Since the lawyers began their protests, every Pakistani citizen has lost around Rs. 10,000 for every Rs. 100,000 he had in his bank account. Pakistanis forget that one year ago, their nukes, sovereignty and stability were under attack. Here is the story of how the Indians exploited 9/11 to penetrate Pakistan. Uncle Sam looked the other way as Uncle Patel used Islamists and Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan.
By Ahmed Quraishi
Sunday, 18 May 2008.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Since the judicial crisis in March 2007, a Pakistani citizen has lost around Rs. 10,000 for every Rs. 100,000 he had in his bank account.
Usually, nations go to war to make this happen to other nations. But in our case, everyone sat by laughing as our impressive economic rise was thrown away because someone decided that sparking political instability in Pakistan trumped everything else.
Even now, as the “tsunami of inflation, recession, food shortage, power crisis and fuel prices is moving toward the shore,” writes a report sent this week by a private security threat assessment company to its multinational clients in Pakistan, “those in charge of disaster management are busy haggling over the judges’ constitutional packages.”
It is easy to forget that Pakistan a year ago was the target of a creative campaign of destabilization, part indigenous and part manufactured. Some mistakes by those in power provided Pakistan’s antagonists an opening to speed up their own plans to derail Pakistan off track economically and politically. And they had almost succeeded. The crisis was so intense that President Musharraf had to resign from his military office in an attempt to deflate political tension. It is also safe to say that some of his foreign detractors wanted to seen him replaced. The tide turned thanks to the Feb. 18 election when larger instability was averted and those who were advocating U.S. boots on Pakistani soil were silenced, hopefully for good.
Now a London-based Bangladeshi author, Mr. M.B.I. Munshi, is preparing to release in August a revised version of a book, The Indian Doctrine, which is expected to shed new light on what happened in Pakistan in 2007. Simply said, it was an impressive destabilization campaign, combining suicide bombings with threats of taking out Pakistani nukes and open insinuations in op-ed editorials in major U.S. dailies about the break up of the Pakistani homeland.
A small incident in the Pakistani business hub city of Karachi in September 2007 gave Pakistani policy strategists a rare glimpse into the larger game plan in the region at the time. The incident fitted a pattern and provided clues to the unfortunate role played by some actors in India, apart from the sitting government there, in compounding Pakistan’s problems on our western borders.
The incident was barely noticed by the otherwise boisterous Pakistani media, which was busy in covering a wave of Palestinian-style suicide bombings never known to Pakistanis before. A car raced by a police check post in the city’s busy downtown, stopped close enough for the policemen to see it but far enough to ensure escape. Two men were inside. One of them pulled down the window, threw out some jackets on the street and then screeched away.
The unknown car had just dropped a few ‘suicide vests’ ready for use, with markings that indicated U.S. origin. “It was a lousy act linked to the Indian intelligence services trying to create an impression that CIA was sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan,” Mr. Munshi’s book quotes a Pakistani source as explaining. “Neither the CIA nor the actual suicide bombers are in the business of dropping U.S. marked suicide vests on roadsides from moving cars in front of the police. It was a trap designed to mislead investigations.”
Later that month, Washington sent a rare message to New Delhi that basically said, ‘Please don’t make things difficult for us. Try to get out of this Pakistan obsession. You are too important to limit yourself in this way.’
The message, in as many words, came in a rare and closed-door interaction between the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Defense, James Clad, and a visiting group of retired Indian generals and diplomats. In a transcript released then by the Pentagon, Clad told the Indian group that “the United States has de-hyphenated its relations with India from its relations with Pakistan. New Delhi should do the same.”
The U.S. official was essentially telling the Indians they should not feel threatened by the Pak-American cooperation in Afghanistan for the simple reason that it was not going to affect Indian interests. The Indians, Clad implied, should desist from trying to undermine Pak-U.S. ties based on that false notion.
But Clad’s advice fell on deaf ears because, by 2007, India was in the advanced stages of executing an ambitious intelligence operation suspected of having substantially contributed to the multiple and unprecedented security challenges that Pakistan faced in its western regions in the period between 2004 and early 2008. The India-inspired troubles were beyond the natural fallout from the war on terror.
In a special chapter titled, The Peace Charade: How 9/11 Helped India Penetrate Pakistan, Mr. Munshi’s book shows how a document prepared by two Indian security analysts in the year 2000, recommending to the Indian government a creative approach to expand Indian intelligence operations in Pakistan, inspired an ambitious Pakistan-specific plan after 9/11, exploiting the unprecedented uncertainty on the ground in the Pak-Afghan region.
The ultimate goal of this massive operation was “to help [India] in the foreign policy objective of breaking the monopoly of the ISI and army over Pakistan,” according to the Indian document, aptly titled, ‘India’s Experience and Need for Action Against Pakistan,’ authored by Dr. Bhashyam Kasturi and Pankaj Mehra. “The aim is,” the authors wrote, “to break the stranglehold of the intelligence agencies, the bureaucracy and the military in Pakistan.” Some Indians believe all three are responsible for keeping the Kashmir issue alive.
The Indian document seemed to have been inspired by the infamous Neocon policy papers produced by neo-conservative think tanks in the United States in late 1990s, advocating a global militaristic policy that was adopted later in the Bush presidency. There is, of course, a wider context to the great game in and around Pakistan and it includes other players.
Those Pakistanis who still believe that we should turn an insignificant domestic haggle over the judges, an issue that has more to do with anti-Musharrafism and score settling than anything else, should definitely read Mr. Munshi’s book. We need to learn how domestic politics should be managed in an important country like Pakistan, unless we want to lose everything.