SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
"I have a dream", Pakistan’s new President, Asif Ali Zardari intoned in his first address to the Joint Session of Parliament on September 20, 2008, "My dream is to free this great country from the shackles of poverty, hunger, terrorism and disunity… to heal the wounds of the past, to restore the trust in the Federation…" Warming up to his theme, he declared, "We must root out terrorism and extremism wherever and whenever they may rear their ugly heads."
Just hours later, and a stone’s throw from the setting of the President’s address at Parliament, a truck-full of explosives was driven into the Mariott Hotel, a popular landmark in the heart of Islamabad’s most exclusive – and securitized – neighbourhood. On last count, at least 53 persons – including the Czech Ambassador to Islamabad – had been killed, and 266 injured (a significant number of people remain ‘unaccounted for’ and the death toll is expected to rise). The six-wheel truck was variously estimated to be carrying 1300 pounds of a cocktail of TNT, RDX, mortar shells and aluminium powder, and left behind a 25-foot deep crater. The Mariott was completely gutted in the explosion and the raging conflagration that followed.
No group has, yet, claimed the attack, but Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, pinned the blame on the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which has been responsible for a succession of terrorist attacks across Pakistan after the Army operation since late 2007, including, most recently, the suicide bombing at the Pakistan Ordnance Factory in the cantonment town of Wah, some 30 kilometres from Islamabad, which killed at least 70 persons in what has been described as the deadliest attack on a military installation in the country’s history. The TTP has also led a campaign of attrition against the Army and paramilitaries in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region and parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), particularly Swat.
The Mariott bombing is also being seen as a retaliatory attack in the wake of ongoing military operations in the Bajaur Agency, which have killed at least 778 militants since the launch of the campaign on August 6, 2008 [in addition to 49 civilians and 27 Security Force (SF) personnel; data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal]. A total of 865 militants, 114 civilians and 45 SF personnel have been killed across the FATA region over this period, even as another 576 persons have been killed in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP, 300 militants, 228 civilians and 48 SF personnel). Total fatalities in on-and-off military campaigns and terrorist operations in the NWFP and FATA areas through 2008 amount to 3,356 (till September 21), including 516 civilians, 144 SFs and 553 militants in NWFP, and 445 civilians, 158 SFs and 1,540 militants in FATA. A bulk of ‘militant’ fatalities have been inflicted through air operations, and there are widespread apprehensions that a large proportion of the ‘terrorist fatalities’ would, in fact, comprise civilians. [Total fatalities may also be higher, given the limited access the Press has to the regions of conflict and the Government’s proclivity to suppress information].
On August 5 – a day before the latest military operations in the Bajaur Agency were launched – the TTP had warned that it had prepared highly motivated ‘boys and girls’ who were ‘eager’ to mount suicide attacks all over the country, targeting high-profile Government functionaries and establishments, if the SFs did not immediately halt operations in Swat, and the Government did not reverse its decision to launch military operations in other tribal areas. At this stage, TTP cadres were also threatening Khaar, the regional headquarters of the Bajaur agency, which appeared to be confronting imminent collapse.
Worse, the virtual meltdown in the FATA and NWFP regions is part of a widening crisis across the country. According to one media estimate, as many as 354 explosions have been engineered by Islamist terrorists in Pakistan in year 2008 alone (till September) with at least 781 persons killed in these attacks. Of these, 33 were suicide attacks, with the three worst hitting the national capital, Islamabad.
The new dispensation at Islamabad has little to offer as solution or relief in this context and, as Ahmed Rashid notes, "the radical threat is now beyond easy military solution". In his address to Parliament, President Zardari once again trotted out the ‘comprehensive three-pronged strategy’ that has been the stock in trade for several years now, has been inherited from the predecessor Musharraf dictatorship, and has demonstrably and repeatedly failed in the past. Neverthelesss, Zardari outlines this ‘strategy’:
That this strategy will have little positive impact on the ongoing and escalating conflict is not only a consequence of the historical record, but of inherent contradictions that the establishment in Pakistani refuses to address. The critical issue, in this context, is Pakistan’s continued engagement with terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and its efforts to retain the Taliban as its proxy in Afghanistan, as well as a range of terrorist groups – prominently including the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI), the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), and other constituents of the Muttahida Jihad Council – as its cat’s paw against India. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the clear distinction it sought to maintain between its ‘loyal’ groups and those that had turned renegade and joined forces with the al Qaeda and hostile elements of the Taliban is no longer sustainable. Mobilised on a pan-Islamist ideology, a majority of these groups see common cause with the al Qaeda, and are incensed at Islamabad’s perceived perfidy in collaborating with ‘satanic’ Western forces, led by the US along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Their virulence has escalated manifold with increasing US-NATO attacks across the border into Pakistan, and including at least one such attack, on September 3, 2008, that involved ground forces.
Significantly, there is wide consensus that Pakistan has simply failed to build up its counter-terrorism capabilities over the past seven years of generous US assistance, and that an overwhelming proportion of the USD 7 billion military aid package has been diverted to the acquisition of heavy arms, aircraft and equipment essentially for conventional warfare against India. The result, as one unnamed Western military official at Islamabad expressed it, is that the paramilitary forces, including the Frontier Corps, who are the principal ground forces for the counterterorism campaigns in the FATA and NWFP regions, are left with little more than "sandals and bolt-action rifles".
Politically correct rhetoric on ‘rooting out extremism and terrorism’ cannot alter the reality that the Pakistani Army, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), and powerful lobbies within the political establishment – including elements within the ruling coalition – continue to regard Islamist extremist mobilisation and terrorism as necessary elements, not only for the projection of Pakistani ambitions in the external environment, but of internal politcal management as well. Zardari’s declarations of intent notwithstanding, the nightmare that is Pakistan cannot be transformed unless the country’s political establsihment and Army join forces in an unambiguous repudiation of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. The intensity and magnitude of the attack at the Marriott may serve as an urgent warning to the establishment of the ruination they have brought on themselves and on their country. It remains to be seen, however, whether it will be sufficient to break old habits of response, and deeply ingrained – though perverse – systems of belief that have been the fountainhead of policy and of terror in Pakistan.
When Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ set out on his five day visit to India between September 14 and 18, 2008, he had two objectives. His political and personal aim was to reach out to all sections, allay apprehensions, portray himself as a moderate and win trust. He also wanted to extract a political commitment from New Delhi's leadership to revise past treaties – this, he hoped, would help him sell the image, back home, of a ‘revolutionary’ seeking to alter the bilateral relationship. By these standards, from his perspective, the visit was a reasonable success.
Prachanda tried hard to win across the board political acceptability. So he hugged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He met Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the ruling United Progressive Alliance and President of the Congress Party. He invited a vocal critic of the Nepali Maoists, L.K. Advani, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to complete his Ayodhya journey in Janakpur and Pashupati in Nepal and told him the Hindu essence of Nepal cannot be altered. He spent an hour with BJP’s President, Rajnath Singh, to tell him that they had no links with the Indian Naxalites (Left Wing extremists). And he met old friends Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat of the Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPI-M), keeping the links alive even though the Left is no longer a part of the ruling dispensation at New Delhi.
But it was a lunch at Janata Dal – United (JD-U) President Sharad Yadav's house that made it clear what an image transformation Prachanda and the Maoists have engineered, with a tacit nod from the Indian establishment. From the Congress Party’s Digvijay Singh and Abhishek Manu Singhvi to BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi, from Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to Mulayam Singh Yadav, from Karat to Somnath Chatterjee, the Indian political elite welcomed the PM. Prachanda responded by saying he had spent eight out of the ten years during the people’s war in India and wanted to strengthen the special relationship.
As at home, Prachanda was a different man to different audiences. Sample some of his soundbites to understand the various roles Prachanda and the Nepali Maoists have been performing to retain their old friends and keep their radical cadre happy, while trying to sound moderate and make newer friends. Whether they are able to balance these interests will determine the future of Nepali politics.
Prachanda donned a free market capitalist avatar when speaking to a gathering of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Even as his workers blocked work at the Dabur factory in southern Nepal, Prachanda was busy wooing the business elite and making the right noises. "We want investment; we will set up special economic zones; I want mega hydro power projects, not small and petty ones."
Speaking to Delhi’s foreign policy elite at the India International Centre, he declared, "Due to our historical, cultural ties and traditional economic dependence, our special relationship with India will continue. We want to improve ties with China but these relations cannot be compared." He thanked the Indian establishment for its help from the 12 point agreement and described the peace process as the collective responsibility of the two countries.
But then, Prachanda returned to his old radical self when speaking behind closed doors at the Nepal Embassy to a gathering of the Indian radical left: "We do not accept parliamentary democracy. Our main enemy now is comprador bourgeoisie and the remnants of feudalism. Foreign forces have been meddling in Nepal since the 12 point agreement. The revolution is not yet over."
However, while one part of the visit focused on Prachanda's personality, his engagement with the ruling elite, and his efforts to win the support of different sections in Delhi, the official meetings remained firmly centered on the bilateral relationship and the peace process in Nepal.
Both sides agreed to 'review, adjust and update' the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship. This is not a drastically new step. For more than a decade, the Nepali side has publicly said they want a new treaty and the Indian side has agreed in principle, but put the onus back on Nepal to come up with specific suggestions. The lack of homework on the Nepali side has always been apparent. The treaty gives ‘national treatment’ to citizens of one country in the other, and this has had enormous advantages for Nepal. There are security-related clauses which Nepal may justifiably want amended. Unlike the past, though, it is more likely that the Nepali side under Maoist leadership will follow up on the agreement to review the treaty.
The signal achievement of the visit has been the reactivating of institutional arrangements between the two sides. Due to the absence of an effective Government in Nepal for several years and the preoccupation of the political class with the internal dynamics at Kathmandu, these bilateral institutions have fallen into a limbo. The two sides agreed to have Foreign Secretary level talks to discuss the entire gamut of outstanding issues; Commerce Secretary level talks to look at the trade and transit arrangements; and Water Resource Minister and Secretary level talks to discuss flood control, irrigation and hydropower. The Home Secretaries will meet to discuss security concerns. India feels Nepal is a conduit for narcotics, fake currency notes, and serves as a base for the activities of the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Nepal feels that Madhesi militant groups use territory in Bihar to engineer criminal activities in the southern Tarai region bordering India.
In private discussions, the two sides are also understood to have discussed the remaining issues of the peace process, which India has backed and at times micro-managed. The integration of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cadres with the Nepal Army is the critical task ahead. The Nepal Government has said this will be completed in six months, but most analysts believe it will take longer. The Nepal Army and other parties like the Nepali Congress (NC) have argued that integration of indoctrinated Maoist soldiers will 'politicise' the national Army. The Maoists have pointed out that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement clearly lays down that the cadres will be integrated. India feels that the Army is the only stable institution of state left in Nepal and there should be no drastic changes that affect the chain of command and structure of the institution, and is understood to have conveyed this to the Maoists. At the same time, there is recognition in Delhi and Kathmandu that the Army is demoralised and will have to accept a degree of integration.
To say Prime Minister Prachanda’s visit heralds a new beginning for Nepal-India relations would be succumbing to hyperbole and exaggeration. What the trip did, however, was allow the two sides to know each other better, help the Maoists win greater legitimacy, reaffirm India's commitment and support for the recent political changes and peace process in Nepal, and re-energise the bilateral relationship.
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
September 15-21, 2007
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.
Two Indian Mujahideen terrorists killed in New Delhi: Two Indian Mujahideen terrorists, including a key functionary of the outfit, who played a major role in the Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and the recent Delhi serial blasts, were killed in an encounter with the Special Cell of the Delhi Police at Batla House in the Jamia Nagar locality of South Delhi on September 19. The encounter took place after a tip-off received by the Delhi Police that Mohammad Bashir, alias Atiq, of the Indian Mujahideen, involved in the Ahmedabad blasts, had been living with some other suspected militants in a flat at L-18 Batla House. The operation began at 10.30 a.m. and continued for an hour in which Bashir and his accomplice Mohammad Fakruddin, alias Sajed, both residents of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, were killed. While one alleged terrorist identified as Saif Ahmad was arrested from the spot, another, Zeeshan, was arrested later, in the Jhandewalan area. Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma, a highly decorated officer, who led the operation, was also killed in the encounter. An AK series assault rifle and two .30 pistols were found at the spot. Another three terrorists, Zia-ur-Rehman, Shakir Nisar and Mohammad Shakil were arrested in the morning of September 20 from the Jamia Nagar area. Police sources said that the terrorist module had planned to detonate at least 20 bombs in several places in the national capital. The Hindu; NDTV, September 20-22, 2008.
Union Government rules out return of POTA: On September 18, Information and Broadcasting Minister and Cabinet spokesperson Priyaranjan Dasmunsi ruled out any move to bring back the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) or introduce any additional law to combat terror. "If the present laws such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act are implemented properly, there is no need for additional laws," he said. Briefing reporters on the deliberations of the special Cabinet meeting in the night of September 17, which discussed the security situation in the country in wake of the recent terror attacks, including the September 13 serial blasts in Delhi, he further said that some of the anti-terrorism laws in India were "much stronger than those in the U.S. and U.K".
The Minister also announced a series of measures to strengthen the intelligence machinery, including the creation of a research and technology wing in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to analyse the new modus operandi of terrorists and steps to install gadgets such as closed circuit televisions and metal detectors in market places. Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said the Cabinet sanctioned an additional 6,000 posts for the IB and another 7,612 posts for the Delhi Police. The Cabinet also approved a proposal to strengthen the Special Branches in the States and to earmark funds for them to acquire and put in place scanners and other security-related equipment. It approved a sub-scheme for policing in the metros for which the Union Government would provide assistance in intelligence monitoring and surveillance. The Hindu, September 19, 2008.
Need to strengthen anti-terror laws, says Prime Minister: On September 17, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pointing to the role played by the Pakistan-based terrorist groups in the recent serial bomb blasts in the country, said that the involvement of local elements added a new dimension to the terrorist threat. The Prime Minister, addressing the Governors’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi, said, "We have reports that certain Pakistan-based terrorists outfits are constantly seeking to set up new terrorist modules within our country. This is a matter of the utmost concern. We have increased vigilance on our borders… But in view of the growing involvement of local elements, this is not enough." Favouring further strengthening of anti-terror laws, the Prime Minister noted that security and intelligence agencies had been successful in thwarting and pre-empting several terrorist attacks. "But as the recent blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Delhi indicate, there are still vast gaps in intelligence. These need to be overcome", he added. TheHindu, September 18, 2008.
Implement NHRC recommendations on Salwa Judum, Supreme Court asks Chhattisgarh Government: On September 19, the Supreme Court asked the Chhattisgarh Government to implement some of the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which went into the activities of the Salwa Judum (anti-maoist vigilante movement) set up by the State to tackle Left Wing extremism. The NHRC had been asked by the Supreme Court to probe the allegations that the Salwa Judum was committing atrocities on innocent people. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal told senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for Chhattisgarh, that the commission "has done meticulous work. It has given a series of recommendations. It is very painful to read the report. It says there is arson and looting, people are armed and they [Salwa Judum] are committing serious offences. It says people who are subjected to serious problems are still afraid of coming out." The Chief Justice observed, "When somebody [Salwa judum] is given arms, he claims to be a pseudo police. Once he is given arms, he will commit an offence though he has no right to do any such act. Some remedial measures have been suggested in the report and the State may consider implementing them. Whatever is urgently required to be done, do it." The Hindu, September 20, 2008.
Integration of People’s Liberation Army in six months, says President: President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, presenting the Government’s policies and programmes at the fourth session of the Parliament of the Constituent Assembly on September 10 said, "The integration and rehabilitation of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will be completed within (the) next six months to take the peace process to a logical conclusion." A day earlier, however, the Nepali Congress vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel had said that the PLA can't be integrated with the Nepali Army as the former is loyal to a political party. The Himalayan Times, September 11, 2008.
53 persons killed in suicide attack in Islamabad: On September 20, a suicide bomber detonated a truck packed with 1300 pounds of an RDX and TNT cocktail at the Marriott Hotel in the national capital, Islamabad, at 8 pm, killing 53 persons and injuring another 266. The Ambassador of the Czech Republic Ivo Zdarek and three United States (US) nationals were among those killed. The massive explosion, which left a 25-foot crater, ruptured a gas pipeline and triggered a huge blaze. It destroyed significant parts of the hotel. Many victims leapt to their deaths from the upper floors of the hotel to escape the fire, a senior security official said. The adjacent Frontier House, Chief Justice’s House, IT Towers and the Pakistan TV building were severely damaged.
On September 21, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the initial investigation report of the suicide bombing will be ready soon and the Government will seek the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) if the need arose. The Prime Minister said that the actual targets of the terrorists were Parliament and the Prime Minister’s House. The terrorists could not hit their intended target due to the security measures in place, he added. On the same day, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior, Rehman Malik blamed the Al Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for the attack. "This incident has similarities with the attack on the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)'s Hamza Camp as well as with the two loaded vehicles caught from Dera Ismail Khan, and with the blast outside the Danish Embassy. The explosives used in this blast matched those of earlier explosions", he told the media at a Press Conference that he addressed in the Interior Ministry late on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier, on September 20, President Asif Ali Zardari, addressing a Joint Session of Parliament, had called for the rooting out of terrorism from Pakistan’s soil. "We must root out terrorism and extremism wherever and whenever they may rear their ugly heads," he said in his maiden address to Parliament. He further stated, "We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism". But, at the same time, Pakistan must stop militants from using its territory for attacks on other countries, he added. Daily Times ; The Hindu, September 21-22, 2008
Anti-Taliban offensive continues in Bajaur: At least 77 Taliban terrorists were killed in the past week in a continued air and land offensive between the security forces (SFs) and the Taliban terrorists in the Bajaur Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). On September 15, helicopter gunships and fighter jets raided Taliban hideouts in the Loyesam, Tang Khata, Rashakai, Tandar Gat, Kirala, Bai Cheena, Tangai and Khazana areas and killed 24 Taliban terrorists. All fatalities were reportedly the result of air raids, as ground advances by the SFs have remained limited in view of the fierce resistance put up by the terrorists. The ground forces are attempting to gain control over the Loyesam area, located on a key road leading southwards to Peshawar and Nawagai, another strategic town on a main road. On September 16, ten Taliban militants were killed and several others injured in air raids targeting militant hideouts in the Loyesam, Tang Khata and Shakai areas. Frontier Corps (FC) personnel had seized various types of ammunition and large amounts of Afghan currency during a search of militant compounds around Tang Khata. On September 17, another 19 Taliban militants were killed as Taliban hideouts in the Loyesam, Banda, Rashakai, Tangai, Tarakai, Tang Khata, Kosar, Bayee Cheena, Jannat Shah and Charmang areas were targeted with heavy artillery. The following day, on September 18, at least eight Taliban terrorists were killed and several others injured. The SFs claimed to have destroyed the command and control system of the Taliban in the area. SFs also arrested five Taliban and shelled their strongholds in the Loyesam, Tang Khata, Kausar, Rashkai and Kerala areas. On September 20, at least 16 Taliban terrorists were killed near Shakai village and adjacent areas. By September 21, the SFs claimed to have gained total control over Siddiqabad, Toheedabad, Rehman Baba, Shandai Mor, Faja, Sabu Kalay, Yousufabad, Sharpana, Nawidand, Shomlo Qila and Mamizo areas of Khar tehsil (revenue division).
Curfew remains in force in the Agency for the 18th consecutive day, bringing life to a halt, causing a shortage of fuel, potable water and food. Mosques have remained shut for the past many weeks. Daily Times, September 16-22, 2008.
257 LTTE militants and 24 soldiers among 288 persons killed during the week: 257 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militants, 24 soldiers and seven civilians were among 288 persons killed in separate incidents between September 15 and September 21, 2008. At least 18 LTTE militants were killed as the troops of the 57 Division operating on the Vavuniya front on September 15 advanced six kilometres east of Akkarayankulam Tank in the Kilinochchi District towards the Jaffna-Kandy A-9 road from the north of Kokkali. Three soldiers were killed and nine soldiers injured during these confrontations. On September 16, the security forces (SFs) during separate encounters in the Palamoddai, North of Palamoddai and Vedamakilam areas of Vavuniya District killed 11 LTTE militants. On September 17, at least 25 LTTE militants and four soldiers were killed while about 25 militants and 14 soldiers were injured as troops captured a 1.5-kilometre stretch of the huge earth bund (embankment) at Karampaikkulam, eight kilometres northeast of Nachchakuda, in the Kilinochchi District. Troops operating east of Akkarayankulam foiled three counter attacks by the LTTE to recapture the area, which has been under SF control since September 15, killing at least 15 LTTE cadres. Separately, during six separate clashes in the Palamoddai area of Vavuniya District, the SFs killed 12 militants. At least 25 Sea Tigers, cadres of the sea wing of the LTTE, were killed and 10 Sea Tiger boats, including three big ones, were destroyed in a four-hour sea battle between the Lankan Navy and the Sea Tigers in the seas off Valaipadu at Nachchakuda in the Kilinochchi District on September 18. Separately, the SFs captured another 1.5 kilometres stretch of land in the Karampaikkulam area of Kilinochchi District killing 15 LTTE militants and injuring 18 others. Three soldiers were killed while 12 others received injuries during the clash. On the same day, at least 13 LTTE militants were killed and six others injured during clashes with the troops in and around Andankulam in the Vavuniya District. Three soldiers were killed and another one injured. On September 19, troops killed 12 LTTE militants and injured five others in the area north of Palamoddai in the Vavuniya District. Further, on September 20, at least 23 LTTE cadres were killed and a large number of others injured during encounters in the Mankulam, Navaddikulam, north of Palamoddai, Akkarayankulam, Panniwedikulam, Vannavikulam, Punani Kodamadu and Andankulam areas of Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi Districts. Sri Lanka Army; Daily News; Colombo Page, September 15-21, 2008.
LTTE used CS gas to attack soldiers, says Media Centre for National Security: On September 17, the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) claimed that the LTTE used CS gas (2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, or tear gas) to attack Sri Lankan soldiers recently in the battlefronts of Wanni region. The Army is fully equipped and well geared up to face any unacceptable ‘chemical or gas attacks of the enemy,’ the MCNS added. "A few soldiers in the Wanni during their encounters with the enemy in the most recent past developed breathing difficulties following emission of a gas, believed to have been directed by the Tigers towards the advancing troops," the MCNS pointed out. CS gas is used as a riot control agent and although non-lethal, exposure to CS gas produces severe burning, pain and breathing difficulties. Daily News; Colombo Page, September 18, 2008.