on the cross-border TCGs for
assistance in matters such as identification of safe areas and timings
for clandestine border crossings without interception by the Indian
security forces, transport of arms and ammunition across the border
so that the terrorists do not have to carry them personally, couriers
of messages, procurement of communication equipment, explosive material,
dependence of the terrorist organisations on the multinational TCGs
for assistance in matters such as procurement of genuine travel documents
through their influence with the political leadership and security
bureaucracy, conversion of currency and transmission of funds, transport
of arms and ammunition by sea, clandestine travel to their training
camps in Pakistan by air or sea through third countries, without
their travel being recorded on their passports through the complicity
of the immigration personnel of Pakistan, etc.
dependence of the TCGs on the terrorist organisations for the procurement
of narcotics from the heroin barons of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
adoption by the TCGs and terrorist organisations of the kidnapping
of businessmen and other rich people for ransom in order to augment
their sources of revenue and particularly to meet their urgent or
unanticipated requirements for money.
POLITICAL / STATE COMPLICITY
A matter of growing concern
is political / state complicity with organised crime groups, whether
purely domestic or transnational, to achieve objectives which cannot
be achieved without money power. The political complicity has taken
the form of the suspected use of the ill-gotten proceeds of organised
crime groups to meet the expenditure on election campaigns. The resulting
obligation of political leaders to organised crime groups tends to soften
action against such groups and aggravates threats to national security.
While there is increasing awareness of this danger, there is need for
meaningful efforts to eliminate it by limiting expenditure on elections
and by strict controls over the flow of money for political purposes
in order to identify the source of the flow and rule out a criminal
origin. The democratic process is becoming increasingly prohibitive
in cost and this has allegedly been driving sections of political leaders
into the welcoming arms of organised crime groups to find money to sustain
their political influence.
State complicity with
TCGs takes two forms:
benefiting from the criminal earnings of the TCGs in order to meet
the economic difficulties of the State through methods such as awarding
economic citizenships, providing sanctuaries to evade arrest and extradition
to other countries, etc in return for the TCG leaders’ keeping a minimum
deposit in foreign currency in the banks of the State-accomplice.
and use of TCGs to achieve the strategic objectives of the State against
national adversaries. Such use is in the form of using the TCGs to
distort the economies of adversary-States through means such as counterfeiting
and dissemination of the currency of the adversary-state and encouraging
the TCGs given protection and sanctuary to act in tandem with terrorist
organisations given similar protection and sanctuary.
The most dramatic examples
of the State-sponsorship and use of TCGs for achieving strategic objectives were
provided by the series of explosions in Mumbai (Bombay) in March 1993,
and by the attack on the security personnel guarding the American Centre
in Kolkata (Calcutta) on 22 January 2002.
The notorious TCG headed by Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian national, was
involved in the Mumbai explosions of 1993 and a newly emerged group
headed by Aftab Ansari, another Indian national, in the attack on the
security personnel outside the American Centre in 2002. Aftab Ansari
is linked to Omar Sheikh, a British national of Pakistani origin, closely
allied to Osama bin Laden. Omar Sheikh is now being tried in Pakistan
for allegedly masterminding the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl,
the American journalist of the Wall Street Journal.
THE DAWOOD IBRAHIM GANG
Before March 1993, the
Dawood Ibrahim group, which indulges in large-scale smuggling,
money laundering and other criminal activities, was operating from Dubai.
In March 1993, this group organised at the instance of the Inter-Services
Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan a series of explosions directed at important
economic targets in Mumbai - such as the local stock exchange, which
is the biggest in India, a local hotel for tourists run by the Air India,
revealed that the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism, all Indian
nationals, had been recruited at the instance of the ISI by Dawood
Ibrahim in Mumbai, taken to Pakistan via Dubai for training in the use
of arms and ammunition and explosives and then sent back to Mumbai via
Dubai. The Pakistani Consulate in Dubai issued them plain paper visas
so that their passports did not carry any entries of their visit to
Pakistan for training. However, Indian investigators managed to get
photocopies of the passenger manifests of the flights by which they
went to Pakistan via Dubai for training. After they returned to Mumbai
from Pakistan after the training, the explosives and other arms and
ammunition required by them for organising the terrorist attacks were
sent by the ISI by boat with the help of Dawood Ibrahim and clandestinely
landed on the western coast of India.
After carrying out
the explosions, the perpetrators escaped to Pakistan, some via
Dubai and some via Kathmandu, and were given sanctuary in Karachi by
the ISI. When the Government of India took up with the Dubai authorities
the question of the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim, the Dubai authorities
pressured him to leave their territory. He took shelter in Karachi and
has been living there since then along with some of the perpetrators,
who have been given Pakistani passports under different names. Repeated
requests by the Government of India to Islamabad for arresting and extraditing
/ deporting them to India have been turned down by Pakistan, which denies
their presence in Pakistani territory. Red-cornered notices of the Interpol
for their arrest have not been honoured by Pakistan.
This matter was again
taken up by the Government of India with President Pervez Musharraf
of Pakistan when he visited India in July last. He denied their presence
on Pakistani territory. Subsequently, Newsline, a prestigious
Pakistani monthly, in its issue for September 2001, carried a detailed
article on their presence and activities in Karachi. The Pakistani media
reported that the journalist who wrote this article (Ghulam Hasnain) was
detained and harassed by the Pakistani authorities.
The article stated
as follows: "Dawood Ibrahim and his team, Mumbai’s notorious underworld
clan, including his right hand man Chota Shakeel and Jamal Memon, are
on India’s most wanted list for a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai and
other criminal activities. After the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, the gang
have made Karachi their new home and operating base. Living under fake
names and IDs (identities), and given protection by government agencies,
they have built up their underworld operations in Karachi employing
local talent like Shoaib and Bholoo.
Dawood managed to establish another huge empire, comprising both legitimate
and illegitimate businesses. In fact, the last few years have witnessed
Dawood emerge as the don of Karachi. Dawood and his men have made heavy
investments in prime properties in Karachi and Islamabad and are major
players in the Karachi bourse and in the parallel credit system business
- hundi. Dawood is also said to have rescued Pakistan’s Central Bank,
which was in crisis at one point, by providing a huge dollar loan. His
businesses include gold and drug smuggling. The gang is also allegedly
heavily involved in (cricket) match-fixing."
The article added:
"Not only have the Pakistani authorities turned a blind eye to
the gang’s activities within Pakistan, but many in the corridors of
power have partaken of Dawood’s hospitality... He is said to have the
protection of assorted intelligence agencies. In fact, Dawood and his
men move around the city guarded by heavy escorts of armed men in civvies
believed to be personnel of a top Pakistani security agency. A number
of Government undercover agents, who came into contact with Dawood because
of their official duties, are now, in fact, working for him. Nearly
all the men, who surround him for security reasons, are either retired
or serving officers, claims an MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) activist."
The article further
said: "According to informed sources, Dawood is Pakistan’s number
one espionage operative. His men in Mumbai help him get whatever information
he needs for Pakistan. Rumour has it that sometimes his men in Karachi
accompany Pakistani intelligence agents to the airports to scan arriving
passengers and identify RAW (Indian external intelligence) agents."
(End of citation from the article)
Though the laws of
Pakistan do not provide for "economic citizenships", the Pakistan
Government informally provides them to international criminals and terrorists,
who maintain a minimum dollar deposit in Pakistani banks and help the
Government. Dawood Ibrahim, who had reportedly lent money to Pakistan
in the past for the clandestine procurement of missiles and connected
technology from China and North Korea, has been given informal "economic
citizenship" in order to protect him from the arms of the Indian
law and provided with a Pakistani passport under a different name.
After the terrorist
attack on the Indian Parliament on 13 December 2001, the Government
of India has given to Pakistan a list of 20 terrorists, wanted for trial
in India, who have been given sanctuary in Pakistan. The list includes
the names of Dawood Ibrahim and other members of his mafia group wanted
for trial in connection with the explosions in Mumbai in March 1993
and other crimes. Pakistan continues to take the stand that they are
not in its territory.
It is alleged that
Dawood Ibrahim played an active role in organising the recent referendum
campaign of Musharraf in Karachi and in bringing voters to the polling
booths in trucks to vote for Musharraf.
THE AFTAB ANSARI GANG
Aftab Ansari was a small-time
mafia leader, as compared to Dawood Ibrahim, till he came into contact
with Omar Sheikh in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail in 1994. Omar Sheikh, along
with Maulana Masood Azhar, now the leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad
(JeM), and another person was released by the Government of India in
December 1999, in response to the demands of a group of terrorists belonging
to the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), the parent organisation of the JeM,
who had hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan.
They crossed over into
Pakistan and resumed their terrorist activities - Maulana Azhar as the
leader of the JeM and Omar Sheikh as the head of an office of bin Laden
set up in Lahore. Omar Sheikh frequently travelled to Kandahar to meet
Aftab Ansari, who also
came out of jail, travelled to Pakistan via Dubai and resumed contacts
with Omar Sheikh. The two started acting in tandem - Aftab Ansari and
his gang indulging in kidnapping for ransom and sharing the proceeds
with Omar Sheikh and acting as surrogates for Omar Sheikh’s terrorist
operations in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and other parts of India
and Omar helping Aftab Ansari in securing a Pakistani passport under
a different name and in acquiring property in Pakistan with his share
of the extortion / ransom proceeds.
One of the terrorist
operations mounted by Aftab Ansari at the instance of Omar Sheikh, in
Indian territory was the attack on the security personnel guarding the
American Centre in Kolkata (Calcutta) on 22 January 2002. Aftab Ansari
was subsequently arrested by the Dubai authorities while trying to fly
to Karachi and deported to India, where he is presently under investigation.
Omar Sheikh is presently under trial in Hyderabad, Sindh, in Pakistan,
for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl.
Describing the interrogation
of Omar Sheikh by the Karachi Police, the News, the prestigious
daily of Islamabad, reported as follows on 18 February 2002: "Claiming
that his ‘brothers’ were making their presence felt and would continue
to do so on every inch of Indian landscape, Omar has shocked his investigators
by narrating his role and that of his ‘jihadi colleagues’, in the bomb
explosion outside the State Assembly building in Srinagar in October
last and the shooting incidents in the compound of the Indian Parliament
in New Delhi and outside the American Centre building in Kolkata in
December and January last.
to various police officials here (Karachi) and in Lahore over the past
one week, Sheikh Omar not only briefed his police interrogators on his
role in the Pearl kidnapping case and on the terrorist strikes in India,
but also provided police officials specific details of his travel to
Afghanistan a few days after September 11 to have a personal meeting
with Osama bin Laden near Jalalabad.
hide, police officials said, his ties with several other Arab associates
of Osama. Several independent reports and interrogation of two other
suspects in the Daniel Pearl kidnapping case have independently confirmed
Omar’s deep connections with the Taliban leadership and his status as
warfare instructor in one of the key training facilities in Afghanistan.
"Salam Saqib and
Sheikh Adil, two key suspects who had played the central role in sending
two e-mails attached with the photographs of the kidnapped Wall Street
Journal reporter, have told the police that Sheikh Omar was widely respected
in Afghanistan and was considered a role model even for the most
famous warriors in the Pakistani jihadi community.
"Sheikh Omar provided
police with unsolicited specific details about his connections and relationship
with Aftab Ansari — chief suspect in the Kolkata shooting case. Giving
details of his communications with Aftab Ansari to police investigators,
just a few days before the shooting incident in Kolkata, Sheikh said
he had cultivated Ansari while they were both jailed in New Delhi’s
Tihar prison in the late nineties.
shooting incident inside the Indian Parliament building, which had left
17 people including five unidentified attackers killed on 13 December,
Sheikh Omar is understood to have offered police officials the real
identities of the Kashmiri militants who had stormed the Indian Parliament
with an aim at making Indian parliamentarians hostage to seek the release
of all Kashmiri freedom fighters from Indian prisons.
"Sheikh Omar said
the militant who gave his life while exploding a bomb-laden car just
outside the State Assembly building in Srinagar on 2 October was "more
than a brother to me". Omar said the deceased suicide bomber was
a Pakistani who had devoted his life to the freedom struggle in Kashmir.
interrogation, Sheikh Omar continued to repeat that ‘thousands of people
were now ready in India and Pakistan to sacrifice their lives to free
Kashmir from India and to turn Pakistan into an ideal Islamic state’."
The ISI exercised pressure
on the editor of the newspaper not to publish this, but he rejected
their pressure and published it. The ISI then pressurised the owner
of the newspaper to sack the editor, who has run away to the US fearing
a threat to his life from the ISI. It also forced the officers of the
Karachi Police to deny that Omar had made any such confession.
Asif Reza Khan, a close
associate of Aftab Ansari, told the police in India during his interrogation:
"Aftab confirmed to me that leaders of different militant outfits
in Pakistan were trying to use his network for the purpose of jihad,
whereas he (Ansari) was trying to use the militants’ networks for underworld
Another terrorist organisation
with strongly suspected links to TCGs in Pakistan is the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of Sri Lanka. Narcotics smuggling is an
important source of its revenue. It helps the Pakistan-based jihadi
organisations and heroin barons in the smuggling of heroin by its ships
in return for the supply of arms and ammunition. In its report for the
year 2000 on the Patterns of Global Terrorism released to the public
on 30 April 2001, the US State Department states as follows on the LTTE:
"Information obtained since the mid 1980s indicates that some Tamil
communities in Europe are also involved in narcotics smuggling. Tamils
have historically served as drug couriers moving narcotics into Europe."
THE ARMS BAZAAR
An important source of
revenue for the Pakistan-based TCGs is the procurement and
sale of arms and ammunition. The procurement is made from Pakistani
military stocks, with the complicity of the Pakistani military intelligence
establishment, as well as from a flourishing illegal arms producing
industry, which has come up at Dera Adam Khel in the North-West Frontier
Province (NWFP) of Pakistan since the days of the Afghan War of the
A Task Force of the
Pakistan Government headed by Lieutenant General Imtiaz Shaheen,
then Director-General of the Pakistan Rangers and who subsequently became
the Corps Commander, 11 Corps, at Peshawar, had strongly recommended
action against illegal manufacture of, and trade in, arms and
ammunition. He strongly expressed the view that if Pakistan continued
to tolerate these smugglers, who enjoyed the protection of the Islamic
organisations, there could ultimately be a serious threat to Pakistan’s
own national security. However, this report has not been implemented
so far due to opposition from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and other religious
organisations. The producers and smugglers of arms and ammunition are
major contributors to the funds of the religious parties, who ensured
through pressure on the military intelligence establishment, that the
report of the Task Force was not implemented.
When despite their
pressure, Lieutenant General Shaheen, as Corps Commander at Peshawar,
tried to act against the producers and smugglers of arms and ammunition
at Dera Adam Khel, the JeI managed to have him transferred out of Peshawar
to the GHQ, Rawalpindi, as the Chief of Logistics Staff in April 2001,
within 14 months of his taking over as the Corps Commander.
- THE PLUS & THE MINUS
The post 11 September 2001
developments have had the following spin-off benefits for India and
other victim States of terrorism sponsored by an external power:
has come to be recognised by the international community that terrorism
is an absolute evil, whatever be its objective, and has, therefore,
to be combated as such. Even President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan
had to say in his televised address of 12 January 2002, that terrorism
could not be justified even for promoting the so-called Kashmiri
purely legalistic approach to the question of blocking terrorist
funding has given way to a more pragmatic approach, with actions
now being taken against suspected terrorist accounts even on
the basis of strong suspicion instead of waiting, as in the past,
till legally sustainable evidence was forthcoming.
reticence with regard to intelligence sharing, which restricted such
sharing only to tactical or preventive intelligence, has given
way to a greater willingness to share even strategic intelligence
that might enable the recipient country to neutralise the infrastructure
of the terrorist organisations.
and public opinion in the third world countries has come to accept
that the US has to play the leadership role in the war against
terrorism through international cooperation because of its vast
manpower and financial resources, gadgetry and expertise. Whereas
past cooperation with the US in counter-terrorism was discreet, informal
and often paperless lest open knowledge of such cooperation create
political controversies, the post 11 September cooperation is
increasingly open, formal and well structured. Past concerns over
the likely public fall out if knowledge of such cooperation became
public have either disappeared or are in the process of doing so.
At the same time, there
are some uncomfortable aspects of international cooperation as it has
developed since 11 September 2001:
unilateralism of the US in deciding on the parameters of the cooperation
and the ground action without any or adequate consultations with
the other members of the international community.
selectivity of the US in sharing with the other nations the intelligence
gathered by it through interrogation and other methods in Afghanistan
and a reluctance to give other nations free access to the documentary
evidence gathered in Afghanistan.
focus of the cooperation is mainly directed against terrorist organisations,
which are allied with bin Laden’s Al Qaida and which are perceived
to be posing a threat to US and other countries. Adequate attention
has not been given to other terrorist organisations, with no known
or suspected links to the Al Qaida, which pose a threat to other
countries but not to the USA.
The developing international
cooperation has been at the political as well as the professional levels,
at the multilateral as well as the bilateral levels. Regional organisations
such as the European Union (EU), the SAARC and the ASEAN have made counter-terrorism
a principal point of their preoccupation. New
organisations such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation have given
the nuts and bolts professional cooperation the needed thrust and political
At the multilateral
level, the UN and other international organisations have been more active
than in the past in giving shape to the developing international counter-terrorism
cooperation. On 12 September 2001, the UN General Assembly, by consensus
of the 189 member-states, had called for international cooperation to
prevent and eradicate acts of terrorism and to hold accountable the
perpetrators of terrorism and those who harbour or support them.
The same day, the Security Council unanimously determined, for
the first time ever, any act of international terrorism to be a threat
to international peace and security. This determination laid the foundation
for Security Council action to bring together the international community
under a common set of obligations in the fight to end international
On 28 September 2001,
the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1373 under Chapter
VII of the UN Charter. This established a body of legally binding obligations
on all member-states. Its provisions require, among other things,
that all member-states prevent the financing of terrorism and deny safe
haven to terrorists. States will need to review and strengthen their
border security operations, banking practices, customs and immigration
procedures, law enforcement and intelligence cooperation, and arms transfer
controls. All States are required to increase cooperation and share information
with respect to these efforts.
The resolution reaffirms
the principle established by the UN General Assembly in its declaration
of October 1970 (Resolution 2625 (XXV)) and reiterated by the Security
Council in its Resolution 1189 (1998) of 13 August 1998, namely that
every State has the duty to refrain from organising, instigating, assisting
or participating in terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in
organised activities within its territory directed towards the commission
of such acts. It also notes with concern the close connection between
international terrorism and transnational organised crime, illicit drugs,
money laundering, illegal arms trafficking, and illegal movement of
nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials,
and "in this regard emphasises the need to enhance coordination
of efforts on national, sub regional, regional and international levels
in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and
threat to international security."
It also established
a committee of the Security Council, consisting of all the members of
the Council, to monitor the implementation of this resolution, with
the assistance of appropriate expertise, and called upon all States
to report to the Committee on the steps they have taken to implement
the resolution. This Committee is assisted by a group of four experts
drawn from different member-countries
The Interpol’s role
in the fight against international terrorism started from its 54th
General Assembly in Washington DC in 1985 when Resolution AGN/54/RES/1 was
passed calling for the creation of a specialised group within its then
Police Division to ‘…coordinate and enhance cooperation in combating
international terrorism….’ The resolution also called for the preparation
of an instruction manual "outlining the practical possibilities
that currently exist for cooperation in dealing with terrorist cases."
Its Public Safety and
Terrorism sub-directorate (PST), which consequently came into being, deals
with matters relating to terrorism, firearms & explosives, attacks
and threats against civil aviation, maritime piracy and weapons of mass
Subsequently, the Interpol
adopted the Cairo Declaration Against Terrorism of 1998, the Resolution
on the Financing of Terrorism of 1999 and the Budapest Resolution
of September 2001, on the 11 September 2001 terrorist strikes in the
USA. While inaugurating the 6th annual Interpol symposium on terrorism
at Lyon, France, held on 22 and 23 October 2001, Willy
Deridder, Executive Director of the Interpol, explained the role
of the Interpol as follows:
"The events of
11 September have triggered the early creation of a permanence, or 24-hour
duty, a new Interpol Command Centre, and an internal task force. The
General Secretariat is now able to handle all requests from our member
countries on a 24-hour, 7 days a week basis. This illustrates the commitment
of the organisation to be a full-fledged police organisation.
"Since the attacks
of 11 September, the General Secretariat has issued more than 55 Red
Notices for terrorists who have committed, or were connected to, global
terrorist attacks. These Red Notices, issued for terrorists, continue
to be Interpol’s highest priority. The General Secretariat thinks that
the issuance of Blue Notices should also become more important in the
future. I am specifically referring here to the Blue Notices of the
19 presumed hijackers issued with the consent of the USNCB and placed
on our improved website. (Writer’s comment: Red Notice is a request
for arrest and extradition, Blue Notice is a request for information,
Analysis Sub-Directorate began a 24-hour coverage and prepared daily
intelligence reports used to provide briefings to the Secretary General
and the senior staff.
"Despite all of
these activities however, important topics remain to be tackled in the
fight against global terrorism. In this respect, I would like to challenge
each of you to identify and to come to agreement on what Interpol should
be doing to foster the increased police cooperation necessary to address
the terrorism problem. We are hopeful that proposals regarding databases,
necessary forums, and international conventions fostering cooperation
will come out of this symposium.
"Let us focus
on some of these topics:
"First, we need
to prevent and dismantle the financing of global terrorism. This area
provides a huge niche for Interpol to fill, namely the coordination
of operational activities and the development of a more proactive role
in combating the financial flows linked to terrorism. In addition, Interpol
can also respond to needs such as determining structures and operations
related to money laundering. In this regard, qualitative studies regarding
alternative remittance systems can be carried out. Examples of this
are: A report entitled, The Hawala Alternative Remittance System
and its Role in Money Laundering was disseminated in January 2000.
Also, another study on Sub-Systems of Ethnic Money Laundering in
Interpol Member Countries on the Asian Continent is about to be
organisations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) have, in
the area of financing of terrorism, a leading role to play in setting
standards and effecting the necessary changes in legislation and the
"Just as a reminder
of how complicated this can be, global terrorism is now funded differently
as compared to its funding mechanisms 25 years ago. Terrorists now use
complicated networks that are not specific to them. Globalisation and
new technologies have created beneficial opportunities for them as well.
In addition, completely legal donors can fund terrorist groups through
perfectly legitimate-looking charity donations that ultimately end up
in the hands of terrorists.
important topic is the exchange of information between the General Secretariat
and our member countries. It cannot be over-emphasised that the support
the General Secretariat can give to our member countries depends greatly
upon the information it receives from them. In an area such as terrorism,
just as it is in other criminal areas, the flow of information from
our member countries to the General Secretariat is insufficient.
"At the General
Secretariat, we are fully aware that the information supply of the General
Secretariat depends on many different factors, amongst which is the
cooperation between law enforcement agencies, between the latter and
intelligence services, and on relations with magistrates. These are
all issues that need to be treated at a national level. In the meantime,
however, it would be useful if you could help us by providing guidance
on how to organise our database to assist us in providing and managing
improved terrorism-related data, including nominal data, and helping
to determine exactly what our position should be on maintaining data
not directly related to criminal activity, but which could be useful
for prevention strategies against terrorism.
"In addition to
looking at the financing of terrorism and information sharing, proposals
for fostering police cooperation are expected. Without being exhaustive,
I shall mention only a few:
"We need to improve
and strengthen controls at external borders. As part of the already
mentioned Budapest Resolution, the General Secretariat has been invited
to establish a new international database of stolen, counterfeit, and
forged identity documents. What are the thoughts of this symposium on
safety and security need to be improved. Should Interpol create a special
aviation safety database on our secure website, containing data useful
to preventing future terrorist hijacking scenarios?"
On 11 April 2002, the
Interpol launched a new terrorism initiative by establishing an
Interpol Terrorism Watch List for immediate secure access by Interpol
offices and authorised police agencies in its 179 member countries.
This new Watch List will permit instant access by authorised police
agencies to information on fugitive terrorists and suspected terrorists.
The Interpol Watch List comprises an exhaustive centralised list of
those persons who are subject to Interpol notices issued for arrest
(red), location (blue) and information (green). In addition, the Terrorism
Watch List will include over 5,000 passports reported stolen and which
are frequently used by terrorists to move around the world undetected.
The Watch List is only available for scrutiny by police officers given
specialised access codes.
On 17 November 2001,
the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the Board of Governors
of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called on each IMF member to
freeze all terrorist assets within its jurisdiction and to implement
fully UNSCR 1373. Members are to publish monthly reports listing terrorist
assets subject to freezing and the amount of assets frozen.
The networking at the
professional level is even more important than that at the political
level. Such professional networking has to be at the multilateral as
well as bilateral levels. The multilateral networking would take care
of development of appropriate concepts, technologies and databases,
mutual legal assistance in dealing with terrorism, exchange of training
facilities, etc. For this purpose, the creation of a separate International
Counter-Terrorism Organisation (ICTO) is necessary, jointly funded,
staffed and led by the members of the international coalition against
cooperation has to be at the bilateral levels and cannot be the subject
of multilateral discussions since leakages could come in the way of
the effectiveness of such cooperation, which may involve ideas such
as the mounting of joint operations to penetrate terrorist organisations
to improve the quality of available human intelligence (HUMINT).
While a networked infrastructure
for international cooperation against terrorist groups has thus been
evolving, the progress towards cooperation against transnational crime
groups with nexus with terrorist organisations has been much slower.
Similarly, the UN, the Interpol and other international organisations
are yet to evolve a satisfactory mechanism for scrutinising the compliance
reports submitted by the member-countries to the UN Monitoring Committee,
the Interpol and others and to ensure compliance in letter and spirit,
instead of merely proforma compliance, which defeats the very purpose
of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373.
The absence of provisions
for punitive action against States, which cooperate only selectively
- that is, they cooperate against terrorism and TCGs endangering the
US, but not against those threatening other States - and which continue
to use terrorist organisations and TCGs for achieving their strategic
objectives against their State adversaries tends to render the war against
5 May 2002
V. THE LTTE: THE METAMORPHOSIS
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
of Sri Lanka uses effectively the modus operandi (MO) of an insurgent
as well as a terrorist organisation.
As an insurgent organisation,
it has a hierarchical political and military structure and a fighting
force organised on the patterns of a conventional people’s liberation
army. It seeks to secure and retain territorial control over the area
in which the people for whom it claims to be fighting live and to establish
the paraphernalia of a state/administrative structure over the area
under its control. Organisations, which rely exclusively on intimidation
and terror for achieving their objective, generally do not have any
of these characteristics. They avoid a rigidly hierarchical structure,
territorial control and the paraphernalia of a formal State or administration.
These have no place in their MO for conventional warfare tactics.
As a terrorist organisation,
the LTTE uses a cellular structure to prevent the infiltration of its
set-up by the adversary State or non-State groups such as the rival
Tamil organisations of Sri Lanka and does not hesitate to use ruthless
forms of terrorism to intimidate and demoralise not only its State and
non-State adversaries, but also the civilian population living in the
area under the control of its State adversary.
As an insurgent organisation,
it emulates the Vietcong of Vietnam and, as a terrorist organisation,
the Al Fatah of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Since
1983, it has had a long history of active interactions with the various
Palestinian terrorist organisations, the Hamas and the Hizbollah. Its
interactions with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(PFLP), then headed by George Habash, were particularly intense and
it was in receipt of training and arms assistance from the PFLP.
When the late Rajiv
Gandhi, the then Indian Prime Minister, faced difficulty in persuading
Prabhakaran, the leader of the LTTE, to accept the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord
of 1987, the then head of the PLO office in New Delhi contacted him
and offered his good offices for making Prabhakaran amenable to reason.
After politely rejecting his offer, Rajiv Gandhi had enquiries made
as to how the PLO representative claimed to have influence over Prabhakaran.
They revealed that without the knowledge of the Government of India,
the PLO representative had been clandestinely interacting with Prabhakaran,
the late Kittu and other LTTE leaders and possibly extending financial
assistance to them.
The influence of the
PLO, its Al Fatah, the PFLP and other terrorist organisations of West
Asia on the LTTE’s MO could be seen in the following characteristics:
its use of suicide terrorism; its networking with the Sri Lankan Tamil
Diaspora in different countries through a web of non-governmental organisations
not overtly connected with the LTTE, but secretly working under its
direction and control; and its business interests centred around its
shipping fleet used overtly for legitimate commercial purposes, but
covertly for narcotics and gun-running and other clandestine purposes.
The fleet provides it with an important source of revenue and with the
clandestine means for keeping its arsenal replenished. Initially, it
built up its network of contacts with the clandestine world of arms
and ammunition with the help of its West Asian friends, most of them
then based in the Lebanon. Subsequently, it benefited from its contacts
in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and Malaysia.
However much one may
dislike the LTTE, one cannot deny that it has emerged as one of the
most effective non-religious insurgent-cum-terrorist organisations of
the world and as a conventional insurgent force with unconventional
thinking and methods of operation. Its distinguishing characteristics
ability to motivate its cadres to the same level of determination
as a religious terrorist organisation, but without using religious
arguments. The motivation remains as strong as ever despite the casualties
suffered by it at the hands of the Sri Lanka Army and the difficulties
faced by it in other countries, particularly after 11 September 2001.
ability to train its cadres in the use of modern arms and ammunition
as well as in the ruthless tactics of terror to a high level of perfection
with no longer any need for external assistance for such training.
l Its ability
for innovation and improvisation, which has been remarkably illustrated
in one successful operation after another.
effective intelligence and counter-intelligence apparatus, which has
been able to repeatedly take the adversary by surprise and to thwart
the efforts of its adversaries to penetrate the organisation.
attention to detail.
ability to keep pace with the latest advances in science and technology
and to use them for its operations.
In its fierce determination
to achieve its political objective of a Tamil Eelam, a separate Tamil
State encompassing the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka,
the LTTE follows a no-holds-barred approach. It has had no qualms over
letting its fleet be used for narcotics-running by the heroin barons
of Pakistan and Afghanistan or for gun running to the Abu Sayyaf and
the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the Southern Philippines by the
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) of Pakistan in order to replenish its coffers
and arsenal. It did not hesitate to accept a consignment of arms and
ammunition from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan in
It is this no-holds-barred
approach, which sowed the seeds of suspicion in the minds of the intelligence
agencies of other countries, particularly in the West, over the likelihood
of the LTTE emerging as a threat to their own security because of its
linkages in the clandestine world of narcotics and arms and ammunition,
and because of its hobnobbing with the Pakistan and Afghanistan based
Before 1991, the intelligence
agencies of the rest of the world looked upon the LTTE more as an insurgent
than a terrorist organisation despite its involvement in ruthless acts
of terrorism against other Sri Lankan Tamil leaders not prepared to
accept its hegemony. Since 1991, they have been paying increasing attention
to the activities of the LTTE outside Sri Lanka due to the following
assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
unsuccessful efforts to procure microlite aircraft from the West in
order to use them for air-borne terrorist operations.
acceptance of a consignment of arms and ammunition from the ISI in
assistance to the narcotics barons based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
assistance to the HuM in smuggling arms and ammunition to the southern
Philippines to help the religious terrorist groups there.
This increasing attention
led to the following action:
designation of the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organisation by the
USA under a 1996 law. Significantly, the HuM, then known as
the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HuA), was also so designated.
subsequent ban on its activities in Canada and the UK.
Thus, even before 11
September 2001, the LTTE had started experiencing some difficulties
in its funds and arms procurement activities in Western and Eastern
Europe, but these were not of an insurmountable nature since it continued
to have a free run of South East Asia despite the increasing concerns
of the countries of the region over its activities.
The post 11 September
2001 developments such as the global war against terrorism, the UN Security
Council Resolution No. 1373 against terrorism, the freezing of the sources
of terrorist funding, the close networking of the intelligence and counter-terrorism
agencies of the world as part of the global war, etc were matters of
serious concern to the LTTE though it has had no links with Osama bin
Laden and its Al Qaida. This was due to the following reasons:
West conceded for the first time that terrorism has to be treated
as an absolute evil, whatever be the objective of the organisation
using terrorism and has to be combated determinedly by the nations
of the world.
focus on funds flow to terrorist organisations was directed at all
terrorist organisations of the world, whether they had links with
the Al Qaida or not.
the ground/air war against terrorism was essentially directed against
the Al Qaida and its affiliates in the International Islamic Front
for Jihad Against the USA and Israel, the intelligence cooperation
was directed against all terrorist organisations, whether linked to
the Al Qaida or not.
one of the objectives of the international coalition led by the USA
was to bottle up the dregs of the Al Qaida, the Taliban and their
affiliates in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and neutralise them
there without allowing them to escape to other countries, an international
watch was mounted on all terrorist organisations which might be in
a position to help the dregs escape. The shipping fleet of the LTTE
and its communication network have come in for special attention in
It is in this context
that one has to see the post 11 September metamorphosis of the LTTE,
which has led to the Cease-fire Agreement of 22 February 2002, and the
forthcoming negotiations in Thailand on the formation of an interim
administration in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The metamorphosis
appears, as of now, to be more opportunistic than genuine. It has not
come about as the result of a realisation by the LTTE of the futility
of violence. It has come about more as the result of a realisation by
the LTTE that till the present war against the Al Qaida and its affiliates
ends, it would be unwise on its part to continue to use violence. It
has decided to bide its time and see whether it can use this pause for
making a forward movement towards its strategic objective of a Tamil
Eelam, without recourse to arms for the time being. The change is essentially
one of tactics and not of objective.
One cannot fault the
desire and efforts of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe of Sri Lanka
to try to take advantage of this metamorphosis, whether genuine or opportunistic,
to bring about peace in Sri Lanka and to put the country again on the
road to economic prosperity. But his style and his seeming over anxiety
to be seen by the LTTE as more accommodating than any other leader of
Sri Lanka, particularly President Chandrika Kumaratunga, disturbingly
brings to mind the example of BJ Habibie, the former interim President
of Indonesia, whose similar style and over anxiety led to an irreversible
march of events towards an independent East Timor.
Thanks to Ranil Wickremasinghe,
the LTTE seems to be well on the way to achieving a de facto Tamil Eelam
to be concretised during the forthcoming talks in Thailand on the interim
administration. Not only its humanitarian demands, but even some of
its political demands such as the implicit recognition of its hegemony
in the Tamil areas through the exclusion of other Tamil parties, the
acceptance of the territorial control established by it through force
of arms over some areas, the recognition of its right to extend its
political activities to the areas not yet under its territorial control,
etc., have been conceded. If the ban on the LTTE in Sri Lanka is lifted
as demanded by Prabhakaran prior to the forthcoming talks in Thailand
and if the talks lead to an interim administration under the LTTE’s
hegemony, it would be only a question of time before the LTTE resumes
military pressure for having the de facto Tamil Eelam converted into
the de jure.
India faces a dilemma
in the face of the march of events in Sri Lanka. The role of Prabhakaran
and his LTTE in the brutal assassination of Rajiv Gandhi and their many
other acts of perfidy vis-à-vis India inhibit any meaningful
initiatives by India in contributing to a search for a political solution
which would preserve the integrity of Sri Lanka while meeting substantially
the aspirations of the Sri Lanka Tamils. The consequent absence of Indian
activism has led to an activist role by Norway as the facilitator and
by the USA as the seeming guarantor of the interests of Colombo.
In the event of the
Sri Lanka Government lifting the ban on the LTTE and the Thailand talks
leading to an interim administration headed by Prabhakaran or one of
his nominees, with such an administration recognised and blessed by
the international community, India’s dilemma will become more acute.
What are the ground realities and the options available to India?
First, the ground realities:
public opinion would not accept any exoneration of the responsibility
of Prabhakaran for the brutal murder of Rajiv Gandhi and would continue
to insist that he be brought to trial in India.
LTTE cannot be wished away as the predominant Sri Lanka Tamil force
and Sri Lanka Tamil public opinion would not accept any denouement
which would not give the LTTE what it considers as its due in the
new administration of the Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka.
In the face of these
conflicting ground realities, the only option presently available seems
to be to keep up the pressure for the extradition of Prabhakaran and
to encourage the emergence of a moderate leadership in the LTTE. At
this moment, such an alternate leadership is nowhere on the horizon
and appears to be a pipe dream. This does not mean that India should
not try for it. In fact, India should have started looking for such
alternate leadership immediately after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.
It has already wasted 11 years. It should not waste any more.
28 April 2002