Homeland Security

International Terrorism and the case of Burhan Wani
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 15 Jul , 2016

Hijbul Mujahedeen (Party of Holy Warriors) is a terrorist organization founded in 1989 at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) fighting a low intensity proxy war against India for the secession of Kashmir. This outfit has long been declared as a terrorist organization by European Union and United States of America. However, for Pakistani establishment they are ‘freedom fighters’ and Pakistan is deeply anguished at the death of its Kashmiri Commander Burhan Wani at the hand of security forces. Nawaz Sharif’s office said in a statement, “the Prime Minister of Pakistan has expressed his deep shock at the killing of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani and many other civilians by the Indian Military and paramilitary forces”. Burhan Wani was a ‘good terrorist’ for Pakistan, not as the bad terrorists who killed innocent children at Peshawar school.

The world is really helpless against terrorism because every other terrorist organization has one or more countries extending covert or overt support to them.

There are different interpretations of terrorist activities by the countries suiting their geo political interests. Earlier Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in its 13th summit held in Istanbul (Turkey) on 14-15 April, 2016, had reaffirmed its ‘principled support’ for the people of J&K and demanded plebiscite. Ironically OIC consists of UAE and Saudi Arabia both of which had jointly pledged with India to deal with terrorism during the recent tours of Prime Minister Modi to these countries.

It is apparent now that the biggest hurdle in launching a decisive war on terror is the inconsistency of the nation states in their perception and definition of terrorism. For Turkey, the attack on Istanbul airport is a terrorist attack but on a police convoy in J&K is a part of freedom struggle. In past Turkey in support of Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had ordered thousands of Toyota vehicles to Japan. Those vehicles were required by ISIS and not by Turkey which played a conduit in this business deal.

The world is really helpless against terrorism because every other terrorist organization has one or more countries extending covert or overt support to them. This is a monumental failure on the part of the international community to arrive at an acceptable definition even though majority of member States are claiming to be the victims of one or other types of terrorist violence. Even Bangladesh which recently went through a ghastly carnage at Dhaka by the Islamic terrorists, was the part of the above OIC resolution. Obviously the persuasion of Pakistan to the fellow Islamic countries worked better then the Prime Minister’s globetrotting diplomacy as far as the OIC is concerned.

In a recent article this author had written that “the UN has no internationally-agreed definition of terrorism. Although work began on a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism by the end of 2000, the definitional impasse has prevented its adoption. The prime reason is the standoff with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The Arab Terrorism Convention and the Terrorism Convention of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) define terrorism to exclude armed struggle for liberation and self-determination. This claim purports to exclude blowing up certain civilians from the reach of international law and organizations. It is central to interpreting every proclamation by the states which have ratified these conventions in any UN forum purporting to combat terrorism.

The number of death because of terrorist attacks worldwide rose from 3329 in the year 2002 to 32685 the year 2014.

On November 13, 2015 the Chairman of the General Assembly Working Group — that was established to finalize a draft convention on international terrorism — circulated an oral report in which he named “the outstanding issues.” He highlighted the OIC demand “to distinguish between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign occupation and colonial or alien domination in the exercise of their right to self-determination.”

The tragedy is that the some of the member countries of OIC are the worst affected to the scourge of terrorism. As per the November 2015 analysis by the Sydney based Institute of Economics and Peace, 93 countries experienced at least one terrorist act in the year 2014 and that includes France and Australia. The number of death because of terrorist attacks worldwide rose from 3329 in the year 2002 to 32685 the year 2014. Out of total lives lost in 2014, about 78% counted for in the five countries alone i.e. Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. These five countries are the hub of terrorist activities and Pakistan is a prominent member of this rogue gallery.

The birth of international terrorism dates back to 1948 at the time of creation of Israel. Several Palestinian groups resorted to terrorism as a war strategy for the destruction of Israel. In 1960s the Red Brigade in Italy, Red Army Faction in West Germany, Roman Catholic and Protestants in Northern Ireland used violence to achieve their desired objectives. The Cold War period of 1960-80 directly as well as indirectly provided a ground for the emergence of the terrorism. The arms race between the two super power and their blocs insure availability of sophisticated arms and ammunition to the terrorist groups. In 1980s, the Islamic Jihadis were the new dimensions added to international terrorism whereas in 1990s the terrorism travelled to Europe and China. There is a terrorist everywhere, we know it also but prefer to address him by different names.

“…despite all his (Burhan Wani) virtual bravado, despite being a poster boy, he could not carry out a single action against security forces. His life ‪‎glamorized by ‪‎media power , and his death celebrated in same way…”

Burhan Wani had become a poster boy of Kashmiri insurgency movement with strikingly good looks, playing cricket, compared to Che Guevara, inspiring thousands of Muslims to join ‘intifada’ using social media against Indian State, warning against Kashmiri Pandits and Sainik and so on. He would proudly upload his battle fatigue dress with automatic rifle on facebook. He can be glamorized but not exonerated. The head of a dreaded terrorist outfit responsible for killings of security personnel cannot be innocent. But for his own people he was a hero no doubt. The tens of thousands of people attending his cremation is a case in point. But Burhan Wani could have done better for his people and mitigate their sufferings than gratuitously joining a terrorist outfit no matter what was the provocation. What could be the political maturity of a 15 year old boy to join a terrorist outfit except a brainwashing by the separatists ideologue who would send their children abroad for studies but delude the local boys to become terrorist?

The Facebook post of Imtiyaz Hussain, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Baramullah, on Burhan Wani’s killing on July 9, 2016 as quoted in ‘ Daily O’ says it all. “Yesterday, he was romanticized, cheered, lionized and was celebrated by them. Once his associates started getting killed, a few even wondered if he was “being run by agencies”. Today, they mourn his death, confer him with the title of Shaheed. Later on, they will ensure that their children don’t miss their school bus, and over the weekend, they will take families out for picnic to ‪Pahalgam and‪ Gulmarg. Meanwhile the Freedom Fighters abroad, shall discuss Burhan Wani’s “‪‎Martyrdom” and continue their pledge for Kashmir’s Freedom.

The truth is, despite all his virtual bravado, despite being a poster boy, he could not carry out a single action against security forces. His life ‪‎glamorized by ‪‎media power , and his death celebrated in same way…by people who just stand on sidelines, and cheer gleefully. Let ‪truth be told, his life was a ‪waste… one more man sacrificed for a ‪futile cause… he is not the first, he won’t be the last!!”

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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

Rakesh Kr Sinha

Former DIG and is associate member of Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). Presently Special Advisor to the Chief Minister, Govt of NCT of Delhi.

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4 thoughts on “International Terrorism and the case of Burhan Wani

  1. Great insight what had happened and about the poster boy .For terrorist like Buran wani Its easy to fire from gun but difficult to live life with respectfully. India has spend ample amount of time and money on the development of Kashmiri people there in Kashmir. now they are showing there anger for what …..People like us pay taxes and it was spent on development of that state… why cant we develop rest of the cities (Jammu, Leh, Ladakh ) why only Kashmir all time…..stop doing it now . Like what ever revenue gets generated from Kashmir should be spent on it only let them no nothing is free in this world…..

  2. As today, at least 43 people have brutally killed and some 3,600 others injured since protests erupted over the killing of pro-Pakistan activist Burhan Wani. Police Chief Rajendra Kumar described his killing as a major success against freedom fighters in Jammu and Kashmir. He also disclosed that Indian security forces killed at least 83 other militants in Kashmir. Rajendra Kumar and leaders in New Delhi must be more than happy to find another addition of 43 dead bodies in the list of killed militants. One wonders why United Nation’ Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki Moon is not taking any action against Indian atrocities. The indigenous movement for freedom and joining Pakistan in disputed Indian held Jammu and Kashmir state is also supported by United Nations Security Council Resolution.

  3. Pakistan should view India as a friend otherwise shouldn’t view India as an enemy… Kashmir is the integral part of India… Dnt even imagine to take kashmir.. In very soon India will retrieve POK from Pakistan..

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