Homeland Security

How Pakistan's Proxy War Began - III
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By B Raman

Amongst other leading office-bearers of the Markaz are Yusuf Taibi, who is in charge of external relations, and Amir Hamza, editor of its journal called Majla Al Dawa, which claims to have a circulation of 70,000 (Rs 12 per copy). The Markaz describes photo cameras, TV sets and movie films as un Islamic. It carries out periodic campaigns for the destruction in public of cameras and TV sets and appeals to the public not to see films.

Lt Gen Mahmood Ahmed, the then DG of the ISI, was reported to have attended the annual conference of the LET held at Muridke from April 13 to 15, 2001, which passed a resolution calling on its cadres in India to emulate the example of Mahmood .Ghaznavi, capture Hindu temples, destroy the idols and then hoist the flag of Islam on them.

“¦”The Lashkar operates six private military training camps in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir where several thousands of cadre are given both military and religious education.””¦

In 2000, Musharraf, under pressure from the Clinton Administration, denied the LET permission to hold its annual conference at Muridke in November. This year, anticipating that there would be no similar pressure from the Bush Administration, he initially allowed them to hold the deferred conference of 2000 in Muzaffarabad in PoK, but subsequently, when the LET insisted on holding it at Muridke, he let it do so and asked the ISI to ensure that no journalists, Pakistani or foreign, was able to have access.

Despite this, some Pakistani journalists managed to have access. The News of April 22, 2001, reported as follows: “The Lashkar operates six private military training camps in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir where several thousands of cadre are given both military and religious education. With more than 2200 unit offices across the country and over two dozen launching camps along the Line of Control (LoC), the Lashkar boasts of the biggest jehadi network in Pakistan… The followers of the Lashkar come from all walks of life from the defence and nuclear establishment to the industrial labour.”

The March issue of Herald, the monthly journal of the Dawn group of Karachi, quoted Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro, Secretary-General of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema Islam (JUI), Sindh, based in Larkana, as saying as follows: “Why is the Pakistan Army not fighting for Kashmir? Why are they getting our youth killed there? They are using our young men for their own goals… Let’s be clear on one thing. These jehadi groups can’t function and survive without official patronage. Is there a single militant training centre in Pakistan which can operate without the consent of the Pakistan Army? All militant groups are created and run by Pakistan’s secret agencies. They have mobile phones, land cruisers and weapons. Where are they getting the funds from? Surely, it can’t be all funded through public donations. Because if that were so, we would be getting similar donations, if not more.”

Irfan Hussain, a Pakistani columnist, wrote in the Dawn of March 3, 2001, as follows: “For years, successive governments have been denying military support for Kashmiri militants while jehadi outfits have been openly collecting funds to buy arms and train infiltrators at camps established in Punjab and Azad Kashmir. In these efforts, these groups have received more than a wink and a nod from shadowy agencies that have sought to keep the Kashmir pot on the boil while preserving official deniability.”

Book_a_terrorist_stateNajam Sethi, the distinguished editor, wrote in the Friday Times ( May 18 to 24, 2001) as follows: “The Musharraf model seeks to covertly ally with the jehadi groups while overtly keeping the mainstream religious parties out of the power loop. This is to enhance and sustain its covert external agenda, while internally maintaining an overtly moderate anti-fundamentalist stance for the comfort of the international community whose economic support is critical to Pakistan’s financial viability.”

Continued…: How Pakistan’s Proxy War Began – IV 

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

B Raman

Former, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai & Additional Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat. He is the author of The Kaoboys of R&AW, A Terrorist State as a Frontline Ally,  INTELLIGENCE, PAST, PRESENT & FUTUREMumbai 26/11: A Day of Infamy and Terrorism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

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