SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
Muscle to the Madrassa
A macabre video circulating in Pakistan shows the gruesome death of Ghulam Nabi, a Pakistani militant accused of betraying a front-ranking Taliban leader who was killed in a December 2006 air-strike in Afghanistan. The video, obtained by AP Television News in Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, on April 17, shows a 12-year old boy slashing at Nabi’s neck until the head is severed. A voice in Pashto language identifies Nabi and his home at Kili Faqiran village in Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The fanatical intensity with which the child – egged on by a group of adults chanting ‘Allah hu Akbar’ – demonstrates the tremendous dangers of the kind of psychological indoctrination to which Pakistan’s children are being subjected, and that has already produced armies of ‘holy warriors’ that are riding out to deliver death and disorder in the South Asian neighbourhood and across the world.
While Pakistan, in the words of John D. Negroponte, Director of US National Intelligence, "remains a major source of Islamic extremism and the home for some top terrorist leaders," it periodically seeks redemption through a promise – repeated incessantly since 9/11 – to clean up its seminaries, and to rid them of extremism and hatred. The claim is that this would strike at the base and root of Islamist terror. The promise has raised great expectations in the West and in South Asia. However, the state of play on the ground tells an altogether different story.
During a televised address to the nation as far back as January 12, 2002, President Pervez Musharraf had warned that the greatest danger facing Pakistan came, not from outside, but from Pakistan’s own home-grown Islamist radicals – "a danger," he said, "that is eating us from within." This danger, more than five years later, has assumed a menacing proportions. The rapid escalation of violence orchestrated by Islamist extremists across Pakistan in recent times and cumulative efforts to further radicalise the country have now led General Musharraf’s military regime to revisit the idea of madrassa (seminary) reforms.
Most of the officially estimated 13,000 seminaries (unofficial estimates range between 15,000 and 25,000, and in some cases go up to as much as 40,000) in Pakistan, with an approximate enrolment of 1.5 million students, have squarely rejected the tentative reforms – essentially requiring the registration of madrassas and the maintenance of accounts, including records of domestic and foreign donors, as well as the teaching of ‘secular’ subjects as part of the curriculum – initiated by the Government in 2003. They have opposed all changes, alleging that the reforms constituted a conspiracy to ‘secularise’ (that is, de-Islamize) the education system at the behest of the United States. The networks and support structures of Islamist extremism in Pakistan, painstakingly constructed through the Pakistan-Afghanistan arc, have little evident interest in engaging with the President’s ‘enlightened moderation’.
Speaking on the status of education in Pakistan, Education Minister Javed Ashraf Qazi disclosed, at the Civil Service Academy in Lahore in the first week of April 2007, that there were 5,459 madrassas in the Punjab province; 2,843 in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP); 1,935 in Sindh; 1,193 in the Northern Areas; 769 in Balochistan; and 586 in ‘Azad’ (Pakistan occupied) Kashmir; 135 in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA); and 77 in the capital, Islamabad.
A majority of the extremist seminaries that preach and support militant violence follow the Deobandi sect and are associated with the Wafaq-ul-Madaris, the main confederacy of seminaries. According to the International Crisis Group (ICG), "The two factions of the Deobandi political parties, JUI-Fazlur Rehman [Jamaat-e-Ulema-Islam faction headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman] and JUI-Samiul Haq [Jamaat-e-Ulema-Islam faction headed by Maulana Samiul Haq], run over 65 per cent of all madrasas in Pakistan." Rehman and Haq are widely considered to be the primary backers of the Taliban.
One of the principal instruments of reform and Government regulation of madrassas was the proposed registration process. Equally important is the content of subjects taught to students. Aimed at mainstreaming these religious schools, the Government had initiated efforts to introduce subjects like English, General Science and Maths, etc. The ulema (religious leaders), however, claimed that the registration process was intended to curb the ‘independence and sovereignty’ of madrassas and was, consequently, not acceptable. Five years after its inception, the Madrassa Reform Project has been an unambiguous failure. While there is far too much resistance at the ground level, ambivalence and a reluctance to implement the reforms dominates the state’s agencies and initiatives. According to the ICG’s Report of March 29, 2007, "This is best demonstrated in Sindh Province and its capital, Karachi. After three years of efforts by the Sindh Education Department to help "mainstream" the province’s madrassas by including secular education in them, Islamabad asked provincial education authorities in mid-2006 to return more than $100 million in unspent Federal money." The Project did not have any significant impact since most madrassas refused to take the Government’s help. Incidentally, Pakistan’s record in utilising funds for the socio-economic sectors remains abysmal and, according to one report, 92 per cent of the funds (PKR 51 billion) earmarked for the five-year Education Sector Reforms Programme (2001-2006) has remained unutilised.
In a detailed verdict on August 29, 2005, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had observed that madrassas were not providing students with general education that could enable them to come into the mainstream of society and compete with the educated class for employment or other purposes, including elections. The Court noted, further, that not a single religious educational institution had included subjects like English, Urdu and Pakistan Studies in its curriculum, even though the Inter-Board Committee of Chairmen had recommended this. In a scathing criticism of the educational system in its September 1, 2005-editorial, Daily Times opined:
The madrassa, as a medium of radical Islam, knows too well that the Pakistani state is fragile. For instance, reports indicate that intelligence agencies have warned the Government of potential suicide attacks if any military action is initiated against the pro-Taliban Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) and the Jamia Hafsa seminary in Islamabad. A report submitted to the Federal Government disclosed that
The report also mentioned that suicide bombers involved in the January 26, 2007, attack on Hotel Marriott in Islamabad and the February 6, 2007, attack at the parking lot of the Islamabad International Airport, were linked to the seminary. Ominously, the report warns further that "The real cause of concern is that the number of would-be female suicide bombers is quite large compared to male students and, if action were to be taken, at least 150 casualties are feared." Unsurprisingly, President Musharraf has publicly ruled out the use of force to address the crisis generated by students of the Jamia Hafsa and the Lal Masjid. Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa are run by prominent clerics, Maulana Ghazi Abdul Rasheed and Maulana Abdul Aziz, sons of the slain cleric Maulana Abdullah (killed in 1998), who reportedly patronised several jihadi groups. Presiding over a high-level meeting in Islamabad on April 22, he asked the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) chief, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, to negotiate with Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Ghazi Abdul Rasheed for a ‘peaceful settlement’.
The Lal Masjid brigade, among others, is demanding: the rebuilding of demolished mosques in Islamabad; immediate declaration of Sharia (Islamic law) in Pakistan; immediate promulgation of Quran and Sunnah in the courts of law; and "immediate discontinuation to declaring jihad as terrorism by the Government as it is the great sacred religious duty of Muslims." The agitators also want the Government to close down brothels and music shops in Islamabad, and remove all advertisements depicting women. A large number of female students of the Jamia Hafsa have been occupying a Public Library building since February 2007 in protest against the Islamabad administration’s plans to demolish the seminary, which has approximately 7,000 students, but was illegally built on public land.
The Wafaq-ul-Madaris, Pakistan’s main and influential confederacy of seminaries, which runs approximately 8,200 institutions, has supported the extremist programme of the Lal Masjid brigade. The confederacy’s Secretary-General, Qari Mohammad Hanif Jhalandari, announced on April 15, 2007: "We are in complete support of their four demands – to enforce the Shariat [Islamic law] in Pakistan, have the Government rebuild all the mosques it destroyed, close down all dens of vice across the country and change the Women’s Protection Act in line with the Quran and Sunnah."
There is mounting evidence of the military regime buckling under pressure from the Islamist extremists. For instance, the Government was reportedly contemplating moving the madrassas out of Islamabad amidst the standoff with the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa. The Islamist extremists have, however, always rejected Government attempts at interference with their ‘sovereignty’. On April 17, 2007, the Government was again on the back-foot when it provided land for two of the seven mosques demolished by the Islamabad administration (The Capital Development Authority has reportedly declared 87 mosques in Islamabad to be illegal). Land for the remaining five demolished mosques is to be provided as early as possible. Most of the illegal mosques were reportedly built without the submission of proper building plans while some were constructed on state land.
In his ‘leaked memo’ of October 2003, then US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld had raised a critical question: "Are we capturing, killing, or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the seminaries and radical clerics are recruiting, training, and deploying against us?"
For long, global aid programmes from the United States and the West have underwritten the military regime’s agenda in Pakistan. According to the March 2007 Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report for Congress (K. Alan Kronstadt, Pakistan and Terrorism: A Summary), "Annual instalments of $ 600 million each, split evenly between military and economic aid, began in FY 2005… In the years since September 2001, Pakistan has received nearly $ 1.5 billion in direct U.S security-related assistance… Some 80% of Defense Department spending for coalition support payments to "Pakistan, Jordan, and other key cooperating nations" has gone to Islamabad. At $4.75 billion to date, averaging more than $80 million per month, the amount is equal to more than one-quarter of Pakistan’s total military expenditures." The George W. Bush administration has reportedly requested an additional $1.7 billion for year 2008 claiming that coalition support payments to Pakistan have led to "a more stable [Pakistan-Afghanistan] border area," a claim that is roughly as true as the proposition that Iraq is now peaceful. In addition, Pakistan has received, for instance, USD 14 million in funding and technical assistance for a ‘legislative strengthening programme’ in Pakistan; USAID has provided approximately USD 3 million in education assistance to the Balochistan Province alone since 2002, and has funded a USD 6 million project to the province for food security and poverty alleviation in arid agriculture. Additionally, USAID has given over USD 2 million in assistance for health activities provided to Balochistan since 2003.
There is a danger that liberal military and developmental financing by the international community may lead to the worst case-scenario of further radicalization since "each dollar of ‘development aid’ or ‘financial relief’ to Pakistan releases a dollar of domestic resources for further militarization, radicalization and extremist religious mobilization." The US Government, according to Pakistani scholar Husain Haqqani, repeatedly makes the mistake of defining as ‘moderate’ those authoritarian Muslim rulers who fulfil America’s foreign policy goals. But, "These strategic American allies are not the force for ideological moderation that would change the Muslim world’s long-term direction… Authoritarian governments in the Muslim world do not want democracy as that would amount to the potentates giving up their power. "
Western aid, as experience has shown in South Asia, has largely been focused on short-term security interests. The experience in Pakistan has shown that reliance on civil society projects to promote democracy under what are essentially authoritarian governments is, at best, problematic. No accountability exists for such regimes as far as their domestic policies are concerned. And since most aid is being routed through increasingly militarised state channels, capacity-building and attempts to promote democracy, consequently, are bound to suffer. The use of stringent conditionalities can temper the diversion of aid to unintended recipients, and economic sanctions, if necessary, may have to be imposed against such regimes, since aid accountability is vital.
The collapse of the seminary reform project is a clear indication that Islamabad is either apathetic or clearly does not have the capacity to dismantle the extremist infrastructure across the country. Summing up his country’s mood, Shafqat Mahmood, a former member of Parliament, aptly notes: "Quiet seriously, we are in a terrible mess."
No End to ULFA
The military offensive that began on September 24, 2006, in Assam’s northernmost or Upper Assam Districts and the adjoining State of Arunachal Pradesh, after the Government of India called off a six-week ceasefire with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), blaming the militant outfit for stepping up violence and extortion, is said to have achieved ‘significant success’. Till April 15, 2007, 48 ULFA cadres had been killed (including 20 top militants of ULFA’s ‘28th battalion’), 81 arrested and another 88 had surrendered. Given the fact that the group’s fighting cadres are estimated to be no more than 500, the neutralisation of 217 of these can be considered a serious setback. Regrettably, there are several indications that the fighting days of ULFA, active since 1979, are far from over.
The Upper Assam Districts of Tinsukia, Sivasagar and Dibrugarh have been the traditional hunting grounds of the ULFA, especially its ‘28th battalion’, which is headquartered in Myanmar. While the group’s top leadership and bulk of its fighting cadres are sourced from these Districts, the bordering and densely forested areas of Arunachal Pradesh serve as a link between Assam and ULFA’s camps in Myanmar. ULFA’s cadres, traversing the thickets and mountains between Myanmar and Assam, have used Arunachal Pradesh to set up a chain of transit bases and also escape routes in the wake of security force operations in Assam. ULFA’s January 2007 operations targeting Hindi-speaking migrant labourers in the Upper Assam Districts were mainly carried out by the ‘28th Battalion’ temporarily based in the Manabhum Reserve Forest in Arunachal Pradesh. ULFA’s other surviving unit, the 709th battalion, led by Hira Sarania, remains active in Central and Lower Assam Districts, including Kamrup in which the capital Dispur and adjoining city of Guwahati, are located. The battalion, however, is no longer considered to be an operationally significant entity.
The objectives of the current military manoeuvres, simultaneously targeting areas under frequent militant attacks and the principal militant routes, in the words of the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, were to "clear separatist bases in the jungles and to restore normalcy and instil confidence among the people". To this effect, a total of 140 companies of central para-military forces (CPMFs), consisting of about 14,000 personnel, were engaged in operations along with battalions of the Assam Police. Army para-troopers were being air-dropped at different points of the Manabhum Reserve Forest in Arunachal Pradesh. Troops are being backed by a fleet of helicopters for reconnaissance missions, to track the militants located in forested and other remote areas. Sophisticated jamming devices have been used to block ULFA's communication signals. The Army also claims to have cut off ULFA’s supply lines for rations, medicines and weapons.
Achievements of the rather elaborate ongoing military exercise have been significant, in terms of elimination of senior cadres of the 28th battalion. On April 10, 2007, troops killed eight ULFA cadres, including two women, in an encounter near Lathou in the Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh. The dead included two top ULFA leaders: ‘Corporal’ Jun Bhuyan and ‘Sergeant’ Pranab Rajkhowa of the ‘28th Battalion’s C company’. Previously, on March 30, Himesawr Borsaikia alias Rameshwar Borsaikia, ‘commander’ of the ‘C company’ of the ‘28th battalion’, along with another cadre, Bapu Moran, was killed in the Manabhum reserve forest area in Arunachal Pradesh, near the inter-state boundary with Assam’s Tinsukia District. On April 13, 2007, hardcore ULFA cadre Pradip Gogoi was shot dead at Nagaon Tiniali in the Tinsukia District. A day later, on April 14, ‘sergeant major’ Jaan Hazarika alias Arup Arandhara alias Bhadu, was arrested by troops of the 7/11 Gorkha Rifles in the Khouji area of Tinsukia District.
Even before the successes of the ongoing military manoeuvres, ULFA’s sporadic activities, largely consisting of blasts on oil pipelines in deserted areas and the killing of unprotected and unarmed migrant workers, provided substantial indications of the group’s largely diminished ability to carry out ‘high-quality’ attacks. This indicated significant reversals in an outfit that has not only been in business for nearly three decades, but is also known to have been backed up by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and the Bangladeshi Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), for a considerable period. This has lent credence to the assertions by the security forces (SFs) that, while ULFA has weakened over years, the current operations would incapacitate it even further. ULFA’s meek reactions to recent strikes against its interests underline the SF claims of declining insurgent capacity. In the only incident of its type, on April 16, 2007, suspected motorcycle-borne ULFA militants hurled a grenade at stationery Army vehicles at the sub-divisional township of Namsai in the Lohit District of Arunachal Pradesh. The grenade missed its target and hit an auto rickshaw injuring one person.
Carrying out recruitment drives, largely involving hunts for potential fighters through existing cadres using a combination of threat and enticement, has been the conventional ULFA response to the depletion of its strength during military operations. ULFA is known to have carried out several such drives in the Upper Assam Districts this time as well. The Army, however, maintains that it would be operationally difficult to replace the neutralised trained cadres with new recruits.
Indeed, of late, ULFA has been forced to rely on a brand of young recruits lacking in adequate preparation and insufficiently trained to use sophisticated weapons and explosives. While accessing high quality weapons and explosives appears to be a limited problem for the outfit, due to its ‘contacts’ in Bangladesh, its mostly ill-trained cadres have been constrained to use low capacity hand grenades and crude explosives, failing to engineer attacks on high value targets. This has been a matter of great frustration for ULFA’s sponsors in the ISI and the DGFI and has also led to situations where semi-trained or untrained ULFA cadres have themselves been killed while carrying crude explosives, most recently in the April 8 incident, when an ULFA operative was killed after the explosives he was carrying detonated when his motorcycle collided with an autorickshaw in Guwahati’s Kumarapara locality.
It will, however, be premature to predict the end of ULFA. The group clearly has its back against the wall, but is adopting survival tactics which are yet to be neutralised by an effective strategy of response. It is using local businessmen to channel revenues from extortion to the outfit’s top leadership, as was revealed with the April 4, 2007, arrest of Debendra Lahoti, a resident of Nazira town in the Sivasagar District. Lahoti was channelling extortion revenues into the militant group’s coffers on instructions from the group’s ‘B Company’ ‘chief’ Ram Singh. Several other businessmen in the District are also suspected to be involved in similar rackets, though arrests are yet to be effected. The Police are, however, in the process of gathering evidence.
Similarly, ULFA is also known to be using newly formed groups like the All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA) to carry out extortion in the tea estates in the ‘tea districts’, including Golaghat. The AANLA – believed to have been armed by the ULFA, and which claims to be fighting to safeguard the tribal culture of the plantation workers – is said to have 100 cadres working in about 40 tea estates. It passes off a major chunk of the monies it extorts to the ULFA in return for arms and training support. Assam Police’s reported inability to control such extortion has led several business houses and trade bodies, including those representing the tea industry, to approach the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directly in March 2007, seeking greater protection.
ULFA has also been ‘outsourcing’ its operational activities in recent times. While it has been customary for ULFA’s cadres to avoid direct confrontation with the security forces, the group is now hiring unemployed youth and even school children to lob grenades, distribute extortion notes and collect ransom. For example, ULFA hired the services of two dacoits, paying them INR 50,000, to carry out two explosions in Jorhat District on March 15, 2007. The explosions damaged power transformers on the outskirts of the District headquarters.
In a major embarrassment to the Police, on April 17, 2007, ULFA militants abducted Food Corporation of India (FCI) Executive Director and head of FCI’s Northeastern region, P.C. Ram, from Guwahati’s Ulubari area and, on April 19, demanded a ransom of INR 210 million. The Police learned of the abduction only after Ram used a mobile phone in ULFA’s possession to call up his son who, in turn informed the Police. The failure to create an adequate security net for senior Public Sector officials in the most protected town of the State underlines the lack of Police preparedness in dealing with the long-standing insurgency. Ram’s driver, who was also abducted, has since been released.
Freak incidents like these, however, neither represent an augmentation of the outfit’s strength, nor underline its ability to sustain its low-scale random operations. ULFA’s survival tactics, unless aided by an ill-conceived political move to again relax the operational pressure on the outfit and allow it to regroup, are expected to remain just that – tactics that ensure bare survival. Alarmist statements emerging from high echelons of the Army and other official sources linking ULFA with the jehadi elements in Bangladesh mirror similar claims by the ULFA’s top leadership and are, at this stage, declarations of uncertain intent, and are yet to be reflected in operational arrangements on the ground. Similarly, the MHA’s ‘assessment report’, which has found ready mention in many newspapers, linking ULFA with the ‘Muslim groups’ such as Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) and the Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam (MULFA) vastly exaggerate the realities of such ‘tie ups’. MULFA ceased to exist within the first year of its formation in the mid-nineties, and MULTA has never, in the history of its existence since 1996, posed any significant threat to Assam and its people. These are, at worst, notional groups at this juncture, and building their operational capacities to a level where they can contribute measurably to an ULFA resurgence.
Assam has recorded a measure of improvement in militancy-related fatalities in recent years. Compared to 315 fatalities in 2004 and 254 in 2005, 242 people died in militant violence in 2006. While this has been termed as an achievement by the MHA, militancy-related incidents actually increased from 267 to 398 and further to 413 over the corresponding years. Clearly, ULFA’s intent remains unaltered, though its operational capacities have evidently suffered a measure of decline.
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
April 16-22, 2007
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.
Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina barred from returning to Bangladesh: On April 22, 2007, the former Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, was prevented from boarding a British Airways flight from London to Dhaka after the Bangladesh Government barred her from returning home. "It was a decision taken by British Airways following a notification from the Bangladesh civil aviation authorities. The British Government had nothing to do with it,'' said a British Foreign Office spokesperson. The British Airways' decision reportedly followed advice from the interim military-backed government in Dhaka to all international airlines not to fly Sheikh Hasina, who left Bangladesh in March 2007 after the new regime declared an emergency. It has said that if she returns she would be arrested to face charges over the deaths of four rival political activists during street protests during October 2007.
Sheikh Hasina, however, said she was determined to return home to clear her name saying the Bangladesh Government had "no right'' to stop her. "I am ready to go to jail if necessary but I want to go back to my country," she said at Heathrow airport. The Hindu, April 23, 2007.
Government a Maoist puppet, says Nepali Congress parliamentarians: A group of the Nepali Congress (NC) parliamentarians on April 20, 2007, said that the blame for the Constituent Assembly elections dilemma falls squarely on the Government and the Maoists. Criticizing the Government, they labeled the Maoists as being irresponsible. In the NC's parliamentary party meeting held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's residence at Baluwatar, the groups also dubbed the government a puppet of the Maoists.
Stating that the NC Central Working Committee had decided not to induct the Maoists into the Government unless they returned the captured property to the people, the NC parliamentarians criticized the Prime Minister for disobeying the decision. They also accused the Maoists of continuing intimidation, blocking the reinstatement of police posts and violating the Comprehensive Peace Accord.
Objecting to the fact that the police found nothing after raiding the Maoist-aligned Young Communist League's offices in the Kathmandu Valley, the parliamentarians reportedly cast doubts on the role played by the Home Ministry. They are also reported to have criticized the Finance Minister for indiscriminately allocating funds to the Maoists. Kantipur Online, April 22, 2007.
US troops cannot look for Osama bin Laden in FATA, says US Central Command: US military does not have permission to conduct operations inside the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) of Pakistan even if it has information that Osama bin Laden is hiding in that area, said the commander of the US Central Command. Admiral William Fallon told a Congressional hearing that the arrangement they had with Islamabad did not allow them to take direct military actions against targets inside Pakistan. "I do not have permission to go across that border on my own, and to conduct activities within that country, without some arrangement or agreement with the Government of Pakistan," he said. Admiral Fallon also disagreed with the suggestion that under the Waziristan Agreement, Islamabad had given the area to any specific group. Dawn, April 21, 2007.
China admits to terrorist camps in Pakistan: has for the first time publicly acknowledged the existence of terrorist camps within Pakistani territory. It said that some East Turkistan separatists, who have been fighting to make northwest China's Xinjiang province an independent state, received training at the terrorist camps in Pakistan. The confirmation came in a court document in the trial of 37-year-old Huseyin Celil, a China-born Uygur-Canadian, who was on April 19, 2007, sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chinese court in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, for "taking part in terrorist activities and plotting to split the country." According to the court documents, Celil joined the East Turkistan Liberation Organisation (ETLO), a listed terrorist group active in central Asia, in November 1997, and was appointed as a senior instructor in Kyrgyzstan. While there, Celil allegedly recruited several people to the ETLO and sent them to terrorist training camps on the Pamir Plateau in Pakistan, the court documents said. Express India, April 19, 2007.
Pakistan handed over 2,000 militants to foreign countries: Pakistan claimed to have handed over more than 2,000 militants to foreign countries during the war on terrorism in which at least 500 Pakistani officers and soldiers were killed. "A total of 4,000 terrorists and extremists were arrested by the Pakistani law-enforcement agencies, out of which over 2,000 were handed over to different countries and the rest are in the custody of the law-enforcement agencies," said Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao in London. He also revealed that the Pakistan Army had lost at least 500 officers and soldiers at the hands of foreign militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The Minister, however, did not disclose to which countries those 2,000 militants were handed over. He was also silent on other issues, such as the nationalities of the extradited militants; the number of Pakistanis among them and whether the due legal procedure was followed at the time of their extradition to foreign countries. Express India, April 18, 2007.