Wednesday, June 29, 2011



Since India became independent in 1947, it has had four in-house and one inter-ministerial reviews on certain aspects of national security management.

2. The in-house reviews went into the deficiencies in national security management as noticed during the Sino-Indian war of 1962, the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965, the Mizo uprising of 1966 and the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai. The inter-ministerial review by the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) headed by the late K.Subramanyam in 1999 went into the operational deficiencies noticed during the Kargil military conflict in 1999.

3. Of the five reviews held since 1947, three were totally Pakistan-centric, one of 1962 was China-centric and one was terrorism-related. All the previous reviews were the result of perceptions of failures in national security management which led to specific situations having a detrimental impact on national security.

4. All of them were essentially post-mortems with restricted terms of reference. They did bring about significant modifications or additions to the national security architecture--- such as the creation of the Directorate-General of Security after the 1962 war to enhance our capabilities vis-à-vis China, the creation of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) after the 1965 war with Pakistan and the Mizo uprising, the creation of the National Security Council and its Secretariat, the Defence Intelligence Agency and the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) after the Kargil conflict and the National Investigation Agency and the proposed national intelligence grid after the 26/11 terrorist strikes.

5.All the major recommendations which came out of these previous reviews were implemented except one relating to the creation of the Chief of the Defence Staff system, which was not implemented reportedly due to differences amongst the three wings of the Armed Forces over the need for it.

6. Thus, the previous reviews did make significant contributions to a revamping of our national security architecture. However, since the previous reviews were triggered by perceptions of specific failures or deficiencies, they focussed on identifying the reasons for those failures and deficiencies and making necessary changes to prevent a repetition of those failures or deficiencies.

7. Since independence, there has never been a comprehensive, proactive strategic review of our national security management system, which will be futuristic and all-encompassing and not a panic reaction to past failures. Such a futuristic review has to project over different time-frames the threats to national security that could be expected in the future in the short, medium and long-terms, examine whether we have the required capabilities to be able to meet those threats, Identify existing deficiencies in capabilities, recommend action to remove them and suggest a time-frame for removing them.

8. Any futuristic exercise has to go beyond classical or conventional perceptions of national security management and the national security architecture. Its objective should be not only to enable us anticipate and meet future threats, but also to make a benign projection of our power abroad. National security management under the new context of India’s expected emergence as a major power of the region and ultimately of the world would involve identification of not only likely threats to our national security in the classical sense, but also likely hindrances to our emergence as a major power and recommending action to prevent or remove those hindrances.

9. The Government of Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh needs to be complimented for setting up a National Task Force headed by Shri Naresh Chandra to make a futuristic review of our national security management system and come out with appropriate recommendations. The Task Force, as constituted, has eminent persons who had occupied senior positions in the Armed Forces, the Intelligence Community and the Atomic Energy Commission, and also non-governmental experts.

10. Shri Naresh Chandra’s credentials for heading such a futuristic exercise are immense. He had served as the Home Secretary and the Defence Secretary and ultimately retired as the Cabinet Secretary of the Government of India. He is thus familiar with the working of the Armed Forces and the intelligence community. He had served as the Indian Ambassador to the US at a difficult time and is thus not a stranger to the world of big power diplomacy. He had served and continues to serve in the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and was its convenor for some time. He is thus familiar with the deficiencies which have crept into the working of our national security management system since the Kargil review of 1999.

11. How useful is the futuristic exercise being attempted for the first time since 1947 would depend on the constitution of the Task Force, its Terms of Reference, its methods of work and concepts, and the co-operation that it is able to get from the serving national security managers of today. Unless one is able to convince the serving officers of today of the need for changes, reforms, new thinking and new concepts and ideas, even the best of Task Forces would fail to meet the objectives for which it was set up.

12. It is to be hoped that the Government would have carefully worked out the terms of reference of the Task Force. Its organisation, methods and concepts have to be decided by the Task Force itself. The Government would have and should have no role in the matter. The Task Force should devote the first month of its existence to a brain-storming with different sections of our national security management world in order to get its ideas and concepts right before plunging into the nuts and bolts of the exercise.

13. We tend to have an over-fascination for nuts and bolts and an allergy for concepts. The reports of such reviews ultimately turn out to be a plethora of nuts and bolts recommendations without a proper conceptual framework which could sustain our national security management system in the coming 10 years, if not longer. We should avoid this in carrying forward this important exercise. (30-6-11)

( 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: Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )




After a gap of three and a half years, Kabul saw another terrorist attack on an important hotel frequented by foreigners and local VIPs on the night of June 28,2011.

2. The previous attack had taken place on January 14, 2008, when a group of terrorists, believed to be from the Afghan Taliban, stormed the gymnasium of the most popular luxury hotel, the Serena, and killed eight persons, including an American, a Norwegian and a Philippino woman. A Norwegian delegation under Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was staying in the hotel at the time of the attack. The Australian Embassy was functioning from the hotel.

3. The target of the latest attack was Hotel Intercontinental, which is not part of the international chain by the same name. A part of the hotel was undergoing renovation involving employment of labour. Police suspect that the terrorists might have taken advantage of this to circumvent access control and gain access to the hotel.

4. At the time of the attack, a wedding party was going on in the dining room of the hotel. A meeting of provincial Governors was to start at the hotel the next day.

5. A total of nine terrorists, carrying explosive devices and wielding hand-held weapons, participated in the attack. All of them died during the operation, which lasted about five hours. After the attack started, the security forces, who were wearing night-vision devices, switched off the power supply to the hotel. This gave the security forces an operational advantage over the terrorists.

6. The attack resembled the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, which involved, inter alia, attacks on two hotels, in two respects and differed in two other respects. The resemblances were regarding the selection of a hotel frequented by foreigners as a target and the use of a mix of modus operandi involving the use of explosive devices and hand-held weapons.

7. The important differences were that it was not a swarm tactics involving well orchestrated attacks on multiple targets located at different places by multiple teams of terrorists thereby forcing the security forces to scatter their resources. It was a single target attack by a single team of terrorists. Moreover, whereas in Mumbai, there was a conscious attempt to take hostages in order to prolong the exchange of fire with the security forces, there was no such attempt in the Kabul attack.

8. Since 9/11, there have been terrorist attacks on international hotels and places of entertainment visited by tourists at some places--- twice each in Bali and Jakarta, and once each in Mombasa, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Islamabad and Mumbai. Hotels and places of entertainment for foreign tourists become favoured targets of terrorist groups because of the international publicity the attacks provide and the impact on the tourist economy.

9. Disruption of the tourist economy does not appear to have been the main motive of the Kabul attack of June 28. The objectives seem to have been to demonstrate the continuing capability of the terrorists to penetrate security barriers in Kabul and the weaknesses of the Afghan security forces and to call into question US claims of making progress in the counter-insurgency operations against the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network. While the Afghan Taliban has made an as yet unsubstantiated claim for the attack, the possibility of the involvement of the Haqqani network has not been ruled out by the authorities.

10. The available details of the attack are as follows: According to Afghan security officials, the attack was initiated by two suicide bombers. One of them blew himself up at the front of the hotel and the other on the second floor. Three attackers managed to reach the roof of the hotel. They were killed by a NATO helicopter. One of the attackers took shelter in a room. After an exchange of fire with the security forces, he blew himself up. As he did so, two policemen and a Spanish guest of the hotel, a commercial pilot, were killed. The details relating to the killing of the other three terrorists are not available. A total of 11 civilians and two policemen were killed in the attack.

11. The attack once again highlighted the difficulties faced by security forces and private security companies in providing effective physical security in hotels. Excessive deployment of armed security personnel might deter foreign tourists from staying in the hotel. Inadequate security could make the hotel a tempting target for the terrorists. ( 29-6-11)

( 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: .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Tuesday, June 28, 2011



It has been reported that the Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh, will be interacting with a small group of senior journalists from the print media on June 29,2011, to explain and discuss various aspects of the policies of his Government which have caused concern in the public mind. It has also been reported that this is the beginning of an exercise to address criticism of the total lack of communication between him and his personal advisers on the one side and the media world on the other.

2.The Government headed by Dr.Manmohan Singh is one of the most anonymous Governments the country has had since it became independent in 1947. We hardly know who are the experts on whose advice in various matters he relies for policy-making. We have very little idea of Who’s Who in the Prime Minister’s office. We hardly have an opportunity of mingling with the Prime Minister. He is a phantom Prime Minister.

3.We cannot afford to go on like this. Things have to change. We need urgent reforms first and foremost in the way the Prime Minister and his office function. Let there be an open debate about it. Let the Prime Minister encourage the debate. Let him shed the image of a phantom and come out talking, arguing, bantering, smiling and laughing. One is never too old for this.

4. We have a media world of uncontrollable plurality and diversity--- the national media, the regional media, the English media, the Hindi media, the media of the regional languages, the ethnic media and so on. The organisation and methods which work in the US and other Western democracies are unlikely to work in India. We need a media strategy based on modern thinking, modern technologies and modern organisation and methods----but in Indian and not Western colours.

5.We do not presently have a media strategy group in the PMO which understands the rapidly evolving media world and is able to keep pace with it, even if it is not able to keep ahead of it. In 2011---as it was in 1947--- the Prime Minister of this country, which projects itself as an emerging power, continues to rely on a media advisor, who is either from the print media or from the Central Information Service of the Government of India.

6. At a time when the print media has been overtaken in its innovative, projection and connectivity skills by the electronic media and the new media of the cyber world, it is generally a senior journalist from the print media --- who made his or her name as a pro-PM columnist--- who continues to advise the Prime Minister on his media strategies. All those chosen for this job till now tended to be over-protective of the Prime Minister. Instead of encouraging the Prime Minister to venture out and interact with various sections of the media, they tended to keep him on leash discouraging him from such interaction. The only few occasions when the media is able to interact with the Prime Minister and his close advisers freely and frankly are when they meet him on board his aircraft during his foreign travels. They do not get such opportunities when he is in India.

7.More than 60 years after our independence, we have not been able to develop a PMO Press Corps similar to the White House Press Corps consisting of journalists who have spent their lifetime studying how the Prime Minister and his office function and how they make policies.

8. Our inability to develop a PMO Press Corps is partly due to the financial constraints faced by our media. They cannot afford to have journalists focussing only on the Prime Minister and his office. It cannot be a full-time job as the White House coverage is in the US.

9. Another reason is that the PMO itself does not provide opportunities for the journalists to develop a PMO expertise by creating opportunities for them to interact frequently with the PM and his close advisers.

10. This has to change. There is a need for a larger media advisory cum strategy group in the PMO consisting of representatives from different media disciplines, technologies and age groups. Looking at India and the world only through the eyes of the print media has to change. In projecting the Prime Minister’s personality and policies, the role of the electronic media has become more important than that of the print media. People assess our Prime Minister no longer merely by what they read of him in the print media, but in an increasing measure by what they see of him on the TV. The new media of the cyber world is bidding fair to catch up with the electronic media. A media strategy largely influenced by minds from the print media is becoming increasingly inadequate and even obsolete.

11. The setting-up of such a group headed by a media-savvy strategist is the urgent need of the hour. Once such a group is set up and starts functioning as it should, other details will automatically fall in their place. (29-6-11)

( 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: . Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

Monday, June 27, 2011



Mr.Prime Minister,

The time to thump the table has come.

The time to say: Here I am. Here I will be. The Prime Minister of India.

The time to tell the people of India: I have received your message. I understand your anguish over the state of India. I share your concerns over corruption. I realise that it has become the single dominating issue governing the thought process of the nation. Of what use eight plus growth rate, of what use my unblemished reputation as a man of integrity, if I am perceived by large sections of the people as heading a Government of the corrupt, by the corrupt and for the corrupt. I am determined to see that your anguish is mitigated and that your concerns are addressed in the short time that is still left for me to serve as the Prime Minister of this great nation. If I cannot do that due to circumstances beyond my control, I will quit without a moment’s hesitation. Heavens won’t fall if I cease to be the Prime Minister of India. I would rather be an ordinary citizen of this great country than be its effete Prime Minister unable to do what he wants to do, unable to do what he ought to do.

The time to tell your colleagues in your Cabinet: I am the Prime Minister so long as I sit in this chair. I shall remain the Prime Minister. I will be heard. I will be respected. I will be obeyed. My instructions will be adhered to. Those not willing to do so, better quit the Cabinet. If they don’t, I would not hesitate to drop them from the Cabinet.

The time to tell Mrs.Sonia Gandhi, the President of the Congress (I): I may have been nominated by you to sit in this chair. So long as I sit in this chair, I am the Prime Minister of India and not you. All governmental authority will flow from me and not from you. My voice and my authority will count --- and count decisively—in all policy matters affecting national interests. My first obligation as the Prime Minister is to the people of India. I will listen to their voice and let that voice have its due role in influencing policy-making. There cannot be two centres of authority. The country cannot afford to have a Prime Minister who is seen by the people as no Prime Minister. Hereafter, I will either be the effective Prime Minister of India or you look for someone else with whom you feel comfortable and who will carry out your wishes. If I quit, the worst that can happen to me is that I will be reduced to a non-person as it happened to Narasimha Rao. So be it. I will rather go down in history as a non-person, but who was respected by his people rather than as a Prime Minister who was laughed at by his people.

The time to tell your colleagues in the Congress (I):Better stop your campaign to weaken my authority as the Prime Minister of India and to project Rahul Gandhi as born to be the Prime Minister of India. I do not see my job only as to keep the chair warm for Rahul Gandhi. I see my job as meant to address the needs and concerns of the people of India. So long as I sit in this chair, I will do what the people of this country expect me to do in the interest of the nation and not what you expect me to do in the interest of Rahul Gandhi. If you are not prepared to accept this, advise Mrs.Sonia Gandhi to nominate another Prime Minister.

Mr.Prime Minister,

The time to assert yourself has come.

The time to put all your detractors in your Cabinet and your party in their place has come.

The time to protect the integrity and honour of the institution of the Prime Minister of India has come.

The nation looks up to you to act boldly and to lead the people of India instead of being perceived merely as driftwood.

Act, Mr. Prime Minister, act. The people of this country will be behind you.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi. E-mail: . Twitter @SORBONNE75 )



The anger and humiliation caused in Pakistan by the unilateral raid by US naval commandos on the residence of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011, and by the inability of the Pakistani Army and Air Force to prevent the raid have had two significant effects.

2.The first is widespread questioning by different sections of public and military opinion of the advisability of the present level of co-operation with the US and other NATO countries in counter-terrorism and the increasing dependence on the US for military and economic assistance.

3.While the state of Pakistan is not in a position to reduce its dependence on the US for assistance, an exercise is already on to curtail the present level of co-operation in counter-terrorism. As part of this exercise, there has been a reduction in the presence of intelligence officers and trainers from the US and other NATO countries based in Pakistan. The US and the UK have been told that Pakistan no longer requires training assistance for its security forces engaged in counter-terrorism duties and asked to withdraw the bulk of their trainers from Pakistani territory.

4. Only two aspects of the bilateral co-operation between Pakistan and the US have remained untouched till now. The first relates to the permission given by the Pakistani authorities for the unloading of logistic supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan at the Karachi port and their road movement to Afghanistan by trucks. The second relates to the informal acceptance by the Pakistani authorities of the operations of the US Drone (pilotless plane ) strikes on suspected terrorist infrastructure in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).Recently, the US has stepped up its Drone strikes on suspected hide-outs of the Haqqani Network in the Kurram area of the FATA without facing any objection from the military leadership.

5.Simultaneously with the exercise to re-fashion Pakistan’s relations with the US, one could also discern initial signs of an introspection over the advisability of the present policy of unrelenting hostility to India. Some have started arguing that it is this hostility to India encouraged and promoted by the military leadership that has been leading to a high level of dependence on the US. It is, therefore, argued that if Pakistan wants to reduce its strategic dependence on the US, it has to have a new look at its present policies towards India.

6.In an article carried by the “Dawn” of Karachi on June 20,2011, Adnan Rehmat a journalist, analyst and media development specialist, who heads an NGO called Intermedia, argued for a new look India policy in the following words: “Misplaced bravado does not make pride and there’s no shame in desiring peace with someone we’ve painted as an enemy. The only way the delusional mindset that ill-serves Pakistan will be righted is when the national security doctrine puts the people, not the military establishment, at the center of Pakistan’s raison d ‘etre. We have tried India as an enemy and it has cost us dearly. It’s time to try India as a friend because the cost of being a friend is far, far less than the cost of being an enemy.”

7. More than the article itself, what has been a pleasant surprise is the large number of favourable readers’ endorsement that it has been receiving. The article has already received 162 feed-backs from the readers ---many of them positive.

8. The mood of less suspicion towards India which one notices could be attributed not only to the realisation that the past policy of hostility to India has proved counter-productive and increased Pakistan’s dependence on the US, but also to the improvement in the ground situation in Balochistan. The Baloch freedom-struggle is showing signs of losing steam. The number of attacks on Punjabi settlers working in Balochistan has declined. There is less disruption of the gas supply to industrial units in Punjab and Sindh from Balochistan.

9. The weakening of the Baloch freedom struggle is partly due to infighting among Baloch nationalist leaders and partly due to the ruthless suppression by the Army. India never had any role in encouraging the separatist movement in Balochistan. Despite this, the Pakistani authorities had convinced themselves that the Baloch freedom struggle could not have achieved the successes that it had without clandestine Indian support.

10. The splits in the movement and its consequent weakening have come as a pleasant surprise to the Pakistani authorities. This seems to be having a benign effect on their perception of India vis-à-vis Balochistan.

11. The attempt to look at India less negatively as a result of these developments is presently confined to sections of the civil society and to the non-governmental world. One does not as yet see signs of it in the Armed Forces, but the civilian bureaucracy shows signs of keeping its traditional anti-India reflexes in check. The ambiance of declining negativism towards each other noticed during the just concluded talks between Smt.Nirupama Rao, India’s Foreign Secretary, and Mr.Salman Bashir, her Pakistani counterpart, at Islamabad, is a sign of hope. Will it endure and gather strength? (27-6-11)

( 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: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Sunday, June 26, 2011



The five acts of reprisal terrorism carried out by some angry members of the Hindu community against their Muslim fellow-citizens since 2006 need to be strongly condemned and those responsible arrested and prosecuted.

2. We owe the strong action against the guilty to ourselves and to the relatives of the targeted Muslims.

3. These deplorable acts were the outcome of anger among some members of the Hindu community over what they perceived as the ineffective response of the Government of India towards jihadi terrorism directed against our soft targets. These jihadi attacks were being orchestrated and co-ordinated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

4. All of us were angry over these acts and over the perceived failure of the Government to deal with them effectively. International law and UN resolutions on State-sponsored terrorism gave us the right to retaliate not only against the Pakistan-based organisations which were carrying out these strikes, but also against the State of Pakistan, which was repeatedly sponsoring such acts.

5. But the Government of India lacked the will to retaliate and the competence to stop the recurring terrorist strikes. It is under these circumstances that some members of the Hindu community decided to act on their own and retaliate.

6.Initially, they attacked our own fellow Muslim citizens and then the Pakistani nationals visiting their relatives in India when they allegedly carried out an explosion on board the Samjauta Express train in February 2007.

7. The history of terrorism has instances of such acts of reprisal by individual citizens dissatisfied with the official counter-terrorism response. We had seen it in Northern Ireland when some angry members of the Protestant community took the law into their own hands against their Catholic fellow-citizens.

8. Fortunately, better sense has prevailed and such reprisal attacks by individual members of the Hindu community against fellow-Muslims have stopped. The Government’s focus now should be on getting these five incidents investigated and prosecuted professionally.

9. There are two disturbing aspects to the follow-up action by the Government of India. The first is the seeming lack of a professional investigation, which has remained superficial and politically directed without any satisfactory evidence against organisations such as the RSS. To blame the RSS just because some of those arrested had an association with it would be as unfair as it would be to blame the Army just because some of those arrested were serving in the Army.

10.One has an impression that the investigation is being used as a political stick to beat the RSS with. The objective has become not the successful prosecution of the suspects, but the discrediting of the RSS. This would prove counter-productive.

11. The second disturbing aspect is our allowing Pakistan to project a linkage between the ISI-sponsored 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai carried out by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and the explosion in the Samjauta Express. Our over-anxiety to show extra sensitivity to Pakistan’s psychological pressure on the Samjauta Express incident is unwarranted. This over-anxiety was evident in the way our National Investigation Agency (NIA) hastened with the filing of the charge-sheet against the Hindus arrested on the eve of the talks between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries in Islamabad.

12. Our investigation into the Samjauta Express incident is a stand-alone case unrelated to 26/11 in any manner. The Hindus who allegedly carried out the explosion were not sponsored by the Indian State. They had no ideological agenda. To see a moral and legal equivalence between what happened on board the Samjauta Express in February 2007 and what happened in Mumbai for almost three days in November,2008 is a total distortion of the facts relating to Pakistan’s use of terrorism as a weapon against India.

13. Pakistan wants to project the terrorism sponsored by it against India since 1981 as part of an action-reaction syndrome. We are walking into that trap by relaxing the pressure on Pakistan to arrest and prosecute successfully all those involved in the 26/11 strikes and by succumbing to Pakistani pressure on the Samjauta Express incident. (27-6-11)

( 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: Twitter @SORBONNE75 )

Saturday, June 25, 2011


The country is being inexorably pushed towards a confrontation of unpredictable consequences as a result of the seeming reluctance of the Prime Minister to assert his authority and steer the country out of a messy situation in which it finds itself. This situation is characterised by a widening divide between the Government and large sections of public opinion on the issue of setting up a permanent and independent investigating and prosecuting machinery to be called Jan Lok Pal to deal with corruption.

2.The movement for setting up an independent and powerful Jan Lok Pal can no longer be dismissed as purely a movement spearheaded by a politically conscious and manipulative elite claiming to represent the so-called civil society. Growing sections of the people identify themselves with the objectives of the movement as a result of Anna Hazare, an anti-corruption activist with no political ambitions till now, assuming its leadership.

3. His fast and the surprising public response to it made the Government realise belatedly that it can no longer drag its feet on the demand for setting up such a machinery as successive Governments have been doing for nearly 50 years. A government rattled by the extent of the public response to the fast swung from one extreme of inaction to the other extreme of a series of ill-advised actions as a result of which the moral authority to steer the anti-corruption movement has slipped from the hands of the Government into the hands of some civil society activists headed by Anna Hazare.

4. The Government let itself be stampeded by the increasing public anger on the issue of corruption into recognising the questionable credentials of Anna Hazare and his close advisers as representatives of the civil society as a whole. They did not represent the civil society. They represented strong segments of non-governmental opinion which demanded immediate action on the Lok Pal issue.

5. There are many dimensions to the movement for the creation of a powerful and independent Jan Lok Pal such as the procedure for its constitution, its powers to investigate and prosecute the corrupt and its jurisdiction. Civil society in any democracy is not monolithic. Nor is the world of non-governmental opinion. There is always a plurality of centres of non-governmental initiatives, leadership and ideas.

6. A confused Government reacted to the growing public support to the movement headed by Anna Hazare in a manner that made the civil society appear to be monolithic and conferred on Anna and his small circle of advisers the right to speak exclusively on behalf of the entire non-Governmental society. The existence of a plurality of centres of opinion was lost sight of in the panic response to the growing public support for Anna’s fast. This plurality of centres existed not only in the non-governmental segment having no formal role in policy-formulation, but also in that segment, which was not governmental, but had a role in policy formulation in the form of different political parties and their elected representatives in the Parliament and the State legislatures.

7. As a result, the exercise to give shape and structure to the Jan Lok Pal mechanism came to be restricted to the Government or the State on the one side and an articulate, but over-projected segment of non- Governmental opinion which sought to reduce the exercise to one of forcing the Government to accept its point of view as representing that of non-Governmental India as a whole.

8. When the Government realised the inadvisability of such as exercise, its valid reservations on the manner in which Anna Hazare and his advisers were seeking to monopolise the national debate though they had no national following were sought to be misrepresented by Anna and his advisers as reflecting the Government’s unwillingness to create a powerful and independent machinery. Differences on important individual issues such as whether the proposed Lok Pal should have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the Prime Minister and members of the judiciary too have been sought to be misrepresented as additional arguments reflecting the Government’s opposition to the creation of a Lok Pal.

9.Non-governmental bodies act as advisers on policy-making. It ought to be left to the Government to decide which advice will be followed and which will be rejected. The Government has the right to reject or modify for valid and cogent reasons. It is so in all democracies.

10.Since independence, we have had dozens of non-Governmental groups----some permanent, some temporary--- which had advised various Governments on what policies should be followed. The Government did not always accept all their advice, even if it was given unanimously.

11. For the first time in our history, we have created a non-Governmental group which is trying to dictate policy to the Government. When any of its advice is rejected, it is threatening to take the issue again to the streets in order to force the Government to accept it. Anna Hazare has put the Government on notice that he would go on fast again from August 15 if a solution satisfactory to his group is not found.

12.No Government worth its salt can let itself be dictated by a segment of non-Governmental opinion. The Government has to reject firmly, but politely the pretensions of Anna and his team to be the custodian of the morals of our society as a whole. They have to have an important role in policy-formulation on anti-corruption issues, but as advisers with a restricted mandate and not as non-governmental dictators with a self-assumed, unrestricted mandate.

13. The Government has done well to initiate an exercise for consultations with the other political parties to reach a national consensus. It is incumbent on the other political polities to respond positively to the Government’s initiative. Any attempt to take advantage of the Government’s self-created difficulties will be short-sighted and could weaken democracy in the long-term.

14. Even while initiating this exercise, the Government should not burn its bridges with the Hazare team. It should try to give the new exercise a larger format by bringing in other non-governmental segments while not diluting the primacy of the Anna Hazare group. It should play the role of the first among equals, but not as the sole arbiter of the national debate on the Lok Pal issue.

15. The unfortunate rhetoric emanating from individual Ministers of the Government as well as from individual leaders of the Congress (I) should be lowered in order not to add to the heat and bitterness of the debate. There is a need for deft handling and political delicatesse which could come only from the Prime Minister and from no one else. It is time for him to take the debate to the people through the media as well as through direct interactions with the people during tours across the country.

16. If these steps are not taken, there could be a danger of the debate getting out of hand and leading to unpredictable consequences.

17.The dithering has to end---NOW.( 26-6-11)

( 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: . Twitter:@SORBONNE75 )

Friday, June 24, 2011



The Harkut ul-Mujahideen (HuM), also known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), the Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JUA) and Al Faran, is reported to have denied a report published by the “New York Times” on June 24,2011, alleging that it had links with Osama bin Laden and was part of his Pakistan support network. According to the “NY Times”, investigations by the US authorities into a mobile phone used by bin Laden's courier are said to have given rise to suspicion that OBL had contact with the HUM. The mobile set of the courier was reportedly recovered during the raid by US naval commandos into the house of OBL at Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2.

2. The first evidence of links between Al Qaeda and the HUM came after the US Cruise missile attacks on suspected Al Qaeda camps in Afghan territory on August 20,1998, in reprisal for Al Qaeda’s truck-bombing outside the US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam earlier that month. Many of the camps destroyed by the Cruise missiles, which ,the US thought, were run by Al Qaeda turned out to be those of the HUM. The HUM had apparently been permitted by Al Qaeda and the Taliban to locate its training camps in the same area in which Al Qaeda had set up its camps.

3. Addressing a press conference at Islamabad on August 22,1998, after the US bombing of the HUM training camps in Afghanistan, Fazlur Rahman Khalil, its then Amir, denied that bin Laden was indulging in terrorism and accused the US of killing 50 innocent civilians, including 15 Arabs.

4.He said that the camps bombed by the US in Afghan territory had actually been set up by the CIA during the Afghan war and claimed that these were being used by the HUM for giving education to the Afghans. He denied that any training in terrorism was going on in those camps. He alleged that the Nawaz Sharif Government, which was then in power in Islamabad, was privy to the bombing and said that 40 Cruise missiles had struck three HUM camps in Afghan territory.

5.He then warned: “ The USA has proved itself to be the world’s biggest terrorist by carrying out the attacks on Afghanistan and the Sudan and I want to convey to the US leadership that we will take revenge for the attack.”

6. Addressing a meeting at the Karachi Press Club on August 23,1998, Azizur Rahman Danish, the then head of the Sindh branch of the HUM, warned: “The US air strikes have drawn a clear dividing line between the Muslim Ummah and non-believers and this is the beginning of a crusade. The USA will be paid back in the same coin.”

7.Addressing a press conference at Peshawar on August 25, 1998, Fazlur Rahman Khalil said that nine HUM members died in the US attack on its camps in the Khost area, of whom five were killed on the spot and the remaining succumbed to their injuries in Pakistani hospitals. In addition, two Tajiks and four Arabs, two of them physically handicapped, were also killed. According to him, the Cruise missiles destroyed four mosques, partially damaged another and burnt 200 copies of the Holy Quran kept in the camps.

8.He added: “The USA calls Osama a terrorist and President Clinton is claiming that all terrorist training camps had been destroyed in the air strikes. Let me tell the Americans that not even one per cent of the so-called terrorist camps run by Osama have been destroyed.”

9.In another warning to the US on September 1,1998, Fazlur Rahman Khalil said: “The USA has struck us with Tomahawk Cruise missiles at only two places, but we will hit back at them everywhere in the world, wherever we find them. We have started a holy war against the US and they will hardly find a tree to take shelter beneath it.”

10. Writing in the "Friday Times" (August 18-24,2000) of Lahore, Khalid Ahmed, the well-known Pakistani analyst, said:

"The Harkat-ul-Mujahideen formally announced itself as a new organization in June 1996 in Muzaffarabad. In January 2000, Masood Azhar of Harkat-ul Mujahideen was sprung from an Indian jail after the Kathmandu hijack. Masood Azhar had gone into India through 'proper channels', as a journalist endorsed by Islamabad (that is, the ISI). He was a follower of Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi, the founder of the anti-Iran and anti-Shia organization Sipah-e-Sahaba, who was killed in 1990.

"After his release, Masood Azhar wished to revive the legacy of his master. By this time Harkat had become a major Deobandi organization in Pakistan. Its main strength remained the militants of Punjab who not long ago had been the militants of Sipah-e-Sahaba.

"His return, therefore, caused an upheaval which climaxed in a grand split in the Harkat. The split was soon followed by the assassination of Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi, a key figure in the Deobandi movement because of his status as a spiritual guide to two important Deobandi leaders, his Khalifas: Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI and Maulana Azam Tariq of Sipah-e-Sahaba.

"The split in Harkat-ul-Mujahideen was caused by the militants in Punjab. Masood Azhar and his Punjabi following isolated the Harkat leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil. The formation of Jaish-e-Muhammad as a new organization was announced, but Masood Azhar and Fazlur Rehman Khalil began to fight over the Harkat assets.

"On 19 March 2000, the two submitted to a hakam (arbitration) of their elders. Harkat was represented by Muhammad Farooq Kashmiri and Jaish was represented by Maulana Abdul Jabbar (a key figure in the Kathmandu hijack) on the pledge given that they would abide by the hakam. The verdict was given by three elders: Mufti Rasheed Ahmed of Zarb-i-Momin Jihadi militia, Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Binori Town complex and Dr Sher Ali Shah of Waziristan. The decision was that all offices of the Harkat, occupied by Jaish in Punjab, would be returned to the Harkat, which in turn would pay the Jaish Rs 40 lakh as its share of the division of assets.

"The implementation of the hakam, however, was not so smooth. The vehicles and offices returned by Jaish to Harkat were in such bad repair that Harkat refused to accept them and thus also refused to pay the stipulated 40 lakhs.

"In Pakistan the Jaish emerged as the more radical and more sectarian part of the Harkat because of its Sipah-e-Sahaba background. Maulana Yusuf Ludhianvi, it is said, inclined to their creed more than to Harkat's moderate view. Mufti Shamzai seemed to vacillate between the two splinter groups, thus allowing the Harkat's over-all leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil to be eclipsed.

"Finding himself thus isolated, Khalil is said to have gone to Osama bin Laden and made up some of his losses by getting from him 12 new double-cabin pick-up trucks to replace those ruined by the Jaish in Punjab.

11. Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil is a founding member of the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), subsequently renamed in 1997 as the Harkat-uk-Mujahideen (HUM) after the US designated the HUA as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in October,1997, and then re-named again as the Jamiat-ul-Ansar (JUA) after President Pervez Musharraf banned the HUM on January 15,2002, under US pressure.

12.He was also a founding member of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed in 1998. Apart from its activities in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and other parts of India, the HUM was also active in training and arming the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of Southern Philippines, the Rohingya Jihadi organisations of Myanmar, the Chechens and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). Since 1995, it was also recruiting and training black Muslims from the US in its camps in Pakistani territory.

13.A wing of the HUM called HUM--Al Alami, meaning HUM-International, participated in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, in Karachi in January-February,2002. The incident was master-minded by Omar Sheikh, who was one of those released by the Indian authorities in December,1999, following the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar by the HUM. The interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) of Al Qaeda by the US authorities reportedly brought out that while Omar Sheikh had orchestrated the kidnapping of Pearl, his killing was done by KSM. Thus, the HUM-Al Alami and Al Qaeda had jointly organised the kidnapping and murder of Pearl.

14. Since 2004, the Afghan authorities had been complaining to Pakistan that the terrorists of the Taliban and Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizbe Islami, who had stepped up their attacks on Afghan and US troops in Afghan territory, were being trained in clandestine training camps run by the JUA in Balochistan and the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan under the supervision of Fazlur Rahman Khalil. The Pakistani authorities initially denied the allegations, but subsequently took Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil into custody when the Karzai Government shared with them a copy of the interrogation report of one Sohail of the Taliban who had given details of the training camps run by Khalil, in one of which he (Sohail) was trained.

15.They released him after eight months in custody on the ground that there was no evidence against him warranting his further detention. His name again cropped up during the investigation of a case in California. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was reported to have uncovered an Al Qaeda sleeper cell in Lodi , near Sacramento in California . All of those arrested in this connection ---- one Hamid and his father Umer Hayat, Muhammed Adil Khan, Shabbir Ahmed Mohammed and Khan's son Hassan Adil - were Pakistanis or American nationals of Pakistani origin. Hamid admitted to have attended an Al Qaeda training camp at a place called Tamal near Rawalpindi in 2003-04.He gave the name of the in-charge of the training camp as Fazlur Rahman, which was then assessed as probably identical with Fazlur Rahman Khalil. It was reported that following the admission of Hamid, the FBI requested the Pakistani authorities to arrest Khalil once again and hand him over to the FBI for interrogation. The Pakistani authorities claimed that Khalil had gone underground and was not traceable.

16.The "Daily Times" of Lahore reported as follows on June 13, 2005: ' Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, former chief of Jamiatul Ansar (JA), has gone into hiding after the arrest of Hamid Hayat and Umer Hayat who told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that they received training from a Pakistani Al Qaeda camp allegedly run by Khalil. Security agencies have begun efforts to arrest Khalil after Hamid Hayat and Umer Hayat were arrested in Lodi, California. Sources said he (Khalil) was earlier released by security agencies after eight months’ detention. “Khalil was released on the condition that he separate himself from his militant activities but after this new development security agencies have resumed efforts for his arrest,” sources said. Khalil was arrested from his house by security agencies on May 20, 2004, but sources said security agencies found no evidence of his involvement in militant activities in Afghanistan."

17.The same paper reported further on September 22, 2005, as follows: " Law enforcing agencies have pressed the leadership of the Herkatul Mujahideen cover-named Jamiatul Ansar to disclose the whereabouts of its former commander Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, Daily Times has learnt. Sources said the law enforcers were in touch with Farooq Kashmiri, a prominent figure at the Jamiatul Ansar, seeking the information about Khalil who went underground three months back. They said the agencies might re-arrest Khalil to investigate about his alleged links with the Taliban leadership. Farooq Kashmiri, who had been working with Khalil since the organisation set forth, had told the law enforcers that he was not aware of where Khalil was. The sources said Khalil had also contacted Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, seeking his help to make a deal with the agencies. “Khalil approached the opposition leader following his name was echoed during the investigation of Hamid Hayat and Umer Hayat who were arrested in the US. Both of them were allegedly trained as militants at a camp run by Khalil in Rawalpindi,” the sources said. The US was pressurising Pakistan to enhance the scope of investigation into the terror acts, they said, and that Khalil wanted the opposition leader to broker a deal with the government. They said Khalil had sent a message to Maulana Fazlur Rehman that he was in crisis and needed his help, urging him to mediate with the government. They said that Maulana had also talked with the agencies on the matter and defended Khalil, saying that he was not involved in any terrorist activities in or outside the country."

18. Before the visit of then President George Bush to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan from March 1 to 3,2006, the Karzai Government had told the Pakistani authorities that fresh information received by them indicated that Khalil and his JUA continued to train the jihadi terrorists of the Taliban, the Hizbe Islami and the IMU. They requested for his arrest and handing over to them for interrogation. They also brought this information to the notice of President Bush, who subsequently brought it to the notice of Musharraf.

19. In its issue of March 30,2006, the "Daily Times" of Lahore reported as follows: " Six people on Tuesday evening picked up Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil, the former chief of banned militant group Harkatul Mujahideen, from Tarnol, thrashed him and dumped him on Fateh Jang road. They also severely beat up Abdur Rehman, Khalil’s driver , said Sultan Zia, the information secretary of the banned organisation. Golra police have registered an FIR against unidentified men. “Six unidentified people badly thrashed Maulana Khalil and his driver with rifle butts inflicting serious head injuries to them, Zia said. Maulana Kahlil left his residence along with his driver on Tuesday evening to attend a congregation at Tarnol, sources said. He made a stopover to offer Maghrib prayers near Tarnol railway crossing, where unidentified men put cloth over the heads of Khalil and his driver, tied them up with rope and took them to Fateh Jang road in a vehicle. Later, the men started beating them. Khalil was severely injured and received wounds on his head and other parts of his body, the sources added. They said at midnight on Tuesday, when Khalil returned to his senses, he made a phone call to his home."

20.After this incident, I had written as follows: “ It is suspected that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had itself instigated the attack on Khalil in order to have him killed to avoid handing him over to the FBI for interrogation. He seems to have survived the serious injuries sustained by him. The FBI should insist on his being immediately handed over to it so that it could have him flown out for medical treatment and interrogation. He may be able to give them information not only about the training camps and the HUM's sleeper cells in the US, but also about bin Laden.”

21.On the basis of information from well-placed Pakistani sources, I had reported as follows in INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR: PAPER NO.160 of December 5,2006:
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khalil, of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), who is a close associate of Osama bin Laden and who had disappeared from public circulation since March last, is back in circulation. He has been visiting mosques and madrasas controlled by the HUM in Pakistan and addressing religious congregations. He has been appealing to the Muslims to step up the jihad against the American and British forces in Iraq, against the NATO forces in Afghanistan and against the Indian security forces in India's Jammu and Kashmir. He has been claiming that Osama bin Laden is hale and hearty and preparing another major terrorist strike in the US homeland. He has been calling for a united jihad against the NATO forces in Afghanistan under the leadership of Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban.

“It is learnt from reliable sources that the Maulana was kept all these months in a safe house of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and was released on November 19, 2006. According to the "Post", a daily of Peshawar, ( November 21, 2006), "with a new vigour, his followers plan to regroup themselves for helping their Afghan brothers and free the neighbouring Islamic State from the US-led NATO forces." With the HUM joining the Taliban, Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami and Al Qaeda, an intensification of acts of jihadi terrorism, including suicide terrorism, in Afghanistan is likely. The HUM is also expected to assist the Hizbul Mujahideen in J&K in stepping up acts of terrorism.”

( 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: .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Thursday, June 23, 2011



(Pakistani military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas confirmed on June 21,2011, that Brigadier Ali Khan, who served in the "regulation directorate" at the army headquarters, had been detained for "unauthorised and illegal activities". Khan's wife said he had been missing since May 5, three days after US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad. The army insisted the arrest was part of routine screening to weed out extremists from its ranks. Khan was not involved in counter-terrorism operations but in "routine work … nothing of significance," Abbas said. Brig Ali's father was a junior commissioned officer, and his younger brother is a colonel serving in the intelligence set-up. His son and son-in-law are both army captains. Subsequent reports indicated that the Brigadier was having contacts with the Hizbut Tehrir (HT) and four serving Majors were also under investigation for links with the HT.)

The HT was formed in 1953 by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabhani al Falastini, a Judge of the Shariat Appeal Court in Jerusalem. After Nakhbani’s death in 1979, Abad al-Qadim Zalum, a Jordanian, took over as its leader. The party’s headquarters were moved to London. Its multilanguage website is also reportedly operated from London. The London headquarters used to be headed by Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, a 42 year-old Syrian, but he is no longer associated with it. One does not know who is its present leader.

2.It has the same objectives as Al Qaeda, namely, introduction of Islamic rule according to the Sharia in Muslim majority countries and the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate, but projects itself as different from Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is essentially an Arab organisation, with Arabs holding senior positions and exercising command and control. As against this, the HT projects itself as a multi-ethnic Islamic organisation in which membership and senior positions are open to any Muslim, irrespective of his or her ethnic background.

3.Its Aims and Objectives say: " The Party accepts Muslim men and women as its members regardless of whether they are Arab or non-Arab, white or coloured, since it is a party for all Muslims. It invites all Muslims to carry Islam and adopt its systems regardless of their nationalities, colours and madhahib (Schools of Thought), as it looks to all of them according to the viewpoint of Islam."

4.Al Qaeda is often accused of working for the Arabisation of Islam in non-Arab countries. The HT seeks to protect itself from such charges. At the same time, it admits that in its work it gave the first priority to the Arab countries and explains it thus: "Although Islam is a universal ideology, its method does not, however, allow one to work for it universally from the beginning. It is necessary, however, to invite to it universally, and make the field of work for it in one country, or a few countries, until it is consolidated there and the Islamic State is established. The whole world is a suitable location for the Islamic da’wah. But since the people in the Muslim countries have already embraced Islam, it is necessary that the da’wah starts there. The Arab countries are the most suitable location to start carrying the da’wah because these countries, which constitute part of the Muslim world, are inhabited by people who speak the Arabic language, which is the language of the Qur’an and hadith, and is an essential part of Islam and a basic element of the Islamic culture. The Hizb began and started to carry the da’wah within some of the Arab countries. It then proceeded to expand the delivery of the da’wah naturally until it began to function in many Arab countries and also in non-Arab Muslim countries as well."

5.It projects itself as a politico-religious movement. It says: "Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political party whose ideology is Islam, so politics is its work and Islam is its ideology. It works within the Ummah and together with her, so that she adopts Islam as her cause and is led to restore the Khilafah and the ruling by what Allah revealed. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political group and not a priestly one. Nor is it an academic, educational or a charity group. The Islamic thought is the soul of its body, its core and the secret of its life. Its purpose is to revive the Islamic Ummah from the severe decline that it had reached, and to liberate it from the thoughts, systems and laws of Kufr, as well as the domination and influence of the Kufr states. It also aims to restore the Islamic Khilafah State so that the ruling by what Allah revealed returns. The Party, as well, aims at the correct revival of the Ummah through enlightened thought. It also strives to bring her back to her previous might and glory such that she wrests the reins of initiative away from other states and nations, and returns to her rightful place as the first state in the world, as she was in the past, when she governs the world according to the laws of Islam. It also aims to bring back the Islamic guidance for mankind and to lead the Ummah into a struggle with Kufr, its systems and its thoughts so that Islam encapsulates the world."

6.It projects its struggle as directed against "the disbelieving imperialists, to deliver the Ummah from their domination and to liberate her from their influence by uprooting their intellectual, cultural, political, economic and military roots from all of the Muslim countries. The political struggle also appears in challenging the rulers, revealing their treasons and conspiracies against the Ummah, and by taking them to task and changing them if they denied the rights of the Ummah, or refrained from performing their duties towards her, or ignored any matter of her affairs, or violated the laws of Islam. So all the work of the Party is political, whether it is in office or not. Its work is not educational, as it is not a school, nor is its work concerned with giving sermons and preaching. Rather its work is political."

7.The HT has a three-stage strategy for achieving its objectives. In the first stage, which it claims has already been completed, it concentrated on making individual Muslims all over the world aware of its ideology, message and political programme of action. The goal to be achieved was to create in individual Muslims an Islamic mind-set and Islamic emotions. In the second stage on which it is presently embarked, it concentrates on educating the Ummah as a whole as an entity. In the third stage, it proposes to focus on the achievement of political power in order to pave the way for Islamic rule according to the Sharia all over the Islamic world and the restoration of an Islamic Caliphate.

8.The HT projects itself as an organisation opposed to the use of terrorism or other forms of violence for achieving its objectives. It claims that it wants to achieve its objectives through AGITPROP (agitation-propaganda) techniques. This should not be mistaken to mean that it advises individual Muslims, including its followers, to shun the use of terrorism for promoting the interests of Islam. It sees no contradiction between its opposition to terrorism as an organisation and its followers resorting to jihadi terrorism in countries where such a dichotomy may be required and justified.

9.To quote the HT: "Whenever the disbelieving enemies attack an Islamic country it becomes compulsory on its Muslim citizens to repel the enemy. The members of Hizb ut-Tahrir in that country are a part of the Muslims and it is obligatory upon them as it is upon other Muslims, in their capacity as Muslims, to fight the enemy and repel them. Whenever there is a Muslim amir who declares jihad to enhance the Word of Allah and mobilises the people to do that, the members of Hizb ut-Tahrir will respond in their capacity as Muslims in the country where the general call to arms was proclaimed."

10.What, in effect, it says is that its members have two obligations. As members of the organisation, they cannot take to violence. As members of the Muslim community, they can take to arms if such a course of action is warranted by circumstances. Thus, it would be quite in order for a Muslim to propagate overtly the non-violent ways of the HT and, at the same time, take to terrorism covertly as a member of Al Qaeda or the International Islamic Front (IIF). The clandestine ways of the HT, about whose leadership not much is known, add to the fears about the real nature of the organisation and its linkages with Al Qaeda and the IIF.

11.Some analysts, particularly in Pakistan, describe the HT as an international Sunni movement, similar to Al Qaeda, but the HT itself says that its message and appeal are addressed to all Muslims, whether Sunnis or Shias. It wants its movement to be seen as a universal Muslim movement and not as a Sunni one.

12.Well-informed sources in Pakistan say that apart from the failure of the intelligence establishment to identify and weed out the pro-jihadi elements in the Armed Forces and the intelligence establishment, another cause for serious concern is the continuing failure of the intelligence establishment to identify all the leaders of the highly secretive Hizbut Tehrir (HT) and its supporters in the Armed Forces and arrest them.

13. The HT made its appearance in Pakistan for the first time in 2000. It had little role to play in the jihad of the 1980s against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. There is nothing secretive about its ideological propaganda in favour of an Islamic Caliphate, which is open. What is highly secretive are details of its leadership, organisational structure, methods of recruitment, membership and sources of finance.

14.What is equally disturbing is that the HT, while advocating open AGITPROP (Agitation-Propaganda) methods for spreading its ideology, lays equal emphasis on the importance of a clandestine penetration of the security forces since, in its view, it would not succeed in establishing an Islamic Caliphate if the Armed Forces remain opposed to it.

15.The HT ideology and operational methods were imported into Pakistan from the UK by its supporters in the Pakistani community in the UK. It is said that within 11 years it has been able to make considerable progress not only in setting up its organisational infrastructure, but also in recruiting dedicated members in the civil society as well as the Armed Forces. It is said that no other jihadi organisation has been able to attract as many young and educated members and as many supporters in the Armed Forces as the HT despite the fact that it has been present in Pakistan hardly for about 11 years now.

16.It was carrying on a campaign -- open as well as secret--against Pervez Musharraf on various issues such as his alleged betrayal of Islam by supporting the US against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, his failure to "liberate" J&K from the control of India, his failure to condemn the US policies in Iraq etc.

17.In the beginning of 2004, the HT had circulated two anti-Musharraf pamphlets among Pakistani military personnel. The first of these pamphlets titled " Musharraf is transforming Pak Army into Colonial American Army" said: " The war, which Musharraf joined under the pretext of Pakistan First, is now being fought inside Pakistan. The people were informed that providing assistance to kill our Afghan brothers will save Pakistan but that lie has been exposed now. Today Pakistani army is killing Pakistani Muslims on Pakistani territory. Musharraf has reduced Pak Army into a Colonial American Army. Their motto has been practically changed from Jihad Fi Sabil lillah (Jihad in the way of Allah) to Qital fi sabil Amrica (Fighting for the sake of America). The butcher of Afghani Muslims is now busy in massacring the Muslims of Pakistan. These days the government repeatedly announces that killings in the tribal area are only carried out by Pakistani troops and there are no American troops involved in the operation. Most certainly, why would America risk her own troops while through the courtesy of Musharraf, she has Muslim blood at her disposal for free? To stop a civil war, the Ummah should eject Musharraf and establish Khilafah. We strongly advise the Army not to raise arms against their Muslim brothers since according to the Hadith of the Messenger , abusing a fellow Muslim is Fisq (transgression) while hitting him is Kufr (disbelief)."

18.In a statement circulated on April 27, 2005, on Musharraf's visit to New Delhi for talks with the Indian leaders, it said: "Musharraf’s claim that he has not taken a U-turn on Kashmir is an absolute lie. As a matter of fact, in Delhi, his statement that he has come to India with a ‘new heart’ exposes that he has taken a U-turn on Kashmir. In expressing his view on his ‘new heart’ he proposed to make Line of Control a ‘soft border. Not only this, the General also explicitly called for working out arrangements where ‘boundaries become irrelevant.’ During his visit, Musharraf for the very first time claimed that there existed a representative Kashmiri leadership other than All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a clear shift in policy. In the past Pakistan was calling for solving Kashmir first, but now it maintains that trade, cultural exchange and other CBMs (Confidence-building Measures) should get preference. Hence, the Indian stance i.e. all issues should not be linked to Kashmir, is now being propagated by Musharraf himself. The Ummah should get rid of such rulers and the Muslims be united under a single leadership by establishing Khilafat. Consequently, it will be able to resolve problems such as Kashmir, Chechnya and Palestine with a great ease."

19.The "Daily Times" of Lahore October 4, 2004, carried the following report on HT activities in Pakistan: “They are considered a new breed of Islamic fundamentalists, who study at top British and American schools yet abhor Western values, advocate a pan-Islamic state and favour the removal of Pakistan’s pro-US government.

“Militancy and violence is not part of their agenda and they want to achieve their “lofty goals” through a peaceful and non-violent struggle. But analysts say such men, fired by the passion of an Islamic renaissance, stand on a thin line dividing political and violent struggle.

“Hizbut Tehrir, an international Islamic group with roots from England to Central Asia, is a recent addition to myriad radical organisations striving to enforce “true Islam” in Pakistan. The group was outlawed in Pakistan in November 2003, just three years after it started operations, but its members continue undeterred, distributing party literature and holding small meetings in efforts to expand their base. Pakistan, an ally of the United States in the war on terror, banned several militant Islamic groups, but most re-emerged under new names. Hizbut Tehrir has refused to change its name despite the closure of offices and the arrest of several members.
‘British and US nationals of Pakistani origin comprise the backbone of this secretive group formed in Jerusalem in 1953. It wants to establish a supra-Islamic state on the model of the caliphate that existed in the early days of Islam. The group came to Pakistan through second-generation Pakistanis living in the West, particularly in Britain and the United States. They claim they had supporters in Pakistan for a long time but formal operations took time to establish.

“Many members abandoned what they call the luxuries of the West to come to Pakistan to live among fellow Muslims and work for the country’s transformation into a puritanical Islamic society of their dreams. “In terms of living standards, England is better. You don’t confront problems such as water shortages and power failures there,” said a Hizb member, who works as an executive at a bank.

“But you cannot safeguard the Islamic way of life in Western society. You become alienated,” said the 32-year-old, who migrated from his birthplace, London, to Pakistan two years ago.“We believe a change will come in the Muslim world from places like Pakistan, where an overwhelming number of people are Islamic-minded,” he said in a clipped British accent. Scores of young men like him moved to Pakistan mainly from Britain and the United States to work for the Islamic cause.

“With their trimmed beards and Western clothes, they stand in contrast to the turban and skull cap-wearing traditional followers of local Islamic parties. But their anti-West rhetoric is as radical as that of their more orthodox counterparts.

“Intelligence officials say the shadowy network is taking root among educated Pakistanis and a few of its members are under surveillance. Group members include engineers, chartered accountants, computer experts and doctors. Several of its members, some on the condition of anonymity, said the number of their supporters was increasing.

“We advocate unity amongst Muslims,” said Ismail Sheikh, a frail 34-year-old British national of Pakistani origin who was arrested for distributing pamphlets outside a Karachi mosque in July.

“But an anti-terrorism court acquitted him on lack of evidence last month and he was back to organisational work the same day, saying the arrest only strengthened his resolve. “They questioned me whether I had links to Al Qaeda, or if I had visited Afghanistan,” said Mr Sheikh, a dentist from the University of Wales. He abandoned his medical career in London and moved to Karachi in 1999 to become one of the group’s pioneer members. The government sees Hizbut Tehrir as a threat.

“Its activities were found prejudicial to national interest,” said Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, an Interior Ministry spokesman. “Its members incite people against the government through their writings and leaflets.”

“But Naveed Butt, a spokesman for Hizbut Tehrir, said that to bring about a change one needed political, not militant action. “We are being associated with militancy because we preach an alternative ideology,” said Mr Butt, an engineer from Chicago, where he was first introduced to the group in the mid-1980s.

“The best yardstick for our success is that we were banned within three years of our activities here.”

“Ahmed Rashid, author of a book on the Afghan Taliban, said Hizb was a movement based in Europe.“Young Muslims living in the West get exposure to their culture through religion. I don’t think they have any real popular support. Given the enormous number of Islamic schools and parties, it is difficult for someone like Hizb, which is seen as an import from England, to come in the field and make room for itself,” said Mr Rashid. He said despite its radical ideas, there were no indications Hizb was involved in militancy.

“The membership of Hizbut Tehrir could just be a passing phenomenon for Islamic radicals rather than a permanent one. From here they could move on to militant groups,” Mr Rashid said.

20.The “Sunday Times” of London reported as follows on July 5,2009: “British militants are pushing for the overthrow of the Pakistani state. Followers of the fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have called for a “bloodless military coup” in Islamabad and the creation of the caliphate in which strict Islamic laws would be rigorously enforced.

“Members of the group, which describes itself as the Liberation party in Britain but is banned in Pakistan, revealed last week that it had targeted the country as a base from which to spread Islamic rule across the world.

“The Sunday Times has obtained the names of a dozen British Hizb ut-Tahrir activists based in Lahore and Karachi, or commuting between Britain and Pakistan. There are believed to be many more.

“One of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s strategies in Pakistan is to influence military officers.

“Shahzad Sheikh, a Pakistani recruit and the group’s official spokesman in Karachi, talked openly about persuading the army to instigate a “bloodless coup” against the present government who, he said, were “worse than the Taliban”.

“It is the military who hold the power (in Pakistan) and we are asking them to give their allegiance to Hizb ut-Tahrir,” he said. “I can’t explain to you in detail how we are trying to influence the military . . . We never disclose our methodology of change. You may say it’s a coup.”

“In 2003 four army officers were arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of being linked to extremist groups, although the groups and men have not been named. A Hizb ut-Tahrir insider at the time claims they were recruited by the organisation’s “Pakistan team” while training at Sandhurst.

“And why all of this emphasis on Pakistan?

“The group is believed to have been set up in Pakistan in the early 1990s by Imtiaz Malik, a British-born Pakistani who may still be operating underground as its leader in the country. In 1999 a call was sent to British Hizb ut-Tahrir members to move to Pakistan. This prompted the movement of some of the UK’s “top quality” activists to South Asia.

“Pakistan was neglected and ignored until it had a nuclear bomb and then the global leader realised it would be a good strategic base for the caliphate,” said Maajid Nawaz, one of the organisation’s pioneers in Pakistan, who has since renounced the group.”

21.Pakistanis belonging to the HT in the UK held a demonstration outside the Pakistan High Commission in Knightsbridge, London on March 19 2011 to strongly denounce the release of Raymond Davis by Pakistan’s rulers. Hundreds of men and women gathered to condemn what the HT called the treachery of the Zardari-Gilani regime.

22.According to reports carried by the Pakistani media, Rizwan Hussain, from the HT’s Pakistan Committee, said that Pakistan’s rulers had committed the greatest crime that a leadership could ever commit; that of betrayal, treason and collusion with a foreign power. He alleged that there was absolutely no doubt about the guilt of Raymond Davis yet Pakistan’s rulers had fully co-operated and facilitated his handing back to the US. He said that Pakistan’s rulers’ claim that they released Davis under the Shariah law of Diya or ‘blood money’ after the victim’s family pardoned him was worthy of contempt and laughter. Rizwan said Zardari should be asked if the Shariah allowed foreign agents secret entry into Pakistan? Where was the Shariah in allowing America to launch drone attacks and kill Muslims by the hundreds in the tribal areas? And what about the situation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, does the Shariah allow these rulers to do nothing as America illegally kidnaps and jails an innocent Muslim woman for 86 years he asked?

23. Rizwan described President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani and Punjab Chief Minister Shabaz Sharif as hypocritical liars who have sold everything to serve their masters in America.

24.Atif Salahuddin, also from the HT’s Pakistan Committee, said that Pakistan is the only so called American ‘ally’ in the world that is continuously bombed and attacked by America nearly every single day. This was a master to slave relationship in which Zardari, Gilliani and the Sharif brothers were all responsible for releasing Davis he said. Where was the so called ‘independent judiciary’? Where was Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudary in bringing this murderer Davis to account, he asked? Atif said that the military leadership was also responsible for the release of Davis and had failed in its duty to protect the people. Atif demanded that the Pakistan Army move to remove these treacherous rulers whose only aim in life is to slavishly serve America so that they can continue to sit in office and carry on with their corruption. Pakistan’s rulers had brought nothing but humiliation and American sponsored terror to the people, he alleged.

25.Mohammed Salim, another UK-based Pakistani member of the HT, said that the events in the Middle East had proved that the time of corrupt Muslim rulers was coming to an end and the Muslims were entering a new era. Salim said that the events in Tunisia and Egypt had proved that real authority lay in the hands of the people and if the people of Pakistan wanted change it was within their grasp. Pakistan’s people need to move and come out on 17th April to join HT rallies all over Pakistan in Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Peshawar to force the Pakistan army to establish the Khilafat – the only way to end the American attacks and bloodshed. (24-6-11)

( 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: .Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )



The Pakistan Army is reported to have taken into custody one serving Brigadier and four Majors for having links with the Hizbut Tehrir (Party of Liberation).A detailed note on the HT will follow.

2.On December 17,2010, the Pakistani chapter of the Hizbut Tehrir (HT) had issued an open letter to the Pakistani armed forces, calling upon "sincere" Islamic soldiers to establish Khilafah (Islamic caliphate) in Pakistan.

3.The letter, titled "O Muslims! Deliver This Letter to All the Sincere Ones Whom You Know in Pakistan's Armed Forces," accused Pakistani rulers of bowing before the U.S. and India. The letter was published simultaneously in English and Urdu on the website of the HT.

The letter said:
"You are leading the largest and most capable Muslim armed forces in the world. The Muslim armed forces alone have the material strength to establish the Khilafah. As such you are the successors of the noble Ansar, who gave the material support (Nussrah) to Sayyedenah Muhammad… [Peace be upon him] for the establishment of the Islamic state in Madinah [the Saudi city]. Moreover, you must move now to uproot Pakistan's traitor rulers. For even though the weaknesses of America and India are more evident than ever before, Pakistan's traitor rulers are racing to extend support to them, using the considerable resources of the Muslims to do so.

"O officers of Pakistan's armed forces!

"As for America, her economy is collapsing… America is afraid that her defeat in Afghanistan, known as the 'graveyard of empires,' would spell doom for her own capitalist empire. As such America is compelled to exhaust her resources in a quagmire, just like the Soviet and British empires before her.

"But rather than allowing America's occupation [of Afghanistan] to collapse, the traitor rulers [of Pakistan] are working to extend America's foothold in the region. Using the excuses of training and intelligence sharing, the rulers have granted America an unprecedented presence within Pakistan. America has officers that walk through Pakistan Army's General Headquarters (GHQ) with their sleeves rolled up, making themselves at home. She has Marines in Baluchistan trying to secure the area adjacent to the Chaman border [along Afghanistan]. American intelligence directs operations, including drone attacks, whilst sitting in truck containers, with air-conditioning units visible in the summer.

"America's Air Force personnel have a permanent presence in [the Pakistani town of] Jacobabad. Her private military organizations fan fear within the people, through brutal attacks in the markets, streets and mosques. Her military and intelligence personnel are flooding into Pakistan through Dubai under an agreement with the traitor rulers. And these are just some of the examples, O brothers."

"[Pakistani] Rulers Have Created a Warlike Situation, Which is Not Between the Kafir [Infidel] American Occupiers and the Muslims, As It should Have Been – But Between Muslims, the Muslims of the Tribal Areas, and Pakistan's Armed Forces"

"Compensating for America's own troops' lack of bravery and her Western allies' withdrawal from the occupying forces, the traitor rulers ensure that the full burden of America's dirty and tough war is on your shoulders. You can witness how much America needs you from the fact that the [Pakistan Army's] delay in the North Waziristan operation, [as a means] to support America's operations in Kandahar, forced U.S. President Barack Obama to announce a delay in America's limited troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"As yet another service to America, the traitor rulers use a mixture of deception, bribery and threats to persuade you to fight. The traitor rulers publicize that America can initiate the breakup of Pakistan and threaten its nuclear arsenal, as pretexts to justify their continued support to America… it is their [i.e. Pakistani rulers'] very support that allowed America into the region, [and] supplies… [of] weapons and food [through Pakistani territory, which help] expand her presence within Pakistan.

"The traitor rulers publicize Western aid [e.g. for Pakistan flood victims] to say that beggars cannot be choosers and so Pakistan is compelled to assist America – even though loans from the Western capitalist colonialist have only ever come with conditions to ensure economic exploitation of resources, from Africa to Latin America, and even though this region's immense resource wealth is one of the factors that prompted America to invest billions in its war."

"O officers of Pakistan's armed forces!

"As for India, after over 60 years of oppressive and discriminatory Hindu rule, India is a fragile entity that is weaker than ever before, with a myriad of separatist movements working to tear her apart. Moreover, India lacks essential resources and is dependent on the Muslim Lands [unclear] for providing gas and oil as well as securing sea and land routes for mineral resources.

"But rather than working to end the oppressive Hindu rule, Pakistan's traitor rulers have worked to strengthen it, for the sake of America, who seeks to woo India into its influence, to counter China and any Khilafah that arises. The traitor rulers mobilize Pakistan's security forces to persecute and arrest the Kashmiri Mujahideen, granting the cowardly Hindu occupying forces a great gift, which they neither deserve nor could achieve for themselves.

"The [Pakistani] rulers assisted India in fencing the Line of Control, consolidating the Hindu occupation [of Kashmir]. And the traitor rulers protect the American occupation which established a foothold for India in Afghanistan, in the form of consulates, from which Indian intelligence launches mischief in Baluchistan and the tribal areas.

"O officers of Pakistan's armed forces!

"The traitor rulers are allying with the kuffar [infidels], as if this was the source of strength and well-being for the Muslims. In reality, alliance with the kuffar is a source of fragility, weakness, despair and humiliation. Allah… said, 'The parable of those who seek allies other than Allah is that of a spider who builds a house; but indeed, the weakest of houses is the spider's house – if they but knew' (Surah Al-Ankaboot 29:41).

"You must seize the traitor rulers and end their support of the Ummah's enemies. The situation is on your side, your enemies are faltering and you are strong. Your strength can be seen from the fact that you faced American- and Indian-backed mischief in the tribal areas and Baluchistan, whilst being tested simultaneously by floods and traitor rulers.

"Above all, you are a Muslim army that believes in victory and martyrdom, which multiplies your strength. The Islamic feelings run deep within you, so you witnessed no desertions when fighting the kuffar to defend Muslims in Kashmir, but you witnessed many when fighting Muslims in the tribal areas to defend America. It is these Islamic feelings that America fears and wants removed from you."

"O officers of Pakistan's armed forces!

"Some of you stand with the traitor rulers and the kuffar Americans, supporting them for worldly gains with full knowledge of the mischief that they do. Know that such people will be punished with the traitors at the hands of the Ummah when the Khilafah is established soon, Insha Allah [Allah willing]. And know that Allah's punishment… is greater than any suffering in this life. Allah… said, 'So, Allah made them taste the disgrace in the present life, but greater is the torment of the Hereafter if they only knew' (Surah Al-Zamar 39:26)

"Others of you are silent, squandering the strength that Allah… has bestowed upon you and about which you will be asked on the Day of all Days. Do you not see how the army of Fir'awn [i.e. Pharaoh, the evil hegemon] was punished along with the tyrant they obeyed? Does this life and its fleeting pleasures tempt you from the eternal bliss of Jannah [Heaven]?

"Allah… said, 'O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the cause of Allah, you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world compared to the Hereafter' (Surah at-Tawba 9:38)

"And yet others of you are yearning for defeat of the enemies and victory for Muslims. So, it is time, dear brothers, it is time to rush to grant the Nussrah to Hizb ut Tahrir for the establishment of the Khilafah. And may Allah… bring the day through you soon, when the mischief and falsehood of the criminals [and] traitors are obliterated by the truth of Islam.

"Allah… said, 'That He might cause the truth to triumph and bring falsehood to nothing, even though the criminals hate it.' (Surah Al-Anfaal 8:8)

( 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: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

Wednesday, June 22, 2011



Pakistan’s post-Abbottabad sulking and partly-real, partly-manufactured anti-US anger have had no impact on President Barack Obama’s counter-sanctuary emphasis in his counter-terrorism strategy.

2. It was this counter-sanctuary emphasis that enabled the successful extermination of Osama bin Laden on May 2,2011, by US naval commandos raiding his house clandestinely at Abbottabad and the successes scored by the Drone (pilotless planes of the CIA) strikes against other medium and high-value targets of Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Pakistan’s jihadi belt--- wherever that belt is located, in the tribal areas or outside.

3.The counter-sanctuary operations which were confined to the tribal belt till May 2, have been extended beyond unilaterally. A future repeat of this extension to areas outside the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) cannot be ruled out if necessary to wipe out the surviving remnants of the high-value leadership of Al Qaeda.

4. This message—loud and clear---had repeatedly come out of Washington DC since May 2 and it came out again in Mr.Obama’s address to the American people on June 23 outlining his plan for a de-surge in Afghanistan, which would involve the withdrawal --- in two instalments of 10,000 and 23,000 troops--- of the reinforcements that he had sent to Afghanistan in 2009. The de-surge would start next month and would be completed by election time next year.

5. The planned de-surge is based on a less pessimistic assessment of the counter-insurgency situation on the ground in Afghanistan. The peak in pessimism seen in 2009 has given way to the first signs of hope---though not optimism--- that the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda has started moving gradually in the direction desired by the US.

6. In Afghanistan, the Taliban has not yet been defeated, but has been contained. It has been made amenable to enter the process of negotiation. Al Qaeda, its ally, has suffered such serious attrition in Pakistan that its usefulness as an ally has diminished. Al Qaeda and its affiliates do not seem to be in a position to reverse the tide and recover their balance.

7.The threats from the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda & Co have been contained. From a phase of containment, the US policy has moved into a phase of elimination of the threat which does not require the engagement of the same level of forces as till now.

8. Mr.Obama’s less pessimistic assessment of the counter-insurgency ground situation in Afghanistan is accompanied by a realistic assessment of the counter-terrorism ground situation in the jihadi belt of Pakistan. The belt remains. The irrational jihadi ardour remains. The insincerity of the Pakistani political and military establishment in dealing with jihadi terrorism remains. The sanctuaries remain. The suspicions regarding Pakistani official complicity with the terrorist remnants remain.

9. How to deal with this complex ground situation in Pakistan’s jihadi belt? Victory is not yet in sight in the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations, but there are hopes of victory. The scene on the ground is no longer one of unmitigated gloom as it was since the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US homeland.

10. How to translate these seeming hopes into durable reality? Will they concretise into reality or turn out to be another chimera? The answer to this question has to come from the jihadi belt of Pakistan. It has to come from the General Headquarters of the Pakistan Army. It has to come from the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It has to come from the confused political and military leadership of Pakistan, which continues to live in a make-believe world of its own imaginary creation thinking and hoping that the importance of Pakistan’s strategic location and value will once again prevail in the US geostrategic calculations and that it can reverse its tide of gloom.

11. Mr.Obama has taken care to discourage the illusions of the Pakistani leadership. He said in his address to his people: “ Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe-havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war-torn region. We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am President, the United States will never tolerate a safe-haven for those who aim to kill us: they cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.”

12. It is a strong message that India has every reason to welcome. There is more stick than carrots in the message. There are more admonitions than lollipops in the message. India should keep discreetly nudging the US to keep translating the message into reality without relenting periodically as the US has been wont to do. That will be in the interest of both the US and India.

13. Can Pakistan change? Can Pakistan be made to change? The answers to those questions lie in New Delhi and Washington DC and nowhere else in the world. (23-6-11)

( 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. Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )


Question: What is a bug?

ANSWER:A bug is a device for the clandestine recording of a conversation or a discussion. It differs from telephone interception which is about overhearing and/or clandestinely recording a conversation over a telephone. Bugging of a personal face-to-face conversation can be done inside a room or a conference hall or in a means of transport. One would recall how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had bugged the car of Tahawur Hussain Rana of the Chicago Cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in order to clandestinely record his conversations with David Coleman Headley while they were travelling in the car together.

Q: How many kinds of bugging are there?

A: Two--- permanent and temporary or opportunistic. Permanent bugging is done all the 24 hours inside the offices of your adversary or competitor. Temporary or opportunistic bugging is done to clandestinely record a conversation or discussion or the proceedings of a meeting when one has advance information that such a discussion is going to take place.

Q. How are the bugging devices concealed?

A. Inside the walls of a building under construction, inside an ash tray, inside a cigarette lighter, in the false bottom of a flower vase or a table lamp or a tea or coffee pot, inside a landline telephone instrument, on the ceilings of a room etc. Bugging devices planted inside the false bottom of a tea or coffee pot could be used only for temporary or opportunistic purposes. Others can be used as permanent or opportunistic devices. Where a device is used for a temporary purpose, it has to be activated clandestinely before a conversation starts. A bugging device is a miniaturised transmitting device, which transmits the conversation to a control room outside where it is clandestinely recorded. Miniature cassette recorders are also used for temporary bugging. There, the question of transmission to an outside controller does not arise, but one has to change the cassette from time to time. That is why in the intelligence profession, one suspects that a person has a concealed recording device if he frequently goes to the wash room.

Q:How are the bugging devices fitted? What kind of adhesive is used in case of temporary devices?

A: Generally, a cello tape or a chewing gum depending on when or where it is used. Other adhesives can also be used. The most important requirement in choosing the adhesive is that it should be something normally used and hence will not create suspicion.

Q: How are bugs detected?

A: Manually through physical checking of walls and ceilings and other objects normally used for concealing a bug and through electronic sweeps. The electronic sweep is the most effective. A hand-held device is used to search the room. It gives a warning signal when there is a clandestine transmitting device anywhere in the room. Generally, offices and residences of all Ministers holding sensitive portfolios should be swept electronically at regular intervals. Whenever our PM travels abroad, an advance team from the intelligence agencies travels ahead of him, takes possession of his room, subjects it to electronic sweeping and then keeps the room under its control till the PM leaves.

Q: Who does the anti-bug sweeping?

A: The Intelligence Bureau (IB), which has trained anti-bug experts with modern equipment for sweeping.

Q: Do any of the financial intelligence agencies coming under the control of the Finance Ministry have an anti-bug sweeping capability?

A: They did not have at least till 2000.Whether they have acquired this capability subsequently, I would not know.

Q: Do the allegations regarding the bugging of the office and conference rooms of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the Finance Minister, in the North Block sound credible?

A: Circumstantially yes if one takes into account the important position occupied by him in the Cabinet, his important role involving sensitive discussions in his office on many sensitive issues of a political nature and the suspicion that there are question marks over his head in the Congress (I) leadership. Technically, it would depend on where the adhesive material was found. If it was found at places easily visible to the naked eye, then the allegations may not be correct. If the adhesive was found at places not easily visible to the naked eye, the allegation will acquire some credibility.

Q: The media has reported that the sweeping was done by a team of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). If true, what does this imply?

A:Normally, such sweepings are done by the IB. It is possible that one of the financial intelligence units under the control of the CBDT now has this capability and does routine sweeping as a precaution. If so, it is quite logical for the CBDT team to have done the sweeping on its own as part of its routine. No suspicion in such a case. It is also possible that the FM suspected bugging by the IB and hence asked the CBDT team to do the sweep. In which case, it is intriguing as to why his suspicion against the IB.

Q:Who would have had the motive to target him for bugging?

A: Suspicious elements in his party, suspicious elements in the Government, individual personalities under investigation for corruption, corporate houses under investigation, corporate houses and foreign Governments trying to collect financial intelligence.

Q.How they might have got the bugging done?

A: Suspicious elements in the party and the Government through the intelligence agencies (many agencies now have this capability).Others through private detective agencies.

Q: The IB is reported to have ruled out any bugging and claimed that the adhesive material found was only chewing gum, implying that someone interested in chewing gum might have pasted it against the wall after using it.

A: Normally, the IB is the final authority in such matters. Its findings are accepted by the Government. If the FM had suspected that the IB was bugging his office, the IB’s findings should not be the last word on the subject.

Q: Will the truth be ever known?

A: Unlikely. It is too late. Suspicions will linger in the minds of the FM as well as the public.

Q: What are the lessons for the future?

A: Entrust such enquiries to agencies not having any responsibility to prevent bugging. Have time-bound enquiries. Keep a tighter control over the access of private detective agencies to such sensitive offices. (22-6-11)

( 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: )