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Executive Summary
B Raman

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 snakes.

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

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 Pakistan.

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.

After demonstrating 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:

l The 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.

l The 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.

l Just 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.

Islamic fundamentalism 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 holds that:

l A Muslim’s first loyalty is to his religion and then only to the nation of which he is a citizen.

l Where there is a conflict between considerations of national solidarity and those of Islamic solidarity, considerations of Islamic solidarity should prevail.

l A 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.

l Pakistan’s 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.

l Muslims 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 so.

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


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:

l The safest place for bin Laden and his dregs to take shelter in would be the FATA and the adjoining tribal areas of Pakistan.

l Sizeable 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.

l The military-intelligence establishment has been deliberately over-estimating the involvement of Arabs and Chechens and under-estimating the extent of the Pakistani involvement.

l It 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 shelter there.

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 of Pakistan.

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  (about 40,000).

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 troops.

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 and actions.

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 MILF too.

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



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 crimes.

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 terrorist activity.

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 instruments.

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 transactions.

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 up.

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.

"Money laundering is not only a law enforcement problem, but poses a serious national and international security threat as well.

"Money laundering 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," it added.

According to the US report, among new modus operandi which have come into vogue for laundering illegally-acquired money are:

l The 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.

l 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 initiatives.

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 are subjected:

l Group I: Cooperative OFCs with high quality supervision.

l Group II: Potentially cooperative OFCs with low quality supervision.

l Group 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 economy.

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 companies etc.

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 as businessmen.


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 as follows:

"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 these phenomena.

"Terrorist groups 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 materiel.

"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.

"Currently, however, 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.

"Secondly, there 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."


Threats to national, regional and international security and peace from transnational crime groups arise due to the following factors:

l Damage 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.

l Damage 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.

l Damage 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 scale.

l Damage to the health and future well being of society through the production, smuggling and sale of narcotics.

l Damage 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).

l The 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:

l Cross-border 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.

l Multinational 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 business.

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:

l The 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, etc.

l The 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.

l The dependence of the TCGs on the terrorist organisations for the procurement of narcotics from the heroin barons of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

l The 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.


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:

l Consciously 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.

l State-sponsorship 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.


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, etc.

Subsequent investigation 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.

"In Pakistan, 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.


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 bin Laden.

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.

"While speaking 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.

"Omar doesn’t 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 a guerrilla
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.

"Discussing the 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.

"Throughout his 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 operations."


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."


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 1980s.

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 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:

l It 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 cause.

l The 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.

l Past 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.

l Governmental 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:

l Perceived 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.

l Perceived 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.

l The 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 guidance.

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 terrorism.

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 destruction.

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, location).

"Interpol’s Criminal 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 released.

"International 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 political outlook.

"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.

"Another most 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 this issue?

"Further, air 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 terrorism.

Sensitive operational 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 terrorism ineffective.

5 May 2002


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 are:

l Its 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.

l Its 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.

l Its 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.

l Its attention to detail.

l Its 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 1993.

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 jihadi organisations.

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 developments:

l Its assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

l Its unsuccessful efforts to procure microlite aircraft from the West in order to use them for air-borne terrorist operations.

l Its acceptance of a consignment of arms and ammunition from the ISI in 1993.

l Its assistance to the narcotics barons based in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

l Its 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:

l The 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.

l The 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:

l The 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.

l The 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.

l While 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.

l Since 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 this regard.

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:

l Indian 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.

l The 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





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