More than meets the eye

26th November is ominous for Pakistan as two events shook the region and have had far reaching effects. The first occurred on 26th November 2008, known as the Mumbai Attack, which caused India to suspend the Pakistan-India Composite Dialogue process, nearly brought two nuclear weapons armed neighbours to the brink of war and is still used as a whip for India to flog Pakistan with.

On 26th November 2011, NATO forces attacked two Pakistani military check posts located at the Pakistan-Afghan border, killing 28 Pakistani Army soldiers and men, bringing the deteriorating Pak-US relations to their lowest ebb.

The Mumbai attack was another Indian false flag operation with multi pronged aims: wriggling out of the Composite Dialogue process which had commenced in 2004 by the BJP statesman and peacenik Atal Bihari Vajpayee but the succeeding Congress government was averse to; eliminate Indian anti-terrorism officials investigating terror attacks targeting Muslims; blame Pakistan and defame it for sponsoring terrorism while gaining sympathy of the world as victims of a terror campaign.

As the attack unfolded and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308, it became evident that it was a well choreographed drama. Purportedly there were ten attackers, nine were killed while a tenth Ajmal Kasab, who was injured but kept alive because he was ostensibly a disposable RAW minion.

Ajmal Kasab sang like a canary, implicating a Pakistan based organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the state of Pakistan and its intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), following the script provided to him by his RAW handlers.

The first casualties of the Mumbai Attack were Joint Commissioner of Indian Police Hemant Karkare, Chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and his team. It is no coincidence because Hemant Karkare was investigating the 2006 & 2008 Malegaon bomb blasts targeting Muslims and the heinous attack on 18 February 2007 on the Samjhauta Express in which 68 people died while 50 received serious injuries, majority being Pakistani.

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Initially, LeT was conveniently blamed but Hemant Karkare found a serving Indian Army intelligence officer, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit and his accomplices from a radical Hindutva group called Abhinav Bharat with prior links to Sangh Parivar organizations, culpable of planning and executing the heinous deeds as well as acquiring RDX explosive material from Indian Army Depots to wreak havoc.

Ajmal Kasab sang like a canary, implicating a Pakistan based organization Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the state of Pakistan and its intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), following the script provided to him by his RAW handlers

Karkare arrested Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Shrikant Purohit but was being pressurized by the Indian Army, Saffron extremist Hindu groups, Shiv Sena, RSS and Indian Secret Service RAW to release Col. Purohit but the daring and law abiding ATS Chief persisted thus the macabre plot of Mumbai Attack was executed to eliminate Karkare and his investigating team.

Being off duty, the Inspector and his men were lured into a trap and killed in cold blood. To conceal the crime, Karkare was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra for gallantry but his widow refused to accept the medal on her husband’s behalf, smelling foul play. Later she became vocal about her suspicions and the conspiracy leading to her husband’s assassination, Kavita Karkare too was silenced. She mysteriously suffered massive brain hemorrhage and died on 29 September 2014.

Ajmal Kasab was coerced into signing a confession, naming his alleged Pakistani handlers and trainers. No secret service discloses the true identities of its handlers or sponsors but Ajmal Kasab provided full details, which India is continuously using to denigrate Pakistan.

After serving his purpose, Kasab was tried and sentenced to death. No Consular access was provided, while he was conveniently hanged before a Pakistani investigative judicial team dispatched to New Delhi to talk to Kasab could meet him. T

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here are other glaring loopholes in the flimsy evidence provided by India to implicate Pakistan, which our judiciary examined but rejected yet India continues to harp on the same tune of Pakistan sponsoring terrorism.

On 26th November 2011, NATO forces attacked two Pakistan Army check-posts codenamed “Boulder” and “Volcano” near Salala on Pak-Afghan border, killing 28 and injuring 12 Pakistani military personnel indiscriminately.

Pak-U.S. relations were deteriorating since the beginning of 2011. On 27 January Raymond Allen Davis, a former U.S. Army soldier, private security firm Blackwater employee and contractor with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), killed two Pakistanis in broad daylight in a busy Lahore locality in front of scores of eye witnesses.

He radioed his Consulate for help; a black SUV coming to aid Davis killed a third Pakistani in a “hit and run” while speeding on the wrong side of the road. Later the pregnant wife of one of the victims of Davis committed suicide, bringing the number of casualties to four.

Raymond Davis was arrested on the spot by Pakistani police and charged with double murder and the illegal possession of a firearm. The case became complicated because the police recovered possessions from his car establishing his clandestine role as a spy.

These items included a black mask, approximately 100 bullets, a piece of cloth bearing an American flag while the camera inside Davis’s car contained photos of Pakistani military and vulnerable installations, taken surreptitiously and his cell phone GPS established that he was a frequent visitor to Peshawar and the tribal belt perhaps to make contact with militants.

To make matters worse, the U.S. government contended Raymond Davis was protected by diplomatic immunity because of his placement at the U.S. Consulate in Lahore. Even President Obama wrongly insisted that Davis could not be tried for murder because he had diplomatic immunity.

On the other hand, relations between CIA and ISI deteriorated because CIA Director Leon Panetta, when asked directly by ISI DG Lt. Gen. Pasha if Raymond Davis was on the payroll of CIA, Panetta lied point blank that he wasn’t.

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Pakistani Ambassador in Washington D.C. Hussain Haqqani had been issuing visas by the hundreds to CIA operatives, who were spying on Pakistanis rather than terrorists, much to the chagrin of the ISI.

Raymond Davis, in his memoir, titled The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis; released in June 2017, talks in detail about his experience in Pakistan and admits of his CIA links. On March 16, 2011, Davis was released after the families of the two killed men were paid $2.4 million in diyya (monetary compensation or blood money).

Judges then acquitted him on all charges and Davis immediately departed Pakistan. As events unfolded later while Raymond Davis too confirms in his book, that the U.S. was keen to wrap up the Raymond Davis case because the plan to eliminate Osama bin Laden (OBL) would have been jeopardized.

That brings us to the next event of 2011, when U.S. Navy SEALs successfully targeted OBL in his secret lair in Abbottabad. Leon Panetta ridiculed Pakistan accusing the ISI of either being complicit in hiding OBL or being incompetent if it was unaware of OBL’s location in Pakistan.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the 26th November 2011 attack on the Pakistan Army check posts, which was believed to be deliberate. Pakistan reacted strongly, ordering the U.S. forces to vacate Shamsi air base in Balochistan, from where Drone strikes were being launched, blocking the Ground Lines of Communication from the port of Karachi to NATO forces in Afghanistan and boycotting the 5th December Bonn Conference in Afghanistan.  The standoff persisted till on 3 July 2012, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially apologized for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military. Subsequently, Pakistan restored the NATO supply routes.

VIASULTAN M HALI
SOURCEpt
Sultan M Hali

The writer is a former PAF Group Captain-turn-practicing journalist. He contributes to the print media, conducts a TV show and produces documentaries. He may be contacted at: [email protected]

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