Terrorism Update
Show/Hide Search
    Click to Enlarge

Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 1, No. 47, June 9, 2003

Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal



Punjab: Reviving the Politics of Communal Polarization
K.P.S. Gill
President, Institute for Conflict Management

Punjab's political leadership - and most particularly, that on the religious right - appears to be entirely uneducable. 15 long years of terrorism in the State have failed to root out the perverse politics of communal manipulation that resurfaces every time the Akali Dal - the party that claims to represent the Sikhs in Punjab, and that ruled the State through five deeply corrupt and inefficient years in power before it suffered a humiliating defeat in the February 2002 State Assembly Elections - fails to secure a democratic mandate.

Thus, on June 6, 2003, on the occasion of the annually commemorated 'Ghallughara Divas' (Martyrs Day) which marks the anniversary of the ham handed Operation Blue Star, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) declared Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale a 'martyr of Sikh history'. Bhindranwale was the man who initiated and led the bloody terrorist movement in the State between 1978 and June 1984, when he was killed in the Golden Temple during Operation Blue Star. The 'declaration of martyrdom' came from the SGPC controlled Akal Takht, the highest seat of temporal power in the Sikh Faith. The SGPC and the Akal Takht are themselves entirely controlled by the Akali Dal, and have often been brought to the centerstage of the State's communal politics, particularly during periods of strife - as was the case during the extended violence of the Sikh separatist terrorist movement for Khalistan.

The Akali Dal is a partner in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ruling coalition at the Centre, and the move to confer a martyr's status on a terrorist leader certainly embarrassed the BJP, which sought to underplay the event, dismissing it as an "unfortunate announcement". There is little evidence of any of the political formations in Punjab responding seriously to the event - and in isolation, it is, indeed, of little significance. A decade after the virulent Khalistani movement was decisively defeated in 1993, the violence of that phase has been explicitly rejected by the people of Punjab at large, and repeated efforts to revive the Khalistani ideology and terrorism have failed, despite vigorous support from Pakistan.

There is, however, a combination of factors that suggests that the 'declaration of martyrdom' should not be viewed in isolation, and that there is, in fact, a concerted pattern indicating that mischief is afoot once more. It is significant that the SGPC chose to associate itself with the commemoration of the Ghallughara Divas for the first time this year. The adoption of the Nanak Shahi calendar - which establishes a separate 'Sikh era' commencing with the date of birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak, and which is regarded by many as a move to deepen the communal divide between Hindu and Sikh in Punjab - on April 13 this year, is another event that points to the politics of communal polarization being revived once again. More significantly, some of the most vicious mass murderers of the Khalistani movement, as well as their most prominent fundraisers and ideologues, have taken the 'surrender route' over the past year, or have simply returned to the Punjab, unhindered and unquestioned by the state, from their terrorist safe havens abroad. Most prominent among these are Jagit Singh Chohan and Wassan Singh Zaffarwal. Chohan was the self-styled 'President' of the Khalistan 'government in exile' who returned to his home in Tanda in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab in June 2001 after 25 years in London. After his return, rejected by the democratic mainstream, Chohan established the Khalsa Raj party, which still aims to establish a separate 'Sikh nation'. His initial public posture was conciliatory, and he spoke of establishing Khalistan 'through love and compassion'. However, he is reported to have delivered an inflammatory speech at this year's Ghallugara Divas gathering.

Zaffarwal is the former head of the Khalistan Commando Force, one of the most vicious terrorist organizations during the years of terror, and had moved from Pakistan to a safe haven in Switzerland, but chose to return to his village in Gurdaspur in April 2001, and now harbours ambitions of 'entering politics'. The Indian state has failed to prosecute or punish these and the hundreds of other former terrorists in currently in Punjab, only a few of whom have been subjected to a desultory judicial process, but with an abysmal record of convictions.

This is not all. After nearly a decade of silence, the 'human rights' platform is once again being activated by front organizations of the Khalistani terrorists, giving currency to the most audacious of falsehoods in a concerted campaign of fabrications. Chief among such efforts was the publication in May this year of a book by one such organization styling itself as the 'Committee for Coordination on Disappearances in Punjab' (CCDP). There appears to be a sudden revival of such propaganda and other activities by terrorist front organizations, including continuous efforts to mobilize support abroad. Significantly, a ham-handedly propagandist programme on alleged human rights violations in the Punjab was recently aired on BBC radio as well. Other developments that require attention in this context is the distribution, earlier this month, by the London-based Punjabi Radio of 'relief' ranging between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 50,000, to ex-terrorists, their wives and families during a function at a Gurudwara at Jalandhar. There are also increasing reports of networking between Narain Singh Chaura's Akal Federation and Kanwarpal Singh Bittoo's Dal Khalsa, as well as between these organization and like-minded groups abroad.

These loose strands are bound together by Pakistan's unrelenting intent to do mischief in Punjab. In December last year, Deputy Prime Minister and Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani spoke of "a new strategy" under which "Pakistan's ISI has again started toying with the idea of reviving militancy in Punjab with senior officials including President Pervez Musharraf reportedly having meetings with pro-Khalistan leaders during the birth anniversary celebration of Baba Guru Nanak." Significantly, Musharraf is reported to have had a closed door meeting with UK and US-based extremist leaders, including Pritpal Singh, convenor of the American Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee; Gurmeet Singh Aulakh, president of the US-based Council of Khalistan; Manmohan Singh Khalsa, the UK based leader of the Dal Khalsa; and Ganga Singh Dhillon, the US-based president of the Nankana Sahib Foundation. It is important to note, moreover, that at least five of the persons on the '20 most wanted' list that was handed over by the Government of India to Pakistan are Khalistani terrorists that India believes continue to be located in Pakistan. They include Gajinder Singh, 'chairman' of the Khalistani Commando Force; Wadhaawa Singh Babbar, chief of the Babbar Khalsa International; Ranjit Singh Neeta, 'president' of the Khalistan Zindabad Force; and Bhai Lakhveer Singh Rode, chief of the International Sikh Youth Federation. Pakistan's plans for a revival of Sikh militancy have manifested themselves periodically - for instance, in a brief campaign of random bombings at soft targets in the Punjab between March and July 1997, in which 55 civilians were killed; and again in the appointment, in April 1999, of Lt. General Javed Nasir, a former chief of the ISI, as the chairman of the Pakistan Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee - an organization established to take care of Sikh shrines in that country, including the revered Nankana Sahib. Jathas or groups of Sikh pilgrims who travel to these shrines each year are regularly harangued by Sikh extremists in efforts to revive recruitment to extremist ranks.

The lessons of the years of terrorism have not been lost on the people of Punjab, and there is now widespread popular revulsion against the activities of those who committed slaughter in the name of the Sikh faith. The revival of terrorism among those who remember that dark phase of the State's history is improbable, if not impossible. But there is a new generation that is now growing up without any memories of that period. To beguile this generation to take to the terrorist path may not be as difficult a task. A revival of militancy in Punjab is a possibility that the Indian state must constantly guard against with the utmost vigilance. Bringing the guilty of those long years of terror to justice must be one of the instruments of such a defense. A state that fails persistently to punish even the worst of its criminals will eventually come to be ruled by them.



The Taliban Strikes Back
Ajai Sahni
Editor, SAIR; Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Management

Nine months ago, the Pervez Musharraf dictatorship in Pakistan rigged an election to scuttle the prospects of established political parties - including the exiled Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and the exiled Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) - and to give the Islamist extremist Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) an overwhelming majority in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), largest single party status in Baluchistan, and an unprecedented fifth of the seats (53/272) in the National Assembly. The elections were widely criticized by civil society and democratic elements within Pakistan, as well as by a range of independent international observers - including the European Union's Group of Observers - as being unfair and stage-managed by the military regime. A rare and crucial exception to this assessment, however, was the United States, which accepted the manipulated Pakistani mandate as valid, in part because it felt - and continues to feel - obligated to the Musharraf dictatorship for its apparent assistance in tracking down Al Qaeda and Taliban survivors, and partly because of an entirely flawed assessment that this sham democracy could eventually create the basis of a transition to real democracy in Pakistan.

Democracy, however, is a culture that evolves through practice, not a system that can be imposed on a people by a dictator and his puppets - with or without external support. The 'electoral success' of the MMA has not only placed a crucial border province entirely at the disposal of Islamist extremists directly linked to the Afghani Taliban, it has also given them a central role and exaggerated presence in the national political order - elements that the fundamentalists have exploited to the hilt. Concomitantly, the skewed National Assembly has resulted in the progressive marginalisation - indeed, virtual neutralization - of legitimate democratic forces, leaving the entire arena to the Islamist extremists or to featureless puppets of the Musharraf dictatorship. In all, prospects - indeed, the very possibility - of a functioning democracy re-emerging in Pakistan have been destroyed by the outcome of the rigged elections of October last year.

The consequences are the more disastrous in the NWFP, where the MMA Government, on June 2, 2003, passed a Bill enshrining Sharia (Islamic Law) as the supreme authority in the province. It is significant that the Bill was passed 'unanimously', without any criticism or resistance from the Opposition parties - including the 'liberal' PPP - in the NWFP Assembly. The brand of 'Sharia' that is to be imposed is already visible in the creation of a 'department of vice and virtue' on the pattern of the Taliban's notorious Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Discouragement of Vice in Afghanistan, as well as in the fact that the MMA leadership comprises many of the primary patrons and associates of the erstwhile Taliban regime in that country. If any doubt remained, it was cleared up by MMA Member of Parliament, Hamid-ul-Haq, who declared: "MMA had been given the mandate to implement Sharia… The blood of (the Afghan) Taliban has borne fruit and Sharia has been implemented in NWFP." Soon after its introduction in the provincial Assembly - and well before the Bill had been passed - the MMA had demonstrated its intent and power in the streets, when party thugs went on a rampage through Peshawar (the provincial capital) defacing or destroying hoardings that showed women, smashing satellite cable TV equipment, and attacking commercial establishments linked with foreign multinational companies. Musicians and dancers have been driven out of the province and all 'women' over the age of 12 are being forced into purdah (complete social segregation and the head-to-toe veiling in public places). The Chief Minister of the NWFP, Akram Khan Durrani, has backed action with ominous rhetoric: "We are a force now. Nobody can ignore us. We have nothing to lose."

The enormity of these developments cannot correctly be assessed simply by focusing on the NWFP, and the MMA's visible constituency. The fact is, no political entity in Pakistan - and this includes the Musharraf dictatorship and the Army - can effectively resist calls for Islamisation and imposition of Sharia in the country, or any part of it. Indeed, the language of the MMA's Sharia Bill is only a reflection of existing national legislation. Article 2 of the Pakistani Constitution declares Islam to be the 'state religion', and Article 227 and 228 mandate that no law in contravention of the Sharia can be enforced in the country. Article 227 requires that all existing laws be brought into conformity with the 'injunctions of Islam', and that no law shall be enacted which is repugnant to such injunctions. Crucially, moreover, whenever laws in the name of Islam have impinged on political, social and cultural freedoms - as they first began to do so in the Zia-ul-Haq era - no government has ever been able to reverse the consequent trends. It is in the nature of the political discourse in Pakistan - with oppressive blasphemy laws, enormous and armed street power in the hands of the Islamist extremists, overwhelming illiteracy, a vast network of social and 'educational' institutions controlled by Islamist fundamentalists, and an entirely emasculated democratic political constituency - that no effective opposition can be mounted, or even voiced, to anything, however irrational or unfounded, that is claimed to be in the 'interests of Islam'.

It is, moreover, not entirely clear that, even if this were possible, there is any will or intent to create such an opposition among those who currently control Pakistan's destiny. Pakistani sources confirm that the Army and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) continue to support the MMA's political consolidation and have, as the Friday Times notes, "worked overtime to pave their forceful entry into the corridors of power." The Islamist parties have, certainly since Zia's time, been seen as the 'natural allies' of the Army, as against the democratic forces in the country, and this is an alliance that is yet to be questioned under the Musharraf regime.

The political scenario in Pakistan, consequently, remains extraordinarily murky. While the military regime proclaims its support for the US war against terrorism, and helps 'hunt' al Qaeda and Taliban survivors with US Forces, it is widely believed to continue to shield the top leadership of these entities, many of whom are known to be in Pakistan; the ISI and elements in the Army, moreover, continue to give clandestine support to Taliban elements still operating in Afghanistan's border regions, and to terrorism in the India, particularly in the province of Jammu and Kashmir; within the country, while limited initiatives to contain sectarian strife have borne some fruit, the gradual consolidation of Islamist extremist forces in national politics has been continuous. There is some speculation that the MMA's increasing belligerence receives tacit encouragement from the Musharraf regime - on the presumption that, at a stage when the Islamists cross the line of international tolerance, this will give the Army an excuse to dissolve Parliament and the State Assemblies, and regain absolute control of the political space. Such a projection would be consistent with the Pakistani military leadership's past record, to the extent that the threat of a collapse into fundamentalist anarchy has constantly been held out to the world as justification for the continuation of authoritarian rule by the military.

This is, however, a double-edged weapon, and the gradual consolidation of the Islamist extremist constituency, not only in the country's political firmament, but within the military rank and file as well, creates the danger that those who seek to play with this fire may, eventually, be consumed by it.



Continuing Discord between King and Parties
Guest Writer: Professor Lok Raj Baral
Executive Chairman, Nepal Centre for Contemporary Studies (NCCS), Kathmandu

Political developments in Nepal appear to be occurring at an extraordinarily rapid pace, and this impression can only have been accentuated by the resignation of Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand, and the appointment of another royalist, Surya Bahadur Thapa, in his place. In actual fact, however, politics has remained at a standstill since King Gyanendra took over executive power and dismissed the caretaker Deuba Government on October 4, 2002, compounding the protracted crisis in the country. Major political parties represented in Parliament consider the royal action retrogressive, and have sought to resist it jointly. However, they waited for about seven months, hoping that the King would correct his action by bringing the Constitutional process back on track. The King, meanwhile, took steps to open a dialogue with the Maoists in order to find a political solution to their seven-year old 'People's War'. The previous Deuba Government had held the first peace talks in August-November 2001, but these broke down suddenly in the last week of November, following the Maoist attack on the military barracks at Dang and other places.

By the time the King's Government and the Maoists announced the cease-fire as a prelude to the second round of peace talks on January 29,2003, about 8,000 people had already lost their lives. As the cease-fire drags on, there have been reports of violations of the code of conduct in different parts of the country, and clashes between the Maoist insurgents and the security forces continue to occur during the present interregnum. Such incidents appear to suggest that simultaneous preparations for war by both sides are underway.

The two rounds of talks held on April 27 and May 10, 2003, have yielded no results. The first round took place only after three months of the announcement of the cease-fire and was characterized by mutual distrust and wrangling. The Government and foreign donors wanted to concentrate on reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed during the course of the Maoist People's War, and on humanitarian aspects, including the rehabilitation of displaced persons. But the Maoists wanted to address their core political agenda, maintaining that the Government's proposal was only a conspiracy to delay the peace process. Later, retracting on some aspects of its position, the Government agreed to address all outstanding issues and procedures to be followed during the negotiations.

The second round, held on May 9, was overshadowed by remarks made by the spokesman of the Royal Nepal Army, who said that the laying down of arms by the Maoist insurgents should be a precondition for the peace talks. Among many other issues agreed upon by both the negotiating teams, the confinement of the Army to a radius of five kilometers from their barracks was objected to by the Army as well as by some prominent political leaders.

Unfortunately, the Government team demonstrated that it had come to the negotiating table without any serious homework. Conflicting opinions were expressed by two members of the official team, with one of the ministers stating that there was no understanding on restricting the movement of the Army, while other Government members dithered on the issue, lacking confidence in their own capacity as negotiators. The Maoist leaders threatened that they would pull out from future talks if such decisions, supposedly agreed upon by the two teams, were changed due to the pressure from the Army. Issues relating to disarming the guerillas and their future management are likely to dominate upcoming negotiations, while the other core political demands - an interim government, a round table conference and a new constituent assembly - are yet to be addressed.

The triangular conflict between the King, political parties and the Maoists has added complexity to Nepali politics. On the one hand, while the Maoists deal with the King, who is at the centre of power in the present royal dispensation, they also want to rope in other major parties represented in the dissolved Parliament in order to secure a greater legitimacy in the negotiation process. Moreover, any final agreement between the Maoists and the King will have to be acceptable to major political parties, as their popular base cannot be denied despite their marginalization since King Gyanendra's October 4, 2002, decision to take over power. The political parties, however, feel themselves betrayed by the King, as the latter has preferred to be an active monarch rather than to conform to the spirit of the country's Constitutional Monarchy. The gap between the King and the political parties has widened further since the King has twice rejected the collective demand of the parties to constitute an all-party government in order to put the Parliamentary system back on track. On the contrary, the King picked up both the former Prime Minister, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, as well as the present incumbent, Surya Bahadur Thapa, out of the ranks of those who had served the Royal (partyless) regime prior to the restoration of the multiparty system in 1990. The Maoists and the Parliamentary Parties have, consequently, not accepted the appointments made by the King in contravention of the spirit of the country's constitutional monarchy.

Both the Maoists and the Parliamentary Parties have thus criticized Thapa's appointment on June 4, 2003, as yet another royal ploy to consolidate the monarchy. Political parties feel betrayed by the King, since the demand of the six major parties to appoint Madhav Kumar Nepal - the leader of the Opposition in the dissolved Parliament, and one of the key members of the five-party coalition formed against the King's action - was rejected. Instead, Thapa, whose party had only eleven members in a House of 205 representatives, was appointed Prime Minister, once again provoking all the parties to oppose the King's move.

King Gyanendra's choice of Thapa can be assumed to have been prompted by certain considerations. First, Thapa like his predecessor (Chand) was non-committal on reducing the powers and privileges of the King. He is considered a thoroughbred royalist, despite his liberal image during the 'partyless' regime. The King might have thought that his experience, his past image of a liberal and a manipulator would protect various royal interests from both the Maoists and Political Parties who are bent on bringing about radical transformations in the existing power structure. Thus, while the Maoists want to replace the present Constitution with a new one to be prepared by a Constituent Assembly; the Political Parties want to restore the dissolved Parliament and then carry forward an agenda of qualitative reforms that would reduce the King's role. The crucial and shared agenda today, consequently, is to deal with an ambitious monarch from whom the new Prime Minister derives his orders to function.



Tokyo Donor Conference - LTTE Rethinks Aid for Reconstruction
Guest Writer: Saman Kelegama
Executive Director, Institute of Policy Studies, Colombo

The much-awaited Tokyo Conference will take place on June 9-10, 2003. The Conference is supposed to bring a US $ 3 billion aid package, which has been pledged by various donors to Sri Lanka, over a three-year period - US $ 1 billion per year. It will give Sri Lanka an opportunity to place on the table an assessment of national priorities for the country for the next four to six years. The objective of the Conference is to mobilize donor support to 'regain' Sri Lanka through peace, rehabilitation, and growth generating reform.

The Government's own Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, better known, as 'Regaining Sri Lanka' is a detailed strategy for the way in which the Government will deal with national priorities across the whole country. A separate study was however commissioned to look at the needs of the North and the East, where the war has resulted in destruction of houses, schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure. The assessment was undertaken by the Sub-Committee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN) under the auspices of the United Nations, along with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Based on the assessment, two 'Needs Assessment' reports - one for the conflict affected areas and the other for the identified specific areas - were produced. Besides, 'Regaining Sri Lanka' and the two 'Needs Assessment' reports, an additional report called the "Bridging Document" will also be submitted to the Tokyo conference.

The twenty year war has left the Sri Lankan economy in crisis with large budget deficits, public debt exceeding the GDP, debt servicing exceeding government revenue, high unemployment, low productivity, etc. The United National Front (UNF) Government that came to office 15 months ago decided that peace was essential to rebuild the economy. After signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a ceasefire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2002, the Government and the LTTE had five rounds of peace talks (the first three rounds, September, October and December 2002 - in Thailand; the 4th round in February 2003, in Berlin; and the March 2003, 5th round in Tokyo).

Peace talks were combined with efforts to mobilize donor funds to rebuild the country, in particular, the North and East. The first donor meeting was held in Oslo in December 2002, followed by the second donor meeting in Washington in mid-April 2003, both of which were preparatory meetings for Tokyo. The LTTE did not participate in the Washington meeting, inter alia, due to its ban in the USA.

Meanwhile, the Government embarked on implementing a number of reforms as agreed in the Stand-By-Package (SBP) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) signed in March 2001, and concerted efforts were made to bring down the fiscal deficit. Based on reform implementation evaluations, the IMF approved a Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF) and an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in April 2003, that run until 2006, combined with facilities that total US $ 567 million. The focus of the IMF programme is two fold: (1) fiscal consolidation to reduce public debt, and (2) structural reforms to reduce the role of the public sector.

The World Bank is also stepping up its activities in Sri Lanka, supporting the Government's economic programme - the key target of which is to halve the number under the poverty line by 2015. To date, the Bank has committed US $ 2.7 billion in loans, credits, and grants to support 98 different projects, while the ADB loans total US $ 2.7 billion. The base case for the World Bank lending programme through 2006 consists of about four projects per year, amounting to a total of US $ 800 million. The European Commission has also adopted a €3.27 million decision under its Rapid Reaction Mechanism in support of the peace process in Sri Lanka. The World Bank and the European Commission will formally announce their commitments in Tokyo.

Economists are concerned about the low rate of aid utilization in the country - 11 per cent compared to the international average of 20 per cent. Given some of the cumbersome procedures governing aid disbursement, the Government of Sri Lanka has appointed a special team to look into the matter and improve aid utilization. This is all the more important to accommodate the new aid inflows of which 20 per cent has been ear-marked for the North/East. Concerns have also been expressed on the 'loans' component in the aid package, which will contribute to long-term indebtedness.

The LTTE decision to suspend participation in peace talks on 21 April 2003, due to its exclusion from the meeting in Washington, has become a major interruption in the peace process. The LTTE holds that their participation in the peace process is based on the notion of partnership with the Government. Partnership entails equality and mutual respect and, thus, consultation and joint decision-making. The LTTE claims that there was inadequate discussion on critical issues before the Washington meeting. In a nutshell, the LTTE position before Tokyo is as follows:

  1. Will not participate in the Tokyo Conference.
  2. Withdrawal from the peace talks is a suspension of participation for the time being. But emphasizes that it is committed to the peace process.
  3. Points out to some conceptual flaws and gaps in the 'Regaining Sri Lanka' document - highlights the different nature and scale of poverty and devastation in the North/East from the rest of the country and criticizes that the document takes no account of it.
  4. States that there is lack of demonstrable progress in the North/East due to the ineffective government administration system and thus demands an Interim Administration.

The Government's offer of a new institutional structure for an Interim Administration was rejected by the LTTE a few days prior to the Conference. The Government has made it clear that any institutional structure has to be within the Constitution of Sri Lanka, and that this could be worked out via discussions and not by exchanging letters. Attempts have been made to persuade the LTTE to participate in Tokyo without any success. The LTTE is apparently beset by fears of marginalization. It felt that the previous Government was trying to marginalize it by the devolution proposals, while the current UNF Government is trying to do the same via the rehabilitation exercise and economic development. Some say that the LTTE is not yet prepared for responsibilities that will arise from the Tokyo Conference in terms of meeting donor requirements for disbursement of assistance. Others have expressed the view that the current impasse is a reflection of 'over internationalization' of the peace and post-conflict reconstruction process that is increasingly driven by donors.

Discussion among donors and pressure from civil society groups to ensure that funds pledged would, in some way, be linked to progress towards a political settlement and towards full protection of human rights, imposes problems on the LTTE, given its continuing abuse of human rights. The LTTE strategy seems to be to de-link its participation in the peace talks and donor conference from progress towards a political settlement and human rights protection.

Given LTTE's track record, most of the donors are well aware of LTTE's strategy at times when crucial decisions are taken. It appears that the LTTE's non-participation has not made much of a difference to the agenda and pledges of the Tokyo Conference. Since the sums to be pledged are already known, questions have been raised by some commentators as to the relevance of the Tokyo meeting, after Oslo and Washington - particularly as Japan is Sri Lanka's largest donor.



Weekly Fatalities: Major conflicts in South Asia
June 2-8, 2003

Security Force Personnel






     Jammu &






Total (INDIA)



*   Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


No terrorist camps in Bangladesh, claims Foreign Minister: Bangladesh Foreign Minister Morshed Khan reportedly said in Dhaka on June 3 that no camps of Indian terrorist groups exist on its soil as claimed by India. He said, "India's list of Indian insurgency camps in Bangladesh has been investigated but nothing has been found." Earlier, on several occasions, India had given lists of terrorist camps of various northeast outfits pinpointing their locations. The Indian Express, June 3, 2003.


Jammu and Kashmir Government not to invoke POTA in the State: The Jammu and Kashmir Government indicated on June 4 that it would not invoke the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in the State. "The Government will not invoke POTA in any case. The Government will not sanction or allow prosecution of any person in the state under POTA," State Housing Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir told the Legislative Council during Question Hour. He also said that the Government is considering releasing those persons who have been booked under the Act but are not involved in serious crimes. Earlier, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Rehman Veeri said that no person has been booked under POTA in the State during the past six months. Outlook India, June 4, 2003.

Talks on Kashmir can commence with PoK issue, says Premier Vajpayee: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said on June 3 that if talks were to resume with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, it has to be on the one-third portion of Kashmir, which was under Pakistani occupation (Pakistan occupied Kashmir [PoK]). "We have had talks on Kashmir earlier also. If we were to start with Kashmir, then we have to start with that part of Kashmir which is under Pakistani occupation," Vajpayee told reporters on his return to Delhi after a weeklong tour of Germany, France and Russia. These remarks came in response to a question whether taking up the Kashmir issue would place a hurdle in the talks with Pakistan as was witnessed at the Agra summit of July 2001. Daily Excelsior, June 4, 2003.


Surya Bahadur Thapa sworn in as new Prime Minster: King Gyanendra administered the oath of office to newly appointed Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa at the Narayanhiti Royal Palace in Kathmandu on June 5. Later, the Premier said that his Government would further the peace process with the Maoist insurgents through the representatives of Government and political parties. Media reports have also indicated that Thapa would let the old Government's negotiating team under former Minister and Government negotiating team member Narayan Singh Pun to carry on the peace process. Meanwhile, Maoists rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda said, "The new Government formed with the blessings of the Palace is no different from the Chand Government… Our attitude to the Government remains the same." Prachanda has reportedly asked the new Government to implement previous agreements (concluded) with the Chand Government and implement the cease-fire and the code of conduct between the two sides. Nepal News, June 6, 2003.


13 Police trainees shot dead in sectarian attack in Quetta: In a sectarian attack, 13 trainee police personnel belonging to the local Hazara community of the Shia sect were killed and eight others injured at Sariab Road in Quetta on June 8. According to media reports, approximately 20 trainee police personnel were on their way to the Police Training School located at Sariab Road from Alamdar Road when two unidentified assailants ambushed them near Villagate at Sariab Road and opened indiscriminate firing with automatic weapons killing 13 of them. The assailants escaped after the killing and no arrests have been made thus far. "It was sectarian terrorism," Quetta Senior Superintendent of Police Rehmatullah Khan Niazi was quoted as saying. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Daily Times, June 9, 2003.

US diplomat says Pakistan is epicenter of terrorism: A US Embassy official in Islamabad has reportedly termed Pakistan as "the epicenter of terrorism". The remark, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor on June 4, came from the Embassy's Regional Security Officer, Michael Evanoff, who told the newspaper, "This is now the epicenter of terrorism. It really is. This is the only country I know in the world that has so many groups that are against the US or Western ideals. Last year alone, these groups pulled off seven strikes against the US community here, including a March church bombing in Islamabad that killed five - among them an American woman from the embassy and her daughter - and a June truck bomb at the Karachi consulate that killed 14 Pakistanis." The report says, "the routine attacks and constant threats have turned the US installations here into virtual fortresses. The sprawling compound in Islamabad is surrounded by thick brick ramparts, topped with razor wire, and reinforced by steel pillars to keep a vehicle from smashing through." Daily Times, June 5, 2003.

NWFP Provincial Assembly passes Shariat Bill: The North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Provincial Assembly (PA) on June 2, 2003, passed the Shariat Bill that would make the province the first in Pakistan to be run according to the teachings of the Holy Quraan. The six-party Islamist fundamentalist alliance, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), leads the Government in NWFP. The bill was adopted unanimously after the opposition parties withdrew amendments they had proposed earlier. The Shariat Bill, introduced in the PA last week, proposes to make Islamic law the supreme law in NWFP courts and to Islamise education, the economy and judiciary. Chief Minister Akram Durrani while thanking the opposition parties for lending support to the bill said, "We will now mould all laws under the purview of the provincial Government in accordance with the Islamic teachings." The MMA-led provincial Government has already banned men from training or watching women athletes, ordered civil servants to regularly offer Namaz (prayers) five-times a day, and also decided to establish a department for promoting virtues and suppressing vice in the region. Jang, June 3, 2003.


Premier Wickremesinghe rejects LTTE demand for Interim Administration: On June 2, 2003, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reportedly rejected the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) demand for an Interim Administration outside the law and the Constitution of the land in the Tamil-speaking North Eastern Province (NEP). He has also written to the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jan Petersen, requesting the facilitators to arrange a dialogue with the LTTE, which would enable the Government to explain and clarify its proposals for an administrative mechanism for the NEP. Meanwhile, Japan has warned the LTTE that it would go ahead and hold the "Aid Lanka" meet in Tokyo as planned on June 9 and 10, whether the LTTE agreed to attend it or not. Daily News, June 3, 2003.


The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.


South Asia Intelligence Review [SAIR]

K. P. S. Gill

Dr. Ajai Sahni

To receive FREE advance copies of SAIR by email Subscribe.

Recommend South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) to a friend.





Copyright © 2001 SATP. All rights reserved.