Friday, December 31, 2010



2010 was a mixed year for Al Qaeda and its associates in terror. They continued to succeed in causing death and destruction in countries where they are based----whether in the Af-Pak region, Yemen, Somalia or North Africa--- but faced one failure after another in their attempts to export terror to other countries.

2. Barring a fairly successful explosion in Pune in February,2010, they could not succeed in organizing any major terrorist attack in India. The two attacks in New Delhi in September and in Varanasi in December were more failures than successes. They failed to disrupt the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October despite the dire warnings by the 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri, based in North Waziristan, of their intention and determination to do so.

3. Their repeated attempts to organize a terrorist strike in the US homeland failed----once due to the alertness of the public in the Times Square of New York on May 1 and on other occasions due to the alertness of the US security set-up. The US learnt the right lessons from the 9/11 terrorist strikes and strengthened its intelligence agencies and security set-up. The terrorists did succeed on some occasions in penetrating the US and creating sleeper cells, but before these cells could move into action, the US agencies detected and neutralized them.

4. In Europe too, the terrorists have been unrelenting in their attempts to score a major strike to compensate for the lack of success since the London explosions of July,2005, but the alertness of the European security agencies have repeatedly detected their plans and thwarted them. One saw examples of the alertness of the security agencies in the recent arrests of terrorist suspects in Holland, the UK and Denmark.

5. Fears that the Al Qaeda set-up in Yemen might succeed in penetrating Europe and the US persist despite the recent successes of the security agencies in thwarting the plans of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to cause explosions in the US by smuggling in improvised explosive devices through parcels sent in international courier planes.

6. The lack of success of the terrorists has been due to greater alertness by the intelligence and the security agencies, public help and better trans-national co-operation. However, it would be a mistake to conclude from this that the capabilities and motivation of the terrorists have been dented. They remain strong. The flow of new recruits to the ranks of the terrorists continues. They continue to be innovative in trying different modus operandi (MO) to take the security agencies by surprise.

7. Just as the security agencies have learnt the right lessons from their failures which contributed to the success of the terrorists in the US on 9/11, in Madrid in March,2004, in London in July 2005, in Bali in 2002 and 2005 and in Mumbai in July,2006, and on 26/11,2008, the terrorists too have been seeking to learn their lessons from their failures.

8. They are trying out various ways of smuggling in explosive devices without being detected. They relied on Arabs for their acts of terrorism in the West till 2005. Thereafter, when the Arabs found it increasingly difficult to travel unsuspected, they switched over to Pakistanis and white-skinned Westerners of Pakistani origin such as David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Now with the Pakistanis too facing difficulties in travel, they are switching over to Nigerians, Somalis, Bangladeshis and even back to Arabs. Some of those recently arrested in the UK are reportedly of Bangladeshi origin. In Holland, the arrested suspects were mainly Somalis. In Denmark, it was a mixed lot of Arabs from West Asia and North Africa.

9. The security agencies have, therefore, to keep adapting their MO to counter effectively the changing MO of the terrorists. It is a battle of wits between the terrorists and the agencies. In this battle, the agencies have had the upper hand till now. It will be unfair to expect them to have the upper hand all the time.

10. After 9/11, the security agencies have been able to erect a fairly effective defensive architecture. This has to be supplemented by an offensive architecture in the Af-Pak region, Yemen and Somalia. The repeated Drone strikes by the US provide one component of such an offensive architecture.

11.The Drones have been waging a war of attrition against ground-based terrorists from the skies. The Drones have only a limited area in which they can operate without causing civilian casualties. The terrorists have a vast area in which they can scatter and strike back. It is a hide and seek game rendered difficult by the complicity of the Pakistani security agencies and forces with the terrorists.

12.Unless an effective answer is found to end this complicity, the danger of the terrorists succeeding in another act of mass casualty terrorism will always remain. Only the US is in a position to find an answer to this complicity. The first step in the exercise to find an answer is to end its romanticisation of its relationship with Pakistan. The second is to end its dependence on Pakistan for the logistic supplies to the NATO forces in Afghanistan.

13.China will be a problem in the search for this answer. In the event of the US deciding one day to be tough with Pakistan, China will ensure that Pakistan does not suffer due to the US toughness. How to counter the Chinese complicity with Pakistan in protecting it from the consequences of its inaction against the terrorists operating from its territory? That is a question which needs careful examination. ( 1-1-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

Thursday, December 30, 2010



It is 15 months now since I started peacefully co-existing with my metastatic cancer of prostate origin which manifested itself on September 30,2009, in the form of blood in the urine.

It had started in the prostate five years earlier and then slowly spread to the urinary bladder, a nearby bone and a lymph node. Everyone in the family was depressed on seeing the PET scan report, which showed the extent of the spread of the cancer.

It showed that the cancer had affected about 15 per cent of the body. I cheered myself up from the fact that 85 per cent of my body still remained non-cancerous and healthy. I decided to motivate the healthy 85 per cent to fight the cancerous 15 .

That’s what I have been doing for the last 14 months---- through hormonal treatment which in crude language means chemical castration ( they call it total androgen blocade), undiminished mental activity, regular physical activity, but slightly reduced as compared to what I was doing before the cancer was detected, extensive reading and research on cancer in order to decide myself how to cope with it and so on.

My doctor gave me a humorous book on the prostate written by an American specialist. It said that post-mortems after traffic accidents showed that many people had been leading an active life without being aware that they had a cancer inside the body. His conclusion: Many people do not die of cancer, they die along with it without ever becoming aware that they had a cancerous growth inside.

Before I agreed to undergo the hormonal therapy, I asked a 70-year-old doctor from a well-known Chennai family of cancer specialists: Do I have the option of not undergoing any treatment?

“Yes, you have”, he said. “ I know cases where people decided not to undergo any treatment and managed to survive. No doctor or medical literature can explain how they managed to survive. But my own advice to you will be to undergo the treatment.”

I have been doing so since November 11,2009. A painless injection with no side-effects once a quarter and a tablet with some side effects every day to stop the production of the male sex hormone in the body.

My doctor said that the male sex hormone acts as a fertilizer for the cancer which has its origin in the prostate. Once you deny that fertilizer to the cancer, it stops growing and, if you are lucky, may even shrivel up.

My quarterly blood tests show a steep drop in the PSA level. My urine tests show the absence of cancerous cells in the urine.

My weight remains constant. So does my mental energy level, but my physical energy level is lower than what it was a year ago---due to cancer or my old age (74)? I do not know. Probably both.

I pick up advice on what to do---here, there and everywhere.

Take six to eight walnuts every day.

I do.

Drink a glass of anar juice every day.

I do.

Take a teaspoonful of turmeric powder in an empty stomach every morning.

I do.

Do acupressure exercises for 10 minutes thrice a day.

I do.

Be a social drinker drinking occasionally two large pegs of Scotch & soda, but avoid drinking daily.

Done---with pleasure.

Cut down the intake of sweets, which may provide nourishment to the cancerous cells.

No difficulty in following this advice.

Emulate Morarji Desai.

Sorry, that I can’t.

“ But, look how healthy he was till his 90s. He never even went to a dentist.”

Nothing doing. I am not Morarji.

For one month after the treatment started I suspended all my travels---domestic as well as foreign---for seminaring. I have gradually resumed my domestic travels----- four times to Hyderabad, thrice to New Delhi, six times to Bangalore, once to Manipal, twice to Mumbai, once to Kolkutta and once to Mhow.

My doctor has been encouraging me to resume my foreign travels too. I have not yet. I feel nervous at the thought of the pain----which has not yet started---starting when I am abroad.

That’s the awful thing about cancer. You do not necessarily have pain, but the fear of the pain starting one day affects you psychologically.

Every night before I go to sleep---I tell myself---thank God, there was no pain today. How many days more of painless existence? I do not know. I keep my fingers crossed.

There are many web sites of well-known hospitals which help cancer patients to cope with their cancer. I visit them regularly. One of them assesses what are your chances of survival on the basis of your medical reports.

In November 2009, after I had started the therapy I visited the website and typed my medical report readings. “ You can hope to live for a maximum of three years more”, it said.

I have already lived for 15 months since then.

Let me see who has the last laugh----me or my cancer?

In my intelligence profession, I was looked upon as the man who always had the last laugh.

Will I be able to keep up this reputation? (31-12-10)



Public confidence in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had gone up in the wake of the successful investigation and prosecution of the cases relating to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 and the Mumbai blasts of March 1993, has taken a series of beatings during 2010. The Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh has been watching helplessly as the CBI is coming to be viewed increasingly by growing sections of public opinion as a highly unprofessional and politicized agency with neither the will nor the capability to improve the quality of the investigation and prosecution of the cases entrusted to it.

2. The intriguingly belated response of the CBI to the investigation of the major corruption cases of 2010 entrusted to it has rightly or wrongly created an impression in the minds of the public that instead of guarding its reputation as the leading investigation agency of the country, it has let itself become the leading cover-up agency. Neither the senior officials of the agency nor the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat have come out with a convincing explanation as to why the CBI moved and continues to move with disturbing slowness in taking the necessary investigative steps such as raids of the houses and offices of the suspects, freezing of their bank accounts and their interrogation in the cases relating to alleged corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games and the handling of the 2G spectrum by A.Raja, former Minister for Telecommunications. The public cannot be blamed if it concludes that the CBI’s objective seems to be not to find out the truth, but to cover up the truth for a sufficiently long time till public memory and outrage over the extent of corruption dissipates.

3. One saw during 2010 surprising instance of selective leaks to certain sections of the media of some of the tapped telephone conversations of Niira Radia, the lobbyist. Those sections of the tapes which would have contained evidence of criminal wrong-doing have been carefully protected from leakage to the media, but certain sections which had no evidence of criminal wrong-doing, but merely contained material tending to damage the personal reputation of certain eminent persons were leaked to the media by unidentified elements with a suspect motive.

4. Though the tapping was reportedly authorized at the request of agencies dealing with tax evasion and money-laundering, the CBI most probably had an interest in the tapping in connection with its investigations. It had an obligation to maintain the confidentiality of the intercepts in order to protect the right to privacy of innocent persons. By failing to meet this obligation, the CBI and other agencies involved have let their reputation for professionalism be damaged.

5.The end of the year saw yet another blow to the reputation of the CBI when it moved the Ghaziabad Special Court on December 29 for permission to close the case relating to the alleged murder, under mysterious circumstances, of Aarushi, the 14-year-old daughter of Rajesh Talwar and Nupur, a dentist couple living in Noida near Delhi on May 16,2008.

6. The case was initially mishandled by the UP Police. It was handed over to the CBI on June 1,2008. Public expectation that the CBI, being a reputed professional agency with better capabilities and investigating skills than the UP Police, would unravel the mystery behind the murder and identify, arrest and prosecute the culprits has been belied. The CBI has moved for the closure of the investigation on the ground that it has not been able to make any headway in the investigation and there are no prospects of its making any headway in the future even if it continued with the investigation.

7. The murder of Aarushi and the subsequent death under mysterious circumstances of a domestic assistant of her parents had shocked the public. The public was equally shocked by the wildly contradictory accounts of the investigation by the Police and the CBI that were leaked out to the media without any regard to the reputation of Aarushi. The allegations, if true, made by her parents that they were not kept informed by the CBI of its decision to move for the closure of the investigation has shown shocking insensitivity on the part of the CBI.

8. The lethargic handling of the cases relating to corruption has created strong suspicions in the minds of the public that the CBI’s investigation has been influenced by political considerations. If true, this indicates a politicization of the agency to a degree unsuspected till now. The CBI’s apparent cluelessness in the Aarushi case speak of a worrisome deterioration in the investigation skills of the agency and in the quality of the supervision over its work.

9. What is even more disturbing is the seeming indifference of the Government to public criticism of the functioning of the CBI in relation to these and other cases. There has been no attempt on the part of the Government to take the CBI to task for the way it has handled these cases and to convince the public that it has tightened up the monitoring of the work of the CBI.

10. The CBI has come under criticism from time to time since the days of the State of Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi Government in 1975. The enquiries ordered by the Morarji Desai Government after it came to office in 1977 brought out many instances of serious misdeeds by the CBI during the Emergency. The CBI’s performance again came in for strong criticism during the enquiry into the Bofors scandal in the 1980s. There were allegations even then as there are now that the CBI acts not as an investigating agency, but as a cover-up agency doing the bidding of the party in power.

11. These criticisms have not led to a comprehensive enquiry into the functioning of the CBI either by a group of eminent professionals with untarnished reputation or by a Joint Parliamentary Committee. The CBI reportedly submits every year a report on its work during the year. These reports hardly figure in debates either in the public or in the Parliament.

12.The Chinese Government has issued a White Paper----the first of its kind—on December 29 on corruption in China and how the Government has been dealing with the problem. Even in an authoritarian country like China, the Government has felt the need for convincing the public that it is aware of their concerns over corruption and that it is alive to the need for dealing with the problem in a manner that brings satisfaction to the people.

13. Despite India being a democracy with its Government supposedly being accountable to the people, the Government has shown a shocking lack of concern over public criticism of the functioning of the CBI and over evidence of a general institutional decay which has permitted corruption to thrive. Public opinion should force the Government to institute a comprehensive enquiry into the functioning of the CBI and initiate measures to restore its image in the eyes of the public. The indifference of the Government to the institutional decay should not be tolerated by the public. ( 30-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Tuesday, December 28, 2010



An article titled “Botched Calculations” written by K.Subrahmanyam, strategic analyst and former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee of the Government of India, in the “Indian Express” of December 25,2010, has drawn attention to the dubious US role in facilitating nuclear proliferation by A.Q.Khan, the nuclear scientist of Pakistan, including the clandestine dissemination of uranium enrichment technology to China to serve the US strategic interests in the cold war against the USSR. The role of the US in the creation of two dreaded Frankenstein’s Monsters of the cold war--- Osama bin Laden and A.Q.Khan--- has not been adequately gone into. Some material on this subject, which could be of use to research scholars wanting to take up a study of this, are appended below. My earlier articles appended below are available at the web site of the South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG) at ( 29-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

Paper no. 2759 5-July-2009

By B. Raman
I do not wish it, but I apprehend that if there is an act of terrorism involving nuclear material in the US homeland by Al Qaeda, it would have originated from Pakistani territory and Al Qaeda would have most probably acquired the material either from Pakistan or from one of the Central Asian Republics. And Al Qaeda's acquisition of the nuclear material and the expertise in using it would have been facilitated by the US role in the cover-up of the involvement of the late Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif in the nuclear trade indulged in Dr. A. Q. Khan and others on the orders of and with the total knowledge and support of Musharraf, Benazir and Nawaz.
2. There has been a well-staged drama going on for three years now as if the US is anxious that A. Q. Khan be subjected to interrogation by experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, in order to find out the full ramifications of the nuclear trade and to establish whether non-state actors might have also been beneficiaries of this trade, but it does not want to exercise too much pressure on Musharraf lest he incur the wrath of his people.
3. The truth of the matter is that it is not only Musharraf and other Pakistani leaders, who do not want the truth to come out. Even the US does not want the entire truth to come out since it would show that it was all the time aware of the involvement of Pakistani military and political leaders in this trade, but preferred to close its eyes to it for geopolitical reasons. It went after the Pakistani scientists----but not after the Pakistani political leaders and military officers--- only after the dangers of Al Qaeda getting hold of the nuclear material and expertise from Pakistan increased. That too, it went about it in a careful manner in order to spare any embarrassment for the Pakistani leaders and military officers and for its own policy-makers, who were projecting the post-9/11 Musharraf as the greatest thing that could have happened to Pakistan and the world.
4. Now that A. Q Khan is out of the bottle, he is going after Musharraf with a vengeance by claiming that whatever he did in assisting North Korea for achieving an uranium enrichment capability was within the knowledge of Musharraf and on his orders. He is not yet speaking of the US, but wait and see. I am reliably told that he is planning to come out with a statement that the US was aware of Zia-ul-Haq's decision to give the military nuclear technology to Iran, but it kept quiet because of the helpful role being played by Zia in the proxy war against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
5. Unless, of course, to stop him from making any more damaging disclosures, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has him eliminated and shows his death as due to natural causes since he was a cardiac patient and suffering from other ailments. Before the ISI, with the collusion of all the Pakistani leaders and military officers involved in this trade, has Dr. A. Q. Khan eliminated in the doctor's cabin, the IAEA should get hold of him and take him out of the country.
6. But, of course, A. Q. Khan, in foreign custody may not be as talkative and as co-operative as A. Q. Khan in Pakistani territory, but the chance has to be taken.
7. Since the restrictions on his interacting with Pakistani and foreign journalists were relaxed by the present Government, he has been making one damaging disclosure after another, but his earlier disclosures merely related to his claiming that the statements made by him in the past were made under duress. Previously, he did not give any details of the nuclear trade. Now, he has started giving these details in respect of North Korea, which is not an Islamic country.
8. The "Dawn" of Karachi of July 5,2008, has reported as follows: " Detained nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan on Friday accused President Pervez Musharraf and the army of being involved in transferring nuclear technology to North Korea. He said no sensitive shipment could be sent to any country from any airport in Pakistan without the knowledge and supervision of the army. “People know that a military aircraft or a foreign country’s plane was used for sending the consignment,” he said. In one of his statements, Dr Khan said that the uranium enrichment equipment had been sent from Pakistan in a North Korean plane which was loaded under the supervision of Pakistani security officials. Asked what was his involvement in the transfer of nuclear technology, he said only that centrifuges had been picked from Kahuta.
Dr Khan said the army had “complete knowledge” of the shipment of used P-1 centrifuges to North Korea and that it must have been sent with the consent of Musharraf, who was the army chief and president. “It was a North Korean plane and the army had complete knowledge about it and the equipment,” Dr Khan said. “It must have gone with his (Musharraf’s) consent.” When asked why had he taken the sole responsibility for the nuclear proliferation, Dr Khan said he had been persuaded to do so by friends, including PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujjat Hussain, a key figure in the ruling party at the time. They said that it was in the best national interest. He said that he had been promised complete freedom in return, but “those promises were not honoured”. Dr Khan also said that he had travelled to North Korea in 1999 with a Pakistan army general to buy shoulder-launched missiles." “No flight, no equipment could go outside without the clearance from the ISI and SPD and they used to be at the airport, not me,” Dr Khan said, referring to the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency and the Strategic Planning Division that manages Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Dr Khan said he had visited North Korea twice, in 1994 and then in 1999, when he was sent to procure missiles during the so-called Kargil conflict. Dr Khan told Kyodo that the missiles were shoulder-fired SA 15.
Dr Khan told AP that Musharraf had requested him to make the second trip and he did so accompanied on a special plane by General Iftikhar Hussain Shah."
9. For many years, I have been reporting in detail about the involvement of senior Pakistani Army officers and political leaders in the supply of military nuclear technology to North Korea in return for the supply of long-range missiles and connected technology by North Korea to Pakistan. I have also been reporting in some detail about the triangular strategic co-operation involving Pakistan, North Korea and Iran for over two decades. Almost everything---conventional weapons or missiles---that went to Iran from North Korea went via Pakistan. North Korea's long-range missile development programme was funded by Iranian money funnelled through Pakistan.
10. The entire missile arsenal of Pakistan is of Chinese or North Korean origin, even though Musharraf and others claim that it is totally of indigenous origin. Has any other country in the world claimed to have carried out so many missile tests as Pakistan has since Musharraf came to power? Does Pakistan have the know-how and capability for manufacturing so many missiles one after the other in quick succession? So many long-range missiles in Pakistan's possession speak of the voluminous nature of the missile supplies by North Korea. If North Korea has given so many missiles to Pakistan for use against India, it is reasonable to apprehend that it has sold an equal number, if not more, to Iran for possible use against Israel.
11. The truth of the extent of the involvement of Pakistan and Iran --- separately of each other as well as jointly--- has to be found out in the interest of international peace and security.
12. The entire truth can be found out only if the US wants it to be found out, even at the risk of exposing the past mistakes of its policy of supporting and pampering Pakistan, right or wrong.
13. Does the US want the truth to be found out?
14. Since Pakistan tested its first North Korean missile in 1998, I had written over a dozen articles on Pakistan's nuclear Wal-mart. I am annexing two of them.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:

From my paper of April 7, 2003, titled "THE PAKISTANI-NORTH KOREAN WMD AXIS" ( This was also published by the "Indian Defence Review" (January-March,2003) of the Lancer Publishers And Distributors of New Delhi .
Quote Pakistan’s arms supply relationship with North Korea dates back to 1971 when the late Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, the then Foreign Minister under the late Gen. Yahya Khan, visited Pyongyang and sought North Korean arms supplies to strengthen the Pakistani Armed Forces in the face of a looming war with India. Pakistan then did not have diplomatic relations with North Korea. However, the visit led to the signing of an agreement on September 18,1971, 10 weeks before the outbreak of the war with India, for the supply of North Korean-made conventional weapons to Pakistan. Under another agreement signed the same day, the two countries agreed to set up mutual consular relations, which were upgraded to full-fledged diplomatic relations on November 9,1972.
Under the agreement of September 18,1971, Pakistan received from North Korea, in return for payment in US dollars, many shipments of items such as rocket launchers, ammunition etc. In the 1980s, Pakistan also acted as an intermediary in facilitating arms supply agreements concluded by Pyongyang with Libya and Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, North Korea became a principal supplier of weapons to Iran, which was the target of an arms embargo imposed by the Western countries. To escape detection by the Western intelligence agencies, North Korean arms shipments meant for Iran used to be received by sea at Karachi and from there transported in Pakistani trucks to Iran across Balochistan. Amongst the supplies made by North Korea to Iran via Karachi were over 100 Scud B (known as the Hwasong 5 in North Korea) ballistic missiles and equipment for the assembly, maintenance and ultimate production of these missiles in Iranian territory.
In this transaction, Pakistan played a double game. On the one hand, the then ruling military regime of the late Zia-ul-Haq collaborated with the USA’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Iraqi intelligence in destabilisation operations directed at the Sunni Balochis living on the Iranian side of the border. At the same time, it clandestinely allowed the transport by road of North Korean arms and ammunition meant for use by the Iranian Army against the Iraqis. Pakistani army officers were also sent to Libya to help in the training of Libyan Army officers in the use and maintenance of North Korean weaponry.
During the Zia regime, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its North Korean counterpart collaborated closely for the clandestine acquisition of nuclear and missile-related equipment and technology from the then West Germany and other Western countries. Since North Korea did not have either a presence or the funds and other capability to be able to indulge in clandestine procurement from the West, it gave lists of its requirements to the ISI, which procured them and passed them on.
This co-operation between the two countries, the foundation for which was laid by Z. A. Bhutto, was further strengthened during the two tenures of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto as the Prime Minister (1988-90 and 1993-96). It was during this time that Pakistan failed in its efforts to develop an indigenous missile production capability (the Hatf series) and it sought Chinese and North Korean supplies of missiles as well as technology for their production in Pakistan. During her second tenure, Benazir visited Pyongyang during which the scope of the arms supply agreement concluded when her father was the Foreign Minister was expanded to include co-operation in the nuclear and missile fields---including the training of the scientists and engineers of the KRL (Kahuta Research Laboratories) in North Korea, the training of North Korean scientists and engineers in the Pakistani uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta and the supply of the No-Dong missiles and the related technology to Pakistan.
Earlier, during the first tenure (1990-93) of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister, Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir, the Director-General of the ISI, visited Pyongyang to sign a secret agreement with the North Korean intelligence for the joint production through reverse engineering of the US-made, shoulder-fired Stinger missiles and their batteries. Some of the missiles in the stock of the Pakistani army were given to the North Korean intelligence for this purpose. The Iranian intelligence agreed to fund this project. It is not known whether this project succeeded in producing an imitated version of the Stingers and their batteries. The ISI was particularly interested in the batteries because it was unable to use a large number of Stinger missiles in its stocks since the life-period of the batteries supplied by the USA before 1988 to enable the use of these missiles against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan had expired.
Throughout the 1990s, whoever was at the helm in Islamabad, the trilateral co-operation involving Pakistan, Iran and North Korea in the development and production of the Scud—C (called Hwasong 6 in North Korea) and the No-Dong missiles continued without interruption despite Teheran’s anger against Pakistan for backing the Taliban and for failing to prevent the periodic massacre of Pakistani Shias and Iranian nationals by the Sunni extremist Sipah-e-Sahaba, Pakistan, and its militant wing, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ).
During 1992, when Nawaz Sharif was the Prime Minister, a team of Pakistani scientists and engineers had visited North Korea’s missile development centre, reportedly for a joint examination of some technical problems encountered by North Korea in the development of the No-Dong. The same year also saw a visit by Kim Yong-nam, the then North Korean Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, to Syria, Iran and Pakistan in July-August. Pakistani and Iranian scientists and engineers visited North Korea in May,1993, to witness the launching of one No-Dong and three Scud missiles (model not known).
The visit of Benazir to Beijing and Pyongyang in December,1993, was followed by the visits of a number of North Korean personalities to Pakistan in 1994-95 to discuss bilateral nuclear and missile co-operation. Important amongst these visits were:
* During April,1994, Pak Chung-kuk, deputy to the Supreme People's Assembly, visited Iran and Pakistan at the head of a team of officials of the North Korean Foreign Ministry and the nuclear and missile establishment.
* During September,1994, Choe Hui-chong, Chairman of the State Commission of Science and Technology, visited Pakistan at the head of a team of North Korean nuclear and missile experts.
* During November 1995, a delegation of North Korean military officers and nuclear and missile experts headed by Choe Kwang,Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Minister of the People's Armed Forces, and Marshal of the Korean People's Army, visited Pakistan. The delegation met senior officials of the Armed Forces and visited Pakistan’s nuclear and missile establishments, including the KRL The team included senior officials of the Fouth Machine Industry Bureau of the Second Economic Committee and the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation ( also known as the North Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation). During the visit, the KRL and the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation signed an agreement for the supply to Pakistan of the No-Dong missiles as well as fuel tanks and rocket engines. The agreement also provided for the stationing of North Korean missile experts in the KRL for the training of their Pakistani counterparts in the use and maintenance of the missiles supplied by North Korea and for the supply and development of mobile erector launchers for the missiles.
These visits contributed to the speeding up of Pakistan’s missile programme and culminated in the firing of the so-called Ghauri missile by the KRL on April 6,1998, which was projected by Pakistan as its own indigenously-developed missile. Despite this, the US State Department imposed two-year sanctions against the KRL and the Changgwang Sinyong Corporation on April 24, 1998, which expired on April 23, 2000. The KRL had earlier been the subject of similar sanctions imposed by the State Department in August 1993 for its clandestine procurement of the M-11 missiles from China.
Thus, the sanctions imposed on March 24, 2003, are the third against the KRL. These sanctions have had no effect either on Pakistan or North Korea. The KRL and the North Korean Corporation are State-owned entities, run and managed by officers of the Armed Forces of the two countries. Pakistan had used a US-supplied aircraft of its Air Force for transporting the missiles to Pakistan. The missiles and other weapons sent by North Korea to Iran in the 1980s had transited through Pakistani territory, escorted by the Pakistan Army. Pakistan and North Korea have a joint project for the reverse engineering of the US-made Stingers. North Korean nuclear scientists witnessed Pakistan’s Chagai nuclear tests of May,1998. Pakistan has been helping North Korea in the development of its uranium enrichment facility. The two countries have been training each other’s nuclear and missile scientists in their respective establishments. In return for the North Korean assistance, Pakistan had diverted to North Korea wheat purchased from the USA and Australia and had been paying it from its huge dollar reserves built up after 9/11, thereby enabling Pyongyang to withstand the economic boycott by the West. To hoodwink the US intelligence, Pakistan had got transported some of the Chinese as well as North Korean missiles by road via the Karakoram Highway. Pakistan's diplomatic mission in Pyongyang is generally headed and staffed by serving or retired army officers, who had previously served in the clandestine nuclear and missile procurement set-up of the ISI. The latest instance in this regard is Maj.Gen. (retd) Fazle Ghafoor.
In spite of all this, for the US to pretend as if the repeated violations of nuclear and missile related regulations by Pakistan were the misdeeds of errant individual entities for which the State cannot be held responsible shows the extent to which it is prepared to close its eyes to what Pakistan has been doing. If there is one country in the world which has been systematically violating with impunity all regulations relating to nuclear and missile proliferation and from which there is a real danger of leakage of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and related technologies to pan-Islamic terrorists, that is Pakistan. The US double standards in this matter are evident from the alacrity and vigour with which it has acted against Iraq despite the lack of any credible evidence against it and the care with which it protects the regime in Pakistan, despite all the evidence available against it.Unquote.

Gen.Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's US-blessed military dictator, continues to assert, without any fears of contradiction or punitive action by the US, that the action of a group of scientists of Pakistan headed by A.Q.Khan in clandestinely selling or transfering military nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea was a rogue operation without the knowledge or approval of the political or military leadership of the country.
2. In his latest assertion on the subject, he told the CNN, the US TV channel, in an interview on March 19, 2004, as follows: " I am extremely positive neither the Government nor the military was involved. The Pakistan Government had carried out investigations into the episode and concluded that it was these individuals who carried out the proliferation of nuclear technology."
3. His repeatedly-asserted contention has been that after the interception by the intelligence agencies of the US and the UK of a ship in October last year which was found carrying to Libya a clandestine consignment of centrifuges for uranium enrichment got manufactured at the instance of A.Q.Khan by a company in Malaysia with the assistance of a Sri Lankan Muslim, he became aware of the extensive non-proliferation activities of the A.Q.Khan group and immediately acted against them.
4. According to Musharraf, details of the clandestine travels and proliferation network of A.Q. Khan came to notice during the subsequent investigation. In one of his statements, he has even blamed the US intelligence agencies for not uncovering this network earlier than October last year and asserted that if they had done so, he would have acted against it even earlier.
5. Not many experts and analysts of the world have been convinced of the innocence of Pakistan's military in this affair. Many of us, including this writer, have been pointing out that this proliferation started and continued at the instance and with the blessing of Pakistan's military leadership. I have also been pointing out in many articles that while the late Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan's military dictator, who ruled the country from 1977 to 1988, authorised the proliferation to Iran, Musharraf himself had authorised that to Libya and North Korea and was totally in the picture.
6. But, unfortunately, for reasons of realpolitik, the US Administration has chosen to accept the denials of military responsibility by Musharraf. It has not only given him a clean chit, but has even rewarded him and his country by confering on it the status of a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA).
7. Despite the efforts of Musharraf, with the benediction of the US, to keep his cupboard tightly shut to prevent the discovery of any more skeletons, nuclear skeletons keep propping up here, there and everywhere much to his consternation. The skeletons are there everywhere if only the US wants to look at them.
8. Was the discovery of the centrifuges in the ship intercepted last October the first wake-up call as contended by Musharraf? No.
9. In 2000, Abdul Ma"bood Siddiqui, a London-based chartered accountant of Pakistani origin, had written a book on his reminiscences, which was published by the Hurmat Publications of Islamabad. In that book, Siddiqui claimed to be a close personal friend of A.Q.Khan and to have accompanied him in at least three of his travels abroad. He gives the following details of these travels:
(Citation starts) "In February,1998, I received a call from Tahir Mian (My comments: He is the Sri Lankan Tamil who helped A.Q.Khan by getting the centrifuges manufactured in Malaysia), a dear friend of mine and a very close associate of Dr.Khan. He said that A.Q.Khan is planning a visit to Timbuktu and you are invited to join him. My joy knew no bounds at the prospect of spending a few days with A.Q.Khan. I reached Dubai on 19 February 1998 and met Dr.A.Q.Khan. He had with him one Mr. Hanks, a Dutch businessman dealing in air filtration system, solar energy, metallurgical machinery and materials. Lt.Gen.Dr. Chauhan, former Surgeon-General of Pakistan Army and now Director-General of Medical Services Division of KRL ( My comments: The Khan Research Laboratories of Kahuta, which produces enriched uranium for atomic bombs) and Brig.Sajawal. Dr.Khan told us that we would fly to Timbuktu via Casablanca in Morocco and Bamako, capital of Mali. (My comments: Mr.Nawaz Sharif was the Prime Minister at that time)
"At Casablanca, the First Secretary of Pakistan Embassy, Mr.Inayatullah Kakar, received us. The Honorary Consul-General of Pakistan in Morocco Hussain bin Jiloon gave a dinner in honour of Dr.Khan, which was also attended by our Ambassador Azmat Hussain. Next day, we caught the Royal Morocco Airline for Bamako. From Bamako, a plane was chartered for US $ 4,000 to take us to Timbuktu. We had only a few hours at Timbuktu, which we spent in sight-seeing. We returned to Dubai by the same route.
" Next I met Dr.Khan on 28 June 1998 in Kuala Lumpur at the wedding of Tahir Mian. (My comment: Nawaz Sharif was still in power). It was decided there to make another trip to Timbuktu because the last visit was short and we could not see much of the city. I got the summons in February 1999 and was on my way to Dubai on 19 February 1999. (My comment: Nawaz Sharif still in power) Dr.Khan was already there with his old group with additions of Dr.Fakhrul Hasan Hashmi, Chief Scientific Adviser to Dr.A.Q.Khan, Brig.Tajwar, Director-General Security KRL, and Dr.Nazir Ahmed, Director-General S&TC Division KRL. Dr.Khan told us that this time we would take a different route to Timbuktu. We will fly there via Sudan and Nigeria.
" We left Dubai for Khartoum on 21 February 1999. The Education Minister of Sudan received the group and we were lodged at the State Guest House. After making a short stopover in a Nigerian city, we reached Timbuktu on 24 February 1999. After spending a couple of days, we were on our way back and our first stop was Niamey, capital of Niger. Our next stop was N'Djamena, capital of Chad, where we were accorded official protocol. Next day, we flew to Khartoum. After Dr.Khan has attended to some business, we visited the Shifa factory that was destroyed last year by the American missiles. Dr.Khan met the Sudanese President. We were back in Dubai on 28 February 1999.
" We were again airborne for Timbuktu on 20 February 2000 (My comments: Musharraf had seized power on October 12,1999) From Dubai, we flew to Khartoum, where two Sudanese friends joined us. We reached Niamey, capital of Niger, on 22 February 2000. Our Ambassador Brig. Nisar welcomed the group and gave a dinner in honour of Dr.Khan. Brig.Nisar had also served as the Military Secretary of Nawaz Sharif. Niger has big uranium deposits. We reached Timbuktu on 24 February 2000 for a stay of two days and were lodged in the newly-built (completed in December 1999) Hotel La Colombe. We started the return journey on 26 February 2000 touching various countries on the way. We broke our journey in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, where First Secretary in the Pakistan Embassy Mr.Najmus Saqib, welcomed us. We were back in Dubai on 29 February 2000 after having visited 10 African countries."
10. These accounts of three of the travels of Dr.A.Q.Khan establish conclusively the following facts:

* He had kept the Pakistani Foreign Office informed of his travels. The Foreign Office had instructed the Pakistani diplomatic missions in the countries visited by him to accord the due honours of protocol to him.
* In all the countries, he was received by officers of the Pakistani diplomatic missions and entertained by the heads of missions.
* In Sudan, he was accorded the honours of protocol generally given to a member of the Cabinet and called on the President of the country.
* He was accompanied by senior serving scientists of Pakistan's nuclear establishment, who were among those responsible for Pakistan's military nuclear development. They could not have gone abroad and remained absent for days without the knowledge and clearance of the Government.
* At least one Lt.Gen. belonging to the Pakistan Army's Medical Corps, who had headed it, and two Brigadiers had accompanied him. They could not have gone and remained away from the country without the knowledge and clearance of the Military Headquarters. .
11. The uranium enriched at KRL, Kahuta, used to come from Africa, mainly Niger. This partly explains the frequent travels of A.Q.Khan to Africa. From the accounts given by the Pakistani author, two intriguing questions arise:
* Why did Khan consider it necessary to visit the site of a factory in Sudan, which became the target of US Cruise missile attacks after the explosions outside the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam by Al Qaeda in August 1998? The Americans had alleged at that time that this factory belonged to Osama bin Laden and was producing chemicals for weaponisation purposes. Denying this, the Sudanese authorities had claimed that it was producing anti-malaria drugs.
* Why was he visiting frequently Timbuktu, which has apparently no importance from the nuclear point of view? Pakistani officials have alleged that he had illegally constructed a hotel there ( Hotel La Colombe?) in the name of his wife. If he was going there to supervise the construction of the hotel, he should have been accompanied by experts in building construction and the hotel industry. No such person accompanied him. He was always accompanied by scientists and Army officers associated with KRL and Tahir Mian, who was helping him in the procurement of centrifuges.
12. It is reliably learnt from well-placed observers that it also came out during the recent interrogation of the associates of Khan in Pakistan's nuclear establishment that after Osama bin Laden shifted from Khartoum to Afghanistan in 1996, Dr.Khan was also looking after bin Laden's extensive investments in the mining industry in many African countries and that the money invested in the Timbuktu hotel had come from these investments of bin Laden. The Pakistani authorities have reportedly suppressed this information and not shared it with the US.

Paper no. 3427
China as Nuclear Proliferator
by B. Raman
It was known in 2004 that A.Q.Khan, Pakistan's nuclear scientist, who is wanted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, for interrogation in connection with his nuclear proliferation to North Korea, Iran and Libya, had left a letter with his wife Henny of Dutch origin and their daughter giving some details of his proliferation activities with the knowledge, if not prior approval, of the political and military leadership. The reported purpose of the letter was to tell his people that whatever he did, he did at the instance of the political and military leadership of the country and that he was not acting as a rogue proliferator as was sought to be made out by the leadership of the country.
2. He reportedly wanted his wife to release the letter to the public if any harm came to him. People close to him had also leaked to sections of the Pakistani media information about the letter written by him to his wife and daughter to be released if he was harmed. He feared that he might be prosecuted and jailed on the basis of confessions extracted under duress or handed over to the IAEA for interrogation and prosecution under US pressure.
3. Neither of these contingencies happened. The Pervez Musharraf Government pressured him to admit those proliferation activities, which had already come to the notice of the US and the IAEA and project them as carried out by him on his own independent initiative without the knowledge of the political and military leadership. In return, he was promised that he would be merely kept under house arrest to satisfy the US and not prosecuted or handed over to the IAEA for interrogation. He agreed to this deal.
4. After the Pakistan People's Party (PPP)-led Government headed by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani came to power in March last year, it removed some of the restrictions on his meeting others in his house. He took advantage of this to tell some Japanese correspondents that his contacts with North Korea were within the knowledge of Musharraf. The Government of Gilani denied his allegations and reimposed the restrictions on his interactions with journalists and other members of the public. On an appeal filed on his behalf, he was released from house arrest by a court, but was told by the court that he could not travel inside the country without the prior permission of the Government. The restrictions on his meeting journalists remained.
5. He again took up the matter before the Lahore High Court, which ordered the removal of all restrictions on his movements inside the country. These restrictions have been re-imposed by the Government by a fresh order.
6. Apparently angered by the continuing restrictions on him, his wife or daughter seems to have released the letter written by him to them in December, 2003, giving some details of his proliferation activities undertaken, according to him, at the instance of the Benazir Bhutto Government in the case of Iran and an unnamed Army General in the case of North Korea. It also gives details of the assistance received by Pakistan from China for the development of an atom bomb. The letter has reached the hands of a journalist by name Siman Henderson, who has published a story based on it in the "Sunday Times" of London of September 20, 2009. The journalist, in his story, has sought to give the impression that he had got hold of the letter independently through his contacts unconnected to the Khan family and that it has been in his possession since 2007, though he decided to make it public only now. It has to be noted that even now he has not published the entire letter which, according to him, ran to two pages. He has published only three or four paras. He has given some details of what the letter contained about China, North Korea and Iran. He says that the letter also refers to Libya, without specifying what. Is there an attempt by him to potect Libya? If so, why?
7. The "Times" article gives only details of his proliferation activities undertaken with the knowledge, if not at the instance, of the political and/or military leadership of Pakistan. It is silent on the proliferation activities undertaken by him at his own instance such as the supply of nuclear equipment to Libya and the setting up of facilities in Malaysia with the help of a Muslim of Indian/Sri Lankan origin for the manufacture of enrichment centrifuges for supply to Iran and Libya. It is also silent on his missile proliferation activities. The details given by Khan are meant to implicate his political and military leadership without enabling the IAEA and the US to have a full idea of the nuclear capabilities of Iran and North Korea. Khan has taken care to see that scanty details given by him could not be used by the US and the IAEA against Iran and North Korea.
8. Puzzlingfly, the maximum details given by him in his letter are regarding the assistance received by Pakistan from China for the development of a military nuclear capability. According to his letter, "we put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian). The Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50kg of enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%)." The role of China in helping Pakistan develop a military nuclear capability, including the supply of the drawings of the first Chinese atomic bomb, were known earlier through human and technical intelligence reports, but this is the first time such authentic details have come from the scientist who developed Pakistan's military nuclear programme. The details from the letter as revealed in the "Times" article do greater damage to China than to Iran and North Korea.
9. While there has been considerable international focus on Pakistan's nuclear proliferation activities through AQ Khan, a similar focus on China's role in nuclear proliferation has not been there so far. There have been many congressional enquiries in the US on China's missile proliferation activities, but not on its nuclear proliferation activities. It is the copies of the A-bomb drawings passed on by China to Pakistan which were subsequently passed on by AQ Khan to Iran and Libya. India and Israel have been the worst sufferers of the Chinese nuclear proliferation in favour of Pakistan----India directly and Israel indirectly.
10. Apart from reviving the demand for the interrogation of AQ Khan outside Pakistan by an independent IAEA team of experts, the IAEA should also ask for a full disclosure by China of its nuclear proliferation to Pakistan. An enquiry into this should also be taken up by the relevant US Congressional committees.
11. At a time when efforts are being made by the Government of India to discourage the anti-Chinese hysteria in our media over the reports of Chinese troop intrusions into Indian territory, the disclosures in AQ Khan's letter of details of the Chinese assistance in developing an atomic bomb for possible use against India would add to the suspicions and fears in the Indian civil society over what they see as China's malevolent attitude towards India. If China really values improved relations with India, it should volunteer a full disclosure of its nuclear supply relationship with Pakistan and give credible assurances to the Indian people that such instances will not recur in future. Unless and until this is done the trust deficit between the two countries will continue to remain wide.
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail:

Botched calculations
K. Subrahmanyam Posted: Sat Dec 25 2010, 02:30 hrs

I read the recently declassified account of former US Ambassador Robert F. Goheen’s interview with Morarji Desai on June 7, 1979, as a person then involved with the Indian side of decision-making (‘US ’79 memo: Let’s sell Pakistan F-16s and prevent n-proliferation,’ IE, December 24). I wonder whether this was an input sought by the US national security establishment before the issue of the infamous national security presidential directive of July 3, 1979, authorising joint US-Pakistan operations in Afghanistan, which, in due course, triggered the Soviet intervention in December 1979. In retrospect, it would appear that the presidential directive instigated by national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski led to the biggest-ever setback to American national security. First, it led to the rise of jihadism, as a result of the combined strategy adopted by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This has recently been admitted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It also resulted in the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Pakistan, which enabled Islamabad to develop the nuclear deterrent derivative of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, to be used not only against India but the US as well. The link between the CIA and Dr A.Q. Khan, even before he arrived with all his purloined documentation in Pakistan, has been exposed by the disclosures of Ruud Lubbers, the former Dutch prime minister. The fact is that in spite of his known record, not only was he allowed to move freely between China, Pakistan and Europe, but he was also rescued for the second time from Dutch authorities in 1986 by CIA intervention. That would indicate that the CIA had an interest in Khan throughout the period. The issue that has not so far been explored by American as well as Indian scholars of proliferation was, firstly, the connection between the CIA and Khan and, secondly, the US interest in permitting nuclear proliferation to Pakistan. Brzezinski has since come out with the disclosures that permissiveness of nuclear proliferation was the price to be paid to obtain Pakistani support for the anti-Soviet campaign. In 1982, in discussions between Alexander Haig, the US secretary of state, and the Pakistani team led by Agha Shahi and General K. M. Arif (referred to in General Arif’s book, Serving with Zia), Haig agreed that the Pakistani nuclear programme would not come in the way of US-Pakistan collaboration. The extensive proliferation activity by China to Pakistan during this period has been disclosed in Khan’s letters to his wife, when he feared that he was going to be proceeded against, copies of which have been made available by the correspondent Simon Henderson. Most of the information on Khan being set up with a Manhattan Project-type exclusive military programme under an engineering general, and data on the imports, were all available even in India at that time. The Indian Joint Intelligence Committee chaired by me concluded in January 1979 that Pakistan was on its way to the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The intelligence-gathering effort at that time was ably headed by K. Santhanam as deputy director of R&AW. The JIC’s report was considered by the cabinet committee on political affairs in March 1979. During the course of the discussion, I was told by the then cabinet secretary, Nirmal Mukarji, that while Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were against any immediate action, the other three cabinet members — H.M. Patel, Jagjivan Ram, and Charan Singh — were clearly in favour of initiating appropriate action. On the basis of the information given to me, I wrote out a manuscript minute, in my capacity as additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, that appropriate directions were issued to the chairman. Morarji Desai approved this minute and the cabinet secretary asked me to deliver it in person to Homi Sethna in Bombay, which I did. The meeting itself was attended by the five ministers, the cabinet secretary, the secretary to the prime minister, V. Shankar, and Sethna. All the other secretaries were kept out of the meeting. Therefore, there are unlikely to be any records on those events in the Cabinet Secretariat. Reflecting over those developments in hindsight, and with the wisdom and information of the last 30 years, I am left with a number of very puzzling questions on US policy and conduct. The enormous amount of material available on Chinese proliferation help to Pakistan has been referred to in the Santhanam’s deposition to the Kargil Review Committee. We have so far been speculating on Chinese proliferation to Pakistan. If we take into account the Cold War situation then, and the policies pursued by people like Carter and Reagan, it is today a legitimate issue to investigate whether A.Q. Khan and Pakistan were used by the US as a conduit to deliver centrifuge technology to China. Centrifuge technology was developed by Gernot Zippe, a German prisoner of war in Russian hands, in the 1950s. After his release, it was developed by the Germans and transmitted to Almelo where Khan was employed. Were the Americans interested in improvising and increasing the efficiency of the Chinese nuclear weapons programme as one of the countervailing elements in their Cold War against the Soviet Union? Just as they used Catholicism in Eastern Europe, Islam in Brzezinski’s “Arc of Crisis”, and the Star Wars programme to increase the burden on the Soviet Union, were they also trying to strengthen the Chinese nuclear programme vis-à-vis the Soviet Union by using Khan and Pakistan as conduits? It is to be recalled that there was–– major debate in the US establishment at that stage. Already by 1977, views emerged in sections of the CIA that the Soviet economy was declining and the Soviet Union was heading for a crisis. At that time, the deputy director of the CIA in charge of the Soviet Union was Robert Gates. This view was challenged by hardliners — including Brzezinski — who then set up a “Team B” which included people like Paul Wolfowitz, who came to a different conclusion: that the Soviet Union did constitute a very serious and major threat. The US has committed strategic blunders like mistaking Vietnamese nationalism as an extension of Chinese communism, not understanding the risks in the use of jihadism, and being permissive of Pakistani proliferation. Could there have been yet another major US blunder in trying to convey centrifuge technology to China using Pakistan and Khan? The US may have calculated that Pakistan and Khan would be under their effective control, just like these other previous miscalculations. This is an issue that needs to be pursued.
The writer is a senior defence analyst

From The Sunday Times
August 24, 2008
Pakistan’s Dr Nuke bids for the presidency
The ‘rogue scientist’ blamed for selling bomb secrets has strong popular support, writes his confidant
Simon Henderson
After the resignation of Pervez Musharraf, who will be the next president of Pakistan? A controversial politician such as Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, or a nonpolitical figure? If the latter, it might, just might, be the detained nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.
Last week a group of lawyers in the Pakistani city of Lahore marched in support of Khan’s candidacy. His actual election, requiring a majority vote in the national assembly, would shock the world, which was aghast at revelations, four years ago, that Khan had sold nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. But it would be justice of sorts.
Khan was not a rogue agent selling centrifuges to enrich uranium – and enrich himself. He was a loyal and obedient servant of a succession of military and political regimes in Islamabad. Generals and prime ministers traded his talents, which also included making an atomic bomb and two different missiles capable of carrying it, for a range of diplomatic and political favours.
That, at least, is his story. He has been telling it to me for more than a year, correcting what he regards as the falsehoods and errors in the books published about him. Their authors never managed to contact Khan so relied on the claims of his detrac-tors. But, circumventing his guards, I did manage to reach him and made a simple request: tell me your version. I have hundreds of thousands of his words, as well as letters, photographs and video. My biography of him is nearly complete.
Khan’s fall from grace was spectacular. Twice awarded Pakistan’s highest honour for leading the teams that created the country’s nuclear strike force, he was forced to make a televised confession about his proliferation activities – and take all the blame himself. For four years he has been confined to his Islamabad home. Yet in neighbouring rival India, A P J Abdul Kalam, seen as Khan’s counterpart and popularly known as “the missile man”, went on to serve as his nation’s president from 2002 to 2007.
The political demise of Musharraf still leaves several obstacles to Khan’s rehabilitation, never mind his election as head of state. There are many people who do not want the real story to emerge. Musharraf himself said in June that the true story “is a confidential issue . . . a very serious matter, as Pakistan may suffer”.
Within Pakistan, Khan’s successes – and impatience with bureaucratic obstacles and rivals – caused much envy and anger. For three decades a sub-plot of the country’s nuclear programme was the antagonism between the Khan Research Laboratories and the country’s official nuclear authority, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.
Pakistani leaders encouraged rivalry between the teams trying to make highly enriched uranium and the other nuclear explosive, plutonium. Khan’s team won. His team was also the recipient of a gift from China of a design for an atomic bomb and enough highly enriched uranium for two devices, after Beijing decided to back Khan to jump-start Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. I remember being told about China’s nuclear generosity by an outraged British official in the 1980s. I later asked what Beijing had received in return. It was an enrichment plant.
The plant is at Hanzhong in central China. C-130 Hercules transports of the Pakistan air force made more than 100 flights to China carrying centrifuge equipment. Beijing needed the plant, not for bombs but to fuel its nuclear power plants. Centrifuge technology is good for both levels of enrichment, hence the current concern that Iran’s nascent plant at Natanz has a military purpose. China could not make the Pakistan-supplied centrifuges work properly, so replaced them with Russian centrifuges. What happened to the Pakistani centrifuges? A good question. They were not returned to Pakistan. Could they have ended up in Iran?
Pakistani nuclear cooperation with Iran began after a visit from Ali Khamenei, then Iran’s president and now supreme leader, in 1986. The collaboration was ordered by President Zia ul-Haq, then Pakistan’s military dictator who, five years earlier, had publicly declared that Pakistan would “acquire [nuclear technology] . . . even if we have to beg, borrow or steal [it]”.
Many outsiders first heard of Khan after Colonel Gadaffi’s sudden announcement in 2003 that Libya was giving up its weapons of mass destruction programmes. Foreign businessmen who had supplied Khan had been commissioned by the Libyans to build an enrichment plant. The whole deal had been instigated by Bhutto, assassinated in December 2007, but, confronted by the US, Musharraf blamed Khan, prompting the nuclear scientist’s arrest and incarceration. The explanation suited Washington which, post 9/11, needed Pakistan’s help to fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and stop the use of sanctuaries in the border region.
Apart from Iran and Libya, the other main sin laid at Khan’s door is North Korea. Having built an atomic bomb for Pakistan by 1984, Khan had no means of being able to deliver it. One version was adapted for use by Pakistan’s American-supplied F-16 fighter bombers; another was put on the Ghaznavi missile, the first Pakistan-produced version of China’s M-11 rocket. It was not until Khan won authorisation to buy manufacturing rights for North Korea’s No-dong missile that Pakistan had a missile capable of reaching nearly all of neighbouring India, which had first tested a bomb in 1974.
The North Korean missile, known in Pakistan as the Ghauri (and, in Iran, as the Shehab-3), was manufactured at the Kahuta enrichment facility outside Islamabad. While at Kahuta, North Korean scientists helped fit the nuclear warhead to the Ghauri and also learnt about centrifuges.
In his biography, Musharraf said Khan had shipped examples of centrifuges to North Korea. Correct, but with the connivance and at the instruction of the Pakistan military. North Korea now probably has a functioning enrichment plant but has not admitted its existence to US diplomats negotiating the country’s de-nuclearisa-tion. It is already sitting on a stockpile of highly enriched uranium courtesy of Sta-lin, the Soviet leader.
Musharraf’s depiction of Khan as a rogue agent, and the international acceptance of this tale, had led to moments of farce. To the bemusement of foreign officials, one of the officials sent to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, had been involved in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission’s own clandestine purchasing network.
The notion that Khan might be a credible candidate to be Pakistan’s next president will cause apoplexy for many in Washington DC. But President Bush’s officials realise that, denied access to Khan, they had to rely on the version of what he did supplied to them by Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.
A postscript: Khan’s activities give a new explanation for the crash of President Zia’s C-130 plane in 1988, in which Arnold Raphel, the US ambassador, and General Herbert Wassom, head of the military mission, also died. Wing Commander Mash’hood Hassan, the plane’s pilot, had also been flying Khan’s centrifuge equipment to China. On one such trip he confided in a colleague of Khan that he hated Zia, holding him responsible for the murder of a local religious leader: “The day Zia flies with me, that will be his last flight.” The aircraft plummeted to the ground soon after taking off, killing all on board.

Monday, December 27, 2010


(To be read in continuation of my article of October 27,2010, titled "Arundhati Roy Vs the State" at

Dr.Binayak Sen, a paediatrician who is the Vice-President of the People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), an alleged Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and a Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha were sentenced to life imprisonment on December 24,2010, after having been found guilty by Shri B.P.Verma, a sessions judge of Raipur in the State of Chattisgarh, of the charge of sedition by colluding with Maoists to establish a network to fight the state. Dr.Sen had been accused by the police of acting as a courier for Sanyal, who was in jail, by carrying his messages and letters to the underground Maoists.

2.The "Hindu" of December 27 has reported the following police version based on the testimny of a witness by name Anil Kumar Singh: " Anil Kumar Singh claimed that on May 6,2007, he saw Town Inspector B.S.Jagrit detain Mr.Guha near the Raipur railway station. According to Mr.Singh's court testimony, the police searched Mr.Guha's black and blue shoulder bag and found pamphlets supporting the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), a mobile phone, a rail ticket dated May 6,2007, Rs.40,000 in cash and three letters which, Mr.Guha said, were written by the jailed Narayan Sanyal, an alleged Maoist, and handed over to him by physician and human rights activist Binayak Sen."

3. The judge found the statements of Inspector Jagrit regarding the circumstances under which Guha was arrested and Anil Kumar Singh regarding what he saw and heard on May 6,2007, credible enough to sentence Binayak Sen, Sanyal and Guha to life imprisonment for supporting the CPI (Maoist) and conspiring to commit sedition. The "Hindu" has reported as follows: " Despite holding Mr.Guha in prison for nearly four years and producing 97 witnesses, the Chattisgarh Police have been unable to explain how Mr.Guha was arrested, how he got hold of the letters written by Mr.Sanyal and how they relied on Mr.Anil Singh's testimony that he heard Mr.Guha tell the police that Dr.Sen gave him the letters."

4.Expressing shock over the awarding of the life sentence to Binayak Sen on charges of sedition, over 80 intellectuals including Noam Chomsky demanded on December 27 that his appeal be heard 'expeditiously' with 'enlightened reason' and sought his immediate release on bail. They claimed that Sen never resorted to violence or incited anyone else to do so. On the contrary, according to them,as a doctor and a human rights activist, he stood up in defence of the rights of the downtrodden."Yet he has been handed down this sentence whose savagery is unbelievable. Such an action on the part of the State in the name of preserving the Constitutional order will only serve to undermine that Constitutional order itself.It will inevitably raise the thought in the minds of many that an order within which the activities of a person like Dr Sen can be held to be seditious is not worth defending."

5. Dr.Sen's supporters have started an online campaign for his release by posting a petition on the Internet. It alleges: "The charges against Dr Sen, of allegedly aiding outlawed Maoist rebels in Chhattisgarh, have not been corroborated by any of the witnesses or evidence produced in court so far.On the contrary, there have been numerous instances of the prosecution resorting to the use of fabricated documents and contradictory testimonies to press its case."

6.The conviction and sentencing of Dr.Sen and two others have been questioned by the critics on grounds of the reliability of the facts as adduced before the court and the interpretation of the laws relating to sedition. The police version regarding the date of the arrest of Guha and the circumstances under which he was arrested has been questioned. It has been alleged that he was already in the informal custody of the police for five days before the police officially showed his arrest. There is apparently no independent corroboration of Guha's statements that the documents allegedly written by Sanyal had been brought out of jail by Sen after one of his meetings with Sanyal and handed over to Guha. The conviction of Sen seems to have been based largely on the uncorroborated testimony of Anil Kumar Singh who claims to have heard Guha tell the police that Sen gave him the letters from Sanyal.

7. The awarding of the extreme penalty of life sentence on the basis of an independently uncorroborated testimony of a single witness has shocked the critics of the judgement. Questions have also been raised regarding the interpretation of the laws relating to sedition. To prove a charge of sedition, it is necessary to show that Sen---even if he had received the letters from Sanyal as alleged by the police--- had intended to cause disaffection against the State and promote acts of violence.

8. Certain mitigating circumstances should have been taken into consideration while awarding the punishment.Among such circumstances, one could mention, firstly, the benign personality of Dr.Sen as a human rights activist and as a humanitarian medical worker; secondly, the fact that he had not come to notice in the past for indulging in or advocating acts of violence; and, thirdly, the fact that the prosecution case was largely based on circumstantial evidence as narrated by the police without credible corroboration. In many terrorism-related cases in other countries, it has been held that convictions can be awarded purely on the basis of circumstantial evidence provided there was a continuous chain of such evidence. In the case of Sen, a continuous chain would mean evidence to connect his visit to the jail to meet Sanyal, his receiving the letters, his smuggling them out and handing them over to Guha.The only facts in the chain which the police has apparently been able to establish are that the letters were recovered from the possession of Guha who stated that he got them from Sen.

9. A careful identification of the missing links in the chain and an examination of the evidence regarding the benign personality of Sen might have led to the mitigating circumstances being given greater weight than they apparently were. One would find it difficult to avoid the conclusion that the prosecution and the court had adopted a narrowly legalistic approach to the case without seeing it in the broader context of the benign personality of Sen. Available reports indicate that he might be a peripheral sympathiser of the Maoists, but he definitely was a not a hard-core Maoist.

10. It has been reported that one of the reasons the Judge awarded the extreme penalty of life sentence is the fact that the Maoists in the area have been indulging in savage acts of violence directed against the security forces and innocent civilians. This fact could have been a valid ground for awarding a deterrent punishment to those involved in acts of violence when they are arrested and prosecuted, but not to those like Sen who had no previous proven history of indulging in or advocating violence.

11. Our counter-insurgency operations against the Maoists should be more nuanced than they are at present----marked by strong action against those in the hard core indulging in or advocating violence and a more sympathetic approach to those like Sen, who do not belong to the hard core and do not advocate violence. By treating both as no different from each other who deserve deterrent punishment, we will be driving more people who are now merely in the periphery into the arms of the hard core. The police should not unwittingly become a source of aggravation of the problem. ( 28-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Sunday, December 26, 2010



Three years after the assassination of Mrs.Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's former Prime Minister, at Rawalpindi on December 27,2007, the cover-up of her assassination not only by the intelligence and investigating agencies, but by even her own Pakistan People's Party (PPP) continues.

2.Her party is in power at the head of a coalition at Islamabad. Her husband Asif Ali Zardari is the President of Pakistan. Yousef Raza Gilani, one of her close confidants when she was alive, is the Prime Minister. Rehman Malik, a former Police officer, who was responsible for her physical security when she was living in political exile, is the Interior Minister responsible for co-ordinating the investigation. The US, which played a role in bringing about a political reconciliation between her and Gen.Pervez Musharraf thereby paving the way for her return from exile, has very close relations with the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). All these factors should have led to a successful investigation by now, but they have not.

3. The investigation should have had two objectives. Firstly, to find out why there was no effective physical security for her despite the failed attempt by unidentified elements to kill her on her arrival in Karachi on October 18,2007.Musharraf, who as the then President had the over-all responsibility for ensuring her security, was allowed to leave Pakistan and take up residence in London without being questioned by the Police. Rehman Malik, who co-ordinated her security on behalf of the PPP, was appointed the Interior Minister without being questioned as to why why he left the scene of occurrence before she was killed. Secondly, to establish the details of the conspiracy to kill her, identify and prosecute those responsible. There has been no progress in this either.

4. In an editorial titled "Benazir Bhutto: ‘tis tough to say goodbye" published on December 27, the "Daily Times" of Lahore says: " It seems as if her ‘deal’ with Musharraf began to unravel as soon as she landed in Karachi and was received by millions of people. The power of the masses brought fear into the hearts of those who masterminded her assassination. Ms Bhutto survived a terror attack on October 18 but she could not defeat death on December 27 when another attempt was made on her life. Her killers have still not been brought to justice. It is a travesty of fate that even though Ms Bhutto’s party is in power and her widower the President of Pakistan, there is no closure regarding her assassination. Those men who have been caught are not the masterminds of BB’s murder plot. It would be a disservice to Ms Bhutto if the PPP is unable to bring the real culprits to book as soon as possible."

5.The Executive Committee of the PPP was to meet on December 26 to review the progress of the investigation so far, Rehman Malik had announced that a detailed progress report would be submitted by him to the Executive Committee. Gilani had announced that the progress report after consideration by the Executive Committee would be released to the public.

6. The Executive Committee met at Naudero as scheduled on December 26, but no progress report was submitted to it. There was no discussion on the progress on the ground that Bilawal Bhutto, Benazir's son who is the party chairman, could not make it to the meeting. It was decided to postpone a review of the progress of the investigation to an unspecified future date when Bilawal could also be present. It was decided that in the meanwhile the scope of the investigation should be further expanded in order to cover all aspects of the case. It was not stated what aspects had remained uncovered so far.

7.On December 24, three days before the Executive Committee met, the "Dawn" of Karachi had reported as follows: "The investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is likely to be expanded to unveil some faces, who have so far been out of picture, after two arrested former police officers have told investigators that some intelligence officials were in contact with them on Dec 27, 2007.In a related development, the Interior Ministry has sent a questionnaire to former president Pervez Musharraf currently living in London to record his statement. The Federal Investigation Agency obtained on Thursday (December 23) six days’ physical custody of former chief of Rawalpindi city police Saud Aziz and SP Khurram Shahzad to recover the cellphones they were using on the day the former prime minister was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh. The agency had sought a 12-day remand, but the special judge of Anti-Terrorism Court-III granted six days. The two former police officers were taken into custody on Wednesday after a trial court hearing the case cancelled their pre-arrest bail. Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali told reporters after the court proceedings that arrested officers had informed the investigators that four officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence had been in contact with them. But he said that their names could not be disclosed now because it was yet to be ascertained in what context they were in contact with the accused. If concrete evidence was found against the intelligence officers they would be included in the investigation.
The FIA investigators said in the court that forensic tests of the cellphones were needed to ascertain who had been in contact with the two police officers on the day of Benazir’s assassination."

8. The "Dawn" report further added: " Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had a few months ago formed a three-member committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Chaudhry Abdul Rauf, which excluded from inquiry some top military officials who allegedly ordered the hosing down of the assassination site. The inquiry report, however, has not been made public. The UN commission on Benazir’s assassination had accused MI’s former director general Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz and some top police officials of being behind the hosing down of the site. The joint investigation team has prepared the 32-point questionnaire for the former President. Interior ministry sources said the document contained questions relating to security lapse and asked the former president why he did not provide adequate security to Ms Bhutto although she had expressed fears about threats to her life. Gen (retd) Musharraf’s spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said the former president had nothing to do with the security of Ms Bhutto. He termed the government’s move to send the questionnaire to Gen Musharraf an attempt to politicise the case and damage him politically."

9. Earlier, on December 2, the Pakistani media had carried the following report on the contents of some of the cables sent by Anne Patterson, the then US Ambassador in Pakistan, to the US State Department, which are among those leaked by WikiLeaks: " Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan after getting ‘clearance’ from the US. President Asif Ali Zardari told this to the then US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne W Patterson after the assassination of BB, US embassy cables revealed. According to the US embassy cables, Zardari held meeting with Patterson on 25th January 2008 in which he opened his remarks by saying that the US is “our safety blanket” and recounted how Benazir had returned despite the threats against her because of support and “clearance” from the US.... He said that he opposed to launch a FIR (First Information Report) over Benazir’s death because Pakistan could not afford any more chaos. US embassy cables revealed that Zardari was not much interested in who the sniper was or exactly how Benazir was killed. This was not as important as finding out who financed the killing, who were the "hands behind" it. Ambassador said that we believed Baitullah Mehsud was responsible; Zardari dismissed this by saying that Mehsud was just a pawn in the process."

10. It is evident from this that Zardari was not interested in a proper investigation into the assassination by the Pakistani agencies lest their conclusions prove embarrassing to the Government. He wanted to have the responsibility for the investigation transferred to the United Nations, but the UN was prepared, after considerable persuasion, to enquire into only the physical security aspects of the case and not into the criminal conspiracy behind the assassination. Thus, three years after the assassination, the criminal conspiracy angle has not been thoroughly investigated. The PPP is not prepared to accept the contention of the ISI that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, then headed by Baitullah Mehsud, had mounted the conspiracy in retaliation for Benazir's support for the army raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July 2007.

11. Benazir herself had feared an attempt to have her killed by military elements in the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau with the help of Qari Saifullah Akhtar of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) with which Ilyas Kashmiri of the so-called 313 Brigade, with close contacts with Al Qaeda, was associated. Her suspicions regarding the role of these elements in the conspiracy against her have not been properly investigated so far.

12. In the meanwhile, the Army and the ISI struck back with anger when the UN enquiry sought to pin the blame on the Military Intelligence for the poor physical security provided to her and corroborated the allegations regarding the involvement of the Army and the intelligence agencies in terrorism. The UN report gave rise to strong suspicion that the military intelligence agencies were using the terrorists raised by them not only in India and Afghanistan, but also against their own political leaders whom they found inconvenient.

13. In an interesting report carried on December 25, the "Dawn" of Karachi has stated as follows: "The military establishment reacted strongly to the United Nations Commission report on Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, issued in April this year, and forced the government to write a letter to the UN to reopen the inquiry. Official sources said on Friday (December 24) that the army had termed the report a “bid to malign the national institution” and prepared a detailed reply addressing all aspects of the report. The reply was presented to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who was asked to send it to the UN to record the country’s protest. The inquiry was financed by the government which paid $5 million to the United Nations. The report was opposed not only by the military establishment but also by sections in the civil side of the government. The then foreign secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan had rejected the UN findings. ISPR (Inter-Services Press Relations) Director-General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas agreed that the military had some reservations on the report because it went beyond the mandate of the UN commission. “We have conveyed our reservations with special reference to security related issues to the government and asked it to record protest with the UN,” Gen Abbas said. "

14. The "Dawn" added : "The military believes that the UN Commission had touched some issues which had nothing to do with the assassination. During several visits of the three-member UN commission to Pakistan, its members called on top military, civil officials and politicians, including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI Director-General Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha and recorded their statements. The sources said there was hesitation in the military over the demand of the commission to meet top ranking officials of services but it was accepted to avert a negative impression that the military had some concerns over such meetings. While convincing the government to register a protest with the UN on the report, the army said the world body went beyond its mandate by accusing ISI of conducting covert operations in India and Afghanistan. The commission also accused former director-general of Military Intelligence, Maj-Gen Nadeem Ijaz, and some top police officials of being involved in hosing down the assassination site within 40 minutes after the killing. The issue of hosing down the site and alleged involvement of some top military officials remained a topic of intense discussion for many weeks and Prime Minister Gilani formed a three-member committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Chaudhry Abdul Rauf to look into the matter."

15. The "Dawn" said further: "The committee (headed by the Cabinet Secretary) in its report, which has not been made public, gave a clean chit to top military and police officials. Some other findings opposed by the military are: “General Musharraf also had the full support of what is known in Pakistan as the ‘establishment’, the de facto power structure that has as its permanent core the military high command and intelligence agencies, in particular, the powerful, military-run ISI as well as Military Intelligence (MI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The capability of the establishment to exercise power in Pakistan is based in large part on the central role played by the Pakistani military and intelligence agencies in the country’s political life, with the military ruling the country directly for 32 of its 62 years as an independent state. General Musharraf finally stepped down as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on November 28, 2007, handing the post over to his hand-picked successor, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. This did not, however, change the military nature of the regime.The UN in its response to the letter sent by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi ruled out the reopening of the inquiry and set aside Islamabad’s objection. Mr Qureshi’s letter said the UN commission’s observations about the Pakistan Army and the ISI were not based on evidence. He said the UN report had a serious flaw because the commission had failed to approach third party states or to provide some reliable information to unearth, if any, international linkages perpetrating, planning, financing and abetting Bhutto’s assassination. A Joint Investigation Team formed to investigate the Benazir case had issued its report earlier this month again blaming the slain chief of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud, of masterminding the murder. However, the UN Commission had said that blaming the TTP leader for the assassination was a bid to divert the investigation from the right direction."

16. Thus, three years after the assassination of Benazir, the conspiracy to have her killed has been followed by a fresh conspiracy to prevent the real facts of the case from coming out. No one in Pakistan is interested in finding out the truth--- neither the PPP, not the civilian Government, nor the Army, nor the military intelligence agencies nor the Federal Investigation Agency nor the judiciary.

17. Such being the state of affairs in Pakistan, we will be living in a fool's paradise if we think that the Pakistani investigating agencies are going to properly investigate the conspiracy behind the terrorist strike by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Mumbai from November 26 to 28,2008, and successfully prosecute those responsible. A question often posed to analysts on Pakistan is: Is there any danger of the Pakistan State being captured by the jihadi terrorists one day? The terrorists may not as yet be in de jure control of the State, but they are already in a de facto position to see that the State does not take any action which could prove detrimental to the terrorists. The judiciary may be increasingly bold in acting against the political executive and even the Army, but it is afraid of acting against the terrorists. There are five centres of power in Pakistan today: The Executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the Army and the terrorists inspired and led by Al Qaeda. That is the reality confronting the world. (27-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Saturday, December 25, 2010



“The News”, a daily of Pakistan, has carried on December 24, 2010, an analysis by Amir Mir, the well-known Pakistani journalist, of acts of suicide terrorism in Pakistan during 2010.It covers data up to December 23.

2. According to this analysis, till December 23, there were 52 acts of suicide terrorism resulting in 1224 fatalities as against 80 acts in 2009 with 1217 fatalities. Though the number of suicide attacks came down from 80 in 2009 to 52, the lethality of the attacks increased with the largest number of fatalities in a year since the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ) and their associates such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), another Uzbek group, stepped up their acts of suicide terrorism after the Army raid in the Lal Masjid of Islamabade in July,2007.

3.According to Amir Mir, the number of fatalities due to suicide terrorism rose from 837 in 2007 to 965 in 2008. It went up to 1217 in 2009 and 1224 till December 23,2010. During 2010, the largest number of attacks were in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province (KP) with 25 attacks resulting in 416 fatalities. There were 12 suicide attacks in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with 381 fatalities followed by Punjab with seven acts of suicide terrorism resulting in 312 fatalities. There were four incidents in Balochistan with 81 deaths, two in Sindh with 28 deaths and another two in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) with six deaths.

4.The Pashtun belt in KP and the FATA continued to be the worst affected. Thirty-seven of the 52 attacks were in the Pashtun belt with 797 deaths. There were 15 attacks in the non-Pashtun areas with 427 deaths. Muslims killing Muslims and Pashtuns killing Pashtuns has become the defining characteristic of the the Pashtun Taliban. As against this, the Punjabi Taliban has concentrated its attacks in Pakistani territory on non-Deobandi and non-Wahabi Muslims consisting of the Shias, the Barelvis and the Ahmadiyas. The expression Punjabi Taliban is applied in Pakistan to the LEJ, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM). Of these, the LET, which is the closest to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), did not indulge in any act of terrorism in Pakistani territory. Its main focus was on India and Afghanistan.

5.Of the 1224 fatalities till December 23,2010, 1055 were civilians as against 863 out of 1217 in 2009 and 169 belonged to the security forces. Of those from the security forces killed,62 belonged to the police, 48 to the armed forces, 26 to the Frontier Constabulary, 24 to other para-military units and nine to the ISI. Of the civilians killed, 151 were Shias and 103 were Ahmediyas. Three American nationals were among those killed in 2010. On an average, suicide bombers killed 102 persons per month in 2010, compared with 2009’s average of 101 killings a month.

6. Earlier on August 5,2010, the “Dawn” of Karachi had carried an analysis of suicide terrorism in Pakistan by Manzar Zaidi, a strategic affairs analyst. His analysis covered all suicide terrorism before and after the Lal Masjid raid. It brought out two facts. Firstly, before the Lal Masjid raid, suicide terrorism in Pakistan was largely a Punjabi phenomenon confined to Sindh and Punjab. There were no acts of suicide terrorism in the Pashtun belt. After the Lal Masjid raid, it has become a largely Pashtun phenomenon with the Pashtun belt being the worst affected. Secondly, there has been an increase in attacks on military-connected targets after the Lal Masjid raid.

7. The analyses carried by the “News” and the “Dawn” covered only acts of suicide terrorism. They did not cover other acts of terrorism such as the targeted attacks on Shias by the LEJ in Karachi and in the cities of Pakistani Punjab and acts of ethnic terrorism involving the Mohajirs and the the Pashtuns in Karachi. Interestingly, there have been no acts of suicide or suicidal terrorism involving the Afghan Taliban in the non-Pashtun belt. The attacks of the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani group, headed by Jalalludin Haqqani, have been confined to the Kurram Agency in the FATA where there are a large number of Shia Pashtuns, who have become the victims of frequent attacks by the Pakistani as well as the Afghan Taliban as well as by the LEJ.

8. Neither the intensified operations of the Pakistan Army in the Malakand Division of KP and in South Waziristan, Bajaur and Mohmand agencies of the FATA nor the intensified Drone (unmanned planes carrying missiles) strikes by the US in the FATA have dented the motivation of the Pashtuns----Pakistani and Afghan--- taking to suicide acts of terrorism directed against the civilians and suicidal attacks (fedayeen attacks) against the Pakistani security forces.

9. The insincere counter-terrorism policies of the Pakistan Army come in the way of the restoration of law and order in the Pashtun belt. The worsening internal security situation and the persistent US criticism of its inaction against the Talibans and Al Qaeda demand that the Pakistan Army act firmly at least against the Pakistani Taliban. But,its interest in recovering its strategic depth in Afghanistan dictate that it avoid firm action against Pashtun terrorism. Its continued use of Punjabi terrorism against India demands that its support to the Punjabi terrorist organizations remain undiminished. The Pashtun terrorists are its strategic assets in Afghanistan. The Punjabi terrorists are its strategic assets against India.

10.Unless there is an end to these contradictory and insincere policies, the US-led NATO forces are not going to prevail in Afghanistan. Nor is the US going to prevail against Al Qaeda in North Waziristan. Despite two years of intensified Drone strikes, the US is nowhere near victory against either Al Qaeda or the Talibans. Ground operations in Pakistani territory could lead to a disruption of NATO’s logistic supplies to its troops in Afghanistan through Pakistani territory. They are, therefore, unlikely. Deniable covert actions with the help of Pakistani assets well-disposed to the US could be an alternative, but the US has avoided building up a covert action capability which can be tried on the ground.

11.The fear of Pakistan becoming a failed State prevents the US from acting tough against it. Soft options have failed to nudge Pakistan into acting against the terrorists. Hard options such as the denial of military and economic assistance are avoided lest there be a collapse of the State of Pakistan. The time has come to examine whether the collapse of Pakistan is something to be dreaded. A collapse could lead to a spell of sectarian anarchy, but not necessarily to the triumph of Al Qaeda and the Talibans. The very fact that the international community is prepared to let Pakistan collapse could induce some good sense in the thinking of its army and intelligence establishment. The army thinks that the world cannot afford to let Pakistan collapse. It has to be told that the world is prepared to let it collapse if it does not act against terrorism emanating from its territory effectively. (26-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Srudies, Chennai. E-mail: )