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Pakistan: Geopolitical epicentre of Islamist jihad

By Maloy Krishna Dhar
July 31, 2006 19:06 IST
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The 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, the attack on Parliament, the hijacking of IC-814 and the latest but not the last devastating serial bomb blasts on the Mumbai suburban railway system generated media fever, crocodile tears from politicians, motivated leakages by police and intelligence agencies, communal cleavage and erosion of faith in the political system.

The fever will subside; the rhetoric will be morphed to ballot box paranoia, the police and intelligence agencies will lapse back to routine servitude. And the people, and the nation will continue to live with deep scars, fearfully anticipating the footsteps of other disasters.

India's war against internal disruptive forces, ethnic insurgencies, pseudo-religious sub-nationalist terrorism, the Kashmir gangrene and unresolved agrarian unrest and imbalance between urban and rural economy (brand named Naxalism) has been weaved into the texture of daily routine.

The deformity in the criminal justice system does not pain us anymore. Restructuring of ethnic political geography and increasing assertion of regional (provincial) autonomy within the crashing debris of the Federated Unitary System are being absorbed at regular intervals. Even after 59 years of independence, the Republic is yet to be fully federated and a new India Inc is yet to emerge. India limps with pain and gasps with expectations. The people are learning to cope.

However, India has not been able to cope with the threat from regional and global Islamist jihadist forces. This multidimensional cancer travels through the arterial system of the country along the scarred tissues of fractures and carcinogenic gaps left by the neurosis of pre and post independence philisophy and the unassimilated edges of history.

The Pakistani establishment and the ISI have deftly exploited these gaps and unmatched edges in collaboration with the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence of Bangladesh and the Islamic tanzeems patronised by them.

Journeying through the Afghan killing fields, tangoing with the Taliban and Al Qaeda and resurgent global Islamist thrusts, Pakistan has emerged as the geopolitical epicentre of Islamist jihad with a binary centre in Bangladesh.

Extension of Pakistan's proxy war through jihadist tanzeem tools to all conceivable corners of India is a part of its strategic war plan -- mostly carried out through subversive terrorist attacks and sometimes with a Kargil-type forward thrust.

It is, nonetheless, part of a planned war.

India's internal security and the seams of national unity and solidarity have been repeatedly threatened by jihadist operations carried out by ISI and DGFI-aided Pakistani and Bangladeshi tanzeems. This war, under the facet of peace, is about to invade every Indian home.

On a scale of one to ten, the jihadi tanzeems and handful Indian collaborators score success in about eight-and-a-half cases. The Indian intelligence agencies and state police forces can claim success in about two-and-a-half or three cases. On the scale of the law of averages, this is classified as failure.

Why do we fail in over 85 per cent of cases? We fail because:

With minor exceptions the political class -- the presumed custodian, driver and preserver of the Constitutional Democratic Republic -- fails to recognise that India exist beyond ballot boxes.

On either side of the imaginary 'secular fence', there is an abominable amnesia about the historical roots of the jihadist thrust against India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and other global jihadist tanzeems. They communalise or trivialise the grave threat to national security, unity and integrity by throwing mud on each other with squinted eyes on the bulge of the ballot box.

The threat is not about 'secularism' or 'Hindu Muslim divide'; this is all about an undeclared multidimensional war involving India (irrespective of community and religion), Pakistan and Bangladesh, overlorded by International Islamic Jihadist Inc, represented by Al Qaeda al Sulbah and its global franchisees.

Political parties on either side of the imaginary 'secular fence' (like the Tropic of Cancer that divides India almost into two equal halves) should understand that even before partition of the subcontinent certain Islamist leaders had targeted Indian Muslims for carving out a Muslim First Nation, which they called Pakistan. The descendants of same Hulagu (grandson of Genghis Khan, who ruled over much of southwest Asia) conquistadors are targeting to divide India on communal lines, while the gullible vote-blinded politicians still cling to their ballot boxes and keep dividing the country from behind their respective Tropic of Cancer. They fail to recognise that the cancer is real, and not an imaginary geographical line.

When will the responsible media and people ask them: 'You damn idiots! It's all about national security and not ballot boxes and 'secular fencing'?'

I do not think more space can be spared for the paranoid political classes.

The 'Permanent Government' (bureaucracy-including intelligence, police and security) has always been the steady spine of the Indian administrative system. These elements of governance should have succeeded in meeting the challenges coming from across the borders. Unfortunately, the ballot box baboons have either disarmed or de-fanged and emasculated these precious tools of governance.

We fail at two crucial combat levels. The most important combat force is the state police and intelligence forces. Each district and commissionary is equipped with a dedicated Intelligence Branch (different nomenclature in different states) and in some cases, anti-terrorist cells.

Unfortunately, ideology and caste configuration decides the parameters of 'intelligence operations' by the state Intelligence Branch units. They are restrained from operating in certain areas of the 'secular fence, 'caste fence' and 'criminal niches.'

These limitations have impeded 'police-intelligence operations' in Assam, West Bengal, and Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There is plenty of evidence to prove that political interference continues to blunt the operational edges of the state's security tools.

These forces are trained to operate irrespective of caste, religious, political and mafia affiliation of terrorists and jihadists. But they are forced to discriminate, refrain and restrain from operating according to the law of the land.

Often the holy ghost of 'secularism' invade the state legislatures and even Parliament for scrapping certain Acts of the country and for chaining the tools of governance, simply because Pappus want a few more votes (like the Madani case in Tamil Nadu-Kerala).

Whenever serious terror attacks occur and police/intelligence agencies start investigating 'certain community leaders' start screaming about being 'isolated and targeted.' They never assure the people that they would evolve a mechanism to protect their community from being contaminated by 'foreign instigators'.

Have they ever given calls from organised platforms to their community to refrain from collaborating with Pakistani and Bangladeshi conspirators? If not, what right do they have to complain? As good Indians, they should have gone into the community with the message to rebuff Pakistani/Bangladeshi saboteurs.

When shall the nation ask these questions to vote-hungry politicos? When shall the compulsions of electoral democracy transcend the cubicles of polling booths, 'secular fences' and adopt holistic administrative, constitutional, legal and patriotic view against the jihadist thrust driven into Indian heartland from foreign soil?

India requires strengthening of the State Intelligence tools, revival of the khabri (informers), mohalla nighrani (neighbourhood watch) system, introduction of 'community policing' and providing better tools for augmenting human, technical, and electronic intelligence gathering systems.

There is tremendous scope for integrating the state intelligence tools with the Panchayat, Block Development, Gram Sevak/Sevika, Dakia, Chowkidar, Dafadar, Lambardar etc systems, wherever these still exist. It should be made mandatory for the 'neighbourhood policing' cells to report suspect matters to the nearest police station. These tools have gone into disuse and the state governments have not carried out any threat assessment from criminal, jihadist, and mafia forces and have not equipped its police and intelligence tools to combat these threats.

Moreover, the State Intelligence Branch and police have no institutionalised and speedy communication system to liase with the central intelligence and security agencies and the intelligence and security agenises of other states. It is imperative to discuss the important aspects of immigration control, detection and deportation of illegal immigrants and cracking down on criminal-politician-terrorist nexus. When shall the political breed agree to introduce 'National Identity Cards'?

We fail, because our tools have been blunted and taken hostage by the vote and money hunting political class.

Maloy Krishna Dhar is a former joint director, Intelligence Bureau, and author of Open Secrets and Fulcrum of Evil-ISI-CIA-Al Qaeda Nexus and other books. Available at

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Maloy Krishna Dhar