The Bold Voice of J&K

Difa-I-Pakistan Council; the new face of ‘Islamist’ terror

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M M Khajooria

It is official and authentic Sartaj Aziz,  Adviser to the  Pak Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, told  BBC on 18th November, 2014 that “Pakistan should not target militants who do not threaten the country’s security.”  Sartaj has thus given licence to all terrorist groups operating from the soil of Pakistan or elsewhere except the faction of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan battling Pak Army in Waziristan and adjacent areas and conducting terror strikes across the length and breadth of that country  for complete  freedom of action. Of course, we in India had known it for long but the fig leaf of pretension was there. What about the United States of America and the Anti Terrorist International that she heads, on whose bandwagon Pakistan jumped post 9./11.? How will US of A reconcile her enormous funding of Pak military and economy  in the light of pronouncement by the Pak NSA? The reaction of the President of Afghanistan given  the conduct of the ISI patronised Haqqani brothers and the role of Mullah Umar led Taliban should be of immense interest.
“The new alliance of Islamist groups, campaigning for a break in ties with the United States  and an end to warming relations with India, is giving clear shape for the first time in many years to an underworld of hyper-nationalism, militancy, sectarianism and faith-based politics whose influence in Pakistan has until now operated largely beneath the surface.” Wrote  Myra MacDonald( “Difa-e-Pakistan: What we know and do not want to hear”. 16th Feb, 2012). The Council is a collection of over 40 religious groups, political parties and banned militant organisations. It has a 10-point agenda. The  main rallying point at the time of its  birth in 2012 was  to pressurise the civilian government not to restore NATO supply routes denied after killing of Pak Army men in action by NATO forces operating from Afghanistan. Other goals included breaking off US-Pakistan ties, compelling the Pakistan Government to deny the Most Favoured Nation status  to India, continued support for Jihad in Kashmir and to back the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Difa-I-Pakistan Council (DPC) apparently enjoyed the full support of Pak  State. Pak Railways ran special trains to bring the participants to Lahore from other parts of the country. Strong and extensive security cover was on open display. Eminent Columnist Ejaz Haider described the very public rallies of the DPC – which includes the Jamaat-e-Islami political organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the humanitarian wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group), the anti-Shi’ite Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and former spy chief Hamid Gul and crickiteer turned politician Imran Khan among others – as “a Whisky Tango Foxtrot moment for the entire nation and, yes, the military and its various intelligence agencies”. The massive rally at Minar-i-Pakistan, Lahore on 30th of November days after the statement of Sartaj Aziz has also to be viewed as evidence of Difa-I-Pakistan Council becoming hyper active.
Addressing the congregation Jamaat-ud -Dawa (JD) chief and Lashkar-e-Toiba supremo  Hafiz Muhammad Saeed vowed to continue the Jihad to oust Indian forces from Kashmir. It was for the first time that he made a reference to Jihad in Kashmir since his group was declared a terrorist outfit by the United Nations in 2009. The Sartal Aziz formulation obviously emboldened him  to shed  the somewhat thin  cover of masquerading as the mere head of a Charity named DU. The rally was held under the banner of Difa-i-Pakistan
The crowd was dominated by JD activists waving its black and white striped flag, which is also the flag of Lashkar-i-Taiba, proscribed as a terrorist outfit by Pakistan. In December 2009, the UN declared JD an alias of LT, which was responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks. Some in the crowd also waved the flag of Sipah-i-Sahaba, another banned terrorist outfit ‘Difa-i-Pakistan Jihad-i-fi Sabilillah Se Hoga’ (Pakistan’s defence is only possible through Jihad) proclaimed a huge banner, decorated with images of missiles, tanks and fighter jets, that formed the backdrop to the stage.
Hafiz Saeed declared that Jihad was obligatory for Muslims. He alleged that USA had tasked Israel to take out Pakistan’s nuclear assets but was now planning do the job itself. The Hafiz warned that if Americans dared to invade Pakistan, they would be resisted and annihilated.  He demanded that the Pakistani Government end all contacts with the US. “We will no longer fight America’s war, we will fight Pakistan’s war,” he said. Reiterating his  firm support for Jihad in Kashmir he said  “We were with Kashmiris and are with Kashmiris,” he said. Declaring his opposition  to grant most-favoured nation trading status to India. He threatened that “We will surround the markets where Indian goods are sold,”  adding a call for revenge against India for the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan.
Significantly, Abdul Rehman Makki  a co conspirator in Mumbai carnage announced that the participants wielding JD flags had been trained to use rifles and Kalashnikovs. “When they head towards India with weapons, no one can resist them,” In short JD and LET were one and the same. The rally was also addressed by former Ministers Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Ijazul Haq, son of the late dictator Gen Ziaul Haq.
Parents of ‘Mujahids’ killed fighting in Kashmir and Afghanistan were prominently seated. A man who had lost three sons and two nephews was invited to the dais to speak . From the stage, men on loudspeakers led the crowd in chants of ‘Sabilina Sabilina, al Jihad Al Jihad’, ‘India ka aik ilaaj, al jihad al jihad’.  Humeira Iqtidar in “Secularizing Islamists”, a study of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) cited the case  of a woman activist  in the JUD who had sent two of her sons to fight and die in Kashmir. “Of course, who wants to send their children under a rain of bullets? The same children that we protect from ills and injuries when they are home.” Iqtidar quotes the woman as saying. “Have we been left with any other option now (as Muslims)?… Shahadat (martyrdom) is the only weapon we have to fight American control of our societies.”
These developments in Pakistan translated into hate India campaign and accelerated, upgraded aggressive cross border terrorist strikes by Border Action Teams, the kind we have just witnessed in Arnia and Uri. In the hinterland there are clear indications of enhanced and targeted terrorist hits specially directed at political activists, Panchayat functionaries and policemen backed by street action. Pakistan cannot and should not be expected to sit back and watch happening in Kashmir post State Assembly elections. Calibrated and consistent war like thrusts and internal subversion and sabotage are very much  on the cards. The Indian state must quickly factor in these vital and dangerous elements into  an  updated Security Doctrine and calculated and refined diplomatic moves. The speed, seriousness and timing are of essence.

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