Mumbai Terror: Pakistan Govt’s Denial, Confession, Denial
The Pakistan government is in a tizzy. After days of denial, and emphatically stating that no Pakistani national was involved in the last month’s bloody terror attack in Mumbai (Bombay), its National security adviser Mahmud Durrani made a dramatic announcement on Wednesday. He said that Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor among the Mumbai attackers (who is in the Indian police custody), is a Pakistani national.
However, this public admission cost Mr Durrani his job the same day!!! (Earlier, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had described Pakistan as a terrorist state. See here…)
This means that a serious battle is on within the Pakistani establishment. Over the years the rogue elements of different hues have flourished and got emboldened in Pakistan by the indirect encouragement from the successive US administrations in terms of protection and financial support. The saner elements in Pakistan rarely get a chance to have their say.
Now with the present US administration, under President George W. Bush, packing its bags one section in Pakistan has got a boost and the other elements are gasping in the absence of oxygen that they were accustomed to from the White House and Langley, Virginia. It was the same scenario at the end of the Reagan administration (and there are reasons why I mention this here, so read on…)
First, the sacking of the Pakistani national adviser Mahmud Durrani after his recent revelation about the terrorist at Mumbai being a Pakistani national. “The Pakistan foreign office initially expressed lack of knowledge (about Durrani’s revelation) but later confirmed the report, but declined to give details confining itself to remarks that investigation is continuing, reports The Tribune.
“Pakistan federal information minister Sherry Rehman in a text message to AP also said an investigation had revealed that the lone-surviving Mumbai gunman is a Pakistani citizen, as India had alleged. Earlier, Durrani had also confirmed that interrogation of at least two individuals, Zarar Hussain and Lakhvi had established that they had links with the attackers.
“(An angry) Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Wednesday sacked National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani, apparently for revealing matters relating to Pakistani investigation on Mumbai attacks without taking the Prime Minister into confidence.
“An official notification said the Prime Minister has removed Durrani but gave no reasons. However, talking to (Pakistani TV channel) Geo News late in the evening here, Prime Minister Gilani said Durrani had given a statement to an Indian news channel regarding Ajmal Kasab without taking him into confidence.
“The Prime Minister, who spoke in an angry tone, said Durrani’s statement had tarnished the country’s image. Asked to confirm the report, Durrani told the channel that he had yet not received orders of his removal. ‘The Prime Minister might have issued verbal directive,’ he added.
“Informed sources said Durrani had been speaking to President Asif Zardari and must have consulted him on leakages about such vital information. Analysts said the dramatic decision also reflected persistent reports about differences between the President and the Prime Minister.”
“Durrani, a retired major general, served under Gen Musharraf as Pakistan’s ambassador to the USA. He was named as national security adviser to the Prime Minister soon after Gilani took oath.
“The common perception at the moment was that the USA had manipulated the appointment, while Durrani acted as a strategic bridge between the new government and the USA.
“Durrani was general officer commanding (GOC) when military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq’s plane crashed on August 17, 1988, minutes after it took off from Bahawalpur airport. It also carried crates of mangoes gifted by Durrani to Gen Zia. Durrani remained subject of many conspiracy theories after the crash.” More here…This is an important article…
During the entire Ronald Reagan presidency India faced a crisis because of the Sikh militants unleashing murder and mayhem for almost a decade. The then President Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan openly encouraged this from across the border. As in the case of former president Pervez Musharraf and the “war on terror”, the US administration gave full support to Zia-ul-Haq because of the presence of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan then.
Meanwhile President Zia-ul-Haq, also a military dictator like Musharraf, fanned the fire of Islamic militancy in a fairly secular Pakistan, with the Reagan administration looking the other way and, in a manner of speaking, encouraging it by the usual generous flow of money from the US treasury. The US Congress also looked the other way. Thus paving the path towards 9/11 and worse.
President Zia-ul-Haq played a vital role in aggravating the Sikh militant movement in India, a major threat to the country’s integrity, like the present one in Kashmir. However, with Reagan packing his bags in the White House the oxygen to the Sikh militancy died away, and India could then use an iron hand to snuff out the Sikh militant movement.
In the dying embers of the Reagan presidency, president Zia-ul-Haq also met his nemesis when he died in a plane crash, which to date remains a mystery. The US ambassador to Pakistan also died along with him. Mahmud Durrani, the sacked National security adviser mentioned above in this post, came under the needle of suspicion.
The incoming Barack Obama administration would be aware of the challeneges ahead. There is a whole lot of mess created by previous US administrations that needs spring-cleaning. For the international community it is a good news that the new CIA incumbent chief in not an old CIA hand.