Curbing militants in Pakistan; a trial of patience?

December 3, 2008

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Pakistan to cooperate “fully and transparently” in investigations into the Mumbai attacks, while U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has pointed a finger at Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group.

That’s probably the kind of language that would go down well in India, which has been frustrated in the past by what it saw as the United States’ failure to acknowledge the threat from Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups, instead preferring to rely on Pakistan as a useful ally in the region while focusing its own energies on defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But what exactly can either the United States or India do if they want to put pressure on Pakistan? India has long complained that Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, another Pakistan-based militant group, were nurtured by the Pakistan spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI, to stage attacks in both Indian Kashmir and elsewhere in the country. And while Pakistan denies providing more than moral support to Kashmiri groups, it has never cracked down on Lashkar-e-Taiba, based in Punjab and Pakistan-held Kashmir, in the same way that it has begun to tackle militants from al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Lashkar-e-Taiba’s charitable wing, the Jamat-ud-Dawa, earned popular support by working to rescue victims of the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, as discussed in this article by Steve Coll in the New Yorker. And much to India’s irritation, the Jamat-ud-Dawa continues to operate openly in Muridke outside Lahore.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has encouraged Pakistan to take action against militants not just on the Afghan border,  but also “against militant extremists elsewhere in the country”.

What does that mean? Disarming the Laskhar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed? Arresting their leaders? Cracking down on the Jamat-ud-Dawa, even to the point of closing down Muridke?

And can Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari deliver without weakening his fragile civilian government or alienating the powerful Pakistan Army? As Arif Rafiq discussed in the Pakistan Policy Blog some months back, Pakistan Army head General Ashfaq Kayani has made clear he is willing to leave domestic politics to Zardari, but has drawn a line in the sand when it comes to external security and Kashmir.

It could take months of painstaking diplomacy to make any real progress, assuming that India does produce proof that Lashkar-e-Taiba really was behind the Mumbai attacks. And that could require patience. Does Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, facing a national election by next May, have the patience to wait?

(Reuters photo: Sun sets behind Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai/Punit Paranjpe)


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Pakistan will either have to disarm the jihadi infrastructure or it will be done by others. There is only so much terrorism you can export before the world says – ENOUGH!

It is outrageous that it took the deaths of Westerners and Jews for this kind of pressure on Pakistan, but that’s what is happening now.

Muridke must be closed for good. Hafiz Saeed and his ilk must be imprisoned for life. The LeT/JuD leaders who plotted this, like Makki and Muzammil will need to be executed.

All foreign aid to Pakistan must be contingent on a serious crackdown.

Posted by Rajat | Report as abusive

‘It could take months of painstaking diplomacy to make any real progress,’

—The Author seems to be blissfully ignorant & completely out of sync with the developments of the Mumbai attacks aftermath..

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

Indian, I’ve noticed you post regular comments on this site. Why don’t you say what you think should be done, as Rajat did in the earlier comment, rather than simply condemning the post as ignorant? Better still, why don’t you identify yourself? Comments are always particularly valuable when people say who they are.

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

That is Indian mentality to hide and fire. That is what RAW is doing in Karachi, Balouchistan n Kashmir no critcism for them i guess. But then we dont live in fair world and people start taking their own actions and then we wake up in anger but not looking at the cause.

You need to read two different views and then make conclusion. Most indians are brainwashed by their media and cant think outside the box.

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive

Mr.Zardari has finally acknowledged that the terrorist involved in Mumbai carnage didn’t come for the part of country which he rules. This doesn’t absolve him of the responsibility of controlling these elements. NWFP & FATA are havens for fundamentalist and its known fact that the writ of Pak. Gov never worked.

However Pak claims of violating its sovereignty whenever a US drone strike happens in this area shows the paradox in Mr. Zardari’s present statement. India’s patience is waning thin and fast which each attack on its soil by Pak based terrorists. The list of terrorist from India and a counter-list from Pak makes a mockery of this situation.

I think it is time for India to see things differently. India must send covert teams inside Pak, PoK, NWFP and FATA to eliminate these terrorists and there leaders. India can also actively involve in Afghanistan with its troops to aid US in this efforts.

India should not wait for another attack to happen, rather it should take the attack to the terrorist and deliver Peace and Justice to the perpetrators.

Posted by Srinivasan | Report as abusive

i am from mumbai living in canada; these places were the hangouts we had and its in despair i see these.
to blame it all on pakistan is not the solution; to be frank it in itself is helpless in fighting these terrorist groups. both the agencies – RAW as well as ISI have failed; instead of pointing fingers and accusing each other, why can’t at the shoudler of america, both countries come to a negotiation and fight together.
from the reports on, whatever kasab is trying to convey seems vague, if there is his family that exists trace them down, the ex military officer who trained them!
this was the same group who also did in marriott hotel in pakistan, so they want to harm both sides only because they know that these are the two weakest countries in the world!!!!!!

Posted by irfan | Report as abusive

Two comments, one to Majid, and the second on ‘Indian\':
‘Hide and fire’ is what your Paki terrorists did when confronted with the NSG/Indian Army.
Comment to Myra McDonald : ‘Indian’ is a perverted person who takes pleasure in calling people ‘ignorant’. He never comes up with his own view of things. Probably, he does have any.

Posted by Siddharthh | Report as abusive

Excellent article. High on information, low on speculation and absent on editorialization. And many useful links that are in turn informationally dense. A must read for anybody curious about the LeT and its other avatars like JuD. I’ve emailed it to myself as a placeholder.

Posted by Uday Shankar | Report as abusive

Identify all terror camps n bomb them.

Posted by rashmi | Report as abusive

Looking at the mind set of different people who feel that they have concern about what has so for happened in mumbai last week, I believe apart from few the rest are not forsighted and they believe in avange and destruction with out any significant proof or evidence . rather they should see and have glance at the root cause of such shameful incidents .
i think our best weapon to avoid such incidents is justice with equality .
our better weapon is resolution of those issues which are pending from more than 60 years , like resolution of KASHMIR.
our good weapon is trust and confidence ,with these three things to do ….. i believe there remains no reason for any body to become so called TERRORIST.
Our message should be PEACE AND UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD rather than avange and destruction.

Posted by bilal sarwar | Report as abusive

Its a well known fact that pakistani ISI funded, trained and nurtured these terror groups to launch proxy war in India..If zardari and his govt were so keen to have a good relations with India that first thing he and his govt would have done is to disband these groups as they all very well knew these groups were still functional and doing all illegal activities for which they were created ( smuggling drugs, faking currency, rising jihadis and terror ). OK..let that go..zardari atleast should have initiated action on these terror groups atleast after the mumbai incident, but he and his govt are buying time by all political means like waiting for a summons after that waiting for evidense and all that when they very well know who was behind these cowardly act..just to come back later and tell Indian govt, oh we are trying our best but the miscreants are missing they are probably not in pakistan anymore or have gone underground. Sorry for those who think Inida should act in cooperation with pakistan to curb this menace of terrorism, I dont see a real committment from pakistanis to act against terrorist groups they created. Mr.Zardari and co have taken the political route including black-mailing US and India to buy time for their Jihadi groups escape.
Now for your question how would India and US put pressure on pakistan to work ??
Answer, this question is irrelavent as we know pakistan wouldn’t work.
India would strike terror hubs in pak with the world backing as US, Britain, Isreal, AUstralis and Japan have already said they would support if India decide to use military to show pakistan that this military action is not India v/s pakistan but world v/v pakistan.

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

India, Pakistan and any other country willing to espouse peace should take up patience and well calculated measures with cooperation on fronts of intelligence and strategy to counter and capture the extremist groups, which will lead peace to an upper hand over terrorism.
Moreover lets see that a comments column adds up to the view expressed by the author but not deviating from the crux of the idea.

Posted by Peace Maker | Report as abusive

This is one more drama by pakistan. US needs pakistan on the Afgan Border so they have come to pacify India. I hope our politicians can see this game thfough and it is high time we take some action on the terrorist site in Pakistan

Posted by anantha | Report as abusive

thats the spirit :)

Posted by patriotic umesh | Report as abusive

Hi Myra,
I am Anup (Indian) from India & am pleased to know that you have noticed my previous post & am obliged to respond to you. Hope it find some appreciation from you.
Manmohan Singh & the congress party has no time in hand for diplomatic niceties this time, the mood is murderous in India, the target were not only simple folks, rather powerful business barons & corporate honchos, most of them have either lost a near & dear one, a friend or experienced this horror first hand,it has shaken the high & mighty, the Indian administrative systemic failure is obvious & even the sanest voices of the Indian society sound like warmongers,Politicians across the board have literally turned into Pariahs, not one of them has the gut to come out in the public domain, the ones who dared, their heads have been rolled, causing their political career to end abruptly, all in all the heat refuses to die down, the right-wing BJP is smelling blood, & if the congress party doesn’t give any befitting reply to Pakistan, well then they know they shall have to kiss good-bye to power in the coming elections.. & I can assure you this is unacceptable to them at any cost, so patience is not a virtue which Manmohan has the privilege to exercise…even at the risk of the Muslim votes.
Further, since following the upheaval against Musharaf & the Military Establishment & the setting up of a democratic rule in Pakistan, in the last eight months the Pakistani Army thru the ISI has executed many terror attacks in India, expecting India to start the usual blame game, but to their utter frustration India didn’t oblige,thus they had to expend one of many of their reserved resource beforehand… well the ISI did do a commendable for it’s Army Boss, the results presently suggest to be more than satisfactory, ofcourse we do believe that the Zardari & co. were unaware(probably the Lashkar-e- Toiba too wouldn’t have any clue of this operation, it’s not their cup of tea) or else why would those poor Zardari & Geelani guys make a fool of themselves by impulsively first agreeing to send the ISI chief & then retract after getting a lashing from the Army…lol, The Pakistani Army has proven that ‘you can have the cake & eat it too’..
What doe the Pakistani Army gain….PROS
1 The Pakistani democratic establishment has been very proactive in asserting it’s authority, this will put them on the back foot, after all they are deluded that democracy is going to be a permanent feature, it’s been facilitated as a temporary breather to humor the Americans & to do some damage control of their public image…40% of Pakistan’ economy is in the hands of the Army.
2 The situation on their western border is turning out to be abominable for them & to top that they are cash strapped with hardly any fat package being promised to them in the near future & those awful Drones are denting their public image & the horrible pressure for them to act decisively against their very own Jihadi’s, turning friend into foe, is unbearable, The best way out- move your troops to the eastern border, India as during the Parliament attack will bark but not bite, even if India tries not to fall in the trap & exercise restrain after Mumbai attacks, the ISI shall leash it’s hundreds of sleeper cells in India, commanding them to step up the terror attacks & force India to respond tough, the Pakistani democratic government will loose credibility in this process, abandon the Durrand line before Mr. President Elect takes charge & attacks them for conniving with the ‘enemy’, let the western forces fight their own battle…at the end of the day they have no choice but to come full circle to their ‘friend’ Pakistan for face saving, to win their ‘war on terror’ …hmmmm fat package will follow suit, so shall Mr. Obama, India in return will be traumatized by the age-old Kashmir formula.
Everything is going perfectly according to the plan, nothing amiss, any CONS, none visible…. — But wait ! What if India just keeps up diplomatic pressure & not build up troops on the border nor attack the terror camps operating in Pakistan? What if the Indians decide to join hands with the NATO forces against their ‘war on terror’? (Who are as it is squabbling amongst themselves for fresh recruits & India can contribute a hundred thousand, no problem, want more?) in Afghanistan (India has excellent relations with Afghanistan, & to a large extent Iran also won’t mind Indian troops in place of the westerner) —— Aren’t Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed etc. etc. Ultimately fringe elements of the ISI.. ooops I mean Al-Queda.

Posted by Indian | Report as abusive

I do not know what is fed to all these indians, because they all re saying things for which their exist no evidence only media news which we see on TV and press is again repeated here. What makes them think Pakistan is involve in terror attacks in India. One question that I am asking all indians that ok if you say it is Pakistan tell us one thing was their navy sleeping when ten people were crossing border, hijacking boat and killing their people. Further, everybody sees the CCTV video of police being hidden behind some pillar, I agreed police doesn’t have weapons to fight, but they could call with any phone, whey didn’t they do that. Please stop raising finger on Pakistan, and start revamping yourself and think out of box – Peace is the only solution.

One more thing doesn’t even think of harming prosperity of Pakistan – the country of great nation – because this will never happen. india had tried it earlier through element of RAW in Karachi, now this false propaganda on media, this dream of your will ever come true.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Anup, thanks for your reply. I have two questions.

First, why do you say that the operation did not look like it was carried out by Lashar-e-Taiba?

And secondly, if as you suggest, India were to send troops to Afghanistan, who would be left to guard the border with Pakistan on the Indian side? I know India has a big army, but it also has long borders. If you remember, during the Gujarat riots in 2002, India had to bring troops back from the border since it didn’t have enough to spare to be deployed in Gujarat.

And that’s before I ask whether anyone would agree to it sending troops to Afghanistan.

Uday Shankar – many thanks your kind words about the article.


Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Dear Myra

I am Ali, and i always try to be as good as i can. I do not agree with sending troops to any country. I think instead of killing humans we should try to kill the mentality, we have to change the thinking style. We Pakistani believe that indians are cruel and inhumane to muslims in india and occupied Kashmir an integral part of Pakistan. These bloggers are not well informed they are repeating news telecasted on TV and press. One example, a child sometimes say bad words to a parent but the parent doesn’t kill him, he tries to be polite and try to explain things to the child and also tries to avoid things that have cause that problem, I beleive indians are baised.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Ali, I agree on changing the thinking style and this blog is meant to encourage a constructive debate, rather than blaming all people from any particular nationality or religion.

But what do you make of this piece by Husain Haqqani, now Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, written in 2005:

“The most significant jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion is Lashkar-e-Taiba (The Army of the Pure) founded in 1989 by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services, Lashkar-e-Taiba became the military wing of Markaz al-Dawa wal-Irshad (Center for the Call to Righteousness). Saeed created a large campus and training facility at Muridke, outside the Pakistani metropolis of Lahore. After the U.S. froze Lashkar-e-Taiba’s assets and called for it to be banned, Saeed changed his organization’s name in Pakistan to Jamaat-ul-Dawa (the Society for Preaching). Pakistani authorities have been reluctant to move against either Lashkar, which continues to operate in Kashmir, or Jamaat-ul-Dawa, which operates freely in Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ul-Dawa scaled down their military operations against India to help Pakistan honor its commitments to the U.S. and India. But Saeed remains free and continues to expand membership of his organization despite divisions in its leadership.”

You can read his article in full here: rch/pubID.30/pub_detail.asp

I’m quoting this to show that everything that is said about Pakistan is not just Indian propaganda. That, of course, is not to suggest that everything that is said about Pakistan in the media is correct.


Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Myra, the Lashkar-e-Toiba is essentially a Kashmir-centric Organization, it benefits nothing by attacking Mumbai at such a scale bringing the two countries at the brink of a war, rather it dare not do any such foolhardiness on it’s own, they have a free run in Pakistan, why would they jeopardize it? Why would the Pakistani Establishment face an International outcry& a war for a Lashkar-e-Toiba? The laskar chief was put under house arrest during the Mumbai train blast in 2006 by Pakistan even though India had not yet sounded anything. They attack to make a Political statement, why would they not own up such a successful mission? Why would the ISI let them use their transit points & derail the route thru which it smuggles drugs & arms in India using Bangladeshi migrants & by greasing hands of Indian officials? The military precision witnessed in the Mumbai attack is far more superior than the profile of Laskar operatives, these kids have obviously gone thru extensive commando training & plus there are sureshot pointers toward the ISI, the question arises why would such a professional outfit of the standard of the ISI leave a trail to follow?
The Indian Army count is above 1 million & we would love the Pakistanis’ to indulge in such a misadventure when we are risking our soldiers for the benefit of the western powers ‘war on terror’ & it would also be a deterrent to China.
Gujarat itself ha an Army cantonment & though the mindless violence the political apathy prevailing then resulted in delaying the handing over to the Army by then it had spread in a large area, it’ also fashionable with the Indian politicians to announce calling of the Army from the borders, it gives them a ego massage or maybe some logistical reason, anyway Pakistan has declared war with India & we must respond strategically with whatever resource we have even if we have a one man Army.
‘whether anyone would agree to it sending troops to Afghanistan.’
Most probably not, hmmmm… No. But if we do Pakistan will be in a fix, a catch 22 type of situation, I maybe wrong also.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Anup, as far as I remember, the Lashkar-e-Taiba also denied responsibility for the attack on parliament in 2001, but claimed responsibility for its other attacks in Kashmir. Is that correct?

If so, are you saying that it was not responsible for either the parliament attack or the Mumbai attacks?

That would be quite an important statement, especially since the world’s media is now focusing on Lashkar-e-Taiba.

And given that the Mumbai attacks seemed to bear all the hallmarks of Lashkar-e-Taiba (guaranteeing that many people would jump to the conclusion that it was the likely culprit) would you argue that they were staged to look as though Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible?

My own understanding is that fedayeen attacks are fairly typical in Kashmir (including those by indigenous Kashmiri groups) whereas al Qaeda has tended to use IEDs and suicide bombers. This is perhaps why everyone so immediately assumed that Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the Mumbai attacks, despite its denial of responsibility.

If you are challenging this, I’d be very interested to know why.


Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Anup(Indian)& (Myra)
I have read Anup’s long post in which you have implicated ISI for the Mumbai attacks. I am a Pakistani and i feel there could be three scenarios:
1. Pakistan based millitants(Lashkar etc) attacked Mumbai to create strategic diversion to divert the Pakistan Army which his hitting them hard in tribal regions.
2. Local Indian based millitants due to the situation in Indian controlled Kashmir and plight of muslims in India.
3. The intelligence agencies (Mossad, ISI, CIA or RAW)anyone of these.

Now lets look at the major players:
1. India
2. Pakistan
3. USA
India lost big time due to Mumbai attacks, it was an attack on tourism, trade, reputation, etc.
Pakistani state(government atleast) also stands to gain nothing from the Mumbai attacks. Things were normalizing with India and it was in Pakistan’s interest to remain friendly.
USA is also the lost, the US needs Pakistan’s support in terms of men and logistics to sustain the fight in Afghanistan against Taliban. Though CIA involvement cannot be ruled out.
The only actor left out is the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence. Israel cannot take the fact that Pakistan stands to be the only muslim nuclear power in the world. Despite surge in violence and extreme difficulties since 2007, the last half of 2008 saw Pakistan gaining strength and it looked once again Pakistan has overcome the crises.
I believe some third party has undertaken this henious crime in Mumbai to derail the peace process between India and Pakistan.
The 1999 shootings in Armenian parliament was orchestrated to derail a peace process by alleged Russians during the shootings the Armenian PM was shot dead.
I really dont understand the brutality of the Mumbai incident it just doesnt make sense. Something is not right and we need to figure out what?
Whats your take on this?

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Also, I believe the Mumbai attacks did immediate damage to India. But it will have far reaching consequences for Paksitan in the long run. I certainly see some Pakistani connection; not that some Pakistani millitant group was involved. But the attack was meant to harm Pakistan in the long run. This incident can flare tensions to very high level. Does anyone has the intution to percieve what could be the fallout?
In other words i appeal to Indians to try to understand Mumbai attack was an attack on both Pakistan and India.
And that should what the Indians think about Islamabad Marriot bombing in September, to be an attack on both Pakistan and India. There is a common enemy which we need to identify, as it is hidden and confront before another destructive Indo-Pak war breaks out and results in nuclear strike.

Posted by Uamir | Report as abusive

Terrorism is not a “normal” crime and the solutions also cannot be “normal”. “Normal” laws, standards of evidence don’t apply. Terrorism is also not a “normal” war, so normal miltary strategy and tactics and diplomacy also don’t work. Applying a lower standard of evidence, many of the world’s terror incidents are being traced back to one region — Pakistan. Its notable that the state of Pakistan is not a “normal” state — its a fragile recent democracy, its military and intelligence apparatus is not under civilian control, its populace is largely poor and uneducated, its elites are feudal, its religious extremist fringe is bigger than other countries. Its very existence is based on questionable dogma. Nevertheless, the vast majority of the citizens of Pakistan like the vast majority of people anywhere — honest, hardworking, peaceloving people. Pakistan needs to change for its own good , for its own transformation into a modern nation state. The world community needs to help Pakistan to do so. Its Army needs to be proportionate to its true security needs, brought under civilian control and renocunce nuclear weapons. State sponsorship of extremist organisations needs to be curtailed. Pakistan’s education system (madrassa or secular) needs to refrain from hate-mongering rhetoric. All these things are in the interest of Pakistan and in the interest of protecting the world from the steady stream of terror operatives that Pakistan will keep manufacturing if these things are not done. 9/11, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Afghanistan — nothing will change if the roots of terror are not cut. Since Pakistan is also an economic basket case, there is a wonderful opportunity for the world community to implement these steps and “normalise” Pakistan.

Posted by StrongPeace | Report as abusive

The quotes are an example of internet misuse, this article was dated May 2005, and the very next line after this para is that Jamaat-ul-Dawa is on watch list since beginning 2005. The article also says that the first jihadi group emerged from India – but I believe you missed those lines.

Although the significance of Jihad in the Qur’an and Sunnah cannot be overstated, its exact place in the overall framework of Islamic values and imperatives has been a matter of some debate. A highly misleading but popular idea in this respect is that any war in which the Muslims are engaged, even if the motives are other than purely Islamic, is Jihad. The word Jihad is not synonymous with “Holy War” which is what the Western media wants everyone to believe. After four decades of Cold War, the Western powers suddenly found themselves without a legitimate enemy, and, consequently, they have designated Islam and the Muslims as the most deadly threat to world peace. The image of all Muslims as terrorists was inculcated by numerous so-called documentaries, like the infamous Jihad in America (PBS).

We should use media to communicate truth and the whole truth, not just copy/paste the words and paras from other articles, what is written cannot always be true. We, internet users, have responsibility and we should fulfill this carefully.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Anup, I agree to your views. probably Let did not had a major hand to play in recent attacks. Just read the news today that Indias wanted list to pakistan had only 3 names and not 20 and none of them were the names of any Let boss/member.
But there were other news also which said US agents have found evidense that links ISI and Let to mumbai attacks.
Cant say if there was a 3rd country invovled in this attack though butafter Obama and Isreali govt stated -should India feel like it should conduct a military operation then like everyother country India has a right to defend itself.
i can easliy say the US and Isreal are using this incident to push India for a war with pak.

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

There were Kashmiri elements involved in the Parliament attack, not necessarily Lashkar-e-Toiba , but their imprints were deliberately made very obvious & in the end the Pakistani Establishment for namesake banned it to get Mr. Bush off their back & also at that time didn’t expect India to literally prepare to attack them, although the then PM Mr. Vajpayee was dead against India breaking the thousands of year old tradition of never ever attacking a foreign country, Advani, who was the home minister then would not see reason, the inefficient Indian bureaucracy given their pathetic intelligence track record, even after repeated failures, also find it convenient to impulsively name Lashkar-e-Toiba to immediately save their skin, which in India is also considered synonymous with the ISI & it goes don very well with their Political Bosses, with the BJP because given it’s anti-Pakistan obsession & Kashmir mileage that it derives out of it, with the Congress & it’s ilk, because of it’s politically motivated denial of local elements who are under the Patronage of ISI, as it may risk hurting the sentiments of a large segment of locals, the term is vote bank politics (sic).
The attack on Red Fort / Parliament / Bangalore IISC, all bore the Hallmark of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, there are hardly any footprints of Al-Queda in India, except the recent bombing of the Indian embassy in Afghanistan, which according to me was more direct & serious in nature & in which the CIA had squarely blamed the ISI, facing it with corroboratory proof, ofcourse which it just indicated to India but did not share, all the bomb blasts have lead to the involvement of locals who have been given half-baked training by the ISI,
But I beg to differ on the Mumbai Attack with regards to the Lashkar-e-Toiba,
1 the Saudi funding to them is specifically for Kashmir cause out of which a large chunk goes to the Pakistani Army for supply of arms ammunitions, facilitating training & logistics, in recent time due to almost nil recruits from Kashmir it’s also arranging for Punjabi recruits.
2 Every year after the snow melts, for four months, more than a thousand of their cadres try to cross the LOC & since last two years hardly a handful make it, inspite of cover fire from the Pakistani Army, which are termed as breach of the ceasefire by the Indian Government, only to be encountered within matter of hours, so desperate is their situation that recently they have been recruiting temporary cadres from Kerala, south India, if they had the privilege to use the Karachi Port to sail into India, sneak into Kashmir, then why would they risk getting majority of their men getting killed trying to cross the border & waste so much of time & money as their training lasts only for two months & remaining months the cadres as it is are a liability & because of this predicament in recent times they are forced to lease their cadres to the Taliban.
3 You have very rightly stated about fidayeen attacks being typical to Kashmir, but fidayeen attacks are extremely offensive, with the target being 8/10 time the security forces & remaining time the Politicians or the administration, rarely the public, who are mainly collateral damage in their attacks, which was also the case in the Parliament attack & others, the Kashmiri fidayeens rarely target westerners, being aware of the fact that the Kashmir issue does has clandestine support & sympathy with them & targeting tourist has been always avoided by them, even Indian tourists to Kashmir, for the fear of loosing local support.
4 They are not trained in defensive or prolonged warfare, which is strictly military in nature, they are mainly rustic bodied, but the guys in Mumbai were well chiseled youths, the fidayeens are simply trained as martyrs with a little more than basic & crude training in arm usage & grenade throwing , whereas the Mumbai attackers displayed excellent defense, maximum utilization of ammunitions, sophistication in using arms & prolonged warfare mechanism, they literally held their ground till the last bullet, they were highly skilled grenadiers, well versed in battle deception, highly motivated soldiers,unconfirmed autopsy report of the hapless captive Jewish ladies suggest that they tortured them with such precision that it would put the best of surgeons to shame & the report may probably never become public. Throughout the operation they showcased the highest form of military discipline, At the Tiffin restaurant in Oberoi when they made all the guests line up against the wall, & before spraying bullets on them, they first sought permission on their satellite phone whether to massacre the roughly thirty victims, which Lashkar militant would indulge in such niceties?
At the Taj they first destroyed the in-house CCTV control room, made most of their captives to remove their clothes & used them as human shields in a highly professional manner, one of them was the Chairman of Ing Vyasya Bank, the sole guy captured is spinning yarns to the Mumbai Police, taking them for a ride, which means they have been trained to deceive in torture as part of their training by being subjected to torture, they were professional units executing their task precisely as assigned(most probably they were eight units out of which five have been eliminated & remaining three backup units safely holed with some local contact awaiting further order), the Lashkar comes in hordes not as professional units & many such indications & incidences…all suggesting that they had undergone an average of two years of training to achieve such soldiering mastery.
The complete cost of the operation must have run in more than a couple of hundred thousand dollars, the high skill training, the arms & ammunitions, the intelligence gathering of targets, the recce expenditures of Mumbai, all of them had spent around two/three months in south Mumbai as Malaysian students, the numerous credit & debit cards of Mauritius , Malaysia etc. Identity card of Indian universities, the Jewish target, what could a lashkar fidayeen have to do with all this? It seem they must have targeted the Leopold café & Bar because of some animosity during their stay in Mumbai, now this is a typical hangout mainly for foreign tourists & students who want to chill out on a bottle of beer, I wouldn’t imagine a Lahkar fidayeen ever visiting such an unholy pub, finally why would the Lahkar go through such painstaking exercise & expenditure, when it can use the conduit route, the ammo, the intelligence operation to strike a Military base or if make a statement to the Indian Government then why not target Delhi, or use the same resources to send a hundred fidayeen to J&K? WHY?

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Om, The ISI has given baskets full of free evidences for everyone, the USA have their own agenda, they have a lot at stake with Pakistan than with India, presently an Indo-Pak war is not in theiir interest, Israel cannot influence Indian Policies, strike we must, but, strategically, at our opportune time & place, but not by getting carried away & risk being termed as emotional fools & warmongers, and of course once again the scapegoat LET will assume a new avatar.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

The Lashkar is not a tribal region player, Local Indian based militants lack such sophistication, RAW is a almost a defunct organization since 1996, when IK Gujral the then PM of India literally cut off their resources, CIA has no tangible gains from India, Mossad has many time tried to enlist support to India but given the strong Muslim presence & India’s excellent relation with most of the Muslim world, India has snubbed it enough for them not to try again & they have once double-crossed India, so to gain Indian trust or clear Indian bureaucratic red-tape is an impossible task & they are well aware of it, The democratic Pakistani Government is nowhere in the picture & would ultimately be the biggest losers of this fallout for no crime of their rather would become more submissive to the Army Establishment, but in every adversity lies a greater opportunity, if they have the courage this is the moment for establishing a vibrant democracy & end the identity crisis of Pakistan once & for all.

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

Good to read the article by Myra and also the links supporting the article.

Also good to read Anup’s analysis!!

While I can’t speculate who has done this, all I can say is war is NOT an option. India should not get fooled into declaring war or military strikes now [stress on the word now :-)]

West should stop funding Pakistan which is misusing the funds in the name of war on terror.

Also, I have a doubt. Why is the media focusing more on J&K rather than talking about what is happening in “Azad” [sic] Kashmir? Is it because media has more freedom to report about things happening in J&K and has probably been gagged not to report about things in POK? Could Myra clarify this?

Posted by Venkat | Report as abusive


I have never been to Azad Kashmir/PoK beyond flying over it on a flight to Skardu. If I remember rightly, as a foreigner you have to get permission to go there, whereas you can fly in and out of Srinagar at will.

But I’m not entirely sure this is a fair comparison. The insurgency has been in the Kashmir Valley, so it is somewhat to be expected that the media will focus its attentions there. Don’t forget that the foreign media doesn’t write much about Ladakh either — though arguably it is strategically more important than the Valley. So the focus on the Kashmir Valley may be less to do with press gagging than with a tendency for the media to converge on the obvious.

Also, again in an effort to be fair and balanced to both sides, India also has places which are off-limits to the foreign media. It’s not easy to get near parts of the LoC, and incredibly difficult — or certainly was when I went there — to get permission to go to Siachen. The foreign media will also run into problems in parts of the north-east, in Manipur for example — try driving out of Imphal towards the border with Myanmar/Burma and you’ll soon be turned back. So all countries have their sensitivities — I’m sure the British and the Americans would not allow the media to wander freely around sensitive areas either.

All that to say that media gagging may be something of a blind alley, or at least not the real issue. For what it’s worth, I met quite a few Pakistanis who were surprised that I could go in and out of Srinagar without special permission, including one woman who asked about the “rivers of blood” there, so there do seem to be a fair number of misconceptions on all sides.


Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Thanks Myra for the clarification!

Yes, many countries keep media out of places where they feel there could be threat to the lives of media men too and I appreciate such concerns of both states as well as media houses.

There is lot of propaganda and/ or biased news about Kashmir across world media. If both Indian media, world media and other independent organisations have same access to J&K, why do we find different news across all these sources?

We also would like to know more and a lot more about Azad Kashmir. The west has been fooled into believing that all trouble is only in J&K ignorant of the fact Azad Kashmir is out of bounds for foreign journos or limited to access, as you yourself have stated in your comment.

I find this double standard shocking. Western media houses report 100% whatever is happening inside a free state, even passing judgments and opinions, where as, they don’t care or don’t even speculate on what might happen inside police states like North Korea or Saudi or even Azad Kashmir. Is this a boon or bane for open and free states like India?

Posted by Venkat | Report as abusive

indian U-turn; india itself involve in mumbai mass killing:
India’s foreign minister denied Sunday that he had phoned Pakistan’s president at the height of the Mumbai terrorist siege, prompting its air force to go on high alert, but Pakistani officials insisted he — or someone else in his ministry — had placed the call.
Meanwhile, India’s investigation into the attacks was running into similar theatrics, with security officials demanding the release of one of only two men arrested so far, saying he was actually a counterinsurgency police officer who may have been on an undercover mission. The arrests, announced in the eastern city of Calcutta, were the first since the bloody siege ended. But what was touted as a rare success for India’s beleaguered law enforcement agencies quickly turned sour as police in two Indian regions squared off against one another.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

Dig a whole for Pakistan, But india fall…..
Psychiatrists in India’s financial hub are reporting increased cases of panic attacks and insomnia after last week’s attacks, telecast live into millions of homes. “There was no sense of balance or reasoning. The coverage was so jingoistic and nationalistic. This is a complex issue with various dimensions to it. Simply reducing it to ‘politicians are villains’ and ‘Pakistan is the enemy’ without discourse or debate is a deep failing of the media, but it does influence public opinion,” said Manjula.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive