Understanding Quetta Police cadet camp attack

Whenever blood gets spilled in the subcontinent we find that even more ink gets spilled. Most of it is stale propaganda for one vested interest or the other. Rarely is truth spoken with courage.

The love affair of Pakistani state with religious fanatics who are either directly involved in terror or merely one fake facade or two away from the “boys with guns” has not ended and is not going to end soon.

In this context let us try and understand the most recent attack in Quetta that killed 69 including the three “terrorists”.

  1. Numerous fake claims pop up after such attack to take “credit”. But most government reports seem to blame a faction of the Lashkar-e-Janghvi group.
  2. This LeJ is considered an off-shoot of yet another Sunni terror group known as “Sipah-e-Sahaba”. Terror groups in Pakistan float subsidiaries and associates and joint ventures with speed that will put any Hong Kong business tycoon to shame. The state too facilitates such cosmetic makeovers since it allows them to “prove” to the Americans that they have acted against a group, milking more dollars to use to create more such groups. After a while the drama repeats.
  3. Now this SSP itself has again renamed itself to “Ahle-Sunnat-Wal-Jamaat” or ASWJ (don’t confuse with Asian Wall St Journal!)
  4. These groups have been banned, un-banned and re-banned as often as they grouped, re-grouped, renamed themselves.  Usually it follows a major terror attack, PM/Army chief visit to US or a visit by US Secretary of State etc so that more dollars can be milked. Once dust settles they carry on, often with state aid.
  5. Their involvement in various terror acts, going by their own admissions, is beyond doubt.
  6. Just two days prior to the Quetta attack, Pakistan’s interior minister met with the boss of ASWJ – Maulana Ludhianvi. Remember, this is a banned terror organisation even by Pakistan’s loose standards of what constitutes terror. Bit like Carter or Kerry having dinner with the ISIS Caliph.
  7. To add some “masala” to the mix, various other terrorists were also in the meeting with the minister.
  8. It is exactly this group or its off-shoot which carried out the Quetta attack. Remember, such off-shoots are created for providing plausible deniability, a trick Pakistan has mastered over the years.
  9. It is also well known that state funds are provided to the Madrasas run by extremist groups that were part of the meeting. If you wonder why Pakistan funds terrorists that kill Pakistanis, look closely again at the ethnicity, religion or sect of the victims. Most are Ahmedis, Shias, Christians, Hindus, Baloch or Pashtun, rarely the Punjabi elite. The Peshawar school attack that targeted senior officials’ kids was a rare exception.
  10. Pakistani state benefits from such attacks since they can be used to play the victim card and gather more sympathy and dollars to go after the real enemies – Afghanistan and India.
  11. So it can be safely concluded that the Quetta terror attack is basically staged by “friends” of the regime. Or some boys who absorbed their training too well and didn’t care to listen to their tutors once they graduated.
  12. The most interesting aspect of this whole affair is that these groups are not even anti-India or Afghanistan, a traditional excuse offered by Pakistani deep state to justify support. These groups have almost exclusively operated within Pakistan.
  13. Far from “not allowing terror groups to operate”, Pakistani ruling party and its Army allows such groups to openly meet, greet, discuss, get state funds and hold massive rallies.
  14. If this is the sort of ambivalence shown by the state against groups that kill within Pakistan, one can only imagine the situation re groups like LeT that only kill kuffar Hindus in India.
  15. The left liberal cabal in India controlled by hardcore Marxists deliberately ignores, obfuscates, buries such facts to suit its own narrative that stays close to Beijing’s strategic objectives.

PM Modi address to nation on Pathankot

Narendra Modi, PM
PM Narendra Modi

This is the draft outline of a speech which, in our opinion, PM Narendra Modi should give to the nation regarding the Pathankot attack. Of course, he should wait for the mopping up operation to conclude. He should also get some preliminary conclusions from the NSA team.

 

The speech has to be brief, to the point, poignant and without any politics or partisanship involved. It should come straight from the heart. Perhaps Modi is the only leader in this country capable of doing this.

The speech (draft)

Dear citizens

You are aware of the recent terror strike in Pathankot. Let me offer my sincere condolences to the families of brave Indians who laid down their lives to protect the nation and its assets. I join you in saluting their bravery. We lost x of our brave sons who died so that you, your children and our future are more secure.

As a nation, will should always remember their sacrifice. But as a great nation, we should always look forward too. In this connection, two vital questions have arisen that needs serious thought.

One is what should be our policy regarding talks with Pakistan.

We fully understand the anguish and frustration of many Indians who feel there is no point talking to Pakistan, which is a state sponsor of terror. Even we have made such demands in the past. My recent efforts in the direction of peace, including the Lahore visit, were with the hope that Pakistan has turned a corner, especially after facing several jihadi terrorist attacks in its own cities. You remember the Peshawar school attack that killed many children among others. We felt there is serious rethink underway in Pakistan, at least in some sections of its ruling establishment, that its terror policies are not only failing, they are becoming counterproductive. We also strongly believe that jihadi terrorism is our enemy, not the state of Pakistan or its citizens. Peace with Pakistan is our ultimate goal, continued hostility not in our interest.

Of course, while we look to the future with hope, we also take into account actual events and feedback from our intelligence. After the Pathankot attack, we are not going to call off talks with Pakistan. Instead we are going to bring this up in the next round of discussions with the civilian government of Pakistan as the first and only major topic, and see what their reaction is.

If we see some hope that they are with us in this battle, as they claim to be, that is good for all of us. We can work together to combat this evil, even as we discuss over problems and issues and find mutually acceptable solutions.

But if we find they simply use talks as a facade, they do not seek peace but share the jihadist goal of dominance over India, we will call off the talks and wait for better times. You have my assurance.

Second important question is, is there anything we could have done better? Are there lessons to be learnt?

There have been lots of criticism in the media and from our friends in the opposition over so-called intelligence failure, operational mismanagement, delay in concluding the operation etc. I am convinced our jawans as well as civilian and military leadership did their very best. They knew about this attack through our intelligence network and they deliberately decided to let the terrorists come to the airbase instead of chasing them all over the civilian areas of Pathankot. This would have been even worse.

This does not mean that everything is perfect or that things cannot be done better. We have to continuously improve our defenses and offensive capabilities to deal with jihadi terror. Better training, better coordination among various state and central agencies, clearer communication to media as well as the public are some of the things that come to my mind right now. But we have to let experts look at this issue in a proper way.

We are thankful to those who offer us meaningful criticism and suggestions, whatever be their political background or motive.

Towards this end, we have to be ready to accept criticism and seek the truth. NSA Doval has been tasked with identifying specific weaknesses and areas of improvements on an urgent basis. I will share with you his findings as soon as possible and also tell you about some of the steps we are taking to improve in future.

 

Jai Hind!

 

Peace after Pathankot

It had to happen. It was a question of when and never if. The biggest question, of course, is, “What next?”.  Let’s us look at that question

What next?

The options are quite simple to list out even if they are quite complicated to choose from. After all, logically there can be only these

  1. Carry on with talks as if nothing happened
  2. Carry on with talks but restrict topic to incident and terror in general.
  3. Call off talks

Did I miss any? Of course, any of the above options can be pursued with or without mounting a retaliatory strike, either covertly or overtly or both. That is an entirely different matter altogether.

Good Pakistan’s response is the key

What is the underlying logic behind the resumption of talks in the first place? It goes along following lines: “Not all Pakis are terrorists, there is a strong constituency for peace and coexistence, if not brotherhood, that should be engaged“. Then there are more altruistic drivers such as “the civilian regime has to be strengthened to weaken military’s hold on the country” etc.

The hope here is that over time, the peace lobby will gain strength, the anti-peace ones (aka mullah/military cabal) weaken and we all happily live ever after.

If this indeed was the logic it makes absolutely no sense to call off talks after one incident, however, major.

But the key would be the response of the “good Pakistan” to this incident. If the good boys pretend as if it is not their problem or present a long list of demands to even consider some action on the terror front, then calling off talks would be logical.

That looks like Option (2) doesn’t it? Yes. Initially at least, talks have to be around the incident itself in order to gauge good Pakistan’s response. If some sort of assistance is offered, and followed through, it makes eminent sense to upgrade talks to Option (1). Such assistance or reassurance could range from covert action against some of the JeM players (overt may be too damaging to Pakistan’s own internal stability even if accepted), to even oral assurances from military to rein them in, if this has not been offered as yet.

If the response is that “look, we are not in control of these loonies, what can we do?“, India has to present a list of things they CAN do, to offset. For example, handing over Dawood could be one. Transit concessions, MFN etc., could be others. They can even be asked to warn us in advance and share intelligence, instead of simply opening a pack of popcorn to watch the show.

In other words, there has to be some quid pro quo. It cannot be that Pakistan insists on the entire Kashmir issue (and all else) to be solved to its satisfaction, simply to move an inch on any other front.  We cannot be taken for a two year fool’s ride, like Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani, bending over backwards and yet getting nothing in return.

Covert or overt retaliation

No government can take this option off the table. Question is what will be the trigger level of provocation for each set of response. It also is a question on capabilities. Do we have the means to inflict damage to “bad Pakistan” without hitting the good boys? As Mohammed Taqi points out in his interesting column, (The Wire) Pakistani generals have chosen a calibrated provocation. It requires a nuanced response.

Regardless of what we do or don’t do, silly macho comments by responsible members of government and the ruling party should cease. That serves no purpose and in fact ends up increasing pressure on PM Modi. There are no ‘training camps’ to raid. The entire country is one.

Here the best option appears to be to work with alone as well as with Afghan, Iranian and other intelligence in the short term to inflict some sort of pain. In the medium term, capacity building for stronger action should be pursued.  This has been seriously damaged by IK Gujral and the UPA regimes.

Given the deep distrust of the whiskey sipping Generals and the Pakistani establishment among the purer green cadre, it should be easy to find factions or groups more than happy to take a kufr’s aid to bring more purity to Pakistan, the land of pure. Balochi groups may be even more happy to help out, given their desperation for outside help in fighting an asymmetric war with the brutal Pakistani state.

But any such action has to be proportionate and carefully targeted to avoid needless escalation. The sole objective should be to send a message.

Prognosis

Chances are, India’s experience will be no different from Afghanistan’s. In other words, even as we keep talking, Pakistan would continue to mount covert attacks and pretend that they don’t control the show as much as they are thought to.

That’s when a serious call will have to be made on the entire matter. Unpalatable options may have to be given fresh look.

But until then, talks should go on. At least we can turn around to the international community and say, “look, we tried”.

 

 

Three (Media) men and a boat

Collateral damage!

Whoever sent the boat laden with explosives or, if you choose to believe our liberal, secular media elite, flowers and mangoes never had one collateral damage in mind – the credibility of our media elite. That stock has never traded above par anyway but then it always shows there are more depths to plumb.

Rabid bias and visceral hatred for the present dispensation at the Center was out in full flow even before the ink on the Defense ministry press release had dried.

Firstly let us accept the fact that media exists to question. This is a fundamental right and no one is talking about taking it away. Although the news traders often play victim and pretend they are under some sort of grave threat. But it also places tremendous responsibility on the part of media. The underlying assumption behind that right is that journalists seek and speak the truth and are not political propaganda mouthpieces or biased shills using their press pass as a camouflage.

Our media, particularly sections of the shrill secular/liberal media has, time and again, through Tejpal affair, Radia tapes saga and various other episodes., shown clearly it has no credibility, integrity, financial probity or intellectual honesty. Today Indian media is riddled with rapists, criminals, shady funding and nepotism as much as, if not more than the political class who they seemingly protect us against with their fearless reporting.

MOD Release

Let us first be clear on what the press release says, and more importantly, what it does not say. It should be obvious to anyone reading it, that it has been drafted using remarkably restrained language.

  1. It does NOT say the boat was sent by Pakistani military establishment, let alone its civilian regime.
  2. It does NOT mention the word terror or terrorists anywhere.
  3. It talks about explosion and major fire.
  4. It does NOT try to score any propaganda brownie points against Pakistan at all. Nor did any senior defense ministry official or even the minister attempt that.
  5. It stresses that operations are ongoing.

A couple of grainy photos were attached to that release.

Nitpicking, semantic jugglery and convenient interpretations

Pakistan had no time to react but our secular liberal media elite immediately jumped to attention. They started posting ‘doubts’ and retweeted other comrades that expressed their ‘doubts’ without once giving benefit of doubt to the government officials. It was as if anything they uttered is, by default, a lie.

When solid facts were not available, there was nitpicking and meaningless semantic pseudo issues to rake up. Comrade S. Varadarajan known for his proximity to the Congress camp and anti-Modi stand, questioned the word ‘maritime boundary’, even seeking legal opinion on the term, as if this were some patent lawsuit in the Supreme Court! This despite the fact that the Coast Guard chief called it ‘notional boundary’. After all, there is no fence in the sea.

Tw1
Need lawyers?!

 

 

 

And of course, he promptly retweeted tweets questioning the GOI version.

Even as they stressed that there was ‘no evidence’ for the Government to say anything, our media friends did not let that stop them from jumping to conclusions and questioning the GOI version, which should ordinarily be taken as correct unless clear proof is available to counter that!

Mihir Sharma, yet another media elite known for his anti-Modi rants and blatant partisanship, retweeted many such posts dismissing the entire story as a ‘smuggling’ one.

And some called for ‘investigation’ over the affair. By who? By the same media gang that were unable to unearth a single scam or scandal for the last ten years (that’s like digging all over Kuwait and claiming there’s no oil!) and were simply parroting UPAs propaganda as gospel?

 

Investigation!
Investigation!

 

 

When they do ‘investigate’ our secular comrades are not going to jump into the deep sea and retrieve the sunk boat or its remnants but simply quote mysterious ‘anonymous’ sources to justify their ‘story’!

Inconvenient truths

None of the ‘journalists’ that were issuing certificates of innocence to the occupants of the boat cared (dared?) to explain one simple fact – Why did the ‘smugglers’ blow themselves up? The usual trick is to offload the cargo and surrender, leaving no proof to prosecute. Certainly not a life or death issue, unless you are a jihadi on a suicide mission.

Moreover, if the Coat Guard simply wanted to destroy a boat carrying ‘poor people making a living’ as Praveen Swami puts it in Indian Express, to score brownie points with the media, why chase the boat for one hour? They could have simply picked up any random boat, blown it out of the sea and made exact same claim any day of the month!

In fact Praveen Swami’s piece not only was making absurd claims simply to score points against the Narendra Modi regime, it also contained inaccuracies which is understandable given the ‘urgent’ need to put a anti-Government spin on the facts.

Oh my Swami!
Oh my Swami!

 

 

 

 

In a subsequent interview, Mr. Swami also talks about Coast Guard vessels being ‘faster’ (thereby discounting the one hour chase version) without providing any basis for this assumption! Are there no small boats that are capable of going faster than larger boats? Is ISI scrapping the bottom of the dollar barrel?!

It should also be mentioned that NONE of the defense analysts on TV panel discussions most of whom were not by any stretch of imagination BJP sympathisers, were as hostile towards the GOI version as these secular warriors were.

Not all are black sheep

Let us not leave you with the impression that every journalist in India is a paid or unpaid yellow journalist, Congress stooge or a Marxist fake ‘liberal’ out to create anarchy and stop the Government from doing its job.  Some reports, such as this one by Nikhil Gokhale for Rediff did a fairly thorough and objective job. Hindu too has been uncharacteristically restrained in its coverage, by and large giving credence to the “official” version. It even came out with an article that seemed to debunk Mr. Swami’s fast boat theory which clearly a journalist not known for his sailing or boating exploits is unqualified to pass judgement on.

People know who to believe

Even a simple, casual perusal of the the readers’ comments in various newspapers and tweets show clearly  the aam aadmi chooses to believe the Government version, knowing Pakistan’s nature and more importantly, knowing the capacity of our media to obfuscate, suppress and spin anything to suit their political agendas.

Therein lies the solution. The media, by raising silly doubts and reckless point scoring over a critical national security issue, has further eroded its credibility and is widely seen as incapable of speaking the truth.