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ISI’s new chief has an agenda: scuttle India-Afghanistan ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a dramatic reshuffle, Pakistan has replaced the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar with Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar.The implications of the new appointment remain to be seen, but one can get a glimpse of Mukhtar’s strategy and his views on the relationship between India and Afghanistan and the troubled neighbourhood, in general, from his thesis ‘Afghanistan — Alternative futures and their implications’, written at the US Army War College.In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.Intelligence sources here say that his role in the ISI had been drafted as early as in September by the then army chief General Raheel Sharif for his expertise in counter-terrorism and also for the role he played in Karachi, where he succeeded in manoeuvring the Mohajer political outfit Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM).A fierce critic of the Pakistan army so far, the MQM was controlled from London by its exiled leader Altaf Hussain. During his former stint at the ISI and as then head of the Karachi Corps, Lt Gen Mukhtar is believed to have led secret missions against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA).In his thesis, he speaks of taking ‘aggressive measures’ to undermine India and prevent Afghanistan from becoming its proxy, and allowing the US to employ diplomatic measures between India and Pakistan to ease tensions, especially on Kashmir.In sync with the trajectory upheld by the Pakistan military on handling the conflict-ridden Afghanistan, Mukhtar, in the thesis for his Masters in Strategic Studies, envisages the accommodation of the ‘moderate Taliban’ in the governance of the country.Mukhtar, who was elevated from his position as a corps commander in Karachi, had earlier served as the DG of the ISI’s counter-terrorism wing. His strategic mindset vis-a-vis Pakistan’s foreign policy on Afghanistan is reflected in his analyses on the future of the neighbouring country.Analysing Afghanistan’s transition when the US started withdrawing coalition forces in 2011, Mukhtar said that Pakistan needed to prevent the opening of another hostile front, should Afghanistan emerge as a proxy for India, and, to this effect, it “will closely follow India’s efforts to influence Afghanistan and may take aggressive measures to undermine India’s efforts in this regard.”India has huge stakes in the development of Afghanistan and has made major strides in the reconstruction of public infrastructure in the war-ravaged country through visible symbols like the new parliament building, Salma friendship dam, Afghan National Agriculture Science & Technology University, Kandahar, and many other projects in the health, power and education sectors.Its close alliance with Afghanistan in the civil-military sphere has made India a target of Taliban. Pakistan, too, views India as working against its interest in Afghanistan. Mukhtar presents four plausible future scenarios for Afghanistan, all of which include a positive outcome: accommodation of moderate Taliban factions as part of the governance structure.”Although India’s uncompromising anti-Taliban position has recently softened, India could still move to be a major destabilising force if it perceives that a return of a radicalised Taliban government is likely,” he writes.While acknowledging the indisputable power and role of the US in bringing long-term stability in Afghanistan, along with regional stakeholders, Mukhtar emphasises: “The US must employ major diplomatic measures to ease regional tensions, especially between India and Pakistan, with a focus on Kashmir.”

By putting onus of India-Pakistan talks on New Delhi, Abdul Basit is at his slimy best

Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India at New Delhi showed a glimpse of classic chutzpah by announcing that the onus for any bilateral engagement on sidelines of the forthcoming Heart of Asia conference at Amritsar is on India. Well-timed, his statement comes right before the arrival of Pakistan’s de facto foreign minister Sartaj Aziz on 4 December to participate in the event.

Basit’s logic behind the ‘onus being on India’ is because India is the host nation for the Heart of Asia conference. But Basit would be at pains to explain which international regulation or norm binds the host nation to take the initiative to propose bilateral dialogue. Why isn’t Pakistan asking for such dialogue at Amritsar? The media describing Basit’s announcement as having put the ‘ball in India’s court for any bilateral engagement’ is certainly way off the mark.

The fact remains that nether Aziz nor Basit, or for that matter Pakistan, has the guts to ask India for opening up the stalled India-Pakistan dialogue not only because of Pakistan’s heightening proxy war on India, but also through demonstrative future plans with respect to India. That is why Aziz is slipping into Amritsar directly for the Heart of Asia conference and slinking back immediately after the event. There is no way he could have requested for a bilateral dialogue and planned to make it more meaningful with a stopover at New Delhi. Basit’s statement hopes to provide ‘Dutch courage’ to Aziz as he represents a country notorious for being the epicentre of terrorism.

File image of Abdul Basit. CNN-News18

File image of Abdul Basit. CNN-News18

There is clear evidence of Pakistan’s complicity in the beheading of an Indian Army soldier in the Machil sector of Jammu and Kashmir recently; the handiwork of a Pakistan Army-backed BAT (border action team) equipped with grenades sporting Pakistani markings as well as night sights and radio sets with US markings, as the search of the area found. It is a different issue that after the mutilation of our soldier’s body, the heavy retribution extracted by the Indian Army through a fire assault in PoK forced the DGMO of Pakistan to call up his Indian counterpart for ‘unscheduled talks’, after which there has been lull in ceasefire violations by both countries after over a month of heavy exchanges.

The ceasefire along the LoC has been violated by Pakistan hundreds of times since it was agreed to by both nations in 2003. Its sanctity was anyway irrelevant with Pakistan not only breaching it time and again through artillery and mortar fire but also providing cross-border covering fire for every infiltration — which happens on an average at least once a week. Of late, Pakistan has also been violating the International Border in addition to the LoC, plus deliberately targeting civilian villages. What the Pakistani Army did not expect was the surgical strikes by Indian Special Forces into PoK, following the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attack at the army base at Uri, and although Pakistan (Nawaz Sharif and Raheel Sharif included) maintained that the said surgical strikes had not taken place, a telephonic intercept of the superintendent of police of Mirpur in PoK confirmed the casualties that the surgical strikes had inflicted. More recently, Pakistan suffered heavy casualties because of Indian fire assaults in response to the Pakistan army’s BAT action that saw an Indian soldier mutilated.

The ceasefire violations by Pakistan may have somewhat reduced (temporary break?) but the terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir continue to occur on a daily basis — the directions for which come from the Pakistan military and its proxies including the covert arm of the Inter-Services Intelligence. At the time of writing, encounters between terrorists and security forces are taking place in the Nagrota and Samba areas of Jammu and Kashmir. So, the Pakistani military is in no mood to change its policy of inflicting ‘thousand cuts’ on India, irrespective of Pakistan’s army chief having been changed. By avoiding ceasefire violations but increasing the terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan is avoiding casualties on its side of the LoC, yet stepping up attacks on Indian security forces. This, despite Lieutenant-General DS Hooda — Northern Army commander — categorically stating that de-escalation depends on Pakistan checking terrorism against India, thereby implying we will continue to hit back across the LoC when deemed necessary.

Basit has said that Pakistan wants dialogue along the lines of the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) that the two countries announced when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Islamabad in December 2015; dialogue on all outstanding issues, including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir. But Basit fails to acknowledge that much water has flowed under the bridge since then, because of which India had conveyed to Pakistan that any bilateral dialogue would have to be preceded by Pakistan stopping terrorism against India. Should Basit, Aziz and co use a wee bit of intelligence, what India has said does not merely mean a temporary halt in terror attacks but it also means that Islamabad must take effective action against the anti-India terrorist groups in PoK and Pakistan, which in effect are patronized by the Pakistani military.

A cross-section in India may feel that Basit’s above statements are a change of heart or perhaps he is getting ‘de-radicalised’. Nothing could actually be farther from the truth. Meeting and briefing Hurriyat separatists along with his ISI-trained diplomats holed up in the Pakistani High Commission, Basit has been playing a major role in supporting and upping terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. If he is acting the peace parody before the arrival of Aziz in Amritsar, he is merely playing up Pakistan’s policy of TPAW (Talk Peace, Act War). In doing so, he is also playing up to Pakistan’s military constituency, particularly to Qamar Javed Bajwa, the new Pakistani army chief, lest he be ordered to get back home. Without doubt, Basit will be hoping to replace Aziz one day as the de facto foreign minister of Pakistan one day, if not the foreign minister proper.

There is plenty of speculation about what would be Pakistan’s India policy with Bajwa now holding the country’s reins from the background. The indications are already on ground through the setting up of a high-level committee in Pakistan to formulate ‘a doable and sustainable’ policy to highlight the Kashmir issue globally. This committee was obviously formed not only in consultation with the Pakistani military but perhaps on behest of the latter. More significantly, it will be ‘controlled’ and directed by the military with members as senior officials from ministries of defence, interior and information, the military operations directorate, ISI and Intelligence Bureau, but none from the foreign ministry. With the Kashmir obsession of the Pakistani military, it is unlikely that Raheel Sharif did not discuss formation of such a committee with the military hierarchy, which included Bajwa. So, it may be naïve to think about any change of heart with Bajwa assuming command.

Dawn described the real purpose of the above committee as a measure for “reaching out to Indians who are opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘extremist policies’.” So, we should expect ISI’s love blooming with the type of politician who pleaded to Pakistani news channel to help dethrone Modi. Interestingly this politician is known at home as the ‘pole tortoise’; doesn’t know how he climbed up, doesn’t know what to do atop, and doesn’t know how to get down. Pakistan will not only compensate these types for whatever they lost because of demonetisation, and cater for their next seven generations, but perhaps also confer them with the Nishaan-e-Pakistan, Pakistan’s highest civilian award.

Therefore, the only change in Pakistan’s policy towards India may perhaps be more non-kinetic measures added to whatever it is presently doing, to tray and destabilise India as much as possible. The five government mints in Pakistan are probably working round the clock already for faking the new Indian currency.

The author is a veteran Lieutenant-General of the Indian Army

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 13:45 IST

Pakistan reaching out to Indians against Modi’s ‘extremist policies’: Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has set up a high-level committee to formulate “a doable and sustainable” policy to highlight the Kashmir issue globally and is reaching out to Indians who are opposed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “extremist policies”, according to a media report today.The move was announced by Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Senate on Tuesday, according to Dawn newspaper. The committee will consist of senior officials from the ministries of defence, interior and information, Military Operations Directorate, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB). Speaking about the status of the implementation of policy guidelines, Aziz said the committee was headed by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and could co-opt other members if required.Aziz said that another committee, chaired by the information secretary, had been formed to prepare fact sheets “to counter India’s propaganda campaign and design a media strategy to continuously highlight the Kashmiri freedom struggle”. This committee also includes representatives from the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and information technology, as well as members of the Military Operations Directorate, ISI and IB.Aziz said that the Ministry of Information Technology had been asked to prepare a comprehensive strategy to highlight the Kashmir issue via social media.He said that “steps were being taken to highlight Indian interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, as well as its support for subversive activities and human rights violations in held Kashmir”, the report said.Aziz said that steps were already being taken to reach out to segments of the Indian public that were opposed to Modi’s extremist policies. “Our missions abroad, including in New Delhi, are making outreach efforts to emphasise the extremist Indian policies,” he remarked.Talking about measures to counter India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan in the region, Aziz said Pakistan was doing its utmost to engage the international community, including regional partners.He said Pakistan was supportive of all initiatives for peace and stability in the region, adding that this commitment to regional peace and stability was evident from the decision to participate in the Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Amritsar, despite the postponement of SAARC summit in Islamabad because of India.Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, he said, was clearly spelt out and due restraint was being exercised. “Pakistan continues to exhibit maturity and statesmanship despite provocative statements by Indian leadership and the continued ceasefire violations across the LoC and working boundary having resulted in civilian casualties,” he said.He said there was a need for a positive response from India to move forward. He said that while Pakistan always conveyed a desire to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue, India had chosen to attach conditions to the talks.

Pakistan forms committee to formulate ‘a doable and sustainable India-Kashmir policy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz informed the Senate on Tuesday that a high-level committee consisting of senior officials from the ministries of defence, interior and information, the military operations directorate, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB), has been formed to formulate ‘a doable and sustainable India-Kashmir policy.’Aziz said that Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry is heading the committee and could co-opt other members if required.He said that the committee would regularly brief the two committees which Senate had originally recommended including chairpersons of the defence and foreign affairs committees.The Dawn quoted Aziz as saying that a committee, chaired by the information secretary, and representatives from the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and information technology, as well as members of the Military Operations Directorate, ISI and IB had been formed to prepare fact sheets, counter India’s propaganda campaign and design a media strategy to continuously highlight the Kashmiri freedom struggle.Ministry of Information Technology had been asked by Aziz to prepare a comprehensive strategy to highlight the Jammu and Kashmir issue by means of social media.”This dossier has been shared with other key countries and international organisations. Another dossier on the activities of Kulbhushan Jadhav will also be finalised in the near future,” Aziz said while referring to the dossier on India’s interference in Pakistan, presented to the UN secretary general by the prime minister in September.Asserting that Pakistan was supportive of all initiatives for peace and stability in the region, he said that this commitment to regional peace and stability was evident from the decision to participate in the Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Amritsar, despite the postponement of SAARC summit in Islamabad because of India.

Demonetisation in Kerala: Hawala, fake notes play big role in state’s economic growth

Kerala is one of the few states where demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes generated so much heat. The state witnessed a rare phenomenon of the entire state Cabinet sitting on a day-long dharna with the mutually acrimonious ruling party and the Opposition joining hands against the Union Government over the issue.

Economic experts are wondering why the demonetisation move aimed at flushing out black money has met with so much protest in the 100 percent state, which incidentally is the country’s first total banking and completely digitised state. They feel it could be because of pressure from the black money lobbies.

Firstpost talked to a cross-section of experts to get an impassioned view of the situation. This is the first in a three-part report.

The five-year average growth rate of Kerala’s total revenue came down from 17.2 percent in 2006-11 to 14.20 in 2011-16. The share of primary and industry sectors to the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GSDP) declined from 39.2 and 26.3 percent respectively in 1980-81 to 12.5 and 25.11 percent respectively in 2014-15.

The agriculture and allied sector, which is key to the state’s economy, continued to record negative growth during the last five years. It was (-) 4.67 % in 2014-15 and (-) 2.13 percent in 2013-14. In spite of this, the state’s overall growth rate has been above the national average during the period except in 2014-15, when it was 6.49 percent.

This has been the pattern of the state’s growth in the last two decades. The growth rate of the state economy was above national average consistently in the last two decades in spite of negative growth in the primary sector, stagnation in the industrial sector and cyclical global economic recessions.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan leading a dharna in front of the RBI office at Thiruvananthapuram on Friday: Photo courtesy by T K Devasia.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan leading a dharna in front of the RBI office at Thiruvananthapuram on Friday: Photo courtesy by T K Devasia.

Similarly, the state has also been consistently maintaining the per capita income above national average. The per capita income of Kerala was Rs 127,166 during 2014-15 as against the all-India average of Rs 93,293.

The steady growth in the economy and per capita income without matching growth in the productive sectors of the economy is a paradox for many. Economists attribute this to foreign remittances that the state receives from nearly 2.75 million migrants, especially those from West Asia.

Deposits of non-residents (NRs) in banks in the state had crossed Rs 1 lakh crore in 2014-15. According to the state-level bankers committee, it climbed from Rs 66,190 crore in March 2013 to Rs 93,883 crore by 31 March, 2014, and further to Rs 109,603 crore in the last fiscal.

However, a section of economists argue that these remittances alone were not sufficient to help the economy register such a high growth. Mary George, former head of the department of economics, University of Kerala, is of the opinion that the state was maintaining high growth with the help of black money pumped into the state through various channels.

She considers hawala money as one of the main sources of black money circulating in Kerala. Hawala was the main channel of transfer of money when Keralites started migrating to West Asia in large numbers since early 1970s. This parallel system is the favourite mode of money transfer from the Middle East to India for a large number of Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) even now, according to the economist.

Hawala does not involve physical movement of money. A person, who wishes to transfer money, needs to hand over the same to the agent at his end, who collects the money and informs his counterpart at the receiving end. The latter delivers the cash to the intended recipient at his door step after collecting the commission.

The money received at a location is compensated with a matching transfer of money in the opposite direction. The receipts are also some times compensated by way of exports of goods, under-invoicing or over invoicing exports or imports and other means.

Kerala emerged as a major destination to channel hawala money because of the state’s connections with Dubai, which is the global hawala hub. The hawala operators from other countries like Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia route the hawala money to India and other destinations through Dubai.

Similarly, the hawala money received in Kerala goes to other states in the country. There are said to be about 400 hawala operators in the state to receive and distribute the hawala money. They are mostly based in the northern districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad and Kannur.

There is no reliable account of hawala money arriving in the state. While former state director general of police Jacob Punnose revealed a few years ago that Kerala was getting hawala money worth Rs 10,000 crores a year, oneindia.com quoted a Union Home Ministry report putting the annual hawala receipts at Rs 23,000 crores.

Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) director Hormis Tharakan said these were mere estimates and they could not be relied upon to make informed comments on the issue. He said there was no mechanism available to track the hawala money arriving in the country.

Mary George believes that the money received in Kerala through hawala channels could be much more since businessmen, smugglers and even extremist forces have started using the channel to transfer money. Migration experts do not contest this.

S Irudaya Rajan, head of the Research Unit on International Migration at the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, said that the money and goods coming to Kerala through unofficial channels were equivalent to the money received through legal channels.

“The remittances received through legal channels account for 36 percent of the state’s revenue. Though we have not done any specific studies on hawala operations, based on the data from our other studies, we estimate that transfers in the form of cash, gold and other goods through illegal channels will be the same as that of the remittances received through legal channels,” he added.

K V Shamsudheen, chairman of Sharjah-based Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust, said that the migrants were using the hawala channel even now because of high discount offered by the dealers. Hawala money is only one form of black money circulating in Kerala.

Apart from this, counterfeit currency pumped into the state from abroad and black money generated within the state by way of bribes received by corrupt officials and politicians and the sale of property are also believed to be substantial.

The state is prone to the menace as a large number of people from the north eastern states, who have easy access to fake Indian currency notes (FICN), come to the state for work. A senior police officer at Kozhikode said that fake currency was also coming to the state in large size through hawala.

Enforcement agencies have reported a 360 percent increase in the flow of FICN to the state in 2015 compared to 2014. Though the total seized value of counterfeit money is worth only Rs 34.55 lakhs in 2015 compared to Rs 7.51 lakhs in 2014, police estimates that the seized amount is just below 10 percent of the actual volume being circulated in the state.

The NIA, which is investigating about eight FICN cases in Kerala, has tracked the role of Pakistan’s ISI in production and distribution of fake notes via Dubai, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Ports are still the hot destinations for the rackets to smuggle in FICNs. The new strategy is to smuggle in printed sheets of counterfeit and cut them to size in various hideouts in the state, according to an intelligence officer.

The NIA suspects that rackets, including those led by underworld gangsters of Indian origin, pump fake currency into India with assistance of the ISI. The agency had unearthed the links of the ISI and D-Company in a case they have investigated in Kerala. They also found the involvement of Dawood’s brother Anees Ibrahim and his close aide Aftab Batki in some cases.

Economists believe that the hawala money and counterfeit currency notes pumped into the state will certainly be playing a big role in the economic growth of Kerala and the high standards of life of the people in the state, which has achieved developed world levels of social development.

A National Sample Survey Organisation’s household consumer expenditure survey from July 2011 to June 2012 showed Kerala topped among large states in household per capita expenditure in rural areas and came second in urban areas. Haryana topped in urban expenditure.

Economists see the trace of black money in the mismatch between the declining tax revenue and the growing consumer expenditure.

The second and third part of the series will cover cooperative banks in Kerala and hawala money which is the main source of terror funding. 

First Published On : Nov 21, 2016 15:42 IST

Demonetisation: Narendra Modi nukes Pakistan’s ‘RBI’, cripples ISI’s fake note network

Pakistan’s code word for high quality Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN) is ‘RBI’ — Reserve Bank of India — which controls the monetary policy of the Indian rupee. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation policy abolishing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 rupee notes, Faizabad bus stand in Rawalpindi, Pakistan has lost its charm for Lala, a former ISI officer, who coordinates the smuggling of FICN to India.

A retired brigadier-rank officer of the Pakistani Army, Lala, till last week was the key figure to procure and supply ‘RBI’ or FICN through an intricate network of couriers and smugglers. But, since Modi activated his ‘original RBI’ to junk high-denomination notes last week, there are virtually no takers for Lala’s ‘RBI bundles’ across the entire stretch of Muni Road in Rawalpindi, the northernmost part of Punjab province.

The chatter from across the border, intercepted by intelligence agencies, indicates that Modi’s action against black money in India has demolished a section of the ISI headquarters in Rawalpindi, where many fugitives from militant outfits like Babbar Khalsa, Khalistan Zinadabad Force and Indian Mujahideen used to hold meetings with ISI officials to infuse fake currency into Indian’s financial system with the twin motives of economic destabilisation and financing terror activities in India.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The supply source

The ISI used to provide lucrative exchange rate with a profit of nearly Rs 300 per fake Rs 1,000 rupee note. A margin of these profits was paid by ISI to the field agents like Lala and underworld modules with multinational networks, popularly known in Pakistan as ‘office’.

Said ‘office’ was responsible for running an ‘hub and spoke’ business model that included smuggling FICN through both direct and indirect routes. The direct route was Munabao-Khakrapar and the Attari border, while the indirect route usually ran through the UAE, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore before arriving in Kathmandu and Dhaka.

The top secret intelligence agencies dossier reviewed by this writer for Firstpost show that China was recently included in ISI’s smuggling route to exploit commercial courier services. Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong Province, located north of Hong Kong, had become a major hub for ‘office’ which used to export ethnic garment containers with carefully concealed FICN for onward transmission into India through Nepal and Bangladesh.

The ‘office’ used to run the operation with Suleman and Mulla in Bangladesh and Rana and Ansari in Nepal. Ansari, a Nepali politician from Lalitpur and close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested by Nepal Police in January 2014. However, until last year, Ansari was said to have maintained close links with ISI officials posted at the Pakistani embassy in Maharajgunj Chakrapath in Kathmandu.

It is no secret that Pakistani embassies abroad are using their diplomatic channels for FICN circulation and the crackdown started by Modi may perhaps render many undercover ISI officers jobless in South Asian countries. The secret dossier mentioned above said:

“There are a number of intelligence inputs available to indicate the involvement of Pakistani officials in Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand of having assisted, managed and supplied FICN at times using the diplomatic bag to wholesale operations in those staging countries. The diplomats, who were associated with FICN trade, were also known to be involved in counter-intelligence operations against Indian diplomats in those countries.”

There are no authentic reports about the total circulation of FICN, however, inputs from various agencies and organisations involved in the detection of counterfeit notes suggest that the ISI may have pumped in over Rs 4,500 crore worthof  fake currency into India’s financial system.

As far as recoveries and seizures of FICN are concerned, government agencies had analysed three time periods — 2005-07, 2008-10 and 2011-13 — including 78 overseas seizures.

Of the 78 foreign seizures, there was the direct involvement of Pakistani nationals in 35 cases with 44 Pakistani nationals being arrested. Of the 28 seizures at foreign airports, 12 were from flights that originated directly from Pakistan while all others from flights transiting a staging-post country but originating in Pakistan,” the secret government note said.

Plugging the gaps within

The Central agencies responsible for generating and analysing economic intelligence are also monitoring the sources from where the most fake currency was either intercepted or reported, to strengthen the gaps, if any. With the introduction of new currency, which is learnt to have used highly specialised and exclusive technology, agencies believe that close imitations of genuine notes will be virtually impossible, unless ink supply by international companies to sovereign governments are compromised.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-IND) has already started analysing Counterfeit Currency Reports (CCRs) from banks that will help in tracking the supply sources in case the fake currency menace stages a comeback in the next couple of years.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) makes production and distribution of high quality FICN a terrorist offence and Intelligence Bureau (IB) recently in a note observed that CCRs collected and analysed by FIU should be shared with other agencies for immediate action as banks continue to report difficulty in registering FIRs.

First Published On : Nov 16, 2016 09:45 IST

Demonetisation is hardly a durable solution to fake currency: Here’s why

On the evening of 8 November 2016, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a televised public address, announced that the highest denominations of the Indian Rupee — Rs 500 and 1,000 notes — would cease to be legal tenders starting midnight. A hugely momentous but polarising move that it was, the renewed monetary policy sent shockwaves across the gigantic consumerist economy of post-liberalisation India that is heavily dependent on cash transactions.

But, as stated by Modi in his hour-long speech, the decisive move is designed to curb the very real menace of ‘corruption, black money, and terrorism’. In a categorical-yet-measured reference, the prime minister also weighed in on the significance of the decision in suppressing the counterfeit notes racket in the country, run by “enemies from across the border”.

By now, it is a well-established fact that India faces a serious threat from what is officially referred to as Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN). The fake notes find their way into the country through several entry points, the hot ones being the India-Nepal and West Bengal-Bangladesh border sectors. Although there exists no precise estimates for the scale of this counterfeit economy, the Ministry of Home Affairs states that up till September 2015, “high quality FICN” worth Rs 22.90 crore was seized and recovered. The fake money not only dilutes the strength of the national economy but also sponsors an expansive web of illegal non-state and anti-state actors, in the likes of arms suppliers, drug smugglers, and terror groups.

Will the demonetisation policy have an impact on this cancerous racket of fake currency? Yes

File image of the new Rs 2,000 note. PTI

File image of the new Rs 2,000 note. PTI

Will it permanently crush the FICN supply chain? No

The reason is simple: The largest share of the FICN that circulates in India is believed to be originating not from nondescript local presses inside the country, but from high-grade, state-owned minting factories in Pakistan. A mountain of evidence, made public by both domestic and international agencies including the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and Interpol have pointed fingers at the Government of Pakistan for creating and sustaining a transnational FICN racket that spans from West Asia to Southeast Asia.

In May 2011, the US government identified a serving officer of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Major Iqbal, as the supplier of FICN to the infamous Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley. He, however, recently denied the allegations. Another key LeT operative arrested by India in 2013, Abdul Karim Tunda, confirmed that the entire FICN supply chain was run by the ISI.

A day after the demonetisation policy was made public, Kiren Rijiju, the Union minister of state for Home Affairs, stated that the “the printing press in Karachi and Peshawar will now be jobless” as a result of demonetisation. He wasn’t entirely wrong in his brisk assumption, although it was at best myopic. Most of the FICN in circulation is indeed denominated in Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, and since counterfeiting notes is a capital-intensive business that requires significant investments, the introduction of a new series of notes will certainly draw the curtains on FICN factories in Pakistan for now.

However, it would only be sheer ignorance to believe that the FICN supply chain can be killed by introducing new notes, even with upgraded security features. There is no strong ground to believe that the production machinery cannot re-calibrate itself to the new design. There are more than one reasons to posit this.

The FICN production facilities run by Pakistani entities are more sophisticated and technically advanced than most of us would like to believe, particularly because they enjoy state patronage. This was categorically confirmed by a NIA forensic report deposed in front of the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance in 2013, which stated that the FICN, bearing fundamental similarities with the Pakistani legal tender, “have been printed on highly sophisticated machines involving huge capital investment”.

The formidable level of technical depth achieved by state-sponsored FICN producers in Pakistan is well reflected in the narrowing gap of divergences between genuine and counterfeit notes that have been seized over the past few years. In fact, earlier this year, the Union Home Ministry had informed the Parliament that the increasing accuracy of fake notes had led to a 30 percent dip in FICN recovery over the past three years.

With such an impressive degree of operational sophistication, it is highly unlikely that the FICN production system would simply collapse in totality with the entry of a new series of Indian notes. This is even more so because the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) hasn’t really clarified on whether the new series will have remarkably better security features than the outgoing one. Despite this, a large section of the Indian media created a brouhaha over how the new notes come with geo-satellite detection chips and state-of-the-art security features, rendering them ‘impossible to fake’. Besides the obvious antithesis that non-duplicable currency is quite a long shot for any country, a recent report in The Hindu quotes a senior government official stating that the new notes do not carry any new security features.

Why? Simply because the RBI did not have sufficient time to develop those.

If this is the case, then Pakistans’s FICN factories will barely have any trouble re-configuring their minting templates to the new size and design.

In addition to the above, there is something far more worrying about the entire FICN production and supply process. Till this date, the RBI, through the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL), imports a bulk of the paper used in minting currency notes from European companies like Louisenthal (Germany), De la Rue (United Kingdom), Crane (Sweden,) and Arjo Wiggins (France and Netherlands). So does Pakistan.

In fact, in 2015, New Delhi barred Louisenthal from supplying currency paper to India for this very reason. Besides, India imports the OVI Intaglio security ink — a distinctive security component of every currency note — from SICPA, a Swiss company that manufactures high-performance security ink; and it is a known fact that SICPA also deals with Pakistan. Intriguingly enough, the company has a manufacturing unit in Sikkim, from which a five kilogram consignment of ink went missing during transit back in 2009.

If the RBI continues to import paper and security ink for the new notes from the same foreign companies as Pakistan, then the new series will remain as vulnerable to counterfeiting as the older ones. As of now, India does not have a full-capacity infrastructure for indigenously manufacturing all of its currency paper and most certainly, not the high-grade Intaglio ink.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

However, last year, Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did talk about indigenising the printing process as part of the ‘Make in India’ campaign. Indeed, an RBI-owned currency paper mill — known as the Bank Note Paper Mill India Private Limited (BNPMIPL) — began operations in Mysuru last year. According to a senior government official, all the new Rs 2,000 notes are being printed at this facility. But, we do not yet know if the same is true for the new Rs 500 notes, which would have to be produced in higher numbers than the Rs 2,000 notes.

What is perhaps most crucial is that Pakistan’s illegal export of FICN to India isn’t merely a support line for shadow networks, but also a self-serving profit enterprise. The ISI is understood to be running its fake currency business on a significant profit margin of about 30 to 40 percent on the face value of each fake note. This naturally implies the existence of several other stakeholders — including but not limited to Dawood Ibrahim’s international criminal syndicate — who financially benefit from this dastardly trade, and wouldn’t favour a cessation of their profits. In such a situation, introduction of new notes is hardly a potent disincentive for the producers and suppliers to pull their shutters down vis-à-vis easy adaptation to the new series.

There is no doubt that the invalidation of higher denomination notes will render the existing modules and stashes of FICN useless. An abrupt hault in operations is bound to cripple the core of a massive shadow economy run by international mafias, arms smugglers, drug dealers, and extremist groups. The MHA already claims that Kashmir is quieter after the demonetisation, indicating a suspension of the nefarious hawala operations to illegally move money. With the wholesale replacement of the Rs 1,000 note with a 2,000 note, the existing counterfeiting enterprise might even see its profit margins hunker down, since higher denominations are costlier to replicate.

From Multan to Malda, the subcutaneous economy of guns, drugs, and terror faces bleak prospects. The glaring question, however, is — for how long?

Not unlike hackers who ultimately succeed in crawling into upgraded operating systems by mutating their way through security updates, the sophisticated fake currency web is designed to survive structural disruptions — change of currency notes being one of them. Hence, the Indian government needs to do much more to permanently impair this hugely complex international trade, and in this case, regional cooperation is paramount.

Ironically, the “surgical strike” on financial terrorism (which was more of a “carpet bombing” campaign) can bear only limited dividends in the longer run as a standalone policy move — just like the Indian Army’s cross-border adventure of late September.

The author is a researcher at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi

First Published On : Nov 15, 2016 11:54 IST

DNA Morning Must Reads: Top ISI officer led spy ring at Pak High Commission; BSF destroys 14 Pakistani posts; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Espionage case: Top ISI officer led spy ring syndicate in Pakistan High CommissionA top-ranking ISI officer led the syndicate in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. Read more here. 2. J&K: Pak firing kills 8 civilians, injures 24; BSF destroys 14 enemy postsEight civilians, including two children, were killed and 24 others injured in Pakistani shelling on civilian areas and forward posts along the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu division on Tuesday. Read more here.3. Delhi: Three dead, 10 injured after fire breaks out in a building in Shahdara areaThe fire that broke out in a building in Mohan Park area of Delhi’s Shahdara, on Wednesday morning has been doused and the situation is under control. Read more here.4. Mumbai: Drug addicts gang-rape 32-yr-old in front of husband in JogeshwariThe suspects had been stalking the woman for a few days. Police have arrested the eight accused and charged five with rape. Read more here. 5. Birthday Special: I live in my own created reality: Shah Rukh KhanShah Rukh Khan on being Shah Rukh Khan and the perks and pains that come with it. Read more here.

Guess who headed the Pak spy ring?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The reverberations of the Pakistani spy ring saga continue to impact New Delhi and Islamabad. What has baffled intelligence agencies in India is that the person in-charge of India-Pakistan trade relations has turned out to be a top Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer and chief of intelligence operations in India.This came to light after the interrogation of Mehmood Akhtar last week. Akhtar, an ISI officer and Pakistani High Commission staffer, was part of the spy ring.Intelligence officers said that the top ISI officer, Syed Furrukh Habib, was posted as Commercial Counsellor in the Pakistani High Commission. This is a big worry for India’s intelligence officials as it shows that Pakistan has even made trade as a means to gather intelligence.Intelligence agencies say that the other ISI officers in the spy ring are Khadim Huss­ain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal. They are all working in the Pakistani High Commission.New Delhi is now mounting pressure on Islamabad, demanding the immediate removal of these four ISI officers from the Pakistani High Commission. Top intelligence officers said that these officers were running an espionage network under the guise of doing other jobs.As per a diplomatic arrangement between two countries, only one intelligence sleuth can be posted in their respective missions.Akhtar had been caught along with Indian agents but could not be arrested as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. He was declared persona non grata and was sent back to Pakistan. The Delhi Police had also arrested four Indians who were part of the spy network.Sources say that as a bait to extract information from Akhtar, he was told that he would neither be arrested nor anything would be disclosed to the Pakistan High Commission.”He was made to sit at ease, and he was promised that his confession would not be shared and his arrest will be kept secret. Upon this, he disclosed almost all the underhand dealings of the mission and their agents around,” said an intelligence official.Sources say that Pakistani officials were irked at Akhtar for spilling the beans and he was even roughed up when handed over to the Pakistani High Commission. In Pakistan, he has become a target for blowing the cover of other officials. Akhtar has told Pakistani newspapers that he had given the statement under duress.Indian officials counter his claims. They said that his interrogation was video-graphed when he spilled the beans. Officials also claim that Akhtar had named 16 other “staffers” who were in the espionage ring. Crime Branch teams are raiding various places in Rajasthan to apprehend locals who were providing confidential documents and information to Akhtar.Two teams of the Crime Branch are currently in Rajasthan along with the Indian nationals who have been arrested— Maulana Ramzan, Subhash Jangir and Shoaib—to seek details of the paramilitary personnel who might have leaked information, sources said. Two other persons have also been detained in Rajasthan and are currently being questioned, said the officer.Reacting to the Pakistani spy ring, senior BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said: “The reality is that the High Commission here has become an ISI den. It is breaking all rules and laws…Its work is no longer diplomatic. It has become a centre of smuggling information from here to there (Pakistan).”

SIMI encounter: BJP dubs Pakistan High Commission ‘ISI’s den’, slams Congress for insulting security forces

New Delhi: The BJP on Tuesday called the Pakistan High Commission here “a den of ISI” after the recent arrest of its staffer in an espionage case, while hitting out at the Congress and other opposition parties for demoralising security forces by raising doubts over the killing of eight SIMI activists, who had escaped from a Bhopal jail, in a gunfight with police.

“It is not just a diplomatic centre but it is being used to send (India-related) information to Pakistan. The recent reports have confirmed it. The high commission has become ISI’s ‘adda’ (den),” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Shrikant Sharma at a press conference here.

Sharma blamed Congress for communalising the Bhopal jailbreak and gunfight issue in order to earn political mileage.

“Congress has always questioned the security forces when it came to killing of terrorists, be it 2008 Mumbai attack or Batla House encounter. On one hand, security personnel are putting their lives in danger (to eliminate terrorists), on other hand, our Italy Congress is busy demoralising them to keep its Muslim vote bank intact. By doing such kind of politics, it is actually insulting Muslims of the country,” he alleged.

Representational image. Image courtesy: News18

Representational image. Image courtesy: News18

The Madhya Pradesh Police and its Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) gunned down eight Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) undertrials after they broke out of Bhopal jail early on Monday morning. However, Congress, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Left parties raised serious questions pointing at the possibility of a staged gunfight.

Sharma questioned the Congress for “supporting terrorists”.

“We do not understand why the Congress supports the terrorists who are indulging in anti-India activities on behest of Pakistan. They (killed SIMI members) were supporters of Osama Bin Laden and working as sleeper cells. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, Vice President of Italy Congress, why they have sympathy for the terrorists and questions for security personnel,” Sharma said, claiming that Congress was mum on the death of head constable Ramshankar Yadav, who was killed by the fugitives while escaping from the jail.

Sharma also said that Congress General Secretary Digvijaya Singh had blamed the RSS for the Mumbai terror attack while its “Home Minister sympathised with terrorist Afzal Guru”.

He also claimed that Congress cannot compete with BJP on issues of development, “hence it has taken to communal politics, adding it was “nearing its end by indulging into such kind of politics”.

How West Bengal became an easy transit point for terror outfits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal with its porous borders has turned into an easy transit point and secure hideout for the agents of terror outfits like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Pakistani secret service ISI.”West Bengal’s border is porous and this was used by militant groups to get an entry into the country and spread to other states. This is nothing new. The state has became a safe and secure shelter for them,” a top CID officer said. Militant outfits like JMB, IS and ISI operatives are recruiting agents and training them here, he added. A special task force of Kolkata Police had arrested six top JMB militants, including four wanted, in connection with the 2014 Khagragarh blast case, from West Bengal and Assam in September.”Taking advantage of the unemployment situation, the agents have been recruiting people with ease. These groups also have recruitment cells which look for possible youths either studying in senior schools or looking for job as their possible targets,” the CID official said, adding social networking sites have played crucial roles in this connection. “Now one can scan through anybody’s profile sitting thousands of kilometres away in another country to choose a possible candidate. Then the message goes to the outfit’s local agent to do the needful to get the person under its umbrella,” he said.The officer cited the arrest of 18-year-old student of a private polytechnique college in Durgapur in Burdwan district, Ashik Ahmed by NIA for his links to the ISIS in March. Ashik, who was trying to build an unit of ISIS in West Bengal, was the second youth to be arrested from the state after Mehdi Masroor Biswas, for his links to the Pakistani agency. A senior officer of Kolkata Police told PTI that the state’s strategic location along the international border and the slack security arrangement at a few places have made such incidents possible through the last decade or more.In December last year Kolkata Police STF had arrested one labourer, a couple of passport agents, a college student and a bartender for alleged links with ISI. The arrest of the bartender from the central part of the city had revealed that a network of ISI agents were working in the state, he added. The officer said, “Specific roles were given to each of these agents by ISI. Some are here to recruit agents, some others to collect information from areas where either the Navy, Army or the Air Force have their base.” “There are people who smuggle in high quality fake Indian currency notes and spread them here with the aim to devastate the economy,” he said. Intelligence sources here said JMB and the IS have spread their network in Howrah, and North and South 24 Parganas districts.”They have set up organisational bases in districts like Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan and Birbhum and we are probing whether they have spread into other states like Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya etc,” the officer said. “The ISI agents first bring outsiders into the country through Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and help them settle by providing fake passports, fake voter identity cards, Aadhar cards and ration cards,” the CID officer said.The cultivation of illegal poppy in the state and smuggling it to other parts even across the border to foreign lands has become one of the principal source of funds for terror outfits like ISIS and JMB. Districts like Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum, Burdwan and Bankura have seen a spurt in illicit poppy cultivation mainly because of the easy way of producing it, he added.

Espionage racket: BJP for action against SP MP Munawwar Saleem

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dubbing the arrest of an aide of Samajwadi Party leader Munawwar Saleem in connection with the espionage racket case as extremely unfortunate, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday asked the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh to initiate action against the lawmaker.”It is extremely unfortunate that a person sitting on the constitutional post, who is the MP of an important political party has links with spying. The Samajwadi Party itself should take action against the MP, BJP leader Prem Shukla said.Farhat, the personal assistant of Saleem, was arrested by the Delhi Police yesterday in connection with the espionage ring run by a Pakistani High Commission official, which was exposed earlier this week. Farhat has been sent for police remand and is currently being interrogated.On Wednesday, the police caught Pakistan high commission official Mehmood Akhtar along with two Indians identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir at the Delhi Zoo while they were exchanging sensitive defence documents. They were running a spy ring for Pakistan’s spy agency ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).Akhtar was asked to leave the country within 48 hours. Subhash and Maulana were arrested on charges of sharing of sensitive information, defence documents and deployment details of the BSF along the India-Pakistan border, with the ISI. The two were sent to 12-day police custody.Another accomplice of Akhtar, a Jodhpur-based passport and visa agent named Shoaib, was arrested near Jodhpur on Thursday evening. Shoaib was responsible for recruiting Subhash and Maulana in the module. (ANI)Ends SP/ADNNNNani

Spy ring: SP Rajya Sabha member’s PA arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Police on Saturday arrested Farhat Khan, the personal assistant of Samajwadi Party’s (SP) Rajya Sabha MP Munawwar Saleem. Khan, who belongs to Kairana in western UP, is the fourth person to be arrested as the Delhi Police busted a spy ring on Wednesday.The spy ring was being run by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Mehmood Akhtar, who worked in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.Akhtar could not be arrested as he enjoyed diplomatic immunity but was asked to leave the country. Khan’s involvement in the spy ring came to light during the interrogation of Akhtar. Delhi Police officers say that Khan was paid well for handing over sensitive documents to Akhtar.”The amount changed according to the kind of documents he provided. He said he would get anything from Rs 10,000 to a lakh for some documents,” said a senior police officer.Khan is said to have been associated with many political leaders since 1996. He has been working with various MPs over the last 20 years. He was also the personal assistant to another SP MP, Munawwar Hasan, in 2008.Munawwar Saleem said he was shocked to know about his personal assistant’s involvement in the espionage case. “This person was working with me for the last one year. Full police verification was done before I took him in. I am at a loss for words… And as this issue is under investigation, it would not be appropriate to say anything more,” said Saleem.Akhtar also stated in the video that he had met Khan in Delhi near the Mandi House Metro station and ever since the two had kept in touch. He has also named other officials in the Pakistan High Commission, which include Syed Farrukh Habib, Counsellor (Trade); Khadim Hussain, First Secretary (Visa); and, Muddasir Iqbal Cheema, First Secretary (Press). The police are yet to verify these claims.Akhtar also told the police that Syed Farrukh is a colonel rank officer and he worked on his directions. After Akhtar’s confessions, the Crime Branch office in Pancharipuri, the Capital’s diplomatic area, has now become a fortress with heavy deployment of security forces, as the alleged spies working for the ISI are being grilled there. Around 20 commandos from the CRPF are guarding the office as well.The Delhi Police caught Akhtar on October 26 while receiving secret documents outside the Delhi Zoo from two Indian nationals, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, who were residents of Nagaur, Rajasthan. The duo were held along with Akhtar. Another accused in the espionage case, Shoaib Hasan, has also been arrested.

India, Pakistan expel a mission staffer each: This posturing is intrinsic to art of diplomacy

Declaring each other’s representatives persona non grata is a bit of posturing intrinsic to the art of diplomacy. India and Pakistan do it frequently and feel good about themselves and it is a gentler option in exercising hostility than firing bullets at each other.

On your bike mate, off you go, give you 48 hours to pack.

The choice of the selected individual is rather like the random double security check at an American airport for foreigners from specific countries. By doing so everyone feels the system is working and the nation’s security apparatus is in good nick.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

In actual fact it is more window dressing and when India dropped Mehmood Akhtar and gave him a one way ticket, then its official at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Surjeet Singh was dispatched by Islamabad to make it one all.

After a fashion it is a bit of a lark and follows a procedure steeped in self-importance. The Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi is summoned to the External Affairs Ministry and he remonstrates predictably and gets all hot under the collar. In a few hours, the same scenario will be played out across the border and a diplomatic family uprooted. One wouldn’t be surprised if they have a bit of a raffle and take out a name arbitrarily.

The Indian accusation that Mehmood Akhtar works for the ISI is a bit disingenuous. One would have concluded that most of the Pakistani civil servants do exactly that and you don’t have to be John le Carre to know ‘cultural attaches’ and ‘commercial attaches’ are just covers for espionage. Isn’t that what diplomats do…all those cocktail parties and honey traps and taped conversations and packets of moolah in wrapped up newspapers and cold drops and stuff…seen that movie.

You just have to look up on the roof of some embassies bristling with antennae and satellite dishes and a noodle soup of communications cabling to know that they are not watching reruns of Friends.

Snooping is something which comes with the job.

Thing is that after WWII, the freedom given to diplomats have begun to border on the absurd. Diplomatic immunity has become a nuisance and misused from wrongful parking of cars to acts of violence and even murder.

Here are some doozy examples, courtesy the Virtual Bureau of International law.

Alhaji Umaru Dikko, a member of the ex-Nigerian government, was kidnapped from his London house and was drugged and hidden in a diplomatic crate bound to Nigeria in 1984.

In 1987, Karamba, a commercial attach of the Zimbabwean mission to UN, was accused of severely abusing his children. The US did not charge him with any crime due to his diplomatic immunity.

In 2004, Christopher van Gothem, an American marine working with the embassy, collided with a taxi and killed a musician in Bucharest, Romania. His blood alcohol content was higher than the permitted limits when tested from a breath analyzer. He refused to provide a blood sample for further testing and rushed back to the US before charges could be framed against him.

Surely, in all these cases immunity should have been lifted.

Diplomatic pouches carry contraband from drugs to guns and are a smuggler’s aspiration. One wonders sometime why these mutual privileges should not be revisited. There have been cases of bringing in weapons, shoplifting, blocking traffic, avoiding arrest for criminal acts and finding sanctuary in the confines of their embassy grounds.

A critical reworking of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and the Convention on Consular Relations in 1963 are well overdue. Murderers have got away and the returns from such missions in a hi-tech age have become an expensive self-indulgence. Even when there are blatant breaches of local law nothing can be done because every nation has its citizens in that country and they are then at risk if action is taken against an individual and relations turn inimical. Also, diplomatic activities in protecting these citizens and offering them consular services makes it necessary to have these mutual territorial rights.

Why these cannot be continued after serious reconsideration of the privileges to the individual not connected to his or her job which now border on a free pass to do whatever you want with impunity courtesy the immunity is a matter that needs to be addressed.

India might be sending a message to Pakistan by its tough stance but this letter has been delivered so often that the traffic of dismissed diplomats cuts no ice.

The postman doesn’t only knock twice…it is an endless rat-a-tat. And no one really cares.

Top Pak Army officer handpicked Mehmood Akhtar for India spy mission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehmood Akhtar, a Havildar in the Pakistani Army, was handpicked for the espionage mission by a top army officer who was once in the race to be the Pakistan Army Chief. Intelligence officials told DNA that Akhtar was part of the 40 Baloch Regiment after joining the Pakistan Army in 1997 before being sent to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on deputation on the recommendation of a Lieutenant-General, who also happened to be the Colonel Commandant of the regiment.Sources said Akhtar was deputed to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in January 2014 after undergoing a three-month special training in espionage.Soon after recommending him for the ‘special assignment’, the Lieutenant-General retired six months later. This officer was in the race to be Pakistan Army chief but lost out narrowly, as he retired months before then chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s scheduled retirement in 2013.”Mehmood Akhtar was just a Havildar, one of the lowest ranks in the army but he had the backing of the Pakistan Baloch Regiment Colonel Commandant,” said an intelligence official.Akhtar was not alone. A senior who he reported to was also sent for the assignment along with him on the recommendation of the same officer, sources said. The Delhi Police also confirmed that Akhtar got his deputation to ISI in January 2013.”His interrogation disclosed that he was posted in Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, for about two-and-a-half years and was working in the visa section,” said Joint Commissioner (Crime Branch) Ravinder Yadav.”He also disclosed that he is on deputation to ISI since January 2013 and is a serving Havildar of the 40 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army,” he added. Akhtar’s name was disclosed while officials were tracking other spies. “He was on special assignment and came under the crosshairs of intelligence sleuths recently, though other local spies were under the scanner since January,” sources said.

India gives Pakistani spy Mehmood Akhtar 48-hour deadline to leave country

Acting tough on an arrested Pakistani spy Mehmood Akhtar, who was handling espionage activities in the guise of an employee in the High Commission in New Delhi, India on Thursday asked the neighbouring country to recall its staffer within 48 hours.

“Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities, given 48 hours to leave India,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup in a press meet. His family also have to leave within the deadline given.

“Mehmood Akhtar was intercepted by Delhi Police yesterday while he was receiving sensitive documents pertaining to national security of India,”he said.

Swarup said that following an intelligence tip-off, Akhtar, who was among the personal staffers of Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit, was detained for a short while by the Delhi Police before being released due to his diplomatic immunity.

“Mehmood Akhtar stated that he had joined Baloch regiment of Pakistan Army in 1997, came on deputation to ISI in 2013. Mehmood Akhtar was posted in September 2013 to Pakistan High Commission, where he’s currently working,” he said.

The external affairs ministry spokesperson said that while the spy ring has been busted, “the ring-leader has been sent back.”

Swarup refuted allegations by the Pakistani High Commissioner made earlier in the day that Akhtar was mistreated and harassed in police custody. He went on to give a line by line rebuttal of Pakistan’s allegations.

Swarup said that Akhtar was detained but was treated with courtesy in accordance with his diplomatic status. He said it was Akhtar who indulged in subterfuge and tried to conceal his identity initially. Swarup told the press that Akhtar himself, in the presence of MEA officials, had said that he was treated well.

The Pakistani High Commissioner had even lodged a protest over the “detention and manhandling” of Akhtar with the Indian authorities strongly rejecting the Indian accusations, terming them “false and unsubstantiated.” Basit said that the detention of was in violation of 1961 Vienna Convention.

On the Pakistani allegation that Indian conduct was in violation with the 1961 Vienna Convention, Swarup said that no convention bars a nation from acting against a person whose conduct is not in line with his diplomatic status. He said, “India was well within its right to declare him persona non grata.”

With Pakistan losing no time to link the spy saga as India’s attempt to divert attention from Kashmir, Swarup said that he “fails to understand the rationale” behind such a statement.

In a strongly worded statement, “India”, Swarup said, “has conveyed its objection to Basit, stating that it should ensure that all Pakistani diplomats should act in a way that merits their diplomatic status and should not indulge in acts manifesting enmity to India.”

The Delhi Crime Branch also arrested two persons, both residents of Rajasthan, for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Akhtar.

“The alleged spies are residents of Rajasthan working for Pakistan’s ISI. They were in touch with the staff here at Pakistan High Commission and were providing sensitive information,” said a senior police officer. Those arrested have been identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, he said.

Swamy backs the call for banning Pakistani artists from working in India

New York: Amid Indo-Pak tension, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has backed the call for a ban on Pakistani artists from working in India, saying the consciousness of the Indian people cannot be diluted by allowing them to perform in the country.

“Today we are in a situation where we have to prepare the country’s mind that it may be a possibility in future that we may have to go to war. We have been at war with Pakistan four times already, it is not an unusual event,” Swamy said at a conference titled ‘India and Pakistan: A Subcontinental Affair’ organised by the students of New
York University.

“To prepare the mind of the people, we cannot allow these dilutions of cinema artists and cricket players coming to our country and playing. We cannot allow that. The day normalcy comes in Pakistan, we will be the first to resume cricket and cinema,” he said at the conference on Friday.

Swamy said while war is no solution, the Narendra Modi government will not tolerate terrorism and “if it comes we will retaliate by means that are available to us”.

A file photo of Subramanian Swamy. ReutersA file photo of Subramanian Swamy. Reuters

A file photo of Subramanian Swamy. Reuters

“The mood of the country that I see over the years is only getting hardened and it reflects itself in places where many people would think we shouldn’t be really stepping in, for example on (Pak) artists not coming (in india). But that is the mood in the country that they don’t want any dilution of our attitude to Pakistan at this present moment.

“It is a gloomy picture for negotiated settlement and dialogue. We will not allow dilution of this consciousness because if you have to prepare for something, then you cannot allow dilution of consciousness so all this naach gaana business will go as a consequence of it,” he said.

Swamy added that no one should normally object to culture and arts in a political warfare but given the current situation between India and Pakistan, where “we are not in a war-like situation but (there is) a possibility of war by miscalculation. Therefore we have to be prepared.”

Swamy was heckled by a student at the conference when he made the remark that after the Mosul attack by American support forces, many ISIS members were now thinking of taking sanctuary in Pakistan.

Swamy asserted that the “one mistake” India has made in Kashmir, apart going to the UN on the issue, is “not to make it absolutely clear that no discussion will ever take place with Pakistan on the status of Kashmir. The only discussion that will take place is how to end terrorism”.

Swamy said unless the political authority begins to assert itself in Pakistan to discipline its army, to discipline its ISI and put an end to all the terrorists living freely in Pakistan, “I think it will be impossible for any government of India to have a dialogue on wide ranging items”.

“Political normalcy between India and Pakistan is something which we in India think is fruitless and therefore should not be engaged in,” he said.

“There is no point in speaking to the elected government in Pakistan because they don’t have any weight, they are unable to implement any decision,”he said.

“We cannot have any dialogue with Nawaz Sharif because we consider him a dummy Prime Minister who cannot implement anything,” he said, adding that India tried for the past two and half years and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone out of his way to normalise relations with Pakistan.

“None of these gestures have had any effect and terrorism has continued across the border,” he said.

Swamy added that after the Uri attack, “our government will give proactive responses to any cross border (terror)
attack on us.”

“This Islam appeal to India must stop, which means that terrorists have to be brought to book. This Islamisation of its terrorist attacks on India, it has a negative impact within India,” he said.

He added that if the Muslim community has accepted the Uniform Criminal Code, why it should not accept the Uniform Civil Code.

Swamy said the UN resolutions on Kashmir have no legality and he is urging the Indian government to write to the UN to say the resolutions be treated as null and void.

Pak PMO denies report claiming Nawaz Sharif talked tough with Pak Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Pakistan’s English Daily the Dawn reported that the civilian government in Islamabad has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the state, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement rejecting the report as ‘misleading and factually incorrect’.Earlier in the day, under the headline, ‘Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military’, the Dawn reported that the Pakistan Government said that military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action. The report said Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI ) DG Gen Rizwan Akhtar, accompanied by National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, is to travel to each of the four provinces with a message for provincial apex committees and ISI sector commanders.However, disowning the report the spokesman of the PM Office has strongly rejected the story published in the Daily Dawn of 6 Oct 16, regarding purported deliberations in a meeting on the security issues. The spokesman has termed contents of the story not only speculative but misleading and factually incorrect. It is an amalgamation of fiction and fabrication.’The statement said that the fact that the report itself states that none of the attributed statements were confirmed by the individuals mentioned in the story clearly makes it an example of irresponsible reporting.Dispelling the impression created by the newspaper, the spokesman said, ‘The intelligence agencies particularly ISI are working in line with the state policy in the best interest of the nation both at the federal and provincial levels to act against terrorists of all hue and colour without any discrimination Indeed the Army’s and ISI’s role and contributions towards implementation of NAP have been proactive and unwavering.’It is imperative that those demanding the right to information at par with the international best practices also act in a manner which is compatible with international reporting standards.’The report by Dawn also said that Prime Minister Sharif has directed that fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi antiterrorism court.

After Nawaz Sharif’s warning, Pak Army chief Raheel Shareef hits out at India’s ‘litany of falsehoods’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing international isolation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in an unprecedented move has warned the powerful military not to shield banned militant groups and directed authorities to conclude the Pathankot terror attack probe and the 2008 Mumbai attack trials, a leading Pakistani daily reported . Sharif’s orders came after a series of meetings between military and civilian leaders, Dawn newspaper said.The government delivered a “blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning” to the military leadership and sought consensus on several key actions, including action against banned militant groups, the paper quoted unnamed individuals, who were involved in the meetings. At least two sets of actions have been agreed as a result of the most recent meeting, an undisclosed one on the day of the All Parties’ Conference, which took place on Monday. ISI Director General Rizwan Akhtar, accompanied by National Security Adviser Nasser Janjua, will travel to all provinces with a message that military-led intelligence agencies should not interfere if law enforcement agencies act against militant groups that are banned.Sharif directed that fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court. Those decisions, taken after an extraordinary verbal confrontation between Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the ISI DG, appear to indicate a high-stakes new approach by the PML-N government, the paper said. Separately, on Monday Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry made an exclusive presentation in the Prime Minister’s Office to a small group of civil and military officials. The presentation by the Foreign Secretary summarised the results of the recent diplomatic outreach by Pakistan, the crux being that Pakistan faces diplomatic isolation and that the government’s talking points have been met with indifference in major world capitals, the paper said.On the US, Chaudhry said that relations have deteriorated and will likely further deteriorate because of the American demand that action be taken against the Haqqani network. On India, Chaudhry said that the completion of the Pathankot investigation and some visible action against Jaish-i-Mohammad, which India says was behind the January 2 attack, were the principal demands. Chaudhry said while China has reiterated its support for Pakistan, it too has indicated a preference for a change in course by Pakistan. Specifically, while Chinese authorities have conveyed their willingness to keep putting on technical hold a UN ban on Jaish-i-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar, they have questioned the logic of doing so repeatedly, the report said. The Foreign Secretary’s unexpectedly blunt conclusions triggered an astonishing and potentially ground-shifting exchange between the ISI DG and several civilian officials, it said.Raheel Sharif blames India Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif accused India of spreading a “litany of falsehoods” and warned that any aggression or a “strategic miscalculation” against his country will not go unpunished. “We have recently witnessed an unfortunate display of utter desperation” playing out inside Kashmir and along Line of Control through a “litany of falsehoods and distortion of facts by India”, Raheel said while addressing the passing out ceremony of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) cadets in Risalpur, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “We expect international community to condemn Indian insinuations and fabrications about a nation that has made unparalleled contributions in the global fight against terrorism,” he said. Raheel’s comments assume significance as they come amidst the strain in Indo-Pak ties after the Uri terror attack and India’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir. Pakistan claims no surgical strikes have taken place.”Any aggression, born out of deliberate intent or even a strategic miscalculation, will not be allowed to go unpunished and will be met with the most befitting response,” Raheel said.”We will be highly relentless in defending our motherland against entire spectrum of threat. I am confident that with the united resolve of our nation and its armed forces, those inimical to regional peace will not be allowed to succeed.Their evil plots and plans will be defeated,” he said. Raheel claimed that “enemies” of Pakistan’s peace and prosperity have been distressed by the sight of the country’s “successes”. “These enemies will now attempt to accelerate their efforts to reverse our gains and derail our progress through direct and indirect strategy,” he asserted. Raheel said Pakistan is a “responsible” country and claimed that it remains committed to following the policy of friendship with all other countries based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. “While doing so, the armed forces of Pakistan remain fully prepared to give the most befitting response to any kind of internal and external threat posed to our nation,” he said. “Their (enemies’) nefarious designs will not be allowed to succeed at any cost. Resolute efforts to consolidate our gains is the only way forward for which we will not leave any stone unturned,” Raheel said. He claimed that Pakistan was making efforts to eliminate militancy. “Internally, Operation Zarb-e-Azb had successfully turned the tide against terrorism. We are engaged in eliminating the terrorism infrastructure from our soil and foil nefarious designs of our enemies,” he said.

Will Pakistan’s realisation about the folly of breeding anti-India terrorists last?

Pakistan should have realised that its days of breeding terrorists were over the very day the Islamic State went berserk in Europe, the US and parts of the Indian subcontinent.

With almost every liberal democracy under attack from jihadists, Pakistan should have read the writing on the wall: The world would soon start abhorring terrorism in every form, and begin to isolate and punish States that patronise jihadists. But, even in the backdrop of a world wary of jihadists waging wars in the name of Islam, Pakistan’s deep state continued to pursue its policy of using terrorism as a component of its statecraft and diplomacy.

File image of Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

File image of Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

Pakistan continued to believe that by overtly supporting the US’s ‘Global War on Terror’ and covertly using terrorists on its western and eastern borders, it would be able to strike a delicate balance between its regional and global inspirations, become the good cop for the West and the bad boy for the neighbours.

Those days of duplicity, it is evident from recent events in Pakistan, are over. The perennial bad boy of the Indian subcontinent, it is clear, has realised that it now needs to mend its course, denounce terrorism and shut down its jihadist factories. The double game Islamabad played is over, its political leadership has realised. According to Dawn, at a recent meeting, “in a blunt, orchestrated and unprecedented warning, the civilian government has informed the military leadership of a growing international isolation of Pakistan and sought consensus on several key actions by the State.”

According to the report, Sharif has directed the military — particularly the ISI — to back off and not interfere if the government cracks down on jihadists and pursues cases against perpetrators of the 26 November, 2008 attacks on Mumbai. The government has also asked the military leadership to expedite the probe into the Pathankot attack. The new course of action — in many ways unprecedented for Pakistan — was agreed upon after the government talked about its increasing diplomatic isolation and pressure from the US, India and even China to act against the Haqqani Network, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.

According to the newspaper, at the meeting, Sharif’s younger brother Shahbaz, chief minister of Punjab, clashed with the ISI director-general and complained that whenever action has been taken against certain groups by civilian authorities, the security establishment has worked behind the scenes to set the arrested free. “Astounded onlookers describe a stunned room that was immediately aware of the extraordinary, unprecedented nature of the exchange,” according to Dawn.

Pakistan has gone down this road several times in the past.

In the aftermath of Kargil and the attack on the Indian Parliament, the then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had announced that he would not allow his country to be the launchpad for terror attacks in the region. That promise — extracted out of him by the US and the threat of an Indian attack — was unfortunately forgotten in a few months. But, the recent bout of self-introspection reported by Dawn may have been induced by rapid geopolitical changes.

Apart from the emerging consensus in the world that terrorism needs a unified global response, Sharif may have also read the signs of the shift in the US stance and China’s frustration with Islamabad’s inability to act against terrorists lodged in Pakistan. The US is about to wind up its operations in Afghanistan, getting ready to leave governance in the hands of an increasingly anti-Pakistan government in Kabul. Once it leaves the region, the US may have no use left for Pakistan and may dump it like a rotten egg. China, on the other hand, is pumping billions of dollars into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

It obviously wants Pakistan to pursue peace to ensure the investments are not wiped away.

Curiously, although Sharif is seen as a villain outside Pakistan, many in his home country consider their prime minister an India sympathiser — somebody who is soft towards the traditional rival. Within Pakistan, Nawaz is seen as a lame duck with zero impact on foreign policy and national security. As Cyril Almeida argues in Dawn, from RAW agents in Sharif’s sugar mills to conspiracies of steel mill monopolies, to the relentless linking of Sharif to Narendra Modi, all of it has worked to put the Pakistani prime minister in a position where he can’t even talk about India sensibly anymore.

So, it isn’t clear whether Sharif’s belated introspection and realisation of the “gradual drift towards isolation” will lead to some real action against jihadists. But, it is clear that recent events have woken Pakistan’s civilian leadership out of its nuclear blackmail-induced stupor to see where the country is heading. Pakistan, being Pakistan, may not listen to this belated voice of sanity and continue on its path of self-destruction, and may even soon chuck out Sharif, something Imran Khan is threatening to do post-Moharram.

But the good news is that the civilian leaders have started looking into the mirror and telling their military counterparts about the ugly self-image they see.

Why the Modi govt should refrain from releasing footage of surgical strikes

The proverbial penny has dropped. The Indian army has reportedly handed over video footage of the surgical strikes across LoC to the government and is apparently keen that the evidence is released though the final decision, writes Manu Pubby in The Economic Times, rests with the PMO.

This, as Firstpost had argued on Tuesday marks a new, staggeringly shameful chapter in Indian politics.

However, whatever be the level of provocation or political compulsion to battle an opposition narrative that the surgical strike was “fake”, the Narendra Modi government should refrain from releasing the footage of the strikes, the details of which concur with a report carried in Wednesday’s edition of The Indian Express. That report, quoting eyewitness accounts from across the border, mentions graphic details of explosions, bodies being loaded onto trucks for secret burials and strikes on launch pads that took Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba terrorists by surprise.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

“The eyewitnesses also described brief but intense fire engagements that destroyed makeshift buildings that housed jihadists before they left for the last stage of their journeys across the LoC,” writes Praveen Swami in The Indian Express. He quotes one eyewitness as saying: “The Lashkar men gathered there were blaming the Pak Army for failing to defend the border… and saying they would soon give India an answer it would never forget”.

Adding to the government’s discomfiture is a sense of indignation in the armed forces who are understandably outraged that their brave effort has been called into question. According to The Economic Times report, top officers in the Indian army are keen that India release evidence to “answer” those alleging that the strikes never happened.

But this is also the time for Prime Minister to show ‘strategic restraint’ and not fall into the trap of providing evidence. He doesn’t need to because skepticism for the covert operation is emanating from roughly three sources. Modi doesn’t need to worry about the first two while the third camp is on a mission to self-destruct.

As Firstpost has argued in the past (Why the world should applaud Pakistan for continuing to deny India’s surgical strikes), we should permit Pakistan its little denial exercise because it allows cornered Pindi generals the leeway to avoid a retaliatory strike on India. This is not a desired outcome between two nuclear-armed nations.

Western media represent the second camp. Most of their reports are either keyboard attempts far from the LoC or based on a Pakistan army-sponsored junket across PoK where everything were naturally shown to be hunky-dory. In any case, while western media is skeptical of India’s operation (and they have every right to remain so), their governments — who know better — have been overwhelmingly supportive of India’s action.

That leaves us with the third camp. India’s opposition leaders. It is possible that the Uri attacks and the government and army’s subsequent response have darkened their electoral prospects. Netas in these situations become increasingly desperate but the course of action that the likes of Arvind Kejriwal and Sanjay Nirupam have taken may prove to be counter-productive in the long run.

The Line of Control between the two warring nations isn’t just a fenced border. For India, it also presented a formidable mental barrier. By crossing the LoC and then, crucially, owning up the stealth operation, New Delhi made it clear to Pakistan that India reserves the right to protect itself and take both proactive and reactive steps to meet external threat perceptions. It was the culmination of a coherent politico-diplomatic-military effort that degraded some of the terror infrastructure in PoK, called out Islamabad’s nuclear bluff, isolated Islamabad internationally and still left enough elbow room for Rawalpindi generals to issue a denial.

Globally, the operation landed India in a sweet spot. Strength is a universal language when it comes to strategic affairs. While no amount of action can force Pakistan’s compliance as long as it reckons terrorism as a low-cost strategic option to get even with a mightier neighbour, New Delhi’s habitual weak-kneed response allowed Islamabad to push the scale a little higher each time to test India’s resilience. That changed in one stroke on 29 September.

While India crossed the border, the heat was on Pakistan to deescalate tension and wipe out its terror footprint. Islamabad was also more than in a spot of bother regionally with nearly all Saarc nations boycotting the summit and rallying behind New Delhi. It seemed that India has emerged as a clear winner from an uneasy equilibrium.

Trust our netas, however, to make a mockery of one of the most concerted, synergised civil-military effort and create a situation where the army felt aggrieved enough to hand over the evidence and seek its release to save itself from dishonorable insinuations of lying.

The likes of AAP supremo Kejriwal, Congress neta Sanjay Nirupam, senior Congress leader and former Union home minister P Chidambaram or JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok would do well to introspect on the repercussions of their tacit or open demand for releasing of footage. Their political messaging was perhaps an effort to prevent the BJP from cashing in on the adrenaline rush of nationalism but it ran the risk of being interpreted — as proven — as an attempt to cast aspersions on the Indian army.

That being the case, it makes little sense for Modi to now publish the evidence. Releasing details of a classified operation to placate political rivals is a defensive posture which indicates that the Prime Minister may not have been confident of his action while giving army the green signal to conduct the strike. Did he not factor in that such a reaction may occur?

Conversely, if political compulsions have forced Kejriwals and Nirupams to doubt the army and government, this video evidence, too, may be similarly discounted. It is a zero sum game.

Lastly, there is an argument that in a democracy, the government must be held into account for its actions. This position does not take into account exceptions to the rule when a government may withhold certain information in larger public interest.

As former army chief General Shankar Roychowdhury told NDTV, advising the government not to put out sensitive information on public domain, “The ISI and Pakistan army are eagerly looking forward to whatever they can pick up, particularly from the Indian media, because 80 percent of all intelligence comes from open sources… They are waiting to pick up intelligence about India’s operational techniques.”

Modi is under no obligation to release evidence of the footage. Doing so would be extremely damaging.

PoK residents take to streets to protest against atrocities committed by Pakistani Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kotli residents in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) recently took to the streets to protest against the atrocities committed by the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).The agitation was launched against extra-judicial killings, fake encounters and brutalities committed on pro-Azadi leaders, who disagree with the Pakistan State.The angry mob raised slogans such as “Butcher of Kashmiris, Pakistan Army”, “Dogs are more loyal than ISI”.The protesters demand an independent investigation into the murder of Arif Shahid, a major Kashmiri nationalist leader, chairman of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA), and president of the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC).Shahid fought tooth and nail against Pakistan’s oppression in PoK before he was shot outside his residence in Rawalpindi on May 14, 2013. He was 62.Investigation into Shahid’s murder is still inconclusive, and there is no closure in the cold-blooded murder, so far. The ISI is blamed for conspiring and executing Shahid’s murder.According to an estimate by the All Party National Alliance based in Muzaffarabad, more than one hundred pro-freedom political activists have been killed by the ISI over the past two years.There is growing resentment among PoK residents over the killings as well as the continued army clampdown.Earlier, PoK witnessed a series of protests by residents against rigged polls that saw Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), coming to power.The United States’ State Department has recently also expressed concern over human rights violation in PoK, maintaining that it has always been urging parties in Pakistan to settle their differences “peaceably and through a valid political process”.US States Department spokesperson Mark Toner said he could not agree with the view that nobody knew about human rights violations in PoK before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted that in recent times. “Sure. Well, I would respectfully beg to differ. We do have concerns about the human rights situation there, have reported it for several years in our Human Rights Report, and we’ve obviously – are always urging all parties in Pakistan to work out their differences peaceably and through a valid political process. And with respect to Kashmir, our policy there is well known,” he said.

Let’s not pat our back, be prepared for retaliation: Former Union Minister Pallam Raju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union minister M M Pallam Raju on Thursday cautioned the NDA government not to “pat its back” for the “surgical strike” across Line of Control, saying it should be prepared for possible retaliation from Pakistan.However, the senior Congress leader appreciated the timing as “perfect” for the strike on Line of Control (LoC). “I would like to commend the Indian armed forces on the well planned surgical strike across the Line of Control. India has been exercising restraint and that has unfortunately been interpreted as weakness by Pakistan. I hope the strong message that has been delivered by the armed forces will be taken note of by Pakistan,” Raju said.”I think this is a good retribution. But at the same time we have to be prepared also. Let’s not pat ourselves on our backs. We should also be prepared for retaliation from their end. In what form the retaliation comes, will it be (in the form of) stepped up terror attacks or would it step up (its activities) that would lead to war. This is what we have to be prepared for,” Pallam Raju told PTI.DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh on Thursday said India carried out surgical strike on terror launch pads across the Line of Control, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists and those who are trying to support them.Replying to query, Raju said the ruling NDA government has given sufficient freedom to the armed forces which yielded good results.”I am happy that they have given the armed forces the freedom to step across the Line of Control and take action. Before that they have also built up sufficient international pressure to give a justification for the strike,” he said.The former Minister of State for Defence blamed Pakistan’s Army and ISI for terror attacks on India, saying they are encouraging such acts as the neighbouring country can never win a conventional war against India.

Uri terror attack: India’s culture of shying from conflict is why such attacks will recur

The Modi government is understood to have given the army, its diplomats and its spooks a cautious go-ahead for some kind of calibrated, but not brash, response to the Pakistan-backed terrorist attack in Uri, which killed 18 soldiers. Nothing wrong with this, but it will achieve little. None of this has worked in the past, and none of this will amount to much beyond political optics even now or in the future. This is because underlying all this is a reactive approach, and hence our actions can be easily anticipated by the world’s original Islamic State, aka Pakistan.

The truth is countering Pakistan’s death-by-a-thousand cuts terror policy needs a long-term strategy, not a tactical reaction to events. But despite have seen over three decades of Pakistani perfidies, we do not have a coherent strategy. If we had one, by now the costs of Uri could have been clear to Pakistan. That we are still debating what to do, with media speculating on options loudly, means Pakistan is ready to face whatever we throw at them. Whatever we do will thus be ineffective.

18 soldiers were killed in Sunday's attack on Uri Army base. PTI18 soldiers were killed in Sunday's attack on Uri Army base. PTI

18 soldiers were killed in Sunday’s attack on Uri Army base. PTI

What we have been doing so far is blundering through with a non-strategy. Consider these points:

1. A sitting ducks strategy

Whether it is terror against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir or the army, our approach is defensive and non-purposeful. The truism is that a terrorist has to succeed only once, while the defence has to win all the time to be successful. While we can certainly protect our army camps and airbases better, dealing with terrorists who have the element of surprise with them needs a more flexible and mobile strategy, which means creating a light, effective and disciplined commando force that blends with the population to both feed intelligence and take direct action against jihadis when they are discovered. Our National Security Guards are busy protecting politicians instead of our security assets. We need a force that works under the army or the central police forces, but which is mobile and effective.

2. Learn-no-lessons strategy

Pakistan constantly adapts to new conditions based on how the last one worked or failed. When 26/11 made Pakistan a global pariah, it shifted strategy to target the army and police, as strategic affairs expert Brahma Chellaney notes, but even after Pathankot we have not changed our strategy to meet this threat. This is why Uri happened.

3. The hugs-and-kisses strategy

This is where we allow hope and naivete to trump good sense. We are always ready to hop onto a bus to Lahore or hug a Pakistani Prime Minister when the Pakistani army and Deep State have repeatedly demonstrated that they are not willing to give up their enmity or terror assets. Hugs-and-kisses are fine for global optics, but they can never substitute for realism driven by hard power and firepower. WE don’t have to abandon the optics or even talks, but we have to have an underlying iron-fist-in-velvet glove strategy. We should be able to bare our fangs whenever we choose to.

4. The outrage-and-bluster routine

Every time there is a terror attack, we get angry as though this is the first time we have been stabbed in the back. We demand solid responses from a pusillanimous government, and we get promises of action. But a few weeks later, we forget all this and are back to business-as-usual. Media bluster and political statement-mongering will get us nowhere.

5. The playing-by-our-rules strategy

Indians are particularly foolish to think that our opponent will play by our rules, or ever play fair. When you are in a war of long-term attrition, you have to know your enemy. You can’t fight with bow and arrow when the enemy has guns. But we spend very little time asking ourselves what the Pakistanis are going to do next, what atrocity they are going to commit to provoke us. If we do not learn to think like the enemy, if we are not regularly studying alternate scenarios on what the Pakistani generals will be upto next, we are going to be surprised every time. We need a permanent war-room under the National Security Advisor that will constantly ask itself what it would do if it were in the ISI’s or Pakistani army’s shoes, and prepare for that eventuality. We might still get surprised, but at least we can learn from our mistakes. War is not a play-by-my-rules affair. You have to make your rules only after understanding what rules the opponent follows. Your rules depend on knowing your enemy.

6. The dossier strategy

Every time there is a terror event, we build dossiers on Pakistan’s involvement. Nothing wrong in this, but we have to understand who or what this dossier is for. It is to show the world, and build a domestic case for trials in case the persons named happen to get caught in India. Giving these dossiers to Pakistan is like giving them ultimate pleasure. They will dismiss it as “literature” and throw it in the dustbin and then ask for more evidence. Nothing pleases the Pakistanis more than to let us do all the work and then throw it into the trash can. Why are we doing this repeatedly?

7. The diplomatic isolation gambit

Once again, this is useful in order to build global opinion against Pakistan. We should continue doing so, and also repeatedly brand Pakistan as the oldest and most dangerous version of Islamic State. ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has no nuclear weapons. It can be bombed out of existence. Pakistan cannot. So the purpose of diplomacy should be to make Pakistan a pariah, but it won’t reduce terrorism from Pakistani soil. The only country which has leverage over China is Pakistan, but China is happy to covertly support Pakistani terror in order to keep us permanently off balance. If at all diplomacy is to work, our strategy should be to drive a wedge between China and Pakistan by giving the former evidence of terrorism against China being plotted by Pakistani jihadis.

8. The turn-the-other-cheek strategy

This is pure stupidity, and entirely homegrown. Our media will keep telling us that India as the big brother must tolerate some Pakistani perfidy, and even provide justification for it, by showing how Pakistanis are good people, who even pay for visiting journos’ lunch. It is true that civil society people can be warm towards Indians, but it is not Pakistani civil society that we are fighting with. It is the army and ISI. Turning the other cheek and playing benevolent big brother to the Deep State is not an option.

9. The look-at-root-causes strategy

This also masquerades as the look-at-our-own-mistakes strategy. Or we-brought-it-on-ourselves rationalisation. Doves in the media and analysts will routinely tell us that we goofed in J&K, and that Pakistan would not find traction if we only won the Kashmiris over. While it can be no one’s claim that we did all the right things in Kashmir, it is rubbish to suggest that the current wave of violence is all our own doing. Remember, Pakistan was a key player in Islamising the Valley and played an active role in the ethnic cleansing of the Pandits. Once the Valley became 100 percent Muslim, Kashimiryat was over. Where earlier Pakistan had to send jihadis over, now jihad is home-grown with a self-radicalising population which thinks Islamism is the answer. De-radicalisation should be our goal, but we still have to fight Pakistan in this battle.

10. The good boy strategy

India seems keener to get good certificates of tolerance and restraint from the global community than to protect its strategic interests in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere. Many Indian media writers feed this narrative by saying India should not support war-mongering. Anyone demanding effective action against Pakistani terror can be dubbed a warmonger, and we keep fighting shy of this tag. The fact is every nation has a duty to protect its interests, and retaliation against terror is not war-mongering. A rising global power cannot decide its actions based on what other people will think. We can explain our point of view to the world cogently, but we cannot let them decide what is in our interests, even if they think less of us in the bargain. The US, Russia, China, Israel, UK and no country worth its salt decides on strategic actions based on what the world will think. We should not either.

Our real problem is this: there is something in the Indian cultural DNA that shies away from conflict, avoids hard decisions, and offers a rationalisation for inaction and cowardice. Not standing up to a regular bully is passed off (by us) as some kind of peace-loving Indian attitude when internally we are seething with anger over repeated humiliations by a terrorist nation.

The Pakistanis have figured this out about us, which is why they target us with impunity, knowing how we will respond. Isn’t it time we showed them we can be different? We owe it to ourselves and the future of Indian nationhood to show them we are not what they think we are: sissies afraid to stand up for our national interests.

Mann ka video: Extension to probe panel shows BJP’s vendetta politics, says AAP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Alleging a witch-hunt against Bhagwant Mann after a Lok Sabha panel probing his Parliament House videography was given an extension, AAP on Saturday said BJP was doing “vendetta politics.””What has Bhagwant Mann done for which the Committee has been seeking extension repeatedly? This is a conspiracy by the BJP. The vendetta politics is resulting in Mann not being able to raise the issues of his state in Lok Sabha for the last three weeks. This is nothing but a witch-hunt,” AAP leader Ashish Khetan alleged. Khetan said Mann wanted to raise the issues of grain procurement, farmers suicide and drug abuse in Punjab.Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has given extension to the Committee on Conduct of Bhagwant Mann till the end of the first week of next (Winter) session, the panel’s Chairman Kirit Somaiya said.In view of seriousness of the matter, the AAP MP from Sangrur has been asked by the Speaker not to attend the sittings of the House until a decision has been taken. Khetan asked what action was taken by the BJP against the then Rajya Sabha VP Singh Badnore, who is now the Punjab Governor, when he allegedly tried to enter Parliament using a “forged” sticker on his car.”Badnore had then claimed that he wanted to do a sting, but the Ethics Committee found his claim to be untrue. He did the same thing which the terrorist did while carrying out the attack on Parliament,” he alleged. A defiant Mann had maintained that he did no wrong and his intention was to make people aware of the parliamentary procedures.In his response to the committee, Mann had also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be also summoned before the panel for “inviting” ISI to Pathankot air base, referring to the Joint Investigation Team of Pakistan that visited India to probe the attack. “Why does the BJP not want Mann to raise the issue of ISI and PM in his response. This is a classic example of how the BJP is using every means to suppress opposition,” Khetan said.

Pakistan not against visit of NIA team: Sushma Sawaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday claimed that Pakistan has “not refused” to allow a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to visit it to pursue the probe into the Pathankot terror attack case.

External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. PTIExternal Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

“NIA ko unhone inkaar nahi kya (They did not decline visit of the NIA team),” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told a press conference here adding Islamabad has only sought “more time” to take a final decision on the issue.

A five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan including an ISI officer had visited India in March to collect evidence on the attack.

Pakistan has so far denied that JIT’s visit to New Delhi was on a reciprocal basis.

Sushma Swaraj said the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad had met Pakistani officials and “they said they are analysing (the evidence).”

ISI snooping on security forces through smartphone malwares, says government

Pakistan’s snooping agency ISI is spying on Indian security forces using malwares through mobile gaming and music applications such as Top Gun, mpjunkie, vdjunky, talking frog, the government said on Tuesday.Responding to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary also said Pakistan’s spy agency was making efforts to trap ex-servicemen in the garb of providing job opportunities and financial aid for spying.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There are reports that Pakistan intelligence agencies are spying on Indian security forces by sending malwares in mobile apps such as Top Gun (game app), mpjunkie (music app), vdjunkey (video app), talking frog (entertainment app,” the minister said.He said during the period 2013-16, seven ex-servicemen were arrested/detected for espionage activities for the ISI.”The Indian security forces have been sensitised about Pakistan ISI using dubious applications on smartphones,” he said.”Besides, the government has circulated Computer Security Policy and Guidelines to all the ministries/departments on taking steps to prevent, detect and mitigate cyber attacks which includes sanitisation of staff and officers, installations of CCTV and biometric for electronic surveillance with well defined crisis management plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism for implementation,” Chaudhary said.

Abdul Basit’s threat: Just another slice of grandstanding worth ignoring

It is in the realm of an exhibition tennis match. More sulky in texture than displaying substance. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was clearly given the mandate from Islamabad to nobble the Indo-Pak peace talks for now but, at the same time, to lob the ball pointlessly at the relatively low diplomatic level rather than up the stakes.

Three reasons for exercising this dismal option. One, it makes their record book show that the Pathankot incident and the brouhaha over the JIT visit on India’s invitation has been answered. India has been suitably snubbed in Pakistan’s eyes. The angle now being that peace cannot be achieved unless India is sincere in sharing evidence and co-operating. And also in doing so giving itself a delusion that it can now justifiably back off from inviting India over to its side to discuss the same issue. Quote the High Commissioner: “Personally I feel that this whole investigation isn’t about reciprocity, but about extending co-operation to get to the bottom on this.”

Abdul Basit. File photo. AFPAbdul Basit. File photo. AFP

Abdul Basit. File photo. AFP

Yeah, sure. India illuminated the bottom weeks ago with a mountain of evidence. And reciprocity is the core of co-operation. These words are synonymous. See how utterly inane the whole effort is.

Two, it allows Pakistan to beat its drums over the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav and its claim of RAW presence in Baluchistan. That intent has gone a bit awry because they tried to rope Iran into the mix and got their wrist slapped. But this issue will be dragged out again and again even if they cannot back their accusations.

Three, by ordering Basit to make the announcement the door is left open for Foreign Minister level talks and tea for two summits between Sharif and Modi. Ever since the Shimla agreement of 1971 these abortive sorties have been catalogued into an endless listing and this is just another ego bruised grandstand to hold up play.

It is sheer posturing at present because the flaws are glaring.

The JIT visit was a courtesy and the five days the team spent in India were more to find fault than admit culpability. They did not wish to accept the evidence.

Having announced Jadhav’s ‘spy’ career Pakistan made public his capture weeks after they had detained him. Yet, he was denied consular access. Clearly, the ISI wants to use him as a bargaining chip and balance it out with its support for the mastermind of the Pathankot attack Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar and shackle India’s call to the UN to label him a terrorist.

Does all this mincing about mean much? Not really, because these stalling tactics are largely to deflect from the increasing terrorism inside Pakistan and give the public the impression that Pakistan is standing up to Big Brother.

After all, if India could cancel the talks after the air base was attacked it is their turn to do the same.

There is a difference. India had good reason. Pakistan has none. And the best action from New Delhi would be to say, okay fine, no talks, suits us… and make no overtures.

Because overtures at this moment would be weakness and they have no script in Islamabad for stony silence.

India also has to now learn not to be Pavlovian in its responses to Pakistan but to move past it… as in cricket so in politics.

Hosting probe team amounts to ‘clean chit’ to Pakistan: Congress

Hitting out at the Centre over the visit by a Pakistani team to probe the Pathankot attack, Congress on Thursday alleged that by hosting it the government has given a “clean chit” to the Pakistani establishment over its “involvement” in acts of terror in India.”India should have sent its probe team to Pakistan as the roots of terror are there and the conspiracy behind the attack on the strategic Pathankot air base was also planned there. In such a situation, why was the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team allowed here? Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Amit Shah should answer,” party leader Kapil Sibal told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By allowing the visit of the Pakistani JIT, the government has given a “clean chit” to the Pakistani establishment on the issue of terror in India, he said.Sibal said the Prime Minister should have told Pakistan that no such team would be allowed into India until Indian investigators are permitted to interrogate terror masterminds like Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim.The Congress leader expressed shock over Pakistani spy agency ISI interrogating Indian officials and faulted the Modi dispensation for allowing such an “unprecedented thing”.The visiting Pakistani Joint Investigation Team also has an ISI official.Targeting the Prime Minister, Sibal said those who used to allege that the Congress-led UPA was offering “biryani” to terrorists, are now throwing banquets (for Pakistani JIT).”They are going to Pakistan to participate in birthday parties,” he said in an apparent dig at Modi’s surprise stopover in Lahore in December last year coinciding with the birthday of his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif.”The Prime Minister and the BJP chief are embracing the terrorists and declaring our own people as terrorists. They have embraced ISI, but are dubbing (JNUSU president) Kanhaiya Kumar as a terrorist,” Sibal said as he referred to the representative of the Pakistani ISI, Lt Col Tanveer Ahmed, in the JIT.The Congress leader said whenever governments led by BJP have attempted to normalise ties with Pakistan, the neighbouring country has betrayed the trust.”When Vajpayee went to Lahore, the Kargil intrusion took place,” he said.

This is laughable: After Cong and AAP, ally Shiv Sena joins anti-govt chorus over Pak JIT probing Pathankot

Mumbai/New Delhi: Key BJP ally Shiv Sena on Tuesday joined Congress and AAP in attacking the government over a Pakistani team being allowed to visit an IAF base in Pathankot to probe the terror strike, calling it “wrong”.

Mounting a fresh offensive over the visit today, Congress said the Modi government has set a “wrong precedent” and wondered why ‘biryani’ was being served to the JIT which also includes an ISI representative.

The Pakistan investigative team that has come to India for probing the Pathankot attack. IBNLIVE

The Pakistan investigative team that has come to India for probing the Pathankot attack. IBNLIVE

As a political storm over the visit of a five-member Pakistani Joint Investigation Team (JIT) raged, the BJP fended off opposition criticism, saying the trip strengthens government’s stand that Pakistani territory was used to carry out the strike. It also accused Congress of criticising the visit due to “political malice”.

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut while terming the government’s decision as “wrong” said rather an Indian team needs to be sent to Pakistan to probe those behind the terror strikes.

Raut also reminded the Centre that not India, but Pakistan is an accused in the Pathankot strike. “On top of that, we have provided high security to the Pakistani team. Who are they scared of? The entire matter is laughable,” the Sena MP told PTI in Mumbai.

He sought to know if the Centre will manage to get permission from Pakistan to get an Indian team to investigate in the neighbouring country.

“Our team needs to be sent there to investigate the role of Hafiz Saeed and Azhar Masood in terror strikes in our country. But will we get permission? We need to remember we are not culprits but Pakistan is,” he said.

Congress accused the government of compromising the country’s sovereignty and setting a “wrong” precedent.

“It is known all over that the Pakistan’s ISI is behind the terror attacks in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror strikes, and still we are serving biryani to the JIT which also includes an ISI representative,” party spokesman P L Punia told reporters in Delhi.

Replying to a question, he said the Narendra Modi dispensation has set a “wrong” precedent by allowing the JIT to visit India.

BJP said the government has “adequate evidence” that Pakistani territory was used and terrorists based there were involved in the attack.

“They (Pakistan) said they want to send an investigation team. It only strengthens our case and does not weaken it,” party National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told reporters.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said only time will tell whether the visit will benefit India or not. He, however, said “the way Pakistani team came for probing the Pathankot attack and was allowed, Indian team should be allowed to (investigate) Mumbai and other such attacks (in Pakistan)”.

Striking a tone different from other opposition parties, Omar’s father and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah backed the government over the visit, saying it was a “very good step” and that it was time for the two neighbouring countries to give up animosity and push friendship.

Waving black flags and placards, scores of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers stood outside the IAF base protesting against the visit and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans.

PTI

Pathankot attack: Why probe by Pakistan’s JIT is more optics than substance

New Delhi: In an ideal world, there would be hardly anything amiss about two countries with a hostile past to share intelligence on terrorism and crime. Perhaps it would also augur well for the possible détente and peace between nuclear neighbours India and Pakistan that are often locked in brinkmanship of the worst order.

In this context, the visit by Pakistan’s investigative team, comprising sleuths and counter-terror operatives, gives an illusion that India-Pakistan relations are on even keel. This raises pertinent queries — has Pakistan given up promoting cross-border terrorism? Is the Inter-Service-Intelligence (ISI), the dreaded Pakistani outfit, willing to give up its doctrine of inflicting “thousand cuts” to bleed India? Has the Pakistani army finally become subservient to its political masters?

The Pakistan investigative team that has come to India fo probing the Pathankot attack. IbnliveThe Pakistan investigative team that has come to India fo probing the Pathankot attack. Ibnlive

The Pakistan investigative team that has come to India fo probing the Pathankot attack. Ibnlive

Despite the overt bonhomie generated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unscheduled Lahore visit to Nawaz Sharif’s palace in December last year, there are hardly any signs of the existence of such an ideal situation between the two countries. At the ground level, Pakistan has not demonstrated any willingness to change its tack on terrorism, or of collaborating with India.

There are clear indications that Pakistan treated evidence of the involvement of Pakistani terrorists in the Pathankot airbase attack with its usual cavalier attitude. The arrest of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar was at best an eye-wash to ward off international criticism. On all accounts, it would be too naïve for India to consider the charade of the joint investigation in Pathankot as a mark of substantive policy shift in Pakistan.

In fact, the Pathankot attack and India’s response have exposed many chinks in the country’s internal security. For instance, despite exhaustive investigations by the National Investigative Agency (NIA), the agency is hardly in a position to draw up a coherent chargesheet to plug the holes in the story. The exact point of entry of the terrorists remains a mystery and footprints picked up near the border could not be matched with those killed in the encounter.

Though the NIA now claims that six terrorists were killed at the Pathankot airbase, the recovery from the debris at the billet where two terrorists were holed up yielded nothing concrete, not even guns. It was only after forensic examination that the NIA was able to confirm the existence of mortal remains of the two terrorists mixed up in the blast material.

A senior officer of the Border Security Force (BSF) pointed out that despite the best efforts of the BSF and the NIA, the infiltration point could not be determined. An investigation by the CBI’s own intelligence unit, however, points to a disturbing trend of infiltration of terrorists with tacit support of the ISI.

BSF officials feel that most of the terrorists involved had either infiltrated through the Jammu border or arrived in India using fake passports, following which they disappeared in Punjab. “We suspect that they get arms and ammunition from ISI sleeper-cells within Punjab,” BSF officials said.

Obviously, the BSF is reluctant to admit that terrorists were bribing their way into India through the international border between Punjab and Pakistan. In the Pathankot investigation so far, neither the NIA nor the BSF has come across any evidence to confirm this fear.

Sustained interrogation of Superintendent of Police Salwinder Singh, whose car was hijacked by terrorists to carry out the attack, has also drawn a blank.

In such a scenario, there appear to be clear signs that the Indian investigative and intelligence agencies are falling woefully short of creating a credible story to prove Pakistani involvement in the Pathankot attack.

Thus, the visit by the five-member Joint Investigative Team from Pakistan is unlikely to yield anything more than optics that signify nothing. On the other hand, it may just give Pakistan an excuse to recalibrate its strategy with its sinister objectives.

Pathankot attack: Hafiz Saeed could be part of Pakistan probe team, says Shiv Sena

With the five-member Joint Investigation Team from Pakistan having reached Pathankot to begin probe into the terror attack on the Indian Air Force Base, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday slammed the Centre for ‘welcoming’ the team which also has a member from the ISI, saying that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Saeed could also be a part of the team and no one would know.”This is exactly what will happen in our country. Those who have come from Pakistan, be it terrorists, cricketers or artists will always get security while our people keep getting killed. Our soldiers who are dying every day at the hands of Pakistan will never get any security. Everyone knows that Pakistan in involved in the Pathankot attack, even after that the JIT team gets special treatment, then it is an insult to the nation,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to the fact that an ISI officer was also part of the team, he added mockingly that Hafiz Saeed and Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar could come to India as part of the team and no one will ever know.”This is completely our failure that we have called them here. What will Pakistan do? They are the guilty party and they are going to investigate? The nation is laughing,” Raut added,Asserting that India has always been on the back foot when it came to Pakistan, the Shiv Sena leader said that the team’s very arrival in India was a security threat and asked if India would be allowed to go to Islamabad to carry out the same kind of probe.”Can our team go to Pakistan and probe? Will their security agencies allow India’s team to visit Kasab’s house and the terrorist camps? We have always been on the back foot when it has come to Pakistan. We make a lot of big talk but when it comes to work, we flake out,” Raut said.Meanwhile, the Pakistan team arrived at Pathankot to massive protests by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).Chanting slogans against the Centre and holding placards saying ‘Pak JIT go back’ the protestors also waved black flags and reached the gates of the Air Base, where defence personnel were seen trying to restrain them and stop them from entering the restricted area.”First they come here and attack on our soil bleeding us and they pretend that they are trying to get justice. Congress will never stand this farce,” Harinder Kaur, a protestor told ANI.The five-member Pakistani JIT is headed by Chief of Punjab’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Tahir Rai and comprises Lahore’s Deputy Director General, Intelligence Bureau, Mohammad Azim Arshad, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Lieutenant-Colonel Tanvir Ahmed, Military Intelligence official Lieutenant-Colonel Irfan Mirza and Gujaranwala CTD Investigating Officer, Shahid Tanveer.

Dear Pakistan probe team, India owes you nothing, don’t mistake the invitation for weakness

The invitation to the Pakistan investigative team including ISI members to come to Pathankot was seen as a goodwill courtesy and not as an open house. Largely, the access was aimed at sharing the evidence that India had gathered on the Pathankot terror attack — not an unguided tour of the air force facilities.

By the same token this call to interrogate Indian service personnel was not on the cards. To now say that India is thwarting the process borders on the absurd. If you take the history of anti-Indian ops that had their genesis in Pakistan these guys should not even be here in what is purely an experiment in co-operation and not a surrender of our sovereign rights.

The Pakistan probe team has got this all wrong — it all becomes ironic is that the protests are being done against the backdrop of the accusation that RAW (read India) was the convenient hand behind the bombing in the park in Lahore.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

A file photo of the Pathankot rescue operations. AP

How RAW got hold of a suicide bomber is, of course, not explained but can you even visualize Pakistan allowing an equivalent Indian posse being given access to their wounded city because after all, they are into the predictable process of convincing themselves India was behind it.

The moon will turn to green cheese before that happens.

For Pakistan to not look inwards but explain away every such destruction of civilians as an Indian act is only to play ostrich till the next bloodbath.

As for this initiative in Pathankot perhaps the Indo-Pak equation is not yet strong enough to accommodate such a mature diplomatic move. The Centre might like to reconsider its gesture of hospitality in case the tea party is ruined because our guests deliberately sit on the cake.

Instead of being co-operative and absorbing the ramifications of the evidence being shown, the aim clearly seems to be to obfuscate the issue by yelling foul.

Hopefully, before they arrived, the Centre had a written document outlining exactly what the parameters of this visit are. Even if not, we are not duty bound to offer anything.

Let the Centre make it clear that this gesture not be misunderstood as weakness. If, in any way, this invitation threatens India’s integrity or its security, the Wagah border is not very far.

We all know that the visit is not going to produce anything of consequence. Not as if India and Pakistan are going to go dancing into the sunset nor is there any guarantee that India will not be targeted again.

So, take what’s at the party, gentlemen, be grateful you were allowed to come this far.

Pathankot probe: Pakistan JIT didn’t contradict NIA evidence, say Indian officials

New Delhi: Amid criticism of the government for allowing a Pakistani investigation team to probe the Pathankot attack, Indian investigators on Monday said the visiting officials did not “contradict” any of the evidence submitted by the NIA.

There was a detailed presentation by the National Investigation Agency to the visiting team on the evidence on Monday afternoon.

A file image of security forces on guard near the Pathankot airbase. AFPA file image of security forces on guard near the Pathankot airbase. AFP

A file image of security forces on guard near the Pathankot airbase. AFP

These evidences “prove” India’s claims that the Pathankot attack on 2 January was planned in Pakistan and had a link to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and its chief Masood Azhar, they said.

“The fact that they did not contradict or made any adverse comment or observation is a positive sign,” the sources said.

The visiting team, which arrived in India on Sunday to conduct its own probe into the Pathankot attack, will be taken to the town in Punjab on Tuesday.

ISI official Lieutenant Colonel Tanvir Ahmed and military intelligence officer Lieutenant Colonel Irfan Mirza are part of the team, the sources said.

The team will fly on Tuesday morning to Pathankot in a special BSF plane that will land away from the Pathankot airbase, official sources said.

India has said six terrorists from Pakistan-based JeM attacked the base on 2 January. All the terrorists were killed in the gun battle.

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday flayed the government and questioned how an ISI officer was allowed to visit India and permitted inside the airbase.

The government says the visiting probe team will be given only limited access.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the shootout site has no contact with the airbase and has a separate entry also.

IANS

Why is an ISI member part of Pakistan JIT team, asks Congress

The Congress Party on Monday questioned the inclusion of an ISI officer in the Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that is visiting India to probe the January 2016 terrorist attack on the Pathankot Air Force Base.”Pakistan has not provided a letter rogatory for the visit of the JIT team, without it there is no guarantee of prosecution. One is forced to wonder what the investigation all about is. Why is an officer of the infamous ISI of Pakistan a part of the JIT? The role of the dreaded terrorist organisation ‘Jaish-e-Mohammad, its chief Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf, who was one of the handlers of Pathankot terror attack is well-known and widely accepted. Despite this, Pakistan Government till today has taken no action either against Jaish-e-Mohammad in terms of banning it or in terms of arresting Maulana Masood Azhar or his brother or the other handler Kashif Jaan,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told the media here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Unfettered access being provided to them (Pakistan JIT) and also red carpet welcome accorded by the Indian government. It raises serious question with regard to judicial propriety and genuine apprehensions vis–vis compromising on national security. Serious questions are also being raised about Modi government’s U-turn in terms of segregation of state and non-state actors in Pakistan, who are indulging in rampant and senseless export of terror into India on an everyday basis, causing serious and irreparable loss of civilian and military lives,” he added.Surjewala further stated that the BJP Government must need to evaluate and reflect upon and answer some of the genuine apprehensions in mind of national security experts, as also, people of the country.”Prima facie it appears to be a case of an accused investigating himself. Secondly, by allowing a Pakistani investigation team to visit and investigate. BJP Government has for the first time distinguished and therefore recognized that Pakistani establishment does not have a role in perpetuating terror in India, more so in context to Pathankot terror attack,”he said.Currently, the meeting between the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials and a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) from Pakistan is currently underway at the NIA headquarter.The team would visit Pathankot on March 29.According to sources, the JIT comprises of Punjab Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) AIG Rai Tahir as convener, Intelligence Bureau Lahore Deputy Director General Azim Arshad, Lt. Col Tanvir Ahmed of the ISI, Lt, Col Irfan Mirza of MI and Gujranwala CTD Investigating Officer Shahid Tanveer.On January 2, terrorists attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force.Four terrorists were killed and two security personnel were martyred in the gun battle.

Headley not disclosing his wife’s involvement in 26/11 attack, alleges Jundal’s lawyer

Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal, on Thursday said the court has evidence which hints towards participation of David Coleman Headley’s wife in the infamous 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks but the Pakistan American terrorist is denying her involvement.”Headley’s wife was talking with him in code language, She said the ‘cartoon’ (terror attack) is doing well, it did well the whole day. Headley said that his wife Shazia congratulated him on the success of 26/11 in code language and said that you have graduated. In record we also have a mail where Shazia told Headley ‘you did a great job yaar’,” Khan told the media here. “Headley is not divulging about his wife’s role in 26/11 terror attacks and we doubt that there is lot which is untold. The court had decided to forgive Headley only if he shares all the information and unravels the mystery by giving names of all the people involved in the terror attack. But looking at today’s session we feel that Headley is hiding a lot of information and is not confessing the whole truth,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley, who had been vehemently denying that he had not been paid by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, finally made a sensational revelation before a court today that the ISI had massively funded his entire operation.
ALSO READ ISI provided huge funds for David Headley’s 26/11 operation: Ujjwal NikamIn other revelations, Headley disclosed via video link from a US prison that he was planning another attack on India after 26/11 on the instructions of Al-Qaeda and not the LeT. He also informed that plans to kill Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was also made but he remained unharmed.

26/11 Mumbai attack: Abu Jundal seeks to make David Headley’s wife, friend co-accused

The lawyer of Abu Jundal, an alleged key plotter of 2008 Mumbai terror attack, today filed an application before the sessions court here seeking to make Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley’s wife Shazia and his friend Tahawwur Hussain Rana accused in the case.The court has granted pardon to Headley, who is currently in prison in the US, and allowed him to depose in 26/11 terror attack trial as an approver for the prosecution. “We have moved an application seeking to make both of them accused as Headley, in his deposition, had said that both knew about the attack before November 26, 2008. Headley also said he even got congratulatory message from Shazia (after the attack),” said Jundal’s lawyer Khan Abdul Wahab. The application is likely to be heard tomorrow. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley concluded his week-long deposition through video-link on February 13. He is likely to be cross-examined by Khan from March 22.Among other things, Headley told the court here that Pakistani intelligence agency ISI provides “financial, military and moral support” to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen. He also described how LeT planned and executed the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.

Charge sheet filed in the espionage case that includes BSF constable, retired army havildar

The crime branch of the Delhi Police filed a charge sheet accusing five persons, including a head constable from the Border Security Force (BSF), of selling sensitive information to Pakistan on February 26. In its charge sheet the Delhi police stated that information that could prove beneficial to the enemy forces was recovered from those accused.The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) at a trial court here will take the cognizance of the charge sheet on Friday. According to the charge sheet, a document that included “organisational structure of various formation” that could be helpful to the enemy was recovered from the accused.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have accused all five persons arrested in this ring. However, investigation is still on going. Should new information come to light, then any new charges will be added in the supplementary charge sheet,” said KPS Malhotra, ACP (Interstate cell), Crime Branch. All five accused have been charged under section 3 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. Section 173 of the Cr PC has also been applied though this charge is up for consideration.In the charge sheet, the Delhi police stated that Faisal, a Pakistan based Intelligence (ISI) operative influenced Kafaitullah Khan, a handler of Indian origin to sell him sensitive information about the movement and organisational structure of the Indian forces. The police also said that “at the instance of Faisal, a Pak-based intelligence operative,” Khan procured the secret and important information regarding the deployment of the Indian Army and other information regarding important operations” were supplied to Faisal.The crime branch included transcripts of the interrogation, transcripts of the confession of the key accused – Khan and Abdul Rashid, messages from Whatsapp and Viber, along with details of phone records to support its charges. The 420-paged charge sheet also includes conversations of the accused, CDs recovered from the Khan’s house, and bank statements. While some documents were recovered on person, the Military Intelligence (MI) supplied additional and supporting evidence crucial to the case.According to the investigation, 47-year-old Khan, a Rajouri (Jammu & Kashmir) based teacher was an ISI operative for Pakistan. The charge sheet also outlines the role of Khan’s nephew Abdul Rashid, a head constable of the Border Security Force (BSF), who was posted in the intelligence wing of the force in the same district. The charge sheet said that Rashid was responsible for smuggling key “documents that are directly and indirectly useful to enemy country and is likely to affect sovereignty, integrity and security of nation. It can be used by the enemy to counter moves of Indian forces.”Based on an assessment by the MI that was relied upon by the officials in the crime branch, “the documents passed maybe useful to the enemy country to counter moves of the Indian forces.” According to the investigation, accused persons used Whatsapp, Viber and other technology to pass on the information.The delhi police busted this espionage ring in November and December of 2015 where five accused persons were arrested from Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal. The five accused in FIR 166/15 are Kaifatullah Khan, Abdul Rasheed, Marawar Ahmed, Mohammed Sabeer Mir and Farid Ahmed alias Surgeon.While Khan and Ahmed are teachers, Rashid is a head constable of the BSF and Mir is a retired havaldar from the Indian Army.

26/11 plotter Abu Jundal’s lawyer seeks four days to cross-examine David Headley

Key 26/11 plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal’s lawyer on Monday informed a court that he wanted to cross-examine Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley for four days.Also, Judge G A Sanap directed Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam to contact US authorities, check their availability for Headley’s second round of deposition and inform the court by February 25.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Once the availability is checked, the court will fix dates for Headley’s deposition.Meanwhile, Jundal’s lawyer Abdul Wahab Khan also moved applications objecting to Headley being made an approver in the 2008 terror attacks case besides making pleas seeking copies of certain documents and CDs.Earlier on February 13, the day on which Headley’s week-long deposition ended, the court had adjourned the case for cross-examination by Jundal’s lawyer for a future date.Headley, who is serving a 35-year jail term in the US in connection with the terror attacks case, had made some damning disclosures about LeT and Al-Qaeda’s planned to target India, during his testimony which began on February 8.He spilled beans on how Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI provides “financial, military and moral support” to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen and how LeT had planned and executed the 26/11 attacks and the role played by ISI officials, involving him too.He also revealed that LeT had planned an attack at a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel a year before the 26/11 strikes and had even prepared its dummy.Deposing via a video-link from the US, the 55-year-old terrorist had the court that –Ishrat Jahan–who was killed in an alleged fake encounter in 2004 in Gujarat–was an operative of LeT.Headley had also revealed that Al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi’s National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai airport, BARC and the Naval air station here.He also visited the Indian Army’s Southern Command headquarters at Pune in 2009 on the instructions of ISI’s Major Iqbal, who wanted him to recruit some military personnel to get “classified” information, the court was told.

Nothing will happen to Lakhvi, Hafeez: Handlers told David Headley

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Saturday said that his handlers told him that “nothing will happen against” Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafeez Saeed and that actions taken by Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency against them and other LeT members in 26/11 case are “superficial”.Shedding more light on terror activities post 26/11 attacks, the 55-year-old terrorist, who is testifying via a video-link from the US since Monday, said he visited the Indian Army Southern Command headquarters at Pune in 2009 on the instructions of ISI’s Major Iqbal, who wanted him to recruit some military personnel to get “classified” information. Headley, who turned approver in the case, told a court here today that in March 2009 he had visited Pushkar, Goa and Pune and had recced the cities as sought by Ilyas Kashmiri of Al-Qaeda.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said that after Pakistan government started investigating the 26/11 attacks, he was told by his handler, Sajid Mir of LeT, that “both Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafeez Saeed are safe and nothing will happen against them.” Headley told the court that Abdul Rehman Pasha, a former Pakistan army major who joined LeT and later al Qaeda, told him that the action taken by Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency against Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Hafeez Saeed and other LeT members are “superficial”.He said that on March 16, 2009 he went to Pune and visited the Southern Command headquarters there. “Earlier too, Major Iqbal had also asked me to visit this place. At that time, I had made a general video of the (Army) station from outside,” he said. Also, “Major Iqbal wanted me to try recruiting someone from the Army who would give us classified information. It was the same like the BARC (drill).” “In all three cities, I took general videos of several locations there,” he said.The LeT operative also revealed details of e-mails between him and his main contact Sajid Mir. “From July 3, 2009 to September 11, 2009, there was an exchange of emails between me and Sajid Mir of LeT. I had time and again expressed concerns about the safety of the leadership of LeT,” he told the court. “From December 2008 onwards, after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the Pakistan government was conducting investigations, interrogating people and pursuing people from the LeT which is why I wanted to know if Hafeez Sahab and Zaki Sahab were safe,” he added.Headley also said that Mir had replied to his e-mails and said that “Zaki Sahab is doing fine…. His morale is high even though he was in prison (at that time) and he was not depressed.” Headley and Mir had referred to Hafeez Saeed as the “older uncle” and Zaki as the “younger uncle” in the e-mails using code language.The court was told that on August 20, 2009 Headley had sent a mail to Mir asking if “older uncle” (Hafeez) was also under investigation and would be arrested to which Mir replied after three days saying that “the older uncle is fit and healthy and is moving back and forth for his business” even as Mir asked Headley to not put ears to rumours. Mir also assured Headley that “both Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafeez Saeed are safe and nothing will happen against them.” Yesterday, Headley told the court that al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi’s National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai airport, BARC and the Naval air station here.Headley had also told Special Judge G A Sanap that he attempted to develop close relations with a Shiv Sena member (Rajaram Rege) as he thought LeT would be interested in future to either attack the Shiv Sena Bhawan here or assassinate its head (late Bal Thackeray). Headley also claimed he discouraged the LeT about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets for the attack as they were heavily guarded.Headley had said that his handlers in Pakistan spy agency ISI and LeT wanted to target Mumbai airport and Naval air station during the terror attack in November 2008.He also said NDC was a high-value target as it housed senior military officers, from Brigadier to General rank. Headley also said that as per Kashmiri’s orders, he also visited the Chabad houses located in Pushkar, Goa and Pune as they were secondary targets of the terror outfit. He said he had videographed BARC at Trombay in Mumbai in July 2008 and that LeT had asked him to recruit some employee of BARC who would work for ISI.Headley had also identified the executed lone 26/11 convict, Ajmal Kasab, when he was shown a photograph of him.In further disclosures, he said that after he had conducted a reconnaissance of Mumbai, he had several meetings in Pakistan with LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Sajid Mir, Abu Kahfa and Abdul Rehman Pasha and Major Iqbal. Headley revealed that during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, prior to the 26/11 attacks, he had surveyed and videographed the Chabad House in south Mumbai.He also spilled beans on how during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, he had gone to Siddhivinayak temple and made a video of it besides purchasing red and yellow wrist bands so that the ten youths (attackers) could wear it as a cover so that people would think they were Indians.

David Headley’s handlers told him that no action will be taken against Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed

Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley today said that his handlers told him that “nothing will happen against” Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed and that actions taken by Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency against them and other LeT members in 26/11 case are “superficial”.

Shedding more light on terror activities post 26/11 attacks, the 55-year-old terrorist, who is testifying via a video-link from the US since Monday, said he visited the Indian Army Southern Command headquarters at Pune in 2009 on the instructions of ISI’s Major Iqbal, who wanted him to recruit some military personnel to get “classified” information.

Headley, who turned approver in the case, told a court here today that in March 2009 he had visited Pushkar, Goa and Pune and had recced the cities as sought by Ilyas Kashmiri of Al-Qaeda. He also said that after Pakistan government started investigating the 26/11 attacks, he was told by his handler, Sajid Mir of LeT, that “both Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed are safe and nothing will happen against them.” Headley told the court that Abdul Rehman Pasha, a former Pakistan army major who joined LeT and later al Qaeda, told him that the action taken by Pakistan Federal Investigation Agency against Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Hafiz Saeed and other LeT members are “superficial”.

David Coleman Headley. Image courtesy ibnlive.comDavid Coleman Headley. Image courtesy ibnlive.com

David Coleman Headley. IBNLive

He said that on March 16, 2009 he went to Pune and visited the Southern Command headquarters there. “Earlier too, Major Iqbal had also asked me to visit this place. At that time, I had made a general video of the (Army) station from outside,” he said. Also, “Major Iqbal wanted me to try recruiting someone from the Army who would give us classified information.

It was the same like the BARC (drill).” “In all three cities, I took general videos of several locations there,” he said. The LeT operative also revealed details of e-mails between him and his main contact Sajid Mir. “From July 3, 2009 to September 11, 2009, there was an exchange of emails between me and Sajid Mir of LeT. I had time and again expressed concerns about the safety of the leadership of LeT,” he told the court.

“From December 2008 onwards, after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the Pakistan government was conducting investigations, interrogating people and pursuing people from the LeT which is why I wanted to know if Hafiz Sahab and Zaki Sahab were safe,” he added. Headley also said that Mir had replied to his e-mails and said that “Zaki Sahab is doing fine…. His morale is high even though he was in prison (at that time) and he was not depressed.”

Headley and Mir had referred to Hafiz Saeed as the “older uncle” and Zaki as the “younger uncle” in the e-mails using code language.

The court was told that on August 20, 2009 Headley had sent a mail to Mir asking if “older uncle” (Hafiz) was also under investigation and would be arrested to which Mir replied after three days saying that “the older uncle is fit and healthy and is moving back and forth for his business” even as Mir asked Headley to not put ears to rumours.

Mir also assured Headley that “both Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed are safe and nothing will happen against them.” Yesterday, Headley told the court that al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi’s National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai airport, BARC and the Naval air station here.

Headley had also told Special Judge G A Sanap that he attempted to develop close relations with a Shiv Sena member (Rajaram Rege) as he thought LeT would be interested in future to either attack the Shiv Sena Bhawan here or assassinate its head (late Bal Thackeray).

Headley also claimed he discouraged the LeT about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets for the attack as they were heavily guarded. Headley had said that his handlers in Pakistan spy agency ISI and LeT wanted to target Mumbai airport and Naval air station during the terror attack in November 2008.

He also said NDC was a high-value target as it housed senior military officers, from Brigadier to General rank. Headley also said that as per Kashmiri’s orders, he also visited the Chabad houses located in Pushkar, Goa and Pune as they were secondary targets of the terror outfit.

He said he had videographed BARC at Trombay in Mumbai in July 2008 and that LeT had asked him to recruit some employee of BARC who would work for ISI. Headley had also identified the executed lone 26/11 convict, Ajmal Kasab, when he was shown a photograph of him.

In further disclosures, he said that after he had conducted a reconnaissance of Mumbai, he had several meetings in Pakistan with LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Sajid Mir, Abu Kahfa and Abdul Rehman Pasha and Major Iqbal. Headley revealed that during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, prior to the 26/11 attacks, he had surveyed and videographed the Chabad House in south Mumbai.

He also spilled beans on how during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, he had gone to Siddhivinayak temple and made a video of it besides purchasing red and yellow wrist bands so that the ten youths (attackers) could wear it as a cover so that people would think they were Indians.
PTI

David Headley revealations: al-Qaeda wanted to attack NDC to inflict more loss of lives than Indo-Pak war

In more chilling testimony, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Friday said al-Qaeda was in touch with him to attack Delhi’s National Defence College and unravelled the plot by LeT and ISI to target Mumbai airport, BARC and the Naval air station in Mumbai.Headley also told Special Judge G A Sanap via video-link from the US that he attempted to develop close relations with a Shiv Sena member as he thought Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT), a Pakistan-based terror outfit, would be interested in future to either attack the Shiv Sena Bhawan here or assassinate its head (late Bal Thackeray).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Continuing his deposition for the fourth day, Headley claimed he discouraged the LeT about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets for the attack as they were heavily guarded. Headley told the court in Mumbai that his handlers in Pakistan spy agency ISI and LeT wanted to target Mumbai airport and Naval air station during the terror attack in November 2008.”Major Iqbal expressed disapproval of certain areas I had recceed as targets. I felt that Major Iqbal was unhappy because Mumbai airport was not selected and included as one of the targets for the 26/11 attack,” he said.Headley testified in detail on how al-Qaeda was also interested in carrying out attacks in India after 26/11 strike.”After the 26/11 terror attack I met Ilyas Kashmiri (of al-Qaeda) in February 2009 and he asked me to visit India again as they were also interested in carrying out terrorist activities in India. He mentioned few places like the NDC (National Defence College) which was their primary target,” he said. He also said NDC was a high-value target as it housed senior military officers, from Brigadier to General rank.”Abdul Rehman Pasha (Al-Qaeda member) said that if this attack is successful then we would be able to kill more Brigadiers and Generals than any killed in the wars between India and Pakistan in the past,” said the 55-year-old, who recently turned approver in the 26/11 terror attacks case.He told the court that as per Kashmiri’s orders, he also visited the Chabad houses located in Pushkar, Goa and Pune as they were secondary targets of the terror outfit. He said he had videographed BARC at Trombay in Mumbai in July 2008 and that LeT had asked him to recruit some employee of BARC who would work for ISI.”I also visited and videographed BARC. Major Iqbal told me that in some future date I should recruit some employee of BARC who would give us classified information and would be ready to work for the ISI,” he said, adding that he had handed over the video to Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal. Headley also testified on his interaction with a Shiv Sena member.”I met Rajaram Rege (PRO of Uddhav Thackeray) inside Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar. I was interested in accessing the building at that time and I attempted to develop closer relations with Rege as I thought the LeT would be interested in future to attack the Sena Bhavan or assassinate its head,” Headley told the court.Headley also identified the recently executed lone 26/11 convict, Ajmal Kasab, when he was shown a photograph of him.”This is Ajmal Kasab Rehmatullah Aliah,” Headley told the court.When he was again asked to spell out the full name of Kasab, he said, “His name is only Ajmal Kasab but Rehmatullah Aliah means god bless him or god forgive him,” and added that after Kasab was captured, Sajid Mir and everybody in LeT were saddened.In further disclosures, he said that after he had conducted a reconnaissance of Mumbai, he had several meetings in Pakistan with LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Sajid Mir, Abu Kahfa and Abdul Rehman Pasha and Major Iqbal. Headley revealed that during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, prior to the 26/11 attacks, he had surveyed and videographed the Chabad House in south Mumbai.”I don’t know who was staying there. Sajid Mir and Pasha asked me to survey this place and said that it was an international location as it had Jewish and Israeli people,” he said.Headley said he discouraged the LeT about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets for the attack.”I discouraged them (LeT) about Naval air station and Siddhivinayak temple as targets as then all the ten attackers would have had to concentrate on one target only,” he said.Continuing to spill beans on the brazen terror attack, he said “for the 26/11 terror attack, LeT handler Sajid Mir and Abu Kahfa, on instructions from Zaki Sahab, decided to go with the stronghold option which means stay put in the place of the target and keep on fighting.””The second option that was discussed was egress option which means leave the place of target and go to India occupied Kashmir and continue fighting with the troops there,” he said.”Kahfa told me that the egress option was discarded as if it was in the mind of the person (attacker) that he has to leave then he will not fight well,” Headley further said.Headley further disclosed that during his last visit to Mumbai in July 2008, he had also gone to Siddhivinayak temple and made a video of it.”I purchased the red and yellow wrist bands…I forget the name of it. I thought that the ten youths could wear it as a cover so that people would think they were Indians. Nobody asked me to do so. I saw a man selling it outside the temple, so the thought occurred to me. After I returned to Pakistan, I gave those wrist bands to Sajid Mir and explained to him that practising Hindus in India wear this and hence, it would be a good idea if the ten gentlemen (attackers) also wear it as it would look like they are Hindus,” he said.Headley told the court that Sajid Mir had got the ten attackers Indian cellphones so that they could guide them during the terror attack.”I tested one of the phones. Sajid Mir asked me to go to Wagah border if the signal was working in the phone. I did so and informed Sajid Mir that the signals were working,” he said.When asked about the control room in Karachi from where the LeT handlers were giving instructions to the ten attackers during the terror attack, he said he “never visited the control room and did not meet any other handler, apart from Sajid Mir, Abu Kahfa and Abu-al-Kama”.He told the court that he had finalised Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade as a landing site for the ten attackers, as the area is covered with shanties and hutments from the main road, and hence he thought it would give tactical advantage to the terrorists.Headley said that LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman wanted to finalise Gateway of India as the landing site for the 10 terrorists as it was very close to the Taj hotel.”I, however, said it was not a good idea as the attackers would be required to go through Gateway of India by crossing naval installation and they could be detected. Zaki Sahab and others agreed to my suggestion,” he said.”When Zaki Sahab saw the targets I had selected, he said this was very important and has to be done properly. Zaki Sahab said surveillance for the attacks should be done properly. He said this would give a chance to take revenge for all the bomb blasts India had done in the past in Pakistan. Zaki Sahab wished me good luck,” Headley said.He told the court that the idea to divide the ten terrorists in different groups was also discussed at one of the meetings in Pakistan. He also revealed that he had informed his first wife Shazia about the 26/11 attack. After the incident, Shazia sent him an email congratulating him, he said.”On November 28, 2008, Shazia sent me an e-mail ‘Congrats on your graduation, the ceremony was really great’. Two days later I responded saying, ‘Thank you Jaanu, I studied hard to get grades,” he said.Headley also said that during his last visit, he had purchased five books from a shop at the Taj Hotel.”One of the books was ‘Indian Army Vision 2020’. I was interested to know the progress of the Indian Army in the future,” he said.When Judge Sanap asked Headley why he had purchased the other four books, he said, “The other books were pictorial and beautiful, hence I purchased them. There is nothing sinister about those books. The first book was sinister.”Headley also told the court that six months before the attack he visited US. However he could not meet Tahawwur Rana (Headley’s business partner).”But I spoke with him on the phone. I said that I had gone to India and selected landing sites,” he said.Headley is serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, in which 166 people were killed and 309 injured.

Ishrat Jehan was LeT operative: David Headley deposes in Mumbai court on third day

Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Thursday continued his deposition for the third day before a court in Mumbai. Deposing from an undisclosed location in the US, Headley had told special judge G A Sanap that ISI was helping different terror outfits in Pakistan and was providing financial, military and moral support.

The deposition of Headley could not happen on Wednesday due to a technical snag in the video conference in the US.

“I opened an office in Mumbai’s Tardeo AC market area on 14 September, 2006. On 11th October 2006, I received Rs 66,605 from Dr. Tahawwur Rana when I was in Mumbai. On 7th November 2006, I received $500 from Dr Tahawwur Rana. I received Rs 17,636 on 30 November and $1,000 on 4 December 2006 from Rana. I received all the amount through Nariman branch of IndusInd Bank,” Headley told the Mumbai Court while deposing on Thursday.

Tahawwur Rana visited Mumbai before terror attack but I advised him to return back to the US, so that he won’t be in any danger. Before my visit to India, I received $25,000 from ISI’s Major Iqbal and 40,000 Pakistani rupees from Sajid Mir. I received Rs 2,000 in April 2008 and Rs 1,500 in June 2008 from Major Iqbal who gave me counterfeit Indian currency two to three times.

David Coleman Headley. AgenciesDavid Coleman Headley. Agencies

David Coleman Headley. Agencies

Headley also said that Abdur Rehman Pasha, a retired Pakistani army major, gave him Rs 18,000. “On 1 November 2006 I signed the agreement of my office in Tardeo area of Mumbai, with landlord Bora. The contents I had mentioned in the agreement of my office in Mumbai’s Tardeo area, were true,” Headley told the court.

“On 16 July 2008,I applied for extension of license (Mumbai office) to stay in premises and extension was granted. An application was submitted to Reserve Bank of India to open a business account in India with signatures of Raymond Sanders but RBI refused to give permission to open a business account.”

Headley, who had conducted recce of the places in Mumbai which were attacked by 10 LeT terrorists on November 26, 2008, also revealed that the outfit had initially planned to attack a conference of Indian Indian defence scientists in Taj Mahal Hotel.

He said he had also conducted a recce of the famous Siddhivinayak Temple and Naval air station on directions of LeT commanders.

While spilling beans about involvement of Pakistan’s army and intelligence agency in terrorism in India, he said he knew ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT’s top commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was the mastermind of 26/11 attacks.

Headley, who had visited Mumbai seven times to scout for targets, revealed that plans to target Mumbai had started over a year before 26/11.

PTI

India may ask Pakistan to seek David Headley’s deposition in its court

India may ask Pakistan to seek deposition of Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley through video conferencing before its court, where the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case is being tried, to gather more evidence so that those involved in the incident could be punished.As the Pakistani-American terrorist talked about ISI’s “financial, military and moral support” to LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen in his deposition to a Mumbai court, there is a possibility of India asking Pakistan to take a similar initiative to ensure production of Headley before the court in Pakistan where the 26/11 trial has been going on. “It is one of the actions which could be taken. A decision has to be taken at the highest level,” a senior government official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since Pakistan is in denial on the evidence provided by India so far, Pakistan should speak to the US for Headley’s testimony through video conferencing to get first-hand evidence, the official said. The trial of the Mumbai terror attack case in Pakistan is moving at a very slow pace with frequent disruption and change of judges. In his deposition before a Mumbai court, Headley gave out details about 26/11 attacks and his role in it.While testifying via video-link from the US, Headley said he was working for Pakistan Army and ISI besides LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and that he knew about ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who was a key man responsible for the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai. He also said that LeT had planned an attack at a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel a year before the 26/11 strikes and had even prepared its dummy.But the plan was dropped because of logistical reasons, like difficulty in smuggling in weapons and personal and failure to know the schedule of the meet, he said. Headley, who had visited India seven times to scout for targets, said he had also conducted a recce of the famous Siddhivinayak Temple and Naval air station.

26/11 Mumbai attack: India may ask Pakistan to seek Headley’s deposition in its court

New Delhi: India may ask Pakistan to seek deposition of Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley through video conferencing before its court, where the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case is being tried, to gather more evidence so that those involved in the incident could be punished.

The Taj Mahal Hotel during the 26 November, 2008 attacks. IBNLiveThe Taj Mahal Hotel during the 26 November, 2008 attacks. IBNLive

The Taj Mahal Hotel during the 26 November, 2008 attacks. IBNLive

As the Pakistani-American terrorist talked about ISI’s “financial, military and moral support” to LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen in his deposition to a Mumbai court, there is a possibility of India asking Pakistan
to take a similar initiative to ensure production of Headley before the court in Pakistan where the 26/11 trial has been going on.

“It is one of the actions which could be taken. A decision has to be taken at the highest level,” a senior government official said.

Since Pakistan is in denial on the evidence provided by India so far, Pakistan should speak to the US for Headley’s
testimony through video conferencing to get first-hand evidence, the official said.

The trial of the Mumbai terror attack case in Pakistan is moving at a very slow pace with frequent disruption and change of judges.

In his deposition before a Mumbai court, Headley gave out details about 26/11 attacks and his role in it.

While testifying via video-link from the US, Headley said he was working for Pakistan Army and ISI besides LeT
(Lashkar-e-Taiba) and that he knew about ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi who was a key man responsible for the 26 November 2008 attacks in Mumbai.

He also said that LeT had planned an attack at a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel a
year before the 26/11 strikes and h ad even prepared its dummy.

But the plan was dropped because of logistical reasons, like difficulty in smuggling in weapons and personal and
failure to know the schedule of the meet, he said.

Headley, who had visited India seven times to scout for targets, said he had also conducted a recce of the famous
Siddhivinayak Temple and Naval air station.

PTI

And on the 3rd day, technical difficulties: David Headley’s deposition adjourned till Thursday

The deposition of Pakistani American terrorist David Coleman Headley before a court in Mumbai for the third consecutive day, was on Wednesday adjourned till Thursday due to a technical problem in the video-link at the US end.

“There was a technical snag in the video conference link from their side (US) due to which we could not connect despite several attempts since morning,” Special Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told PTI. The testimony will continue tomorrow, he said.

While initially the court adjourned the deposition for an hour, Judge G A Sanap was later informed by Nikam and other officials that the glitch could not be rectified immediately. Following this, the court allowed the adjournment sought by the prosecution till Thursday.

The deposition, initially planned till 12 February, may now extend for some more time. Headley, for the past two days, is deposing from an undisclosed location in the US in connection with the 26/11 terror attacks case.

In his bare all deposition, Headley revealed about how ISI was helping different terror outfits in Pakistan by providing financial, military and moral support. He also said that he also used to work for ISI and met many Pakistan army officials.

He also said that he had suggested to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and its operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi about dragging US government to court for banning LeT as a global terror outfit.

AFP image.AFP image.

AFP image.

Deposing from a undisclosed location on Tuesday, Headley told the special judge G A Sanap that ISI was helping different terror outfits in Pakistan by providing financial, military and moral support.

Terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen are given “financial” and “military” support by the ISI, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said on Tuesday as he made fresh revelations including about an aborted plan to target Indian defence scientists and famous Siddhivinayak temple here.

Continuing his expose on the role of Pakistan-based terror organisations, its army, spy agency ISI and others, LeT terrorist-turned-approver Headley on Tuesday described how he was assigned to gather military intelligence in India, recruit spies from the Indian Army and stay at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai to do a thorough recce before the attacks were firmed up.

On Tuesday, his second day of his deposition through video-conferencing from a US jail before the special TADA court here, Headley said he was tasked with luring spies from the Indian Army to work for Pakistan’s ISI.

A man identified as Major Ali of the Pakistan Army wanted him to note troop movement in India as part of the plan to infiltrate the military establishments here.

“He wanted me to note the movement of troops in India. He wanted someone to spy on matters of military intelligence, movement of officers. He wanted me to develop contacts with officials of Indian military forces with a purpose to gather intelligence,” said Headley.

In response to questions posed by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Headley admitted to working both for the LeT and the ISI.

Headley on Monday revealed that the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks were planned over a year in Pakistan.

Detailing the planning for the 26/11 strike, he said that in November-December 2007, he had attended a meeting in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir along with his LeT contact Sajid Mir and Abu Khafa, in which they asked him to conduct a recce of Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and other locations in Mumbai.

Headley spoke in detail about the methodical planning that went into the Taj Mahal hotel attack. He stayed there on the second floor with wife Faiza, where he conducted surveillance of the floor, reports The Hindu. 

At the fag end of the deposition, Headley spilled one more shocker: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre was one of the targets, reports The Telegraph.

With inputs from agencies

Technical difficulties: David Headley’s deposition adjourned till tomorrow

Mumbai: The deposition of American-Pakistani terrorist David Coleman Headley has been adjourned till Thursday due to technical glitches.

“Headley can’t depose due to a technical snag. The problem is from the American side but they have promised us that they will allow us to question Headley for an extra hour or more than that. Technical problem wasn’t from Indian side. Tomorrow the desposition will start from 7 am till 1.30 pm. The duration can even be extended,” special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters on Wednesday.

The deposition of Headley on Wednesday was initially delayed due to a technical snag in the video conference. Headley was deposing for the third consecutive day before a court here in connection with 26/11 terror attack case.

Special public prosecutor, who is presently examining Headley, told PTI the deposition has been delayed temporarily due to a technical snag from their side.

AFP image.AFP image.

AFP image.

However, it is still not clear if the deposition for the day will be cancelled.

Headley is being examined as an approver in the 26/11.

Deposing from a undisclosed location yesterday, Headley told the special judge G A Sanap that ISI was helping different terror outfits in Pakistan by providing financial, military and moral support.

Terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen are given “financial” and “military” support by the ISI, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said yesterday as he made fresh revelations including about an aborted plan to target Indian defence scientists and famous Siddhivinayak temple here.

Continuing his expose on the role of Pakistan-based terror organisations, its army, spy agency ISI and others, LeT terrorist-turned-approver Headley on Tuesday described how he was assigned to gather military intelligence in India, recruit spies from the Indian Army and stay at the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai to do a thorough recce before the attacks were firmed up.

On Tuesday, his second day of his deposition through video-conferencing from a US jail before the special TADA court here, Headley said he was tasked with luring spies from the Indian Army to work for Pakistan’s ISI.

A man identified as Major Ali of the Pakistan Army wanted him to note troop movement in India as part of the plan to infiltrate the military establishments here.

“He wanted me to note the movement of troops in India. He wanted someone to spy on matters of military intelligence, movement of officers. He wanted me to develop contacts with officials of Indian military forces with a purpose to gather intelligence,” said Headley.

In response to questions posed by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Headley admitted to working both for the LeT and the ISI.

Headley on Monday revealed that the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks were planned over a year in Pakistan.

Detailing the planning for the 26/11 strike, he said that in November-December 2007, he had attended a meeting in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir along with his LeT contact Sajid Mir and Abu Khafa, in which they asked him to conduct a recce of Hotel Taj Mahal Palace and other locations in Mumbai.

Headley spoke in detail about the methodical planning that went into the Taj Mahal hotel attack. He stayed there on the second floor with wife Faiza, where he conducted surveillance of the floor, reports The Hindu. 

At the fag end of the deposition, Headley spilled one more shocker: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre was one of the targets, reports The Telegraph.

With inputs from agencies

LeT planned to attack Indian defence scientists conference: David Coleman Headley

Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative David Coleman Headley on Tuesday made a stunning revelation that the LeT had plans to target a conference of Indian defence scientists and the Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai.The plan was however aborted. Headley claimed that terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) are given financial and military support by the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley, who had visited Mumbai seven times to scout for targets, revealed that plans to target Mumbai started over a year before November 26, 2008, and that LeT initially wanted to attack a conference of Indian defence scientists at the Taj Mahal Hotel.”In November-December 2007, LeT held a meeting in Muzaffarabad, which was attended by its operatives Sajid Mir and Abu Qahafa. In this meeting, it was decided that terror attacks would be carried out in Mumbai. The task of conducting the recce of the Taj Hotel was assigned to me. Mir and Qahafa had some information that there was going to be a meeting of Indian defence scientists at the conference hall in Taj Hotel. They wanted to plan an attack at that time. They had also made a replica of the hotel.””The plan was aborted due to logistical reasons, like the impossibility in getting weapons and personnel to the hall and that he could not get details about the schedule of the conference,” Headley said.He further revealed that he had also conducted a recce of the Siddhivinayak temple and the naval air station. Headley also told the court that his LeT handler Mir had specifically asked him to make a video of the Siddhivinayak temple.Making another stunning claim, Headley told the court that he was asked by the ISI to recruit India armymen to spy for them.”I met Major Iqbal of ISI in Lahore in early 2006. Iqbal asked me to gather military intelligence from India and also try to recruit someone from the Indian military. I told Iqbal that I would do as he asked. Samir Ali also wanted me to do some intelligence work in India. I was in contact with Samir Ali over phone,” Headley said.Deposing before a court presided by special judge G A Sanap for the second consecutive day via video-link from the US, Headley said he was working for ISI besides LeT and that he had met many people from the Pakistan Army. The deposition will resume on Wednesday.Making another stunning revelation about the ISI being closely working with terrorist outfits in Pakistan, Headley also said he knew about ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of Lakhvi.When shown a photograph of Lakhvi, Headley identified him. On Monday, Headley had told the court that he was a “true follower” of LeT.Headley also named three officials of the Pakistan army and ISI — Colonel Shah, Lt Colonel Hamza and Major Samir Ali – besides retired army officer Abdul Rehman Pasha, who was closely working with LeT and al-Qaeda.

David Headley deposition: LeT aborted plan to target Siddhivinayak Temple ahead of 26/11 Mumbai attacks

Terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen are given “financial” and “military” support by the ISI, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said on Tuesday as he made fresh revelations including about an aborted plan to target Indian defence scientists and famous Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai.Deposing before a court in Mumbai for the second day via video-link from the US, he said he was working for Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI besides LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) and that he knew about ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT’s top commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who was the mastermind of the November 26,2008 attacks in Mumbai.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I was also working for ISI and had met many people from the Pakistan Army,” he told the Special Judge G A Sanap during his deposition which will resume on Wednesday.He named three officials of the Pakistan army and ISI — Colonel Shah, Lt Colonel Hamza and Major Samir Ali – besides retired army officer Abdul Rehman Pasha who was closely working with LeT and Al-Qaeda. Headley said his assessment was that ISI and LeT were coordinating with each other.”ISI provides financial, military and moral support to terror outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed, LeT and Hizbul Mujaideen,” he said, even though he claimed that his opinion was formed on the basis of hearsay.Headley, who had visited Mumbai seven times to scout for targets, revealed that plans to target Mumbai had started over a year before November 26, 2008 and that LeT initially wanted to attack a conference of Indian defence scientists at Taj Mahal Hotel for which even a dummy of the hotel was prepared.But the plan to target scientists was dropped because of logistical reasons, like difficulty in smuggling in weapons and personal and lack of details about the schedule of the meet, he said. He said he had also conducted a recce of the famous Siddhivinayak Temple and Naval air station. He said the LeT group as a whole is responsible for the terror attacks in India and it can be speculated that all orders come from Lakhvi since he is its “top commander”.Headley, who had told the court on Monday that he was a “true follower” of LeT, today said ISI official Brigadier Riyaz was the handler of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. When shown a photograph of Lakhvi, the LeT operative identified him. The LeT operative said he had been asked by Pakistan’s ISI to recruit Indian armymen to spy for them.Giving details about plans to target India’s commercial capital, Headley said, “In November-December 2007, the LeT held a meeting in Muzaffarabad (in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) which was attended by (LeT operatives) Sajid Mir and Abu Kahfa. In this meeting, it was decided that terror attacks would be conducted in Mumbai. The task of conducting recce of Taj Hotel in Mumbai was assigned to me.”He said LeT operatives Sajid Mir and Abu Kahfa had “some information that there was going to be a meeting of Indian defence scientists at the conference hall in Taj Hotel. They wanted to plan an attack at that time. They also made a mock (dummy) of the Taj Hotel.”The “plan to attack the conference hall in Taj was cancelled due to logistical reasons, like it was not possible to get weapons and personnel to the hall,” he said, adding another reason for dropping of the plan was that he could not get details about the schedule of the conference.About plan to target Siddivinayak Temple, Headley said, “Sajid Mir (Headley’s handler in LeT) specifically asked me to make video” of it. Prior to November 2007, he said, the targets in Mumbai had not been decided.Continuing to spill the beans, he said that, “I met Abdul Rehman Pasha (retired Army officer) in Pakistan in early 2003 at a mosque in Lahore. When I first met Pasha he was with LeT. At that time he had no relation with Al-Qaeda, but may be after two years, he left LeT to join Al-Qaeda.””I met Major Iqbal of ISI in Lahore in early 2006. He asked me to gather military intelligence from India and also try to recruit someone from the Indian military to spy. I told Major Iqbal that I would do as he asked,” Headley said.”Samir Ali also wanted me to do some intelligence work in India. I was in contact with Samir Ali over phone,” he said.On his links with militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s founder Masood Azhar, he said, “I know Maulana Masood Azhar as I saw him once in October 2003. He is the head of Jaish-e-Mohammed. In October 2003, there was a gathering of LeT and he was a guest speaker there.”

David Headley’s testimony confirms close nexus between ISI & LeT: Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam

Pakistan’s spy agency ISI provides financial, moral as well as military support to terror outfits like the LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen, said David Coleman Headley while revealing more information in the Mumbai court with regard to the 26/11 terror attacks.Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who took the examination of the Pakistani-American terrorist, said, “David Headley has given certain sensitive revelations. Firstly, he disclosed his close association with the ISI and said that he was working for them also. He said that he knew Brigadier Riaz, Colonel Shah. He also said that he knew Lieutenant Colonel Hamza and Major Samar Ali,” Nikam added. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nikam further said Headley in his testimony confirmed that the ISI and LeT have a close nexus with each other. “I did ask him on what grounds he was saying that. He said the ISI provides financial, moral as well as military support to the LeT,” he said.The public prosecutor said that Headley, in his examination through video conferencing from an undisclosed location in the United States, said that during his continuous visit to Mumbai, he surveyed various places like the CST Railway Station as well as the Naval airbase, police headquarter building, Hotel Taj, Hotel Oberoi and Siddhivinayak Temple. “Clearing my query as to why did he video graph the second floor of Hotel Taj, he said that LeT wanted to attack on the particular day when the Indian Scientist Conference was going to be held,” Nikam said. He however, said that they were not successful in implementing their plan as they could not get the weapons in time. Continuing his deposition for the second consecutive day, Headley said that he was asked by the ISI to recruit Indian army men to spy for them. Headley said that he also advised the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack, Hafiz Saeed, and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi to ‘legally challenge’ the US ban on Lashkar. Headley testified for over five hours yesterday and described the role of ISI officers in collaborating with the Lashkar for the terror attack, which left 166 people dead in Mumbai.In his first deposition yesterday, Headley said that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strike but failed both times. Describing himself as a ?true follower? of the LeT, he also admitted that he joined the ranks of LeT after getting ?influenced and motivated? by the speeches of Hafiz Saeed.

ISI’s Major Iqbal asked me to recruit a spy from the Indian military: David Headley deposes

Mumbai: Testifying before a Mumbai court for the second day today, Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley said LeT had planned to attack Indian defence scientists at the Taj Mahal Hotel here and that he was asked by Pakistan’s ISI to recruit Indian army-men to spy for them.

David Headley also admitted that his wife Faiza lodged a complaint in US assembly (Islamabad) that he is involved in terorist activities and was having close association with LeT.

He also said that the LeT group as a whole was responsible for the terror attacks in India, and it can be speculated that all orders came from its top commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. Continuing to spill the beans, Headley said, “I met Major Iqbal of ISI in Lahore in early 2006. He asked me to gather military intelligence from India and also try to recruit someone from the Indian military to spy. I told Major Iqbal that I would do as he asked.”

David Headley exposes Pakistan's role in 26/11. IBNLiveDavid Headley exposes Pakistan's role in 26/11. IBNLive

David Headley exposes Pakistan’s role in 26/11. IBNLive

“I cannot tell this court who specifically from LeT instructed to conduct terror acts in India. The group as a whole was responsible. We can, however, speculate that since Zaki-ur-Rehman was the head of operations of LeT, and hence all orders would have logically come from him,” he told the court. He also revealed that, “In November, December 2007, the LeT held a meeting in Muzaffarabad which was attended by (Headley’s handler in the outfit) Sajid Mir and one Abu Kahsa. In this meeting it was decided that terror attacks would be conducted in Mumbai.”

“The task of conducting recce of Taj Hotel in Mumbai was assigned to me. They (Sajid and Kahsa) had some information that there was going to be a meeting of Indian defence scientists at the conference hall in Taj Hotel. They wanted to plan an attack at that time,” Headley revealed. “They also made a mock (dummy) of the Taj Hotel. However, the meeting of the scientists was cancelled,” he said, adding that prior to November 2007, the place was not decided where terror attacks would be conducted in India.

The 55-year-old, who has turned approver in the case, further said that he had “discussed with LeT leaders Hafiz Sahab and Zaki-ur-Rehman ‘sahab’ that it would be a good idea to take the US govt to court to challenge its decision to designate LeT as a foreign terrorist organisation and banning it.”

“Hafiz said it was a good idea but then did not say anything more on it. Zaki thought it will be a long process and many agencies of the Pakistani government like the ISI will have to be involved,” said Headley, while appearing from an undisclosed location via video conferencing.

Headley says he had also conducted recce of Maharashtra State Police Headquarters and the Naval air station in south Mumbai.

Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, also revealed that his wife had complained to police about his links with LeT. “In December 2007, my wife Faiza lodged a complaint with the Racecourse police in Lahore alleging that I had duped her of money.

“In January 2008, she complained to the US Embassy in Islamabad that I was involved in terrorist activities and was closely associated with LeT,” he said. “Later when I asked her about this complaint, she told me that the “US Embassy officials seemed to have believed her” In his first deposition yesterday, Headley had told the court that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai that killed 166 people but failed both times.

Describing himself as a “true follower of LeT”, Headley had also admitted during his examination by special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam that he joined the ranks of LeT after getting “influenced and motivated” by the speeches of terrorist outfit’s founder Hafiz Saeed.

With inputs from agencies

David Headley illustrates how LeT carried out 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley, a key LeT operative, on Monday illustrated how his outfit had planned the 26/11 attacks and executed it after two failed attempts and gave details of the role played by ISI whose three officials he named.Headley, who is serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, spoke about the role of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, another LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as well as his handler in the outfit Sajid Mir. He gave the sequence of events leading up to the November 26, 2008 assault as he deposed before Special Judge GA Sanap via video link, in the first such case of deposition in an Indian court from foreign land.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 55-year-old, who has turned approver in the case, revealed details about his training by LeT in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Abbottabad near Islamabad under the guidance of LeT founder”Hafiz Saeed sahab”, whose picture he identified in the court, as also Lakhvi, and how he got in touch with three officers of Pakistan’s ISI — Major Ali and Major Iqbal and Major Abdul Rehman Pasha.Headley told the court that he had changed his name from the original Dawood Gilani after instructions from the LeT commanders, including Lakhvi, and ISI officials to carry out recce in India for an attack, an “adventurous” task for him. He also revealed that the 10 terrorists, who struck at various places in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 killing 166 people, had planned to carry out the attack twice earlier — in September and October — but the attempts failed. Once their boat hit a rock in the seas, because of which they lost all the arms and ammunition and had to go back to Pakistan.”I used to treat India as my enemy. Hafiz Saeed and LeT operative Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi also saw India as their enemy,” he said in his deposition which began at 7 AM. He said he had joined the LeT after getting “influenced and motivated” by the speeches of “Hafiz Saeed Sahab”.Headley, who described himself as a “true follower of LeT, said he took his first “course” with the outfit in 2002 at Muzaffarabad and had also attended a ‘leadership course’ which was led by Saeed and Lakhvi. He said he underwent 5-6 training courses in LeT camps for about two years. “Daura-e-sufa is a study course and is held in Muridke in Lahore while ‘Daura-e-aam’ is a preliminary military training course held in Muzaffarabad in ‘Azad Kashmir’ (PoK),” Headley said.In ‘Daura-e-Khas, which is a more advanced training, he was taught to handle weapons, arms, explosives and ammunition, the LeT operative said. He said he was also given ‘Daura-e-Ribat’ training, an intelligence course in which setting up of safe houses and reconnaissance are taught. The center where it is taught is in Mansera, 40 miles from Abbottabad, a place in Pakistan where former Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed by the US.Headley said he had wanted go to Kashmir and fight Indian troops but he was told that he was “too old” for that. “Lakhvi told me that they would use me for some other purpose,” he said, adding it was to be more “adventurous” than Kashmir.Talking about his travels to India, Headley said, “Before the first visit here, Sajid Mir (his LeT handler and an accused in the case) gave me instructions to make a general video of Mumbai.” He said he visited Mumbai seven times before the 2008 terror attack and Delhi once after the attack in March 2009.To enter India, he said he changed his name from Dawood Gilani to David Headley in 2006 so that he could travel here with an American identity and set up some business.”I applied for change in name on February 5, 2006 in Philadelphia. I changed my name to David Headley to get a new passport under that name. I wanted a new passport so that I could enter India with an American identity. After I got a new passport, I disclosed it to my colleagues in LeT of which one of them was Sajid Mir, the person with whom I was dealing with. The objective for coming to India was to set up an office/business so that I can live in India,” he said.Headley said he had applied for business multiple-entry visa with the Indian embassy so that he does not have to apply for Indian visa repeatedly.”My office was established in Mumbai so that I could take cover in India,” Headley told the court, adding he wanted the cover so that his real identity would not be known. He said while applying for the Indian visa, he cooked up a story that he was an immigration consultant and had furnished all wrong information to protect his cover.”I had discussed it (cover story) with Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal of ISI, and they were very happy to see my Indian visa,” Headley told the court. He said he knew Major Iqbal of ISI and had met him in Lahore after one Major Ali (also from ISI) introduced him to the former.Special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who examined Headley and will do so again tomorrow, said, “I am absolutely satisfied with what Headley had revealed in today’s deposition. Headley has given certain sensational revelations during his deposition. He confirmed that he met Hafiz Saeed and he identified his picture as well.” He said, “He (Headley) revealed a lot about Major Iqbal and Major Ali, both of them were there in ISI. It was Major Iqbal who trained him and he also unravelled names of few LeT trainers before the court.”Nikam said Headley had “joined a leadership course where both Sayeed and Lakhvi used to come and give speeches against India. He completed his education from Hasan Abdal Cadet College in Pakistan but left for America at the age of 17.” Headley’s lawyer’s Mahesh Jethmalini said he has confessed that he had joined LeT after being influenced by Hafiz Saeed.

26/11 Mumbai attacks: After David Headley’s disclosure, India may give Pakistan fresh evidence about ISI officers

India is likely to give Pakistan fresh evidence about the involvement of ISI officers in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack after Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley’s deposition before a Mumbai court today.India has given several dossiers to Pakistan incorporating evidence about the involvement of ISI officers, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, LeT commander Zaki-ur- Rehman Lakhvi besides others.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There have been no action against any one of them. Headley’s deposition before court again established that serving ISI officers, Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi were deeply involved in the conspiracy. We will provide all these fresh evidence to Pakistan for action,” a senior government official said.India is also expected to ask the United States to take action against Hafiz Saeed against whom a USD 10 million reward was announced for information leading to his capture, following Headley’s disclosure.”Headley’s deposition before the court has established that Hafiz Saeed was involved in the Mumbai terror attack. Headley is now in American custody, so the US must take cognisance of his statement and take action against Hafiz Saeed,” the official said.Among the 166 victims of the Mumbai terror attack, four were American nationals. Headley told the court through video conferencing that he was trained by LeT in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Abbottabad near Islamabad under the guidance of LeT founder “Hafiz Saeed sahab”, whose picture he identified in the court, as also its commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. He said that he was in touch with three officers of Pakistan’s ISI — Major Ali and Major Iqbal and Major Abdul Rehman Pasha.Headley told the court that he had changed his name from original Dawood Gilani after instructions from LeT commanders, including Lakhvi, and ISI officials to carry out recce in India for an attack, an “adventurous” task for him.Headley said he joined LeT after being “influenced” by its head Hafiz Saeed and took his first “course” with them in 2002 at Muzaffarabad. Headley is currently serving 35 years prison sentence in the US for his role in the terror attacks.

dna Must Reads: From TRAI backing net neutrality to Zomato turning profitable in India

1. TRAI backs net neutrality, will impose stiff penalties on companies adopting differential pricingThe Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has ruled in favor of net neutrality by opposing differential pricing. It has just been reported that TRAI has stated that companies will be barred from charging or offering data traffic on a discriminatory basis. Service providers flaying this ruling will be subject to a fine of Rs 50,000 per day, up to a maximum of Rs 50 lakh. Read more here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. 26/11 Mumbai attack: David Headley’s deposition reveals close nexus between ISI, LeT, says Ujjwal NikamSpecial public prosecutor in the 26/11 case, Ujjwal Nikam, on Monday said that David Coleman Headley’s deposition has revealed that there is a close nexus between the Inter-Services Intelligence( ISI) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), adding that it is for the Government of India to take a call on the evidence provided by Headley. Read more here.3. Pathankot attack: Pakistan finds no evidence of JeM chief Masood Azhar’s involvementA team, constituted by Pakistan to investigate into the attack on Indian airbase in Pathankot last month, has concluded that there is no substantive evidence to suggest that Maulana Masood Azhar, the chief of the outlawed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant group, masterminded the deadly assault. Read more here.4. Indian Railways to unveil 200 kmph coaches with sliding doorsGearing up to run trains at higher speed, railways will this month unveil modern coaches equipped with automatic sliding doors and electro-pneumatically assisted brake system to assist in operating at 200 kmph speed. Read more here.5. Zomato turns profitable in India after achieving operational break-even of businessOnline restaurant guide and food ordering app Zomato has become profitable in six regions, including India, after achieving operational break-even of its businesses. The other regions are UAE, Lebanon, Qatar, Philippines and Indonesia, Zomato said in a statement. Read more here.

26/11 Mumbai terror attacks: Headley confesses Pakistan’s ISI, Army’s hand, says report

Pakistani-American terrorist and 26/11 terror convict David Coleman Headley has reportedly confessed that the Mumbai attacks were launched with Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed’s approval and executed with the help of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan Army.According to a report by CNN-IBN, during an interrogation by NIA, Headley revealed that he was handled by Pakistan ISI’s Major Iqbal and Sameer Ali and that LeT’s Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi’s handler was ISI Brigadier Rivaz.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Headley also said that the attacks were executed with the help of ISI and the money was given by them for a recce, adding that “ISI chief Shuja Pasha visited Lakhvi after his arrest, post-26/11 terror attacks.”Headley further divulged that he had also recced the residence of Vice President, India Gate and CBI office in the national capital.On December 10, the court pardoned Headley, who is undergoing a 35-year prison sentence in the US, and made him an approver in the Mumbai attacks case.Headley, accused of conducting a special reconnaissance of targets before the Mumbai terror attack, was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment by the US court. He had entered into a plea bargaining agreement with the US government.The horrific Mumbai terrorist attacks on November 26, 2008 had killed as many as 166 persons.

Suspected spy sent to police remand till February 10

The 30-year-old labourer arrested on espionage charges was on Wednesday remanded in police custody till February 10 by a local court.”He (Irshad) has been sent to police remand for one week,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Pathankot, R K Bakshi said.Irshad, a resident of Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, was working as a labourer at Mamoon Cantonment in Pathankot, from where he was arrested.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police had recovered a smart phone from him which contained pictures of vital installations and sensitive equipment in the cantonment area.Irshad was reportedly caught making calls to Pakistan which were tracked by intelligence agencies. His arrest came within a month of the terror attack at the Pathankot air base, which houses fighter jets and attack helicopters, in which seven security personnel and six militants were killed.According to the police, Irshad was being handled by a person called Sajjad, who was earlier stated to have been arrested by J-K police. Sajjad used to collect sensitive information from Irshad and then passed on to his Pakistani handlers who could be ISI, the police has said.

Espionage case: Court refuses bail to two accused of supplying sensitive info to ISI

New Delhi: A Delhi court has denied bail to two persons, including an army personnel, arrested for allegedly supplying sensitive documents to Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI.

The court dismissed the bail applications of former army personnel Munawwar Ahmad Mir and Farid Ahmad, who was serving as constable in 17, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry division of the army.

“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and gravity of offence, role of accused persons and modus operandi adopted in commission of crime and pending investigation, no ground for grant of bail is made out. Hence, bail applications of accused are dismissed,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Munawwar and Farid had sought bail claiming that they have been falsely implicated in the case. Munawwar and Farid said they are in custody since December 4 and 6, 2015 respectively and the probe was already complete and claimed that provisions of the Official Secret Act does not attract against them.

Crime Branch of Delhi Police opposed the bail pleas saying the investigation was still pending and the issue of national security was involved and the accused were active participants in the alleged offence.

Besides Munawwar and Farid, the other arrested accused in the case are BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed, Mohd Sabar, a teacher by profession, and Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, a resident of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir.

Police said Munawwar and Farid were allegedly involved in supplying information relating to country’s national security to ISI and they were involved in anti-national activities.

Regarding Farid’s role, the agency said he allegedly used to provide information to ISI in the form of CD and pen drive.

While Farid was arrested from Darjeeling in West Bengal, Munawwar and Sabar were arrested from Jammu and Kashmir.

Detailing the roles of the accused, the police had said Farid, whose unit is now posted in Darjeeling, had access to sensitive information when he was posted at Jammu and he was allegedly supplying the documents to ISI operatives through Kafaitullah.

The police also said that the other two accused were also in touch with Kafaitullah and they were supplying documents through e-mail.

Kafaitullah was arrested in connection with the case at New Delhi Railway Station while he was on his way from Jammu to Bhopal on November 26, 2015. Rasheed was arrested from Jammu on the basis of Kafaitullah’s interrogation.

The police had earlier told the court that charges under Official Secrets Act have been slapped against all of them.

PTI

Kashmiri man arrested in Punjab for supplying photos of army cantonment to Pakistan

Chandigarh: A man from Jammu and Kashmir was arrested by Punjab Police on Tuesday for allegedly spying for Pakistan in Pathankot, by clicking photographs of sensitive defence establishments, police said.

Irshad Ahmed, who belongs to Surankote area of Jammu and Kashmir, was working as a labourer with a contractor in Punjab.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Police recovered photographs of Mamun Cantonment, the largest cantonment of the Indian Army, and other defence installations in the area, from the spy’s possession, an officer said.

“He was supplying photographs to his ISI handlers in Pakistan,” the officer said.

Sources said that based on interrogation of the arrested spy, his brother was also arrested from Jammu region on Tuesday.

Pakistani terrorists had attacked the sensitive Pathankot Air Force Station on 2 January, leaving seven security personnel dead. All six terrorists were killed by security forces.

On 27 July, 2015, three terrorists from Pakistan had attacked Dinanagar town, leaving seven people, including four security personnel, dead.

IANS

Jaish-e-Mohammed and its astonishing rise: It’s bad news for Kashmir, India and Pakistan

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Masood Azhar arrest and JeM crackdown: Sharif is no Gorbachev, but is this a hint of perestroika in Pakistan?

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