How fake currency and terror are related

13 08 2008

Source: Rediff
August 13, 2008 15:01 IST

Intelligence Bureau and investigating agencies have established that fake currency funds terror in India. IB officials say there is a whopping Rs 17,000 crore worth of fake currency in circulation in India. While it funds terror organisations, it also helps intensify economic terrorism in the country.

Sameer, one of the accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts, said in his confession and recent narco analysis conducted in Bengaluru [Images] that the notes are printed in Pakistan and routed into India through Bangladesh. He said that it is distributed to the rest of the country from Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Sameer said he was mainly responsible for bringing in people from the across the border to carry out terror attacks in India. Along with the men, large consignments of fake currency too were transported, he added.

What has foxed investigating agencies is that the serial numbers on the seized fake notes were similar those on genuine notes. Moreover the paper and printing quality of the notes have improved in the past few years making it very difficult to spot the fakes.

Majid Bilal, brother of alleged Hyderabad blasts mastermind Shahid Bilal, said during his narco analysis test that it is was compulsory for the men coming in from across the border to carry fake currency with them. He said that the notes were exchanged with agents within India (mostly in Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh) at a 2:1 ratio. He also said that Rs 5 crore had been spent on the Hyderabad twin blasts and added that all the money came from distribution of fake currency.

An investigating officer probing the Bengaluru blasts says that they are not ruling out the possibility of fake currency being used to fund the blasts. There have been several instances of fake currency being seized in the city. Statistics indicate nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in fake currency is seized every month by the police and handed over to the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], so that the notes can be destroyed.





How fake currency and terror are related

13 08 2008

Source: Rediff
August 13, 2008 15:01 IST

Intelligence Bureau and investigating agencies have established that fake currency funds terror in India. IB officials say there is a whopping Rs 17,000 crore worth of fake currency in circulation in India. While it funds terror organisations, it also helps intensify economic terrorism in the country.

Sameer, one of the accused in the Hyderabad twin blasts, said in his confession and recent narco analysis conducted in Bengaluru [Images] that the notes are printed in Pakistan and routed into India through Bangladesh. He said that it is distributed to the rest of the country from Uttar Pradesh [Images].

Sameer said he was mainly responsible for bringing in people from the across the border to carry out terror attacks in India. Along with the men, large consignments of fake currency too were transported, he added.

What has foxed investigating agencies is that the serial numbers on the seized fake notes were similar those on genuine notes. Moreover the paper and printing quality of the notes have improved in the past few years making it very difficult to spot the fakes.

Majid Bilal, brother of alleged Hyderabad blasts mastermind Shahid Bilal, said during his narco analysis test that it is was compulsory for the men coming in from across the border to carry fake currency with them. He said that the notes were exchanged with agents within India (mostly in Rajasthan, UP and Andhra Pradesh) at a 2:1 ratio. He also said that Rs 5 crore had been spent on the Hyderabad twin blasts and added that all the money came from distribution of fake currency.

An investigating officer probing the Bengaluru blasts says that they are not ruling out the possibility of fake currency being used to fund the blasts. There have been several instances of fake currency being seized in the city. Statistics indicate nearly Rs 1.5 lakh in fake currency is seized every month by the police and handed over to the Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote], so that the notes can be destroyed.





THE RIGHT VIEW : This war involves us all

31 07 2008
Condemning blasts

A child during an anti-terrorism protest in Delhi. (AFP)

THE RIGHT VIEW : This war involves us all
28 Jul 2008, 1455 hrs IST, Tarun Vijay

Rahul’s Shashikala has got the headlines and her share of glory. Now is the time to focus on India. Beyond party lines and boundaries. He is young, charming and holds a position that makes a mark wherever he goes. Why can’t he take up the fight against terror, which is bleeding India? If L K Advani can go to Sonia for a book presentation and still remain in the party, why can’t Sonia come to Advani for a collective fight against terrorism? Is India smaller than the personal and political egos and fortunes?

When the ISI or HuJI or Lashkar were planning attacks on Indians, we were counting notes in sacks and fighting each other. Isn’t it time to at least have Sonia, Advani, Rajnath, Manmohan, Mulayam and Mayawati along with Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi to put their heads together and strategize a time-bound “eliminate terror” programme? For power sharing they come together – sworn enemies of yesterday become born twins on political platforms. To liberate India from the dreaded scourge of jihad and all other kinds of terror we feel shy and instead keep ourselves busy in attacking each other, facilitating the country’s enemies.

We are Indians first and stop blaming mussalmans and others for terror. I have a large number of Muslim friends and I know Muslim society in India is uniquely different and as patriotic as any other Indian. And they don’t need any certificate from any one. But at the same time we must not hesitate to recognize that terrorism in India is pronounced essentially Islamic in its character and the aim is to have a so called Nizam-e-Mustafa wreaking revenge against Hindus. The Deoband’s denouncement of terror is not enough. Their dictates must show an impact on Islamic terror outfits, otherwise its papers and faxes would remain nothing more than a crude PR exercise. It’s the bounden duty of Muslim leaders to make it sure and visible that those involved in jihadi barbaric attacks are condemned as un-Islamic and are practically declared non-Muslims like they have done with regard to many others in the past.

A nation’s collective will is the biggest weapon against fissiparous tendencies. The US and China have shown that. They too faced Islamic terror, but handled it with a resolve that got united support by the people and all shades of political colours. Indians can fight each other on a hundred issues of political programming or power grab. But on the question of our sovereignty and security we must stand united, as one – and it must be visible too. After all, where would all these leaders take their money and enjoy it if India doesn’t survive? Even to enjoy the loot they must have a station to leisure and be free of threats. To say this is too rude and crude, yet, seeing the Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmadabad blasts, what can a citizen pray for? Security and a collective will to converge on national interest.

And for God’s sake if you can’t remove this home minister, appoint another capable minister for internal security with independent charge. It serves the interests of the UPA and Congress too. He is just incapable of holding that crucial position. It’s against national interest to keep such a non-performing person in North Block who becomes a source of demoralisation and incompetence to security agencies and law enforcers.

Intelligence must be strengthened and the present colonial structure of intelligence gathering has to be completely overhauled with a structure on the patterns of the FBI. Gujarat’s new law on terror is awaiting the Centre’s nod for the last four years. Why? Is tackling terror a partisan matter?

Israel is willing to help and now that the burden of the Left is removed, the govt must begin a long-term association with Israel to restructure our intelligence network against Pakistan and their hired goons masquerading as Islamists and befriending gullible locals to provide them basic support and shelter.

The terrorist can’t work in a vacuum. Hence the police and security network must ruthlessly deal with the local bases of the terror outfits without caring for the human rightists or the defeatist seculars lobbying for the terrorists. Like Punjab in Gill’s time, a group of daredevil police and army officers must be assigned to handle terrorism and given an autonomous status with powers to strike independently without awaiting a nod from the political masters. Let them tackle terror and leaders of all parties and ideologies can do the mass awakening campaign – instilling confidence in the general public and making them an active instrument in helping security forces to crack on terror network.

Let’s forget every other matter, temple or Setu or masjid or Church. Convergence to remove terror network should be our foremost offering to the gods and that should be our religious agenda too. If Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammad fought against injustice and against the forces of dark evils, let all those who follow Mohammad’s teaching come together to defeat inhuman cowards killing Indians in the name of some jihad. This may prove to be the biggest opportunity for a genuine Hindu-Muslim solidarity and can be followed with greater ideas. Being a Hindu I can request all the priests and Mahants and spiritual leaders who go to different parts of the globe for world peace and human happiness, to include in their puja “eliminate terror” preachings and make their followers a part of the terror-busting programme. This is the greatest yoga – call it Rashtra Yoga, yoga of the nation.

If there is a war in our courtyard we do not go to temples worshipping deities as the biggest deity is our nation and her people. Jihad is a Kargil in our precincts. Let the ashrams and the other high-class facilities for nirvana be converged on rousing the morale of the faithful against demons and Ravanas of today.

Vijaya Dashmi is not far – and let this year’s festival be celebrated together with all communities coming to show solidarity with the Indian people rising above religious boundaries to kill the demon of darkness. We are all descendants of Guru Gobind Singh and Shivaji and have produced Rani Laxmi Bai and Bahadur Shah Zafar and Begum Hazrat Mahal and Abdul Hameed. It’s the power of togetherness that wins a nation ultimately.

It’s time that cricketers and film actors join hands to create a national mood of solidarity. They owe it to their motherland. They are born Indians and have not come here just to make money and earn fame from some other planet. Once an Amitabh, a Shah Rukh, an Aamir, John and Sachin share a dais and say no to communal, divisive elements and urge all Indians to merge their divergences in one Tricolour, it will have a tremendous impact on the nation’s confidence and all governments will get a big power push to act decisively.

When people are dying like cattle, it’s disgusting to see media houses deeply engaged in thumka jhumka vulgarity and issues that do not represent the nation facing a terror war. They know we can win it, finally and without losing time. But the atmosphere has to be created for that and who can do it better than the media? Indian media has proved it wonderfully during Kargil; it’s no different now.

If this terrorism has been exported to our land, we have a responsibility to bury it finally with our hands. Victory shall be ours, without doubt. Let the Spirit de India rise and strike.

Is it all daydreaming? A naive, emotional outburst expecting unachievable goals? Doesn’t India belong to us all?

(The author is the director of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, a think tank of nationalist school of thought.)





THE RIGHT VIEW : This war involves us all

31 07 2008
Condemning blasts

A child during an anti-terrorism protest in Delhi. (AFP)

THE RIGHT VIEW : This war involves us all
28 Jul 2008, 1455 hrs IST, Tarun Vijay

Rahul’s Shashikala has got the headlines and her share of glory. Now is the time to focus on India. Beyond party lines and boundaries. He is young, charming and holds a position that makes a mark wherever he goes. Why can’t he take up the fight against terror, which is bleeding India? If L K Advani can go to Sonia for a book presentation and still remain in the party, why can’t Sonia come to Advani for a collective fight against terrorism? Is India smaller than the personal and political egos and fortunes?

When the ISI or HuJI or Lashkar were planning attacks on Indians, we were counting notes in sacks and fighting each other. Isn’t it time to at least have Sonia, Advani, Rajnath, Manmohan, Mulayam and Mayawati along with Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi to put their heads together and strategize a time-bound “eliminate terror” programme? For power sharing they come together – sworn enemies of yesterday become born twins on political platforms. To liberate India from the dreaded scourge of jihad and all other kinds of terror we feel shy and instead keep ourselves busy in attacking each other, facilitating the country’s enemies.

We are Indians first and stop blaming mussalmans and others for terror. I have a large number of Muslim friends and I know Muslim society in India is uniquely different and as patriotic as any other Indian. And they don’t need any certificate from any one. But at the same time we must not hesitate to recognize that terrorism in India is pronounced essentially Islamic in its character and the aim is to have a so called Nizam-e-Mustafa wreaking revenge against Hindus. The Deoband’s denouncement of terror is not enough. Their dictates must show an impact on Islamic terror outfits, otherwise its papers and faxes would remain nothing more than a crude PR exercise. It’s the bounden duty of Muslim leaders to make it sure and visible that those involved in jihadi barbaric attacks are condemned as un-Islamic and are practically declared non-Muslims like they have done with regard to many others in the past.

A nation’s collective will is the biggest weapon against fissiparous tendencies. The US and China have shown that. They too faced Islamic terror, but handled it with a resolve that got united support by the people and all shades of political colours. Indians can fight each other on a hundred issues of political programming or power grab. But on the question of our sovereignty and security we must stand united, as one – and it must be visible too. After all, where would all these leaders take their money and enjoy it if India doesn’t survive? Even to enjoy the loot they must have a station to leisure and be free of threats. To say this is too rude and crude, yet, seeing the Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmadabad blasts, what can a citizen pray for? Security and a collective will to converge on national interest.

And for God’s sake if you can’t remove this home minister, appoint another capable minister for internal security with independent charge. It serves the interests of the UPA and Congress too. He is just incapable of holding that crucial position. It’s against national interest to keep such a non-performing person in North Block who becomes a source of demoralisation and incompetence to security agencies and law enforcers.

Intelligence must be strengthened and the present colonial structure of intelligence gathering has to be completely overhauled with a structure on the patterns of the FBI. Gujarat’s new law on terror is awaiting the Centre’s nod for the last four years. Why? Is tackling terror a partisan matter?

Israel is willing to help and now that the burden of the Left is removed, the govt must begin a long-term association with Israel to restructure our intelligence network against Pakistan and their hired goons masquerading as Islamists and befriending gullible locals to provide them basic support and shelter.

The terrorist can’t work in a vacuum. Hence the police and security network must ruthlessly deal with the local bases of the terror outfits without caring for the human rightists or the defeatist seculars lobbying for the terrorists. Like Punjab in Gill’s time, a group of daredevil police and army officers must be assigned to handle terrorism and given an autonomous status with powers to strike independently without awaiting a nod from the political masters. Let them tackle terror and leaders of all parties and ideologies can do the mass awakening campaign – instilling confidence in the general public and making them an active instrument in helping security forces to crack on terror network.

Let’s forget every other matter, temple or Setu or masjid or Church. Convergence to remove terror network should be our foremost offering to the gods and that should be our religious agenda too. If Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammad fought against injustice and against the forces of dark evils, let all those who follow Mohammad’s teaching come together to defeat inhuman cowards killing Indians in the name of some jihad. This may prove to be the biggest opportunity for a genuine Hindu-Muslim solidarity and can be followed with greater ideas. Being a Hindu I can request all the priests and Mahants and spiritual leaders who go to different parts of the globe for world peace and human happiness, to include in their puja “eliminate terror” preachings and make their followers a part of the terror-busting programme. This is the greatest yoga – call it Rashtra Yoga, yoga of the nation.

If there is a war in our courtyard we do not go to temples worshipping deities as the biggest deity is our nation and her people. Jihad is a Kargil in our precincts. Let the ashrams and the other high-class facilities for nirvana be converged on rousing the morale of the faithful against demons and Ravanas of today.

Vijaya Dashmi is not far – and let this year’s festival be celebrated together with all communities coming to show solidarity with the Indian people rising above religious boundaries to kill the demon of darkness. We are all descendants of Guru Gobind Singh and Shivaji and have produced Rani Laxmi Bai and Bahadur Shah Zafar and Begum Hazrat Mahal and Abdul Hameed. It’s the power of togetherness that wins a nation ultimately.

It’s time that cricketers and film actors join hands to create a national mood of solidarity. They owe it to their motherland. They are born Indians and have not come here just to make money and earn fame from some other planet. Once an Amitabh, a Shah Rukh, an Aamir, John and Sachin share a dais and say no to communal, divisive elements and urge all Indians to merge their divergences in one Tricolour, it will have a tremendous impact on the nation’s confidence and all governments will get a big power push to act decisively.

When people are dying like cattle, it’s disgusting to see media houses deeply engaged in thumka jhumka vulgarity and issues that do not represent the nation facing a terror war. They know we can win it, finally and without losing time. But the atmosphere has to be created for that and who can do it better than the media? Indian media has proved it wonderfully during Kargil; it’s no different now.

If this terrorism has been exported to our land, we have a responsibility to bury it finally with our hands. Victory shall be ours, without doubt. Let the Spirit de India rise and strike.

Is it all daydreaming? A naive, emotional outburst expecting unachievable goals? Doesn’t India belong to us all?

(The author is the director of Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, a think tank of nationalist school of thought.)





The Rediff Special/Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad

27 07 2008

The Rediff Special/Sheela Bhatt in Ahmedabad

July 19, 2004

I would like to meet Bachubhai whose son was killed in Kashmir,” I request the elderly lady facing me.

I am at the door of a modest two-room dwelling in Damarwali chawl, located in the Shahpur area of Ahmedabad, the old part of the city.

She looks me over before letting me in and offering me a chair. “He is not in,” she says, “He will come soon. I am his wife. Tell me what do you want?”

I tell her I have information from the state home ministry about a Gujarati boy named Ayub Bachubhai who had become a jihadi. I was told he was killed in Jammu and Kashmir and that the Intelligence Bureau had identified his dead body before he was buried somewhere in Jammu and Kashmir along the border.

I was also told that Ayub’s family has received a letter from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, informing them about his death. [The letters are in Urdu and one in Gujarati]

The lady is Nyanat, Ayub’s mother. A big-built lady with sharp features and a commanding presence, she is a Rajasthani Muslim who has settled down in Ahmedabad. Her husband Bachubhai was born in Ahmedabad. She has eight daughters, including one who was adopted recently, and two sons, of whom the elder was Ayub. Inside the house are her younger son Salim and two adult daughters, sewing school uniforms. They are trained tailors, their mother tells me.

The adjoining room has a well-set kitchen. Though living in a chawl, the kitchen appears well stocked with a refrigerator and other kitchen accessories.

Before I can ask any question she tells me in Marwari-accented Hindi that her son Ayub is alive. But she adds that the family has no clue about Ayub ever since he left home in August 2002. The sisters tell me they have full faith in Allah that he is fine.

Nyanat starts sobbing when I ask her about her son. Over the next three hours, amid much sobbing, she narrates her tale of woe:

MY son is a friendly person. My husband is a retired building contractor who built this chawl with about 80 rooms. My family and my husband’s brother have four, five rooms. The rest are rented out at very low rates to Dalits. Except for our four families, all our neighbours are Hindus. In 2002, when riots broke out after Godhra, my husband and I were in our native village in Rajasthan but my children were here. In our chawl, we are respected by our Hindu neighbours and we never had any communal trouble. We are all peace loving.

“My son has few Muslim friends. He has mostly Hindus friends from Meghani Nagar where he was working. When riots went on for a long time, our neighbours advised my children to shift to a safer area. My son Ayub rented a room in the municipal quarters at Mahendikua, a Muslim-majority area. The room belong to Yusuf Khan, who has a brother, also named Ayub.

“Ayub Khan ran a garage while my son Ayub worked in a lawyer’s office. We don’t know what happened between them but one day, when my daughters were sewing in the morning and Ayub was getting ready to go to his office, Ayub Khan came looking for my son. It was around 11 am on a weekday in August 2002. Ayub Khan told my son to pack his bags to go to Kashmir. Earlier too, Khan had come twice to our house, inquiring about my son.

“At this time, we were still in Rajasthan. My son told his sister Naseem that he was going to Kashmir with Ayub Khan for six to seven weeks on an assignment. He said he would get Rs 5,000. Since the riots had affected our finances severely, he accepted the assignment.

“After some time, I came back from Rajasthan. When Ayub didn’t return in seven weeks, we started worrying. My younger son kept going to Ayub Khan who kept saying he would return soon. We were petrified of our son becoming a jihadi. He was just not that type. Khan told my other son Salim that Ayub is fine and there is no reason to worry. He was told he has gone to deliver bananas and would come back with truck full of apples.

“When we mounted heavy pressure on him, he said Ayub has sent some money and he gave Salim Rs 4,000 and a letter returned by him.

“We went to the rented place where Ayub and Yusuf live. Yusuf’s wife Sabiya took us to Ayub’s father-in-law, Abdul Latif Kashmiri alias Kashmiri Lala, who lives in Vatva [a suburb of Ahmedabad]. I told him to get my son back from Kashmir.

“Initially, he said he was unaware of my son’s whereabouts but later agreed to bring him back on his next trip to Poonch in Kashmir. Lala is a native of Kashmir. His first wife and family live in Poonch [in Jammu]. He is also married to a lady in Ahmedabad and settled here.

“I curse him and his jamai (son-in-law, viz Ayub Khan) every day. They have snatched away my son for money. They have sold him for Rs 1 lakh to the militants,” she alleges.

“It is a trying time for us. I have eight daughters. My husband is 65 years old. We are not getting suitable boys for my daughters in our community. We never marry our daughters into other Muslim communities. I have no idea what will happen to my family.

Also Read: How Gujarat plans to counter terrorists

“SABIYA (Yusuf Khan’s wife) told us that her cousin (her maternal uncle’s son), Assadullah Kalyani, was also sent to Kashmir by Ayub Khan. At that time, Ayub Khan did not know that Kalyani was Sabiya’s cousin.

“Kalyani, who lives in the Khanpur locality in Ahmedabad, escaped from the militants and returned home. He was probably trained in the use of arms and was kept with my son Ayub in the Kashmir jungles. But after three months, they were separated. He told us they were always kept on the mountains peaks and were never allowed to come down the hills.

“Kalyani told us when my Ayub heard on the radio about the attack on the Akshardham temple (on September 24, 2002) he came down from the hills. He wanted to go home but he was not allowed. Kalyani told us he was worried about his sisters.

“It was after Kalyani revealed his story to the Gujarat police that Ayub Khan and Kashmiri Lala were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act. It was only then that we came to know of their plans to lure Muslim boys from Gujarat to Kashmir.

“Kalyani told us that five Gujarati Muslim boys accompanied him to Kashmir. They too had been recruited by Ayub Khan and Lala, both of who came to see them off at the railway station. All the boys were told they would be employed in the transport business.

“We are not aware about what all happened in Kashmir but we know for sure that Kalyani and Guddo Ansari, who is also from Ahmedabad, went to Kashmir with my son. But they have returned. They were arrested by the police and kept in jail for two or three months. They were treated well. They have told everything to the police and have been released. They are happily settled again, leading a normal life.

“Unlike these two Gujaratis, my son could not escape the militants because they claim he was sent to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. I kept visiting Lala. He would only keep saying that after the snow melts, he would get back my son from Kashmir. After Kashmiri Lala’s arrest, I kept meeting his wife Shamshad and her daughter Mehjabin. I would cry and plead, ‘Mera chokra la kar de‘ (Bring back my son).

“In our community and in my neighbourhood I haven’t hid the fact that my son is missing. Our neighbours understand our pain. But don’t take my pictures. In the next riots, we may be targeted. Outsiders can identify us and target us because they would say ‘Iska chokra Kashmir bhag gaya‘ (Her son ran away to Kashmir).

“Kalyani, who has escaped the militants’ clutches, knows everything. At one point, Shamshad promised me she would go to Kashmir and get my son back. She went to Kashmir but returned without my son. They entertained us for some time but three months back she refused to heed my pleas.

“A few months ago, I received a mail from Oman. The address was Post Box 1630, Jabro Matrah, Sultanate of Oman. The short mail said, ‘Mera beta shahid ho gaya hai‘ (My son has become a martyr).

“We cried and cried, but we don’t believe this mail. We called up the police and told them about it. They asked us some questions.

“I have visited many astrologers and even religious figures from the Dalit community. All of them have assured me that my son is alive and will come back. He can’t become a jihadi.

“The Gujarat police only harass jihadis or Muslims who are against our society. They have released Kalyani and Guddo. We are sure that my son will not be harassed if he tells the truth to the police. Many people have insisted I should do fatia (the final rites) of Ayub, but I have said a firm no. Ma ka dil kaheta hai voh jinda hai! (A mother’s heart says he is alive!).”

LATER, to convince me about Kashmiri Lala’s involvement in sending her son to Kashmir, Nyanat takes me to Sabiya’s home. Sabiya confirms she had taken Nyanat to Kashmiri Lala. She also confirms that her cousin Kalyani has returned to Gujarat from Kashmir.

Kalyani’s parents refuse to allow him to talk to me while Guddo Ansari is not available when I visit his home. His family also confirms he has returned from Kashmir.

Image: Uday Kuckian





Mind of a Jehadi

30 05 2008

Mind of a Jehadi

By Amir Mir

(Appeared in Tehelka)

AL QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden has made jihad more central than ever before, sparking new global waves of inspiration to youth ready to give their all for the fight that he has come to symbolize. So blinded, often, is the commitment of the jihadi to the cause that those confronted with them are at a loss for counter-strategies.

He could be a dyed-in-the-wool product of a remote madarsa, bearded, aloof and intent on his purpose of establishing the Empire of the Faith. Or he could be a denim-clad graduate from a Western campus, modern to all intents and appearances, but equally single-minded in determination as his counterpart from the madarsa. He may have been part of the West and benefited from what it has to offer, but he also sees the “ills and injustices of its materialism, its determination to foist on the world an order and ethos it has created”; he is determined to fight it. As Giles Kepel, the leading French authority on Islamists, puts it in his important study, The War For Muslim Minds: “Al Qaeda was (and is) less a military base of operations than a database that connected jehadists around the world via the Internet… this organisation did not consist of buildings and tanks and borders but of websites, clandestine financial transfers and a proliferation of activists ranging from Jersey City to the paddies of Indonesia.”

In the final analysis, the jehadi is the same person, whether he comes from an ill-equipped madarsa or an affluent university, whether he comes from the poverty of the Orient or from the plenty of the West. He celebrates death in the service of Islam and resolutely believes that death in the service of the only cause worth serving is a one-way ticket to heaven. His biggest disagreement with the modern concept of democracy is that he does not believe religion is the private affair of a person but rather a complete way of life that necessarily includes politics.

Islam is his religion and his nation; it transcends boundaries, ethnicities, colour, creed and race. He rejects secularism and any social order other than that defined by Islam. He believes that Allah alone ——” is the sovereign and His commandments are the supreme taw of man. Of course, the theoretical reason why Islam had asked its followers to wage jehad was to create an egalitarian social order where the poor and the vulnerable would be treated with respect and dignity.

Jehad (struggle) never exclusively meant a holy war; it could have been a social, political, economic campaign as well. It was a fight against inequality, social injustice and discrimination. But today jehad has but one dimension — Kital, or violent struggle. And it has but one icon: Osama bin Laden, embattled with the Great West to establish the domination of his own realm of faith.

The mind of an Islamic terrorist is difficult for a non-Muslim to comprehend. What could lead a person to cause his or her own violent death is a question that is frequently raised. It is contrary to every human emotion that we have. Yet, we know there are hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists who are wilting to kill and be killed for Allah. An important reason is the promise that the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords.

According to most leading Muslim scholars here, personally, spirituality, politically, intellectually and emotionally, the questions that an Islamic fundamentalist faces are stark indeed. Personally, he asks himself if he loves Allah more than his own life? Spiritually, he asks whether or not he is willing to sacrifice himself in Allah’s cause against the Shaytan’s power and the infidel’s military forces? Politically, he divides the nations of the world into two warring camps. The nations under Islamic rule are termed, the Land of Peace (Dar al-lslam) while the remaining nations are called the Land of War (Dar al-Harb). Intellectually, the answers to those questions are crystal clear to him. Emotionally, his only hurdle is the fear of death. Once this emotional fear is conquered, the person joyfully takes up the sword to kill and be killed in Allah’s cause, anticipating his entrance into the gates of heavenly Paradise. Thus, martyrdom is the only assured path to Paradise.





Mind of a Jehadi

30 05 2008

Mind of a Jehadi

By Amir Mir

(Appeared in Tehelka)

AL QAEDA chief Osama bin Laden has made jihad more central than ever before, sparking new global waves of inspiration to youth ready to give their all for the fight that he has come to symbolize. So blinded, often, is the commitment of the jihadi to the cause that those confronted with them are at a loss for counter-strategies.

He could be a dyed-in-the-wool product of a remote madarsa, bearded, aloof and intent on his purpose of establishing the Empire of the Faith. Or he could be a denim-clad graduate from a Western campus, modern to all intents and appearances, but equally single-minded in determination as his counterpart from the madarsa. He may have been part of the West and benefited from what it has to offer, but he also sees the “ills and injustices of its materialism, its determination to foist on the world an order and ethos it has created”; he is determined to fight it. As Giles Kepel, the leading French authority on Islamists, puts it in his important study, The War For Muslim Minds: “Al Qaeda was (and is) less a military base of operations than a database that connected jehadists around the world via the Internet… this organisation did not consist of buildings and tanks and borders but of websites, clandestine financial transfers and a proliferation of activists ranging from Jersey City to the paddies of Indonesia.”

In the final analysis, the jehadi is the same person, whether he comes from an ill-equipped madarsa or an affluent university, whether he comes from the poverty of the Orient or from the plenty of the West. He celebrates death in the service of Islam and resolutely believes that death in the service of the only cause worth serving is a one-way ticket to heaven. His biggest disagreement with the modern concept of democracy is that he does not believe religion is the private affair of a person but rather a complete way of life that necessarily includes politics.

Islam is his religion and his nation; it transcends boundaries, ethnicities, colour, creed and race. He rejects secularism and any social order other than that defined by Islam. He believes that Allah alone ——” is the sovereign and His commandments are the supreme taw of man. Of course, the theoretical reason why Islam had asked its followers to wage jehad was to create an egalitarian social order where the poor and the vulnerable would be treated with respect and dignity.

Jehad (struggle) never exclusively meant a holy war; it could have been a social, political, economic campaign as well. It was a fight against inequality, social injustice and discrimination. But today jehad has but one dimension — Kital, or violent struggle. And it has but one icon: Osama bin Laden, embattled with the Great West to establish the domination of his own realm of faith.

The mind of an Islamic terrorist is difficult for a non-Muslim to comprehend. What could lead a person to cause his or her own violent death is a question that is frequently raised. It is contrary to every human emotion that we have. Yet, we know there are hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists who are wilting to kill and be killed for Allah. An important reason is the promise that the gates of Paradise are under the shadows of the swords.

According to most leading Muslim scholars here, personally, spirituality, politically, intellectually and emotionally, the questions that an Islamic fundamentalist faces are stark indeed. Personally, he asks himself if he loves Allah more than his own life? Spiritually, he asks whether or not he is willing to sacrifice himself in Allah’s cause against the Shaytan’s power and the infidel’s military forces? Politically, he divides the nations of the world into two warring camps. The nations under Islamic rule are termed, the Land of Peace (Dar al-lslam) while the remaining nations are called the Land of War (Dar al-Harb). Intellectually, the answers to those questions are crystal clear to him. Emotionally, his only hurdle is the fear of death. Once this emotional fear is conquered, the person joyfully takes up the sword to kill and be killed in Allah’s cause, anticipating his entrance into the gates of heavenly Paradise. Thus, martyrdom is the only assured path to Paradise.





The Legacy of Benazir Bhutto: Pakistan’s Proxy Wars, Islamic Jihad and the Taliban

28 12 2007

The most horrific acts of terror in recent times has just been in the neighbouring pakistan. Benazir Bhutto the former PM of Pakistan has been killed in an allegged Alqaida attack. FACT prays for peace to her soul.

Another high profile victim for the fundamentalism and another round of applause for the fundamentalism from the stupidity.

The Legacy of Benazir Bhutto: Pakistan’s Proxy Wars, Islamic Jihad and the Taliban
by Dr. Subhash Kapila

Benazir Bhutto twice ousted as Prime Minister of Pakistan, prompted by fears of arrest is presently in self-imposed exile in Dubai for the last two years. Sensing that elections may be held by the Pakistan Army next year and with a political vacuum existing due to banishment of the last Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, she has been active in running around Western countries subtly projecting that she is the only viable civilian alternative to head Pakistan. With the inauguration of President Bush in Washington, she has already visited Washington in February and embarking soon on a second outing. Her campaign on Capitol Hill is aimed at impressing the American law makers and the think-tanks in Washington that she is a moderate Pakistani leader having nothing to do with Islamic fundamentalism, proxy war in Kashmir or with Taliban. Such a line carries conviction to the Americans when coupled with her personal charm and western education eloquence.

In India too, there are many advocates of Ms. Bhutto amongst retired diplomats of Nehru-Gandhi vintage, Track II participants and Generals/Admirals turned peaceniks. The Indian media glitterrati as is their wont, do not take pains to delve deep in to the political background of such leaders.

In the current security environment obtaining in South Asia in the India-Pakistan context, Indians are led to believe by opinion makers that Islamic fundamentalism, proxy war and Jehadi terrorism and the Taliban were and are the creations of Pakistan military rulers beginning with General Zia and now General Musharraf. This is only partly true.

The significant fact that has not been brought out by the Indian media and opinion makers is that Benazir played a significant role in drawing Pakistan deep into the Islamic fundamentalism morass, in escalating the Pak proxy war in Kashmir and giving active encouragement to the formation of the Taliban.

The aim of this paper is to highlight the active involvement of Ms. Benazir Bhutto in these activities as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Revelations in a recent book authored by the Director of the United States Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare eloquently highlight Ms. Bhutto’s complicity. (1)

Other published works stand referred to in order to substantiate Ms. Bhutto’s involvement in setting up the Taliban.For the record and also to enable readers to correlate contemporary events in South Asia, the two tenures of Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister of Pakistan were1.

1 December 1988 to August 1990.

2. October 1993 to November 1996.

Benazir Bhutto’s Islamic Fundamentalisation of PakistanBenazir Bhutto’s first advent as Prime Minister coincided roughly with the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan where Pakistan was spearheading the American effort. Since strategic aims had been met, it would have been logical for the self-proclaimed Pakistani democrat Prime Minister to wind up the Islamic fundamentalist Mujahideen bases in Pakistan and their nurseries. No such thing happened.

On the contrary “Benazir Bhutto, who became the Prime Minister in 1989 had a profoundly different perception of the role and utility of Islamist terrorism. Convinced that Pakistan’s destiny lay in strategic alliances with such countries as Syria, Iran, China (PRC) and North Korea, Benazir Bhutto’s Islamabad re-examined all aspects of Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan and the world of State-sponsored terrorism became an instrument of crucial significance for Pakistani policy. Islamabad now committed to furthering Islamism in the heart of Asia . . . Islamabad recognized the growing specter of confrontation with the United States over strategic posture in the region. Still Islamabad shifted to active support for militant Islamism.”(2)

As a follow-up of Benazir Bhutto’s policy of exploiting Islamic fundamentalist terrorism as a state-sponsored tool, Pakistan was flooded with about 16000-20000 Islamist militants from over 20 countries all freely given visas for Pakistan. The Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan and surely they had not come for Afghanistan’s liberation. They had come for training in Pakistan and to fight for Pakistani state-sponsored Jehads from Kashmir to Central Asia.

General Zia as military ruler of Pakistan for eleven years preceding Prime Minister Bhutto could not achieve what she achieved in terms of Islamic fundamentalisation of Pakistan: ” In the quest for Islamic violence the camps of the Islamist Afghan resistance in Pakistan became to Sunni Islamist terrorism what Lebanon had been for radical leftist terrorism. Pakistan became a place of pilgrimage for aspiring Islamist radicals.” (3)

Benazir Bhutto on return to power in 1993 had not lost her zeal for Islamic fundamentalisation : “By the end of 1993, after her round of visits to Beijing, Pyongyang and Tehran, Bhutto clearly demonstrated her determination to implement these policies (Islamic terrorism as state-sponsored foreign policy tool) and realise this strategic posture as soon as possible. Markedly increasing Pakistan’s participation in the Islamist international terrorist system was an integral part of Bhutto’s new strategy.” (4)

Benazir’s active linkages with Pan-Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organisations stands adequately exposed in the book referred: “In mid-December 1993, Turabi (Sudanese Islamic fundamentalist leader) organised another “Popular Arab and Islamic Conference (PAIC) in Khartoum to discuss the next phase of the Islamist struggle . . . The PAIC conference focussed on the role of Pakistan . . . in particular Pakistan’s future active support for Islamist armed struggles and international terrorism. The official Pakistan delegation was led by two other Bhutto confidants (the other was a close Bhutto adviser from her party PPP) General Mirza Aslam Beg, the former Chief of Staff of Pakistani Armed Forces and Lt. General Hamid Gul, the former chief of ISI (Pakistani intelligence) . . . Their participation in the Khartoum conference and leading role in the formulation of Pakistan’s relations with the PAIC and the Islamist (read Islamic fundamentalist) world was proof that Bhutto’s Islamabad would continue to pursue Islamist policies.” (5)

Benazir Bhutto’s Duplicity with the United States: Forming a Trans- Asian anti-USA Alliance

Since Benazir Bhutto’s current visits to USA are related to garner US support for her installation as Prime Minister on return to civil rule, it is pertinent to highlight her duplicity with the United States and formation of a Trans-Asian and anti-US Alliance.

Washington should note that: ” The Islamist surge coincided with Benazir Bhutto’s return to power in Islamabad. Behind a facade of pro-Western and pro-democracy rhetoric she initiated a program designed to make Pakistan a central member of both the Islamic bloc and the Trans-Asian axis, an anti-US radical alliance stretching from the Mediterranean to North East Asia . . . Islamabad emerged from these alliances with distinct roles.” (6)

The roles assigned to Pakistan, can be summarised as follows:

*Pakistan would serve as centre for defence production for the Islamic bloc. This would also incorporate nuclear weapon technologies.

* Pakistan would be the financial centre for laundering Islamist drug money.

* Pakistan would acquire legally or illegally sophisticated western technology for its Islamic and other allies.

“Islamabad and its allies were convinced that Bhutto’s rise to power, especially in view of her pro-democracy rhetoric, would relax the western guard” and that “Pakistan would be able to acquire the necessary items . . . ” (7)

It seems that USA and the West were taken in by this approach.Bezazir Bhutto’s apologists may argue that all this was done under Pakistan Army’s pressure. It does not seem so as Bodansky clarifies that: “Pakistan’s growing role in the anti-US build up was one of Bhutto’s personal priorities (note ‘personal priorities’). Immediately after return to power in fall 1993, she embarked on a series of political moves that would formulate the new grand strategy for a post-Cold War and post- Gulf crisis Pakistan.” (8)

Benazir Bhutto’s Intensification of Pak Proxy War in KashmirIt needs to be noted that: “From 1972 to December 1989, Kashmir was not an issue of high crisis in Indo- Pakistan relations, though Pakistan continued to harp on it during this period.”(9)

It would be obvious from this that both in her father’s tenure as Prime Minister and that of eleven years of President Zia no major escalation took place on the Kashmir issue.

Kashmir was whipped up as an emotive and frenzied issue only by Benazir Bhutto when she came into power in 1989 and thereafter in1993. Never before had Kashmir been made such a provocative issue in Pakistani elections as done by Benazir Bhutto. She outdid what Islamic fundamentalists uttered on Kashmir. “Indo-Pak relations were to go off into a spin from the end of 1989” and that “The tenuous hopes of a new beginning (friendly Indo- Pak relations) came to a somewhat abrupt end in December 1989” (10).

This was mid-way in Benazir Bhutto’s first tenure as Prime Minister of Pakistan.The following need to be noted in relation to Benazir’s escalation of proxy war in Kashmir:* “Violence in Kashmir increased between December 1989 and February 1990. India had firm information about a quantum increase in the flow of arms and infiltration by trained terrorists.”(11)

* Benazir Bhutto visited POK for the first time as Prime Minister on 13 March 1990. She gave a historical speech at a public meeting in Muzzafarabad declaring the struggle in Kashmir to be a ‘holy jehad’.”(12)

The increased jehadi infiltration in Kashmir and acts of terrorism during Benazir’s tenures as Prime Minister was the manifestation of what has been discussed earlier, i.e., the adoption by PM Benazir Bhutto of state- sponsored Islamic fundamentalist terrorism as a foreign policy tool. Retrospectively, it can also be analysed that Benazir Bhutto was carrying a chip on her shoulder from the Simla Agreement 1972 days when she was a witness to her father Z.A. Bhutto giving in to Indian demands that Kashmir was to be a bi-lateral issue between the two countries.

The Taliban’s Creation During Premiership of Bhutto

Pakistan figures prominently in any discussions related to the Taliban in terms of creating this medieval monster in Afghanistan and the subsequent inhuman repression that the Taliban has imposed on the Afghans themselves. ISI also figures prominently in relation to provision of Pak Army cadres, military advisers and military hardware. However what does not figure is Benazir Bhutto’s role in its creation. The Taliban emerged forcefully on the Afghan scene in the period 1993-94 and captured the whole of Afghanistan, less the Northern Provinces by September 1996. It requires to be noted that all these developments took place during Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure as Prime Minister, i.e., 1993- 1996. As one author puts it: “Furthermore, there was considerable evidence to suggest that the Taliban were being strongly supported by the Pakistani government led by Benazir Bhutto, ironically a woman educated at Oxford and Harvard.”(13)

Initially, more than the ISI, it was the Bhutto party machine both at Islamabad and in the provincial capitals at Peshawar(NWFP) and Quetta (Baluchistan) which were active in the reinforcement and furtherance of Taliban operations. It is indicated that: “When the Taliban captured Kandahar, the ISI was initially more sceptical than the Government about the chances of further success. While General Babar( Bhutto’s Interior Minister) and the Jamiat-e Ulema-i Islam pushed for support to the Taliban, the ISI took a back seat. Thus Babar had a free hand in “civilianising” the initial support to the Taliban.” (14)

Benazir’s newly created Taliban ensured that they had the right connections in Pakistan to enable continued support as this would suggest: “And the Taliban soon developed close relations with several businessmen close to Asaf Ali Zardari- the husband of Benazir Bhutto, who in turn were given the highly lucrative permits to export fuel to Afghanistan. As the Taliban’s war machine expanded, permits for fuel supplies from Pakistan became a major money earner for Pakistani politicians” . . . (15) The linkages and implications are self evident.

ConclusionBenazir’s pretentious pronouncements are avidly lapped up in Washington and New Delhi as emanating from a committed democrat, a Pakistani politician of moderate hues and above all a Muslim with western educated secular values, in short someone New Delhi could trust in political dealings. The above record of Benazir Bhutto however does not match up with what she would like us to believe about her.Bodansky states that: ” Pakistan’s ascent in the Islamist terrorist system is particularly important in a strategic context. Pakistan’s growing involvement resulted in both escalation of the war by proxy in Kashmir and the rise of Taliban in Afghanistan, two movements that still provide shelter and closely cooperate with Osama bin Laden.” (16)

What Bodansky has not added to complete this summation is that in terms of contextual time-spans both these developments emerged during the two tenures of Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Benazir’s duplicity against the United States of America of forming a Trans-Asian anti- US alliance while mouthing platitudes on democracy during Washington visits indicates a fatal flaw in her political credibility. Comparatively speaking, former PM Nawaz Sharif appears far superior to Benazir’s Bhutto. He had at least the courage to fight an election in Pakistan on the agenda of improvement of Indo-Pak relations and won on this issue with an overwhelming majority.

Regrettably, Benazir Bhutto’s record on Islamic fundamentalism of Pakistan, escalation of the proxy war in Kashmir and the creation of the Taliban leads one to the conclusion that Washington’s assessments of Pakistani politicians and Pakistan’s political scene tend to be faulty and unreliable as inputs for any Track II diplomacy. Both these conclusions are pertinent presently for those advising and espousing the continuation of India’s cease fire in Kashmir.