B.Raman, Feb. 2000

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, India.)


Pakistani State-sponsorship of insurgencies and terrorism against the Govt. of India dates from 1957.  Initially; this was confined to support for the Naga and Mizo insurgencies. Then, it was extended to the Sikh extremist groups in the Punjab and the Kashmiri extremists in J & K. This has now been further expanded to cover assistance to any alienated group in India. Whereas in the pre-1990 period, Pakistan's tactical repertoire consisted essentially of training and arms assistance to indigenous insurgent and terrorist groups in India, since 1990, it has been infiltrating Pakistani and other foreign mercenaries in large numbers into Jammu & Kashmir, initially to beef up the indigenous groups and, subsequently, to marginalise them and take over the leadership from them.  What we are facing in Kashmir today is not indigenous terrorism, but undeclared incremental invasion from across the border.  Kashmir is only a pretext and a bilaterally negotiated settlement of the differences is unlikely to lead to an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.  Pakistan looks upon terrorism as a political tool to frustrate India's aspirations of emerging as a major regional power, as an equaliser to neutralise the quantitative and qualitative superiority of the Indian armed forces over their Pakistani counterparts, and as a para-military weapon to keep the Indian army bleeding and preoccupied with internal security duties, in the hope that this would ultimately contribute to the over-all weakening and break-up of India. UN Resolutions and declarations of various member-states of the international community recognise State-sponsored terrorism as indirect aggression. The evolution of counter-terrorism strategy vis--vis State-sponsored terrorism has been in the direction of the recognition of the need for a policy of active defence, which does not exclude political (diplomatic), economic, para-military and military retaliatory options as against the past policies of passive defence, which laid stress on protective and defensive measures to deny success to the State-sponsor.  The policy of active defence is based on a recognition of the need not only to deny success to the State-sponsor, but also to hurt and continue hurting the State-sponsor politically, economically, para-militarily and militarily till it abandons its sponsorship.   Political and diplomatic options work, only if they are backed by the threat of para-military and military retaliatory options, if the former fail. India's policy till now has been to rely essentially on the political and diplomatic options.  It needs to be examined whether the time has come for bringing the para-military and military options into our counter-terrorism tactical repertoire and, if so, whether this should be through a formal declaration of our intention to exercise these options in future or whether the options should be exercised covertly and non-conventionally without an overt declaration of a change of policy.   The USA and Israel follow a policy of an overtly declared retaliatory determination depending on the circumstances.  They can afford to do so because none of the State-sponsors, confronting them, is a nuclear power and, even in respect of conventional military strength, there is a large asymmetry in their favour.  They can, therefore, ensure that the exercise of the para-military and military retaliatory options does not lead to an uncontrollable military escalation.   India faces constraints due to Pakistan being a nuclear power and the conventional asymmetry in India's favour being not as great as in the case of the US and Israel.   Keeping these constraints in view, an appropriate response for India would be a mix continued diplomatic offensive to have international sanctions imposed against Pakistan and a simultaneous undeclared policy of economic and para-military retaliatory options.


 Pakistani State-sponsorship of insurgencies and terrorism against the Govt. of India dates from 1957 and has passed through the following stages:

STAGE I: 1957 to 1965

During this period, the Pakistani intelligence services assisted the Naga hostiles by providing them with sanctuaries in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of the then East Pakistan where training was imparted and arms and ammunition were supplied to them.  The Naga gangs used to travel to the CHT via the Upper Chindwin District and the then Chin Hills Special Division of Myanmar.  The Govt. of India repeatedly took up the matter with the Ne Win Government, which had seized power in Yangon in 1962. After repeated prodding by the Govt. of India, the Myanmarese Army started intercepting the gangs and inflicting heavy casualties on them. By 1965, the Naga hostiles found it increasingly difficult to go across to the CHT through Myanmarese territory.

STAGE II: 1965 to 1977

There were three important developments during this period:

*  First, in view of the difficulties faced by the Naga hostiles in traversing the Myanmarese territory, the Pakistani intelligence put them in touch with the Chinese intelligence which, in 1968, opened training camps for them in Yunnan. The first Naga gang led by Mowu Angami crossed over into Myanmar in the last week of October, 1968, and after a journey of four months, reached Yunnan in February, 1969, with the help of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).  Thereafter, Naga gangs started going to Yunnan regularly for training and arms procurement. The Myanmarese Army had difficulty in stopping the traffic due to its weak control over the Kachin State.

*  Second, after the Indian Army re-captured control of Aizawl in Mizoram from the Mizo National Front (MNF) in 1966, the latter, headed by Laldenga, moved over to the CHT and set up its headquarters there. The Pakistani intelligence trained the Mizo hostiles in the CHT camps and gave them arms and ammunition.   During the war of December 1971, which led to the liberation of Bangladesh, an Indian special forces unit raided the MNF camps in the CHT only to find that before they could reach there, the Mizos had dispersed. Laldenga and his associates had crossed over into Akyab in the then Arakan Division of Myanmar. From there, they went to Yangon and were taken to Karachi by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The ISI put them in touch with the Chinese Intelligence. While the latter agreed to train them too in Yunnan, the Mizos had difficulty in travelling to Yunnan, since the Myanmarese Army had better control over the Chin Hills Special Division. Hence, not many Mizos were trained by the Chinese.   By 1975, Laldenga got disillusioned with Pakistan, clandestinely crossed over into Afghanistan via Peshawar and proceeded to Geneva from Kabul and started his peace talks with the Govt. of India. .

*  Third, after the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965, the ISI established contact with Charanjit Singh Panchi of the UK and his associates, who were critical of what they regarded as the unhelpful attitude of the Govt. of India in taking up their problems with the British authorities and encouraged the activities of the Sikh Homeland Movement, which was a precursor of the so-called Khalistan movement. After the fall of the United Front Government in Punjab, which came to power in 1967 and of which he was a Minister, Dr. Jagjit Singh Chohan went to London in 1970, captured the leadership of the Sikh Homeland Movement and re-named it as the Khalistan movement. In 1971, Dr.Chohan visited Pakistan from London and was lionised by Yahya Khan and the Pakistani Army as the "Father of the Sikh Nation". Before the war of December, 1971, he also visited New York at the instance of the ISI and some aides in the office of Dr. Henry Kissinger, the then US National Security Adviser, to address press conferences and meetings on the alleged violations of the human rights of the Sikhs in India. Pakistan and Dr.Kissinger's office used Dr.Chohan to divert attention from India's campaign against Pakistan on the alleged violations of the human rights of the Bengalis of East Pakistan. Pakistan's propaganda support to the Khalistan movement continued after the liberation of Bangladesh.

STAGE III: 1977 to 1985

In 1979, Deng Xiao-ping ordered the discontinuance of Chinese training assistance to the insurgents of India's North-East as part of his policy of stopping the export of the Communist revolution. That marked the end of the collaboration of the ISI and the Chinese intelligence in training the insurgents of the North-East. However, the Governments, which came to power in Dacca after the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in August 1975, started co-operating with the ISI in helping the Nagas and insurgent groups from Manipur.

The advent of the late Zia-ul-Haq to power in 1977 saw the ISI encouraging the emergence of new extremist leaders in the Sikh community. The most important of them were Ganga Singh Dhillon of the Nankana Sahib Foundation, Washington, and Gajender Singh of the Dal Khalsa. Zia developed a strong dislike for Chohan and preferred Dhillon, whose second wife and Zia's wife had studied together in a school in Nairobi and had thus become close friends. During Zia's visits to Washington, his daughter, who was mentally handicapped, used to stay with the Dhillons, who arranged for her medical treatment.  The resulting close friendship between the two families led to Zia ordering the ISI to shift its assistance to Dhillon and those recommended by him. Gajender Singh came into contact with the ISI through the intermediary of Dhillon.

The ISI's training of Dal Khalsa activists in Pakistani camps started in 1980 and this assistance was extended in subsequent years to the recruits of other organisations also such as the Babbar Khalsa, the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) etc. Between 1981 and 1984, the Dal Khalsa, acting either alone or in co-operation with other groups, hijacked five aircraft of the Indian Airlines to Lahore--one each in 1981 and 1984 and three in 1982. The plane of 1981 was allowed by the Pakistani authorities to land in Lahore where they terminated the hijacking and ostensibly arrested Gajender Singh and his associates, but they did not keep them in jail. They allowed them to stay in the Nankana Sahib gurudwara of Lahore and guide, from there, the activities of the Dal Khalsa in the Punjab.

The three planes hijacked in 1982 were denied permission to land in Lahore and returned to Amritsar, where the hijacking was terminated by the Indian authorities. The plane hijacked in 1984 was allowed to land in Lahore and, subsequently, the Pakistani authorities persuaded the hijackers to take it to Dubai where the hijacking was terminated. At Lahore, the ISI found that the hijackers had only a toy pistol. It, therefore, gave them a German pistol with ammunition. The pistol was seized from the hijackers by the Dubai authorities and handed over to the Govt. of India.  On a reference, the German authorities certified that the pistol was part of a consignment supplied to the Pakistan Government by the German manufacturers.

The matter was taken up by the Govt. of India with the Reagan Administration.  It led to two results. First, Gajender Singh and his associates were removed from the Nankana Sahib to the Lahore jail, tried and sentenced to imprisonment, on the completion of which they were expelled from Pakistan. Second, all hijackings by Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups ceased till the recent hijacking of an IA plane by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM).

However, this had no impact on the continued training of Sikh extremists belonging to different organisations in Pakistani camps and the supply of arms and ammunition to them. In fact, this was stepped up after the raid on the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the Army under Operation Blue Star in June 1984.  Many leaders of the Sikh terrorist organisations were allowed to take up residence in Lahore and co-ordinate from there the terrorist activities of their organisations in Punjab.

STAGE IV: 1985 to 1990

During this period, while the training and arms supply for the Sikh extremists was stepped up, the ISI started the training of the cadres of the extremist organisations of Jammu & Kashmir too in large numbers in camps in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), after which they were sent to Afghanistan for gaining first-hand experience of guerilla warfare from the Afghan Mujahideen.

Earlier, in January 1971, Hashim Quereshi, then of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and his brother Ashraf had hijacked an IA plane to Lahore where they were lionised by the Pakistani authorities. They persuaded the hijackers to release the passengers and crew who were sent by road to Amritsar.  The ISI then handed over to the hijackers explosives with which they blew up the aircraft.  In retaliation, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, stopped all Pakistani over-flights to East Pakistan, creating logistic difficulties for the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan. Thereafter, the ISI had avoided any further assistance to the Kashmiri extremists till 1985.

Till 1990, the ISI trained whoever went to the POK from J & K irrespective of the organisation to which he belonged and gave them arms and ammunition.

After the fiasco of an ISI-mounted operation against the troops of the Najibullah Govt. of Afghanistan in Jalalabad in February 1989, Benazir Bhutto, the then Prime Minister, appointed Major-Gen.Kallue (since dead), a close friend of her father, as the Director-General of the ISI in replacement of Lt.Gen. Hamid Gul and asked him to stop assisting the Sikh extremists while continuing to train the Kashmiri groups.   Nawaz Sharif, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, ordered the Special Branch of the Punjab Police, to take over the responsibility for the continued training of the Sikh extremists and for the supply of arms and ammunition.  Many ex-ISI officers were inducted into the Special Branch for this purpose.  After the dismissal of Benazir in August 1990, the ISI resumed its control over the training of the Sikh extremists.

STAGE V: 1990 to 1993

Alarmed by the popularity of the JKLF, which advocated independence for J & K, the ISI, with the approval of Nawaz Sharif, who had become Prime Minister in end-1990, reduced assistance to the JKLF and started giving training and arms and ammunition only to groups recommended by the Jamaat-e-Islami, which advocated J & K's merger with Pakistan.  The foremost amongst these groups was the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Another reason for the ISI's decision to marginalise the JKLF was the fact that Amanullah Khan, the leader of the Pakistan-based faction of the JKLF, is a Gilgiti (a Sunni from Gilgit).  The ISI was worried over the impact of the popularity of the JKLF on the situation in the Northern Areas (Gilgit and Baltistan), which were already rocked by violent anti-Shia incidents since August 1988.

Even before 1992, small numbers of Pakistani and other foreign mercenaries had started infiltrating into Jammu & Kashmir, at the ISI's instance, to beef up the pro-Pakistan extremist groups.  This trend increased after the collapse of the Najibullah Government in Kabul in April 1992. Pakistani mercenary groups such as the HUM (then known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant wing of the Markaz Dawa Al Irshad, shifted from Afghanistan to the POK and started intensifying the infiltration of the mercenaries into J & K.  The leadership of the movement started passing into the hands of these mercenaries.

In 1991, the Govt. of India gave to the US a detailed dossier on Pakistani-sponsorship of terrorism in Indian territory and sought the declaration of Pakistan as a State-sponsor of international terrorism as provided under the US laws.   The Bush administration rejected the dossier under the pretext that much of the evidence was based on interrogation reports which were, in the eyes of the US law, suspect due to the possible use of torture by the Indian police.

However, after an attack in 1992 on a group of Israeli tourists in Srinagar by the Kashmiri extremists on the ISI's instructions, George Bush, then in the midst of his campaign for re-election, came under pressure from the Jewish lobbies to act against Pakistan.  He ordered a re-examination of the dossier by the State Department, which now felt there were, after all, strong grounds for action against Pakistan.

Before the re-examination was completed, Bush had lost his election and he, therefore, left the dossier to his successor, Bill Clinton, for decision. After assuming office in January 1993, Clinton placed Pakistan and Sudan on the so-called watch list of suspected State-sponsors of international terrorism for six months without actually declaring them to be so.

STAGE VI:  1993 to 1998

There were four important developments in 1993.

*  First, since 1991, the ISI had been repeatedly pressing the Sikh extremist leaders to attack important economic targets outside Punjab and New Delhi, but they were unable to do so. Taking advantage of the strong anti-Government feelings amongst some sections of the Muslim community in Mumbai after the communal incidents of December 1992, the ISI asked Dawood Ibrahim, a notorious narcotics smuggler then living in Dubai and now in Karachi, to recruit disgruntled members of the Muslim community of Mumbai and bring them to Pakistan via Dubai for training.  He did so and they were trained in the use of explosives and asked to cause explosions directed against economic targets such as the Stock Exchange, the Air India office etc.  Explosives and other arms and ammunition were sent for them clandestinely by boat from Karachi.   After these explosions in March 1993, Austrian counter-terrorism experts certified that the hand-grenades given to the terrorists by the ISI had been manufactured in a Pakistan ordnance factory with the help of machine tools and technology supplied by an Austrian company.  US counter-terrorism experts certified that an unused chemical timer recovered by the Mumbai Police was part of a consignment supplied by the US Army to Pakistan's. After the explosions, the terrorists fled to Karachi via Kathmandu. The Govt. of India pressed the Clinton Administration once again to declare Pakistan as a State-sponsor of international terrorism. At Washington's request, the US Consulate in Karachi started making enquiries about the presence of these terrorists in Karachi. The ISI, thereupon, took all of them to Bangkok and kept them in a hotel there till the enquiries of the US Consulate had ceased and then brought them back to Karachi.

*  Second, on receipt of information that after the collapse of the Najibullah Government in Kabul, different Afghan Mujahideen groups were trying to sell their surplus stocks of Stinger missiles to whoever could afford to buy them, the USA's Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sent a special team to Peshawar to persuade the Mujahideen to sell the Stingers back to the US.  It sought the co-operation of Lt.Gen. (retd) Javed.Nasir, the DG ISI, and his officers in this matter, but they were reportedly unhelpful. Moreover, at the instance of Osama bin Laden, the HUM sent a group headed by Maulana Masood Azhar (who was released from jail by the Govt. of India on December 31,1999, in response to the demand of the HUM hijackers who hijacked an IA plane to Kandahar) to Kenya and Somalia, firstly, to persuade the Pakistani members of the UN peace-keeping force not to fight against the Somali insurgent groups and, secondly, to help the Somali insurgents in their fight against the UN troops, particularly the Americans. This HUM contingent was responsible for some of the attacks on the Americans, which subsequently led to the withdrawal of the US troops from Somalia.

*  Third, in Pakistan, there is an organisation called the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ), whose ostensible objective is Islamic preaching and conversion of non-Muslims to Islam.  Most of the members of the Pakistan-based terrorist organisations such as the HUM, the Markaz, the Lashkar, the Sipah-e-Sahaba etc were recruited by them from amongst the cadres of the TJ, who are known for their strong Islamic motivation and dedication. The Pakistan Govt. Service Conduct Rules consider the TJ as an Islamic cultural and religious and not a political organisation and, as such, there is no ban on Govt.servants, including the members of the armed forces, joining this organisation even while in service.  Amongst senior army officers, who are also members of the TJ and participate in its activities during week-ends and their annual vacation, are Lt.Gen. (retd) Nasir, Lt.Gen.Mohd Aziz, who was Deputy DG of the ISI till February 1999 and, in that capacity handled the Taliban and bin Laden and who is now Chief of the General Staff (CGS) in the GHQ at Rawalpindi and continues to handle the Taliban and bin Laden, and Lt.Gen. Zaffar Usmani, the CO of the 5 Corps of the Pakistan army at Karachi.  Amongst the Pakistani Islamic organisations, which have made the maximum penetration in the armed forces are the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI), the TJ and the Tanzeem-al-Ikhwan led by Maulana Akram Awan whom Khaled Ahmed, the Executive Editor of the "Friday Times", Karachi, describes as Pakistan's "most aggressive religious leader" (See "On the Abyss--Pakistan after the Coup" published by Harper Collins, India).  Since the JEI is considered a political party, there is a ban on serving Govt. servants joining it. So, its activities amongst serving military officers are clandestine. Like the TJ, the Tanzeem is also considered a cultural and religious organisation and, hence, there is no ban on serving Govt. servants joining it. Since 1992, there were reports that at the instance of Lt.Gen.Nasir, the TJ had started sending out its cadres to Chechnya, Dagestan, Tajikistan and other Central Asian Republics and southern Philippines ostensibly on proselytising missions, but really to recruit volunteers for being trained and armed so that they could start a jihad against the Governments of those countries.  The Filipino authorities noted with alarm the steep increase in the visits of TJ "preachers" and their contacts with the leaders of the Abu Sayaaf and other Muslim extremist groups.  The CIA was alarmed by these reports.

*  Fourth, in May 1993, the CIA was in receipt of reports that the arms and ammunition found on board the LTTE ship, in which Kittu was travelling and which was intercepted by the Indian Navy, had been given to the LTTE by Pakistani narcotics barons in return for the LTTE allowing the use of its ships registered in Greece by these barons for smuggling heroin to Western countries and that the weapons were loaded on to the ship at Karachi with the assistance of the ISI and the Pakistan Navy.  The ISI's action totally defied logic since Islamabad had cordial relations with Colombo and the LTTE was massacring the Muslims of Sri Lanka's Eastern Province.  Nawaz Sharif was shocked when told about this by the US Embassy in Islamabad because the ISI, which had kept him informed of its operations in Indian territory, had kept him in the dark on its assistance to the LTTE.

Following these developments, the Clinton Administration demanded that Sharif should remove from the ISI Lt.Gen. Nasir and other officers involved in promoting terrorism and in encouraging the Afghan Mujahideen not to sell back their Stingers to the US.  Islamabad succumbed to the pressure and removed them. Lt.Gen. Nasir promptly took over as the head of the TJ and continued to assist the Islamic extremist groups abroad in that capacity.

It looked as if the US, despite their removal, might still declare Pakistan a State-sponsor of international terrorism. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 21,1993, James Woolsey, the then CIA Director, said: " Pakistan has supported Muslim militants and Sikh separatists waging terror campaigns against the Indian Government in the States of Kashmir and Punjab.  Sudan is the host of a growing number of terrorist groups such as the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah, the Palestinian Abu Nidal Organisation and the radical Muslim Hamas movement. Sudan and Pakistan, while not yet on the State Department's list of State-sponsors (of terrorism), are on the brink. Last January, the US warned each of these countries that it could soon be listed." Details of his testimony were carried by the "Chicago Tribune" of April 22,1993.

But, by then, Sharif's troubles with the then President, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and the then Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Gen. Abdul Waheed Kakkar, had started and it was evident that his days as the Prime Minister were numbered.

Benazir Bhutto, the then Leader of the Opposition, sent urgent private messages to the White House through her American friends that she hoped to win the elections and that on her return to power she would stop the ISI activities in support of terrorism.

In response to her message, the White House over-ruled the recommendation of the Counter-Terrorism Division of the CIA to declare Pakistan a State-sponsor of international terrorism and removed Pakistan even from the watch list of suspected State-sponsors of international terrorism on July 14, 1993, on the ground that the Pakistan Govt. had taken some corrective steps with which the US was satisfied. Sudan was declared a State-sponsor of international terrorism.

A detailed Press briefing on this subject was held by Mike McCurry, the then spokesman of the State Department, on July 15,1993. The text of the briefing was carried by the "Dawn" of Karachi on July 16,1993. The "Dawn's" report quoted McCurry as saying: " In the last six months we have seen a willingness on their (Pakistan's) part to work with us on this issue, that they have addressed some of the concerns that we have raised with them in the past and they are co-operating with us in getting additional information to us about issues that we have raised as recently as in the annual terrorism report that we released in April. So, I would describe as being much more co-operative on the specific issue of acts of international terrorism, which is what the statute requires."

One of the American correspondents asked McCurry whether the decision to let Pakistan off the hook was because Washington did not want to alienate an important Muslim country of the region.  McCurry replied as follows: "The Secretary (of State) followed the letter of the law in this case and that's the most important criteria.  But, obviously, any decision like this that's very important, the full range of criteria that might be considered are under review."

McCurry evaded questions to spell out the US concerns, which Pakistan had addressed satisfactorily, as claimed by the State Department.  However, a joint analysis by R.Jeffrey Smith and Thomas W.Lippman carried by the "Washington Post" of July 15,1993, stated as follows:

"Pakistan's alleged links to terrorism had initially aroused US concerns last year. The Clinton Administration began a special intelligence community study of the matter this spring after receiving what officials said were credible reports of Islamabad's involvement in terrorism.

" In particular, officials said, Pakistani intelligence and army operatives had funneled money and arms and provided training to Muslim and Sikh militants who opposed India's rule of Kashmir and Punjab in 1991 and 1992. US officials also accused the (Pakistan) Government of permitting Islamic fundamentalists, who had been involved in the Afghanistan conflict, to engage in terrorist activities in other nations from sanctuary in Pakistan.

" He (McCurry) declined to state exactly what steps Pakistan had taken, but other US officials said the Pakistani Government appears to have ended some of its ties to suspected terrorists and had fired a senior Pakistani intelligence official linked to terrorists in Kashmir.

"At the same time, US officials said, not all of the evidence pointed toward exoneration. Washington has received conflicting reports, for example, about Pakistani involvement in a series of bombings that destroyed buildings in Bombay last March and US officials have been unable to reach a conclusion about who was responsible.

"US officials also are not convinced that army and intelligence employees are complying with what one official called a new attitude by the Pakistani leadership towards curtailing support for terrorism."They are just beginning to reorganise the intelligence agency," the officials said.

" McCurry said the US is still awaiting a fuller account of Pakistan's response to American concerns.

" Pakistan has denied supporting terrorists, but admitted taking steps to respond to US concerns. "We flushed out all those groups, who were said to have taken part in international terrorism," said Malik Zahoor, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy here (in Washington). " Those people were initially helping us in Afghanistan which was our cause and the cause of the US," he said. But when "they tried to pursue their targets internationally, we rounded up those who we could lay our hands on and sent them to their respective countries."

The "Washington Post" continued: " Zahoor also confirmed that the US had "shown to us certain concerns" about Gen. Javed Nasir, the Director-General of Pakistan's Intelligence Directorate and said that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had subsequently decided to sack Nasir."

Much later, on October 18, 1995, the "Nation" of Pakistan quoted another report of the "Washington Post" as stating that Pakistani officials investigating a plot by a group of army officers led by Maj-Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam Abbasi to stage a coup against Benazir had "found evidence that the religiously-motivated officers (involved in the plot) had strong personal connections" with Lt.Gen.Nasir. Amongst the reasons for his removal in 1993 cited by the "Washington Post" as quoted by the "Nation" was "because he was providing covert military support to Muslim rebels in about a dozen countries" and after his removal he had been travelling worldwide (as TJ leader) preaching militant Islam.

Benazir, who returned to power end-1993, did co-operate with Washington in acting against narcotics barons and terrorists in whom the US was interested, but went back on her assurance to the White House to stop the ISI's support to terrorism in India and other countries. All that she did was:

* First, asked the ISI to interact with the terrorist groups indirectly through cut-outs such as the JEI, the HUM, the Markaz, the Lashkar etc, instead of directly as in the past.

* Second, persuaded the HUM, the Markaz, the Lashkar and the Hizbul Mujahideen to shift their training camps to Afghan territory under the ISI's control.

*  Third, entrusted Maj-Gen. (retd) Nasirullah Babar, her Interior Minister, who had headed the Afghan Division of the ISI when her father was the Prime Minister, with the responsibility for overseeing the ISI activities so that unauthorised rogue actions like the ISI helping the LTTE did not occur again.

Extremist elements from Kashmir and other parts of India continued going to the training camps in Afghan territory and the infiltration of Pakistani and other mercenaries into Kashmir was intensified.

In an intervention in the House of Representatives on June 22,1994, Bill McCollum drew attention to Benazir going back on her words.  He said: " I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a very important matter. The role of Pakistan in aiding and abetting terrorism in Kashmir is well documented, so much so that the administration almost placed the Pakistani regime on the 1993 list of State-sponsors of terrorism.  However, the administration did not take such action because it was assured by Pakistan that Islamabad was taking credible steps to dissociate itself from the militants in Kashmir.

" Recent reports, however, suggest that Pakistan never stopped its aid to the terrorists in Kashmir. A report in the Washington Post, dated May 16, 1994, titled "Pakistan Aiding Rebels in Kashmir: Muslims Reportedly Armed And Trained" by John Word Anderson, datelined Muzaffarabad, gives a first hand account of such assistance by Pakistan to terrorists in Kashmir.

"The State Department has also confirmed this fact in its annual report titled "Patterns of Global Terrorism". I quote: " There were credible reports in 1993 of official Pakistani support to Kashmiri militants."

"This fact is further confirmed from a study conducted by the "Task Force on Terrorism And Unconventional Warfare" titled "The Kashmir Connection", which I would like to place in the record, immediately following these remarks which details the extent of Pakistani involvement in aiding the terrorists in Kashmir.

"This House should take cognisance of this serious issue, particularly as some of those indicted in the bombing of the World Trade Center (at New York in February 1993) had also received training in Pakistan. "

There were certain special reasons as to why Benazir went back on her words with the acquiescence of the Clinton Administration:

*  First, of the two principal non-Shia Islamic political parties of Pakistan, the JEI was strongly opposed to her and questioned the right of a woman to rule an Islamic country whereas the Jamaat-ul-Ulema Islam (JUI) (with a strong Wahabi influence) led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman supported her. The Maulana is the godfather of the HUM, the Markaz and the Lashkar and was strongly opposed to any restrictions on their activities.

*  Second, the Benazir Govt. as well as the Clinton Administration used the Maulana in end-1994 to create the Taliban from out of students of the Wahabi madrasas under the control of the JUI and help it win control of the Afghan territory through which the road to Turkmenistan via Herat passes in order to pave the way for the construction of an oil and gas pipeline by the UNOCAL, a powerful US company, from Turkmenistan to Pakistan.  The trained cadres of the HUM and the Lashkar, along with regular Pakistani troops, helped the Taliban in the capture of Herat and subsequently, in 1996, of Jalalabad and Kabul.  The UNOCAL had reportedly contributed heavily to the campaign funds of Bush as well as Clinton in 1992 and amongst the large number of consultants used by it in connection with the project were Senator Hank Brown, who moved the amendment named after him in 1995 to dilute the Pressler Amendment sanctions against Pakistan, and Dr. Kissinger.  Speaking at a reception hosted by the UNOCAL at New York on October 21,1995, to mark the successful completion of the negotiations with Turkmenistan, Dr.Kissinger, in an oblique reference to Benazir's help in having the area cleared by the Taliban to facilitate the pipeline, praised Benazir, who was represented at the function by Makhdoom Amin Fahim, her Oil Minister, for "her imaginative and courageous decision " to go ahead with the project in spite of the disturbed conditions in Afghanistan. He described her action as one of "great historical significance." However, subsequently, UNOCAL had difficulties in its negotiations with the Taliban and abandoned the project when the Taliban regime became unpopular in the West because of its violation of the human rights of women. The HUM and the Lashkar had been functioning from Afghan territory since 1994 and assisting the Taliban and bin Laden and his Al Qaeda had shifted to Afghanistan from the Sudan in the first half of 1996.   The Clinton Administration did not make an issue of this with the Taliban so long as UNOCAL retained its interest in the pipeline project for which it needed the Taliban's help. Once UNOCAL lost interest, Washington started pressurising the Taliban to act against bin Laden and other terrorist groups operating from Afghan territory.

In October 1997, the State Department declared the HUM (then known as the Harkat-ul-Ansar) as an international terrorist organisation under its laws following evidence of its involvement in the kidnapping of some Western tourists, including two Americans, under the name Al Faran in 1995 and in the murder of some American nationals in Karachi.  Thereafter, it started exercising pressure on Islamabad to act against it.  This was intensified in 1998 after the HUM signed bin Laden's fatwa against the US and Israel. This matter was again taken up recently after the hijacking of the IA plane to Kandahar by five Pakistani terrorists of the HUM. Neither Benazir nor Sharif nor Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the present Chief Executive, has paid any heed to the US requests. When the Sudan failed to act on US requests to wind up the training camps of the Hezbollah and other organisations in its territory, the US declared it a State-sponsor of international terrorism in July 1993. Pakistan has been repeatedly ignoring the US requests since 1997 to act against the HUM, but Washington has chosen not to act against Islamabad. However, the US bombings of August 1998, on Afghanistan after the explosions in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam targeted the training camps of the HUM too, inflicting large casualties.


This period saw the return of Lt.Gen. Nasir to favour, without any protest from Washington.  He was appointed by Nawaz Sharif as his intelligence adviser. Not only that.  He made Lt.Gen.Nasir the head of the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, which is responsible for the control of the gurudwaras in Pakistan, in an attempt to revive Sikh militancy in the Punjab.

In February 1999, when pressure from the US for acting against bin Laden and the terrorist groups operating from Afghan territory increased, Nawaz Sharif approved a plan submitted by Gen. Musharraf for shifting the HUM, the Lashkar and the Al Badr terrorists from their camps in Afghanistan to the Northern Areas and use them to help the Pakistan army in the capture of the ridges in the Kargil area.

At the height of the Kargil fighting, the Indian authorities intercepted a telephone conversation between Lt.Gen. Mohd Aziz in Rawalpindi and Gen. Musharraf, who was then in Beijing on a visit. By then, the US and other Western countries had started pressing Sharif to order the withdrawal of the intruders from Indian territory.  Sharif was also apparently worried over the control of the Pakistan Army over the terrorists brought from Afghanistan. Lt.Gen.Aziz could be heard in the tape telling Gen.Musharraf that he assured Sharif that "the scruff of their neck is in our hands", meaning the terrorists would do whatever the Pakistan army asked them to do.

Ten weeks after Gen. Musharraf seized power, the HUM hijacked the IA aircraft to Kandahar. This was the first hijacking by a Pakistan-sponsored terrorist group since 1984.  There have been seven hijackings of IA aircraft by Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups since 1971. All the seven of them were carried out when the army was in power---five under Zia and one each under Yahya Khan and Gen. Musharraf.

In response to US concerns over acts of terrorism from Pakistani territory, Gen. Musharraf has made a number of statements on this subject. From a careful study of these statements, it is evident that while he is willing to co-operate with the US in acting against acts of terrorism directed against US and other foreign interests, he considers acts of terrorism against Indian targets as acts of jihad and hence is not prepared to stop them in view of the sacred duty of the Muslims to wage jihad against what they look upon as their oppressors.  He has added that he is opposed to hijacking even as part of a jihad and claims that he would act against the hijackers, if found in Pakistani territory.  However, he has given no indication of a sincere search for the hijackers.


Pakistani assistance for the anti-Government of India activities of alienated sections of the Indian society was not due only to its revanchist spirit following its loss of the then East Pakistan in December 1971, as is often presumed by many analysts.

It was initially the outcome of an assessment made by the Pakistani intelligence community in the early 1950s that keeping India destabilised and its military preoccupied with internal security duties would be one way of neutralising, at little cost, the superiority of the Indian armed forces over their Pakistani counterpart.

This assessment and the political implications of Pakistani support to Indian insurgent and terrorist groups had often been questioned by the Pakistani political leaders whenever they came to power--- by the late Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto in 1972,by Benazir Bhutto in 1988 when she feared that Pakistan's playing "the Sikh card" against India might force the latter to retaliate with the "Sindh card", and again in 1993, when the US started pressurising Islamabad to discontinue this policy, and by Nawaz Sharif during his two tenures as Prime Minister .

On each occasion, the ISI and the military leadership managed to convince the political leadership that keeping India destabilised and the Indian military preoccupied with internal security duties would be equivalent to the "Pakistan army having two extra divisions at no cost" as Lt.Gen.Hamid Gul, the ISI Director-General in the 1980s, once put it to Mrs. Bhutto and that giving up this policy would entail a further increase in their defence budget.

The post-1971 revanchist spirit provided further justification to this policy, which was projected thereafter as also a means of repairing Pakistan's injured pride due to the humiliation of December 1971, pre-empting any Indian move to further break up Pakistan and frustrating what Islamabad regards as India's hegemonistic ambitions.

Even after Pakistan achieved, in its mind, a psychological parity with India following its acquisition of the military nuclear and missile capabilities, the need to prevent India from emerging as the paramount military and economic power of the region by keeping its army bleeding in internal security duties has become the obsessive preoccupation of its military leadership.

Before seizing political power on October 12,1999, Gen. Musharraf had himself underlined on many occasions the need to keep the Indian army continuously bleeding just as the Afghan Mujahideen, with US and Pakistani assistance, had kept the Soviet troops bleeding.  It is apparently his calculation that such a policy could ultimately weaken the unity and integrity of India just as the bleeding of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan contributed to the USSR break-up.

Azhar Abbas, the reputed Pakistani columnist, wrote in the May 1999, issue of the "Herald", the monthly journal of the "Dawn" group of Karachi, as follows: " The army appears convinced of the wisdom of keeping India bleeding in Kashmir.  As long as India is busy in Kashmir, it cannot have a three to one ratio, which is needed for an aggressive force.

"Several retired army officers believe that the new army chief is far more assertive than his predecessor and, in the event of the Nawaz Government taking issue with the new doctrine (relating to India), is unlikely to bow out as easily as Karamat. This points to troubled civil-military relations in the future."

Gen.Musharraf told the Karachi branch of Pakistan's English-speaking Union on April 12,1999, ("Nation" of April 14) that even a bilaterally-negotiated solution to the Kashmir issue might not normalise relations with India since Pakistan would continue to be a thorn on India's side by frustrating its hegemonistic ambitions and this would make India continue with its policy of weakening Pakistan.


Thus, faced with Pakistani State-sponsorship of insurgencies and terrorism against India for 43 years, what are India's rights of riposte under international law and conventions and in the opinion of foreign experts?

A Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the UN approved by the UN General Assembly on October 24,1970, has laid down that "every State has the duty to refrain from organising, instigating, assisting or participating in acts of civil strife or terrorist acts in another State or acquiescing in organised activities within its territory directed towards the commission of such acts."

Subsequently, while speaking during a debate on another Declaration on the strengthening of International Security, which was passed as Resolution No.2734 on December 16,1970, delegates from the US, the UK, Canada, Italy, Australia, Japan and the then USSR described the sponsoring by a State of acts of terrorism against another State as indirect aggression.

In a testimony on November 17,1983, before the US Department of Defence Commission on the Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act of October 23,1983, headed by Admiral Robert L.J.Long (retd) of the US Navy, Brian Michael Jenkins, a counter-terrorism expert of the Rand Corporation, said: " A growing number of Governments themselves are using terrorist tactics, employing terrorist groups or exploiting terrorist incidents as a mode of surrogate warfare. These Governments see in terrorism a useful capability, a weapons system, a cheap means of waging war

"Terrorists offer a possible alternative to open armed conflict. For some nations unable to mount a conventional military challenge, terrorism is the only alternative, an equaliser.

" If more Governments begin not only to support terrorist tactics, but also to use them openly, and the international community fails to impose effective sanctions, military force may become the only means of combating terrorism."

He listed the various retaliatory options available to the victim-State as a show or demonstration of force, selective targeting, lateral attacks (on terrorist training camps), support of dissidents in the territory of the State-sponsor and full-scale military operations, in very extreme cases, ranging from a naval blockade to invasion.

The Long Commission report recommended that the Secretary of Defence should direct the development of a new doctrine to deal with State-sponsored terrorism.

The right of a victim-State to defend itself against such indirect aggression by the use of appropriate conventional as well as non-conventional means was underlined in an address by George Schultz, the then US Secretary of State, after the signing on April 3, 1984, by President Reagan of a National Security Doctrine on this subject.

Schultz described State-sponsored terrorism as a new form of warfare and said that the success of diplomatic options in dealing with State-sponsors of terrorism would depend on the readiness of the victim-State to hit back, through conventional military and non-conventional clandestine means, if the diplomatic options failed. He, therefore, expressed the determination of the USA to follow a strategy of active defence, that is, taking the counter-terrorism operations into the territory or against the interests of the State-sponsor of terrorism, if left with no other alternative.

In a Foreword to a study on Terrorist Group Profiles in November 1988, Bush, the then Vice-President, reiterated the determination of the USA to demonstrate to State-sponsors of terrorism that their actions would not be cost free by applying, along with other friendly States, diplomatic, economic, political and, if necessary, military pressure against such States.

Pakistan, under Gen. Musharraf, has intensified its sponsorship of terrorism against India because it has formed an impression that so long as it continued to be indispensable to the US in the promotion of the latter's strategic interests in the region, it could do anything against India and get away with it, without fear of international sanctions or Indian reprisals. It has to be proved wrong.


The evolution of counter-terrorism strategy vis--vis State-sponsored terrorism has been in the direction of the recognition of the need for a policy of active defence, which does not exclude political (diplomatic), economic, para-military and military retaliatory options as against the past policies of passive defence, which laid stress on protective and defensive measures to deny success to the State-sponsor.

The policy of active defence is based on a recognition of the need not only to deny success to the State-sponsor, but also to hurt and continue hurting the State-sponsor politically, economically, para-militarily and militarily till it abandons its sponsorship.  Political and diplomatic options work only if they are backed by the threat of para-military and military retaliatory options, if the former fail.

India's policy till now has been to rely essentially on the political and diplomatic options. It needs to be examined whether the time has come for bringing the para-military and military options into our counter-terrorism tactical repertoire and, if so, whether this should be through a formal declaration of our intention to do so in future or whether the options should be exercised covertly and non-conventionally without an overt declaration of a change of policy.

The USA and Israel follow a policy of an overtly declared retaliatory determination depending on the circumstances. They can afford to do so because none of the State-sponsors, confronting them, is a nuclear power and, even in respect of conventional military strength, there is a large asymmetry in their favour. They can, therefore, ensure that the exercise of the para-military and military retaliatory options does not lead to an uncontrollable military escalation.

India faces constraints due to Pakistan being a nuclear power and the conventional asymmetry in India's favour being not as great as in the case of the US and Israel. Keeping these constraints in view, an appropriate response for India would be a mix of continued diplomatic offensive to have international sanctions imposed against Pakistan and a simultaneous undeclared policy of economic and para-military retaliatory options.