Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa
The militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) is widely blamed for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. The US has put a $10m bounty for its founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Saeed now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) group, widely seen as a front for LeT. LeT was banned by Pakistan in 2002 after it allegedly carried out an attack on the Indian parliament. JuD is currently banned by the US, the EU, India and Russia as a terrorist organisation. In June 2014, Washington declared JuD an LeT affiliate and announced head money for JuD’s political wing chief and Saeed’s brother-in-law Abdur Rahman Makki. Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba and allegedly the planner of 2008 Mumbai attacks was released in Pakistan which caused condemnations in India.
JuD regularly conducts mass rallies and congregation, advocating jihad in Kashmir. For its December 2014 rally, Pakistan ran two special trains to carry the crowd to Lahore. India’s foreign ministry termed this as ‘nothing short of mainstreaming of terrorism and a terrorist’. The congregation was held near Pakistan’s national monument, the Minar-e-Pakistan and a security of 4000 policemen was provided. JuD also asks donations for its anti-India and pro-jihad campaigns.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of US, Mike Mullen described the Haqqani Network as the ‘veritable arm of Pakistan’s ISI’. Mullen said the country’s main intelligence agency ISI was supporting Haqqani network, who are blamed for an assault on the US embassy in Kabul in September 2011 and also the September 2011 NATO truck bombing which injured 77 coalition soldiers and killed five Afgan civilians.
“Operation Zarb-e-Azb has helped disrupt Haqqani network’s ability to launch attacks on Afghan territory”, a senior commander for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson said in a Pentagon-hosted video briefing from Afghanistan. He added that the Haqqani network was now fractured too.
In a November 2014 interview to BBC Urdu, Adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan should not target militants like the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network, who do not threaten Pakistan’s security. After it was raised in Pakistan’s parliament, Pakistan’s Foreign Office clarified that the statement was said in historical context.
US National Security Advisor James L Jones sent a message in the past to Pakistan saying that double standards on terrorism were not acceptable.
In September 2016, the Chairman of the US House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Congressman Ted Poe from Texas, along with Dana Rohrabacher from California, introduced a bill in the United States House of Representatives calling for a declaration of Pakistan as a “state sponsor of terrorism”. The bill HR 6069 requires the US President to issue a report within 90 days detailing Pakistan’s role in supporting international terrorism followed by discussion from the US Secretary of State. Ted Poe said in a statement that Pakistan was not only an untrustworthy ally but it has also aided and abetted the enemies of the United States. He called the 2016 Uri attack the “latest consequence of Pakistan’s longstanding irresponsible policy of supporting and providing operational space for ‘jihadi’ terrorist groups”. U.S. Senator John McCain said that the bill would not be successful, and pointed out that it was moved by a small minority within the Congress. McCain also acknowledged Pakistan’s losses in the fight against terrorism.
In July 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron accused the Pakistani government of double standards: “We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or whether to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world.” However, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who was travelling with the prime minister Cameron, clarified Cameron’s remarks: “He wasn’t accusing anybody of double dealing. He was also saying that Pakistan’s made great progress in tackling terrorism. Of course there have been many terrorism outrages in Pakistan itself.” Cameron’s remarks sparked a diplomatic row with Pakistan, where he came under attack by officials and politicians who strongly criticised his comments. In December 2010, he attempted to visit Pakistan while on a tour to Afghanistan in an effort to mend relations. However, his visit was refused by Pakistan, notably as a snub to his remarks.
US intelligence officials claim that Pakistan’s ISI sponsored the 2008 Indian embassy bombing in Kabul. They say that the ISI officers who aided the attack were not renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorised by superiors. The attack was carried out by Jalaluddin Haqqani, who runs a network that Western intelligence services say is responsible for a campaign of violence throughout Afghanistan, including the Indian Embassy bombing and the 2008 Kabul Serena Hotel attack. Citizenship and Immigration Minister of Canada Chris Alexander called Pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism that threatens world security in 2014.
In response to the Afghan War documents leak, The Guardian had a very different take on allegations that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism. Its Sunday, 25 July 2010 article by Declan Walsh states: “But for all their eye-popping details, the intelligence files, which are mostly collated by junior officers relying on informants and Afghan officials, fail to provide a convincing smoking gun for ISI complicity. Most of the reports are vague, filled with incongruent detail, or crudely fabricated. The same characters – famous Taliban commanders, well-known ISI officials – and scenarios repeatedly pop up. And few of the events predicted in the reports subsequently occurred. A retired senior American officer said ground-level reports were considered to be a mixture of “rumours, b******* and second-hand information” and were weeded out as they passed up the chain of command”.
Afghanistan–Pakistan relations have become more strained after the Afghan government began openly accusing Pakistan of using its ISI spy network in aiding the Taliban and other militants. Pakistan usually denies these allegations but has said in the past that it does not have full control of the actions of the ISI. There have been a number of reports about the Afghanistan–Pakistan skirmishes, which usually occur when army soldiers are in hot pursuit chasing insurgents who cross the border back and forth. This leads to tensions between the two states, especially after hearing reports of civilian casualties.
After the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, many prominent Afghan figures began being assassinated, including Mohammed Daud Daud, Ahmad Wali Karzai, Jan Mohammad Khan, Ghulam Haider Hamidi, Burhanuddin Rabbani and others. Also in the same year, the Afghanistan–Pakistan skirmishes intensified and many large scale attacks by the Pakistani-based Haqqani network took place across Afghanistan. This led to the United States warning Pakistan of a possible military action against the Haqqanis in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The U.S. blamed Pakistan’s government, mainly Pakistani Army and its ISI spy network as the masterminds behind all of this.
“In choosing to use violent extremism as an instrument of policy, the government of Pakistan, and most especially the Pakistani army and ISI, jeopardizes not only the prospect of our strategic partnership but Pakistan’s opportunity to be a respected nation with legitimate regional influence. They may believe that by using these proxies, they are hedging their bets or redressing what they feel is an imbalance in regional power. But in reality, they have already lost that bet.”
— Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, told Radio Pakistan that “the attack that took place in Kabul a few days ago, that was the work of the Haqqani network. There is evidence linking the Haqqani Network to the Pakistan government. This is something that must stop.” Other top U.S. officials such as Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta made similar statements. Despite all of this, Afghan President Hamid Karzai labelled Pakistan as Afghanistan’s “twin brother”.Such words in diplomatic talks mean that Afghanistan cannot turn enemy against the state of Pakistan to please others. The two states are working together to find solutions to the problems affecting them. This includes possible defence cooperation and intelligence sharing as well as further enhancing the two-way trade and abolishment of visas for “holders of diplomatic passports to facilitate visa free travel for the diplomats from the two nations.”
After the May 2017 Kabul attack, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) claimed that the blast was planned by the Afghan insurgent group Haqqani Network, and reiterated allegations that those elements had support and presence across the border in Pakistan. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani stated that Pakistan has instigated an “undeclared war of aggression” against the country. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nafees Zakaria rejected the Afghan allegations as “baseless”.
The government of Pakistan has been accused of aiding terrorist organisations operating on their soil who have attacked neighbouring India. Pakistan denies all allegations, stating that these acts are committed by non-state actors.
India alleged that the 2008 Mumbai attacks originated in Pakistan, and that the attackers were in touch with a Pakistani colonel and other handlers in Pakistan. The testimony of David Headley, who was implicated for his role in the Mumbai attacks, points to significant ISI involvement in the activities of the LeT, including the Mumbai attacks. This led to a UN ban on one such organisation, the Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, which the Pakistani government is yet to enforce.
On 5 April 2006, the Indian police arrested six Islamic militants, including a cleric who helped plan bomb blasts in Varanasi. The cleric is believed to be a commander of a banned South Asian Islamic militant group, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, and is linked to the ISI.
Pakistan denied involvement in militant activities in Kashmir, though President Asif Ali Zardari admitted in July 2010 that militants had been “deliberately created and nurtured” by past governments “as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives” stating that they were “heroes” until 9/11.
In October 2010, former Pakistan President and former head of the Pakistan Army, Pervez Musharraf revealed that Pakistani armed forces trained militant groups to fight Indian forces in Kashmir. Many Kashmiri militant groups designated as terrorist organisations by the US still maintain their headquarters in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. This is cited by the Indian government as further proof that Pakistan supports terrorism. Many of the terrorist organisations are banned by the UN, but continue to operate under different names. Even the normally reticent United Nations (UN) has also publicly increased pressure on Pakistan on its inability to control its Afghanistan border and not restricting the activities of Taliban leaders who have been declared by the UN as terrorists. Both the federal and state governments in India continue to accuse Pakistan of helping several banned terrorist organisations, including the Indian organisations unhappy with their own Government, like the ULFA in Assam.
In two separate incidents officials of the Pakistani High Commission in Dhaka, were alleged to be financing the terrorist activities of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) organization. Diplomatic official Mazhar Khan was charged by Bangladesh’s foreign ministry of running an illegal Indian currency business in Dhaka beside alleged links with militants. However, Pakistan’s foreign office maintains that allegations against him are baseless and the incident is unfortunate.
In December 2015, Pakistan decided to withdraw second secretary Farina Arshad after the Bangladeshi authorities asked the diplomat to leave for reportedly having “extended financial support to a suspected militant who faces spying charges.” JMB operative Idris Sheikh, who also holds Pakistani nationality had claimed he had received money from her and was in contact with her for some time. Pakistan has withdrawn one of its diplomats from Bangladesh after “harassment”, the foreign ministry said. A formal statement from Islamabad dismissed the charges as “baseless”, adding: “an incessant and orchestrated media campaign was launched against her on spurious charges.
Pakistan is being threatened of international isolation on the allegations of its inability to act on countering terrorism due to the efforts of PM Narendra Modi. The 2016 SAARC summit which was to be held in Islamabad in 2016 was cancelled after being boycotted by four nations – India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Terrorists Who Were Hiding and Killed Inside Pakistan :
In addition to Supreme Commander of Al-Qaida -Osama Bin Laden about whose hiding and killing by US Marines we all know , Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Abu Zubaydah, Abu Laith al Libi and Sheikh Said Masri have all been captured or killed inside Pakistan.
Ratnesh Dwivedi Institutional Representative of SECINDEF (Security Intelligence and Defense) Israel-USA International Consulting Counterterrorism in the India and collaborating analyst of OCATRY (Observatory against the Terrorist Threat and the Jihadist Radicalization) Scholar,Amity School of Communication,Amity University,Uttar Pradesh,India. Journalist / Acdemic / Writer and NASA Certified Educator