Pakistan—The Chief Patron-Promoter of Islamic Militancy and Terrorism

- P.B. Sinha


Islamic militancy and extremism has emerged as potentially the most threatening form of international terrorism since the closing years of 1980s. This form of terrorism has little to do with Islam as such. Islam provides a convenient religious cover for its perpetrators to achieve political objectives through the means of violence and coercion. A violent and terrorist movement, launched in the name of Islam, touches the sentiments of the followers of Islam, which makes it a more lethal and dangerous destabilising phenomenon for Muslim as well as non-Muslim countries. From the available evidence, Pakistan emerges as the chief patron and promoter of Islamic militancy and terrorism with the aim of utilising it to serve its policy interests.

From 'Citadel of Islam' to 'Frontline State'

Pakistan's open and official association with Islamist politics began with the seizure of power by Gen Zia ul Haq in July 1977. In order to gain legitimacy for his rule and to develop close relations with Muslim countries, especially oil-rich Saudi Arabia, Zia ul Haq projected himself as a 'champion' and his country the 'citadel' of Islam. The Soviet military intervention in neighbouring Afghanistan came as godsent to him to emerge as the 'true' champion of Islamic cause and defender of the Faith. Saudi Arabia extended aid to Pakistan through the Jamaat-e-Islami to look after Afghan refugees, who, in thousands, began 'hijra' across the Durand Line to flee their Communist-dominated homeland. Pakistan declared that Islam was in danger in Kabul and gave a call for jihad to throw the infidel Soviet army out of Afghanistan. The US, Saudi Arabia, China and many Islamic countries poured in resources in men, material and money to organise resistance to the Soviet forces. Overnight Afghan refugees were converted into mujahideen (holy warriors). Pakistan, obviously, assumed the role of the 'frontline state' and under its supervision and control, a chain of training camps were set up along the Pak-Afghan border to impart religious indoctrination and military training to Afghan mujahideen and thousands of enthusiastic Muslim youth from other countries who had been rushing in to participate in the jihad. Organisations like the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam and Markaz al-Dawa al-Irshad were in the forefront of the whole venture. Militant Islam was raised to a very high pitch and it was strengthened manifold. Witnessed was the birth of a new breed of militarily-trained religious fanatics ready to take and give life for an Islamic cause.

In this way, by the mid-1980s a sophisticated, well-equipped infrastructure to train militant Islamists was available for Pakistan to make use of. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan a highly motivated, militarily trained and war-hardened force of militant Islamists and a plethora of sophisticated weapons so generously gifted, principally by the US, was at Pakistan's disposal. There was no dearth of funds from domestic as well as foreign sources. Thus, Pakistan had at its disposal all the wherewithal for the pursuit of promoting and sustaining Muslim militancy and utilising it to facilitate Islamabad in becoming, if not the leader then, one of the leading lights of the Islamic world.

Policy Objectives

From the available evidence, three immediate objectives can be discerned in Pakistan's support and encouragement to Islamic militancy and terrorism as a means to attain primacy among Muslim countries. First, and the foremost, targeted India. It was planned that well-trained Islamic militants-Pakistani, Arab, Afghan and of Kashmiri origin-on their own, as well as in collaboration with locally drafted elements, would unleash a sustained campaign of sabotage, subversion, assassinations and other kinds of terrorist activities in as many parts of India as feasible and thus create chaos and strife in the country. By putting the government of India under pressure, its attention in Kashmir would be reduced. In Kashmir trained Islamic extremists would incite the religious sentiments and susceptibilities of Kashmiri Muslims and channelise their feelings thus aroused towards anti-Hindu, anti-India direction. Having thus created a favourable atmosphere, those Islamists and pro-Pakistan Muslim elements would then resort to a bloody campaign of terrorism as an 'Islamic war' that would ultimately lead to secession of Kashmir from India which would facilitate the fulfilment of their long-cherished dream of incorporating Kashmir into Pakistan. This would also suitably avenge the humiliation suffered by Pakistan at the hands of India during the liberation war of Bangladesh and its aftermath.

The second objective related to Afghanistan. The idea was to instal in Kabul an Islamic government that would remain obliged to be, if not a puppet in the hands of Islamabad then at least, amenable to protecting and promoting Pakistan's interests. It could give Pakistan considerable tactical depth from the military point of view, as well as a comparatively easy and unhampered access to Central Asia. By exporting Islamic militancy and terror through a subservient Islamic dispensation in Kabul as well as independent of it, Pakistan would be able to exercise a commanding ideological and politico-economic influence over preponderantly Muslim areas of erstwhile Soviet Union and Xinjiang, the Muslim-majority region in north-west China.

Thirdly, the Islamic militant force would be useful in promoting the cause of Islam by violent and terrorist means in other parts of the world. The above approach could also serve another useful purpose indirectly. After the Soviet withdrawal, a large number of well-trained Muslim mercenary zealots of Middle Eastern origin stationed in Pakistan could create a problem for the hosts. They could now indulge in acts which might destabilise the Pakistan government. What could be done with them? The aforesaid plan adequately catered to this problem. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the intelligence organisation of Pakistan's armed forces, began to keep them gainfully occupied in fresh operations in Kashmir and elsewhere, and thus minimised the chances of their indulging in activities prejudicial to the host government.

Implementation of the Plan

After the Iraq-Iran war, Pakistan was co-opted in the raising of an Islamic militia, with Sunni-Wahhabi orientation and funded by private Saudi donations. The members of this militia were trained in the tribal belts of the Frontier province and Baluchistan in Pakistan. Elements of this militia are reported to have taken part in the civil wars in Tajikistan and Afghanistan and some of the groups were supposed to be participating even in far off places like Bosnia, Sudan and Algeria.1

At the initiative of Pakistan, Afghan war veterans of Afghan, Sudanese and Libyan origin appeared in the ranks of the militant outfit Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in Kashmir whose number rose to about 300 by late 1992. They were found to have been involved in violent and terrorist activities in Egypt, Algeria, America and elsewhere.

As during the Afghan resistance, so also after the Soviet withdrawal, fundamentalist militant organisations continued to work for the government plans to promote the 'cause of Islam'. Their activities provided a convenient cover for denial of official responsibility for ISI moves to promote Islamic militancy and terror. The Jamaat-e-Islami, for which any militant action, whether it involved the dispatching of zealots to fight against 'oppression' of Muslims in any part of the world, or the bombing of an 'enemy installation', was justified if it was for the larger 'Islamic cause'. A visit to England was undertaken by the Jamaat chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed with former ISI chief Gen Hameed Gul in 1994 for the purpose of recruiting volunteers from Muslim community there.2

A member of the Markaz al-Dawa al-Irshad, while conducting street-corner recruiting in Karachi in March 1995, reportedly informed3 that 56 of its recruits were killed in 1994 during the fighting against government troops in Tajikistan, the Philippines, Bosnia and Kashmir. Funding for the activities of the Markaz, it was claimed, came largely from Saudi 'philanthropists' who were not happy with the way Saudi Arabia was governed by the royal family.4

Towards the end of 1995, a 3-day convention was organised by the Jamaat-e-Islami in Lahore where the Jamaat leaders promised to lead an 'Islamic revolution'. It was attended by militants from 30 countries, including Algeria, Afghanistan, America, Bangladesh, Tunisia, France, Tajikistan, of course, Pakistan, several other Arab and European countries, Xinjiang (China) and Kashmir (India).5

The Jamaat-e-Islami runs the Syed Maudoodi International Institute at its headquarters in Lahore which trains and financially helps Islamists. At the end of 1995, some 100 Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang (China) were said to be receiving training in that Institute. The Islamic University in Islamabad and a host of other madrassas (theological schools) across Pakistan are actively engaged in producing hard-core Islamists. According to a recent report6 , at the Binnori Town mosque complex in Karachi's New Town area, the Jamiat Ul Uloom II Islamiyyah, set up by Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Binnori, is being run where 8,000 students of different nationalities receive intensive Islamic education.

There have been three levels of terrorist training camps, imparting different kinds of military training to Islamists in Pakistan. The camps around Muzaffarabad in POK trained inmates in hit-and-run tactics. In another kind of camps under the direct control of the ISI, training was given to create havoc in India. The third kind of camps were more sensitive, meant to train terrorists for world-wide operations.7

A leading member of the outfit Harakat-ul-Ansar (HUA) informed in 1995 that Arabs ran exclusive training camps for the recruits of the Middle Eastern origin where instructors were Sudanese, Egyptian and Libyan veterans of the Afghan war. HUA sent its trainee militants to those camps only for advanced military training that involved operating anti-aircraft guns and tanks and laying landmines.8

According to a report of 19969, several special training camps were established in the Chitral region in north-western Pakistan. Earlier such camps were run in big numbers in the Khost and Jalalabad regions in Afghanistan. But during the past couple of years, due to a drop in the number of Kashmiri recruits, several of those camps were closed. Henceforth camps were organised in Muzaffarabad, Aliabad, Kahuta, Hazira, Mirpur, Rawalkot, Rawalpindi and some other places in Occupied Kashmir and Pakistan.

After the Pak-raised, funded, equipped and supported fundamentalist Taliban militia seized power in Kabul in September 1996, two training camps in Khost were reopened. Camp Al-Badr l is meant for Pakistani trainees being trained to fight in Kashmir. The Al-Badr II has been meant for trainees from Arab and other countries, being prepared to fight in Chechnya and Bosnia.10 In these camps lessons imparted "are on bomb-making, the use of automatic weapons, rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns. There are religious classes, instructing trainees in the nature of jihad."11

In Pakistan's Islamic grandiose designs some other countries have also been extending cooperation. Libya reportedly transferred some of its training installation, thereby upgrading the terrorist training infrastructure in Pakistan-Afghanistan.12 Iran provided assistance to raise a "suicide brigade" in one of the ISI camps for exceptional operations in India.13 Sudan, besides contributing Sudanese volunteers for the Pakistani game-plan, accepted a number of Kashmiri militants in its camps for highly specialised training under personal supervision of Hassan al-Turabi and Mustafa Uthman.14

As regards the number of military training camps for recruits, by 1992, the ISI was operating 13 permanent, 18 temporary and 8 joint training camps for Kashmiri youth.15 Newspapers revealed that in an official secret report submitted to the former Pakistan government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto it was admitted that 38 military training camps existed in Paksitan from where trained terrorists were being dispatched regularly to Kashmir, Bosnia, Palestine and some African countries on 'jihad' campaigns. At the end of 1996, the number of active military training camps has been given as 73 in POK, 23 on Pakistan territory and 12 in Afghanistan.17

By late 1990, an estimated 5,000 Kashmiris were receiving military training in Pakistan. In 1991 alone, nearly 4,000 Kashmiris were trained in those facilities. By the summer of 1992, some 3,700 Kashmiri militants were located in those camps.18

By the beginning of 1993, an estimated 20,000 young Kashmiris had been trained and armed by and/or in Pakistan to unleash a reign of 'Islamic' terror in India.19 In early 1995 Pakistani officials reportedly estimated that since the end of the Afghan war in 1989 at least 10,000 Islamic militants (obviously other than of Kashmiri origin) were trained by various groups in Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas.20 A tabloid in France, quoting counter-intelligence service, informed that 80 young men, mainly from Paris suburbs, underwent military training on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border between 1991 and 1994.21

In the early 1980s, one Sheikh Mubarak Ali Shah Gilani, in collaboration with the ISI, had started an organisation, Jamaat-ul-Fuqra. In 1992, he started a camp in Sudan imparting instruction in terrorist activities. A cadre of about 3,000 such trainees was created. Gilani now resides in Pakistan, but most Fuqra cells are now located in North America. It is suspected that the ISI had been clandestinely using those trained terrorists against Indian targets.22

The Harakat-ul-Ansar (HUA), which was created in October 1993 by merging two organisations23 which were formed only in 1992, had militant and terrorist operations targeting Kashmir as its main aim, but it also contributed to other ventures. Its headquarters is in Muzaffarabad in POK. The HUA, enjoying "full backing" of Pakistan has been involved in extremist activities in Tajikistan, Bosnia, Myanmar, apart from Kashmir.24 In 1995, HUA claimed25 credit for having trained, since 1987 (obviously under some other name), more than 4,000 militants including Pakistanis, Indians, Arabs and a small number of Americans in making bombs, throwing grenades and firing assault weapons. According to an official Afghan source26, there were about 8,000 members of HUA in 1994 who were 'supporting' the Kashmiri 'struggle'.

At the end of 1995 it was reported that the ISI, in collaboration with the Jamat-e-Islami, was raising a Taliban-type force comprising young students from Pakistan with the sole purpose of fighting Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. A total of 265 Pakistani youth were given training. Specialised training was imparted through two specialised Task Force courses for 40 youths each.27

Pakistan has reportedly been utilising the huge amount of money earned by drug traffickers and their services in furtherance of its 'Islamic mission' in India. ISI levies a particular share from the income from drug trafficking which is spent on perpetrating terrorists activities in India.28 It has also trained two groups of traffickers of about 500 to perpetrate terrorist activities in India. Those groups are allowed unrestricted drug trafficking carrying with them explosives and arms.29

Needless to say that most of the terrorist incidents like assassinations, bomb explosions, firing incidents, sabotage and subversion that have been prepetrated in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country since the end of 1980s and the beginning of 1990s are the outcome of Pakistan's 'Islamic mission' in India.

During the Afghan war, Pakistan had specially favoured the Hizb-e-Islami group led by Pushtun Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, hoping that once in power in Kabul, Hekmatyar would protect and promote Islamabad's strategic interests. Hekmatyar, too, on his part, helped Pakistan in its plans directed against Kashmir. Hekmatyar continued patronising Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and played a vital role in sending arms and Afghan guerrillas to support it.30 But after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, and even after the fall of Dr. Najeebullah's government in 1992, Hekmatyar could not attain power in Kabul. A plan was then devised by Pakistan to raise a militia of talibans31 as an alternative to Hekmatyar's Hizb-e-Islami.

Initially most of the Afghan youth constituting the Taliban militia were products of politico-religious leader Fazl-ur-Rahman's Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI)-run madrassas in Baluchistan and the Frontier Province. The major chunk of today's Taliban leadership as well as soldiers has come from two schools, viz., the Dar-ul-Uloom set up by Maulana Abdul Haq at Akora Khattak and the Binnori Chain of madrassas, the centre of which is situated in Binnori Town in Karachi.32 At least three members of Mullah Omar's six-member Council and some of the top military commanders of the Taliban have emerged from the Binnori Town madrassa or one of its affiliated schools situated all over the country.33

Sunni fundamentalists to the core and highly motivated, many of the Taliban had participated in the Afghan war, who, after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces, had returned to their schools. It is from among those that Pakistan's Interior Minister Nasrullah Babar recruited them and in collaboration with the ISI raised the Taliban militia in the Spin Baldak area of Kandahar inside Afghanistan.

Six months before the emergence of the Taliban, camps were set up by Pakistan's Frontier Corps to train talibs before they were sent to fight against Afghan local warlords. In 1994, the Taliban were able to capture Kandahar and Herat regions, culminating in September 1996, in occupying Kabul after making Burhanuddin Rabbani's government and his supporters flee to the north, and thus bringing nearly two-thirds of Afghanistan under their control. Thus was catapulted to power in Kabul the Taliban militia of hardline Sunni fundamentalist and highly motivated 'Afghan' young fighters, trained, armed and funded, equipped and guided by Pakistan. In its bid to capture the remaining part of Afghanistan from opposition groups the Taliban are continuing to receive large quantities of arms and equipment and directions under the direct supervision of the ISI chief Brig Ashraf Afridi. Pakistani Pushtoo-speaking commanders and soldiers, in the guise of Taliban, have been leading the Taliban in thier military campaigns.34 Recent press reports indicate that a drive has been launched in Pakistan to recruit more young fighters, Afghan and Pakistani, to bolster the strength of the beleaguered Taliban.

Under the patronage of the ISI, informs a Pakistan monthly35, Pakistani religious organisations had established close contacts with clandestine Islamic movements in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Several of Pakistani Islamic fighters crossed over to these predominantly Muslim Republics, which were still part of the erstwhile U.S.S.R., to promote the 'cause' of Islam against infidel Communists. The Soviet officials had protested strongly to Pakistan agaisnt the infiltration of Pakistani Islamists into those states.36 Probably due to Tajikistan's geographical proximity to, and contiguity with China's Xinjiang region, Pakistan's 'Islamic mission' in Tajikistan has been more extensive and prolonged one. A separate base was created to train Tajik militants in Pakistan.37

Another area in the region, which has been recipient of Pakistan's Islamic 'benevolence', is Chechnya, a small Muslim-majority part of southern Russia. Engaged in a war of total secession from Moscow, Chechens have been extended various kinds of help and assistance from Pakistan. Russian intelligence reports have disclosed that Pakistani instructors imparted subversive training to Chechen rebels.38 Russian officers alleged that hundreds of Afghans from refugee camps in Pakistan were recruited to fight the Russian forces in Chechnya. Leaders of Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami confirmed that "their volunteers have been fighting alongside Dudayev's forces."39 The Russian Prime Minister, Victor Chernomyrdin, was quoted as having said publicly in New Delhi that Pakistani mercenaries had also been fighting in Chechnya.40

Apart from providing ideological and military training to Islamic militants from Xinjiang, Pakistan is reported to have been arranging for extension of various kind of assistance to Uighur Muslims of the north-western Chinese province.41 A considerable number of Muslim dissidents from China are stationed in Pakistan. On the eve of Pakistan President Farooq Leghari's visit to China, Pakistan deported 12 of those dissidents in May 1997. Beijing has demanded from Islamabad deportation of another 130 Muslim dissidents.42

Apart from hosting a wide variety of Afghan war veterans of different nationalities, Pakistan became home and a base and transit point for outside operation for many Islamic militants and a safe haven for many terrorist-fugitives. Officials in Cairo said that Pakistan has been home for 8 main leaders of Egypt's Islamic militant groups, who used the country as a base during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Even after the end of the conflict in Kabul against Moscow, Egyptian Islamists have used Pakistan as a crossing point to other nations while fleeing death sentences in their own country. Three condemned Egyptian Islamists, belonging to Al-Jihad and Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya were reported to be living in Pakistan in 1995.43 Towards the end of 1995 it was reported that 600 Egyptians, about 800 Sudanese and 600 Algerians were stationed illegally in Pakistan.44 At that very time Pakistan Ambassador in Egypt told the Cairo daily Al-Akhbar that some 2,800 Islamic militants were based in Afghanistan45 (read Pakistan). In the middle of 1996, International Herald Tribune,46, on the basis of "the best intelligence figures," put their number at 5,000 trained Saudis, 3,000 Yemenis, 2,800 Algerians, 2,000 Egyptians and perhaps 2,000 Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Iranians and others. Whether it was Algeria or Egypt, Palestine or Tajikistan, these Islamists were prepared to go anywhere if it was a question of fighting in the name of Allah.47

In a letter to the UN Security Council, the Ethiopian government stated that most of the terrorists who took part in an unsuccessful murderous attempt on the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa in June 1995 resided in Pakistan and were recruited there.48

According to another report, suspects in a wave of terrorist bombings in France in the latter half of 1995 had travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they might have received training in handling weapons and explosives.49 Condemning Pakistan on that account, Egyptian Interior Minister Hassan al-Alfi had told Arab newspaper Al-Hayat that "to allow these criminals to carry out terrorist attacks and to allow them freedom of action constitutes a weak point for any state."50

On top of all came the truck-bombing of Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad on November 19, 1995, in which 19 people were killed and over 50 injured. The responsibility for the dastardly act was claimed by members of Al-Jihad and Al-Gamaa al-Islamiyya,51 two Islamic militant outfits engaged in a terrorist campaign agaisnt President Hosni Mubarak's 'un-Islamic' government in Egypt.

The day after the Egyptian Embassy bombing, it was officially admitted that the International Islamic University in Islamabad was a hub of terrorist activities. A number of certified terrorists had been taking refuge at the University campus, told the Interior Minister Nasrullah Babar. The institute was being allowed to nurture militants.52

Under pressure from Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and the Western world, particularly the US, some steps were announced in 1994 and 1995 by Pakistan to restrict militant activities, directed not against India or Afghanistan but, against other countries. Pakistan asked Afghan aid groups, many acting as fronts for militant organisations, to leave the country. That made those groups go underground and pushed some of them into Afghanistan. It was also announced to curb the activities of madrassas. All this was primarily aimed at avoiding being branded by the US State Department as a country that sponsors terrorism, which automatically disqualifies it for US economic aid. The real purpose of Islamabad was promptly achieved. Patterns of Global Terrorism 1995, annual report issued by US Department of State, acknowledged that "Pakistan took steps in 1995 to curb the activities of Afghan mujaheedin and sympathetic Arabs and Pakistanis in the Pakistani regions that border Afghanistan."53

The restrictions imposed on militant activities and movements were "little more than eyewash."54 The effectiveness, or, to be correct, lack of those restrictions can be judged from the fact that the truck-bombing of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad took place after the announcement of the restrictions with much publicity. Even after the Pakistan government had declared its policy of externing all Arab militants based in Peshawar, many Arab Islamic fighters continued to live there untroubled.55 One Egyptian Islamist, condemned by an Egyptian court, admitted56 that since receiving externment notice he had taken many trips to and from Pakistan. He said he had been to Bosnia, some of the Central Asian states, Algeria and even Kashmir. This could not have happened without some official support.

The rationale behind such policy was, in the words of the chief of the Services Offices for Afghanistan, that "for a true Muslim, jihad will not be over for as long as there is a single non-Muslim left in the world."57

In 1993 the US House Republican Committee's Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare had come to the conclusion that "the ISI's vast and highly experienced terrorist support infrastructure, tempered by years of assistance to such regional armed struggles as those in Afghanistan and India, is increasingly expanding its operations to include the sponsoring of global Islamist terrorism."58 A glance at the above discussions would lead one to the only conclusion that the Task Force Report's opinion of 1993 holds true even now.

Tacit American Support

The United States has been prompt to blacklist the countries which, in its opinion, sponsored international terrorism, directly or indirectly. The US added Sudan to the list of 'pariah' states which already included Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. But, inspite of overwhelming amount of supportive evidence, Pakistan has been spared by America from being declared a terrorism sponsoring country.

In its assessment for the year 1993, the US State Department observed that "the Government of Pakistan acknowledges that it continued to give moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiri militants but denies allegation of other assistance. However, there were credible reports in 1993 of official Pakistani support to Kashmiri militants who undertook attacks of terrorism"in Kashmir. "Some support came from private organisations such as Jamaat-i-Islami. There were also reports of support to Sikh militants engaged in terrorism in northern India," added the report.59 Two years later, the State Department report made some additions to their assessment and reiterated: "There continued to be credible reports in 1995, however, of official Pakistani support to militants fighting in Kashmir, including Pakistani, Afghan, and Arab nationals some of whom engage in terrorism. One Pakistan-backed group, Harakat-ul-Ansar (HUA), is believed to be linked to Al-Faran, the group that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping in July (1995) in Kashmir of (6 western tourists). Other Pakistan-backed groups claimed responsibility for numerous bombings in Kashmir, including one against foreign journalists."60 But, instead of taking any logical punitive action against Islamabad in the light of this clear indictment of Pakistan by its own State Department, the Clinton administration removed the name of Pakistan from the "watch list" of countries suspected to be involved in encouraging terrorism where it was placed by the earlier Bush administration. The reason advanced for this benign action in favour of Pakistan was that "Pakistan was extraordinarily helpful to the US last year in a major anti-terrorist effort—the arrest and extradition of the leader of the World Trade Centre bombing." (Emphasis added)61.

Not unexpectedly, the next year's 'assessment' of the State Department removed the word "credible", used for the past several years, characterising the Pakistani official support to international terrorism and simply stated that "reports continued in 1996, however, of official Pakistani support to militants fighting in Kashmir."62

From the attitude of the US the message was clear to the Pakistan government that if only Islamabad cooperated with Washington in its efforts to combat terrorism directed against America itself, the US would not only not take any serious notice of, but even condone other terrorism-sponsoring activities of Pakistan. This has been a big indirect support to Pakistan in nursing, promoting and sponsoring Islamic terrorism against India and other regions.


Pakistan's efforts in promoting and sponsoring Islamic militancy and terrorism in India, in general, and the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in particular, have, no doubt, created a lot of trouble for the government and people of India. But has all that brought the Pakistan rulers anywhere nearer their cherished goal? In this respect Pakistani planners ought to have realised that, come what may, no government in New Delhi can allow anyone to impinge upon the territorial integrity of the country. Similarly, a strong country like China cannot permit the newly emerging Islamic fervour among Uighur Muslims to develop into Xinjiang's secession. Of course, in Afghanistan, Pakistan has succeeded in facilitating the Pak-organised, supported, equipped and guided Sunni fundamentalist force, the Taliban, to capture power in Kabul and control nearly two-thirds of the country. But the cost of the keeping the Taliban in power in Kabul would be very heavy for Pakistan in terms of men, money and material. Still in the long run, it is highly unlikely that any Afghan dispensation in Kabul, be it even the Taliban, in view of fiercely independent nature of the Afghans, would be willing to play a second fiddle to protect and promote Pakistan's strategic interests and designs. The case of Central Asian Muslim-majority republics, Egypt, Algeria and other countries has shown that they are prepared to face, by every means, the threat of Pak-inspired and encouraged Islamic militancy and terror. It is quite clear that Pakistan, by its policy of promoting and sponsoring Islamic militancy and terror can only create difficulties and problems for the target countries, nothing more.

On the other hand, Pakistan's plans have ben casting their evil shadow on the promoter-patron itself. Soon after the Soviets left Afghanistan, the Afghan mujahideen turned Pakistan into a battlefield to settle accounts with their own compatriots, as well as with others stationed south of the Durand Line. Pilferation and proliferation of small but lethal weapons are the direct fallout of Pakistan's efforts in continuing 'jihad'. It has given tremendous boost to gun-culture in Pakistan which, in turn, has encouraged sectarian violence and domesitc terrorism.

The products of Pak-Afghan militant training camps have made Pakistan an arena for their activities directed against their own as well as other countires. The Afghan war veterans and Afghan mujahideen have not spared even their host and benefactor from their militant fury. According to a report of July 1996,63 an Arabic language pamphlet was circulating in Peshawar, authored by a Jordanian living in Afghanistan, who was said to have been recruiting youngmen from Pakistan and Afghanistan to join his group called Khalifa to raise an Islamic army to wage war against the West and its Muslim allies. Pakistan could well be regarded as one of the West's 'Muslim allies'.

In other respects also Pakistan is now troubled by the activities of militants trained in Pakistani madrassas in the name of 'jihad'. Militants chased away by Indian security forces have now started indulging in undesirable activities. It is said that those militants have been instrumental in spreading violence in POK and committing crimes against women like molestation and rape.

The outcome and fallout of Pakistan policy of nursing, promoting and sponsoring Islamic militancy and terror since the end of the 1980s is there for everyone to see. It is now for the Pakistan authorities to seriously think whether the results achieved by their policy of patronising, promoting and sponsoring Muslim militancy and terrorism are commensurate to the enormous efforts and resources, their own as well as those secured from other sources, put in for the pursuit of that policy.



1. Sreedhar and Kapil Kaul, "Politics of Islamic Terrorism in West Asia : Internal and External dimensions," Strategic Analysis (New Delhi), June 1996, Vol.XIX, No.3, p.448.

2. UNI report in The Pioneer (New Delhi) August 22, 1994.

3. J.W. Anderson and Kamran Khan (of Washington Post Service), "Pakistan Tiptoes Around Armed Islamic Militants," International Herald Tribune (Hongkong), March 10, 1995, reproduced in Sreedhar etc, n. 1, Appendix 1, p.462.

4. Ibid. p.463.

5. See Ahmed Rashid, "The Chinese Connection," The Herald (Karachi), December 1995.

6. Kamal Siddiqi, "Call of the Taliban," The Indian Express (New Delhi), June 2, 1997.

7. Interview of Yossef Bodansky, Staff Director to US House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, in a 30-minute documentary entitled "Terror Incorporated", telecast by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), as reported in The Tribune (Chandigarh), March 3, 1995.

8. Note 3.

9. Punjab Kesari (Delhi), August 2, 1996.

10. An eyewitness account of Caroline Rees, correspondent, in The Independent (London), cited in The Tribune, November 22, 1996.

11. Ibid.

12. 'Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Export of Terrorism' in The New Islamist International (a report by Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare By House Republican Research Committee, US House of Representatives, Washington D.C., February 1, 1993) (hereafter referred to as 'Task Force Report '93'), p.44.

13. Ibid. p.46.

14. Ibid. p.44.

15. Ibid. p.46.

16. London-datelined 'Bhasha' report in Punjab Kesari, May 12, 1997.

17. A Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, document, cited in the Times of India (New Delhi), January 5, 1997.

18. 'Task Force Report 93, n. 12, pp.45 and 46.

19. Ibid., p.45.

20. Anderson, n. 3.

21. AFP report in Khaleej Times (Dubai), November 2, 1995.

22. Newsweek, cited in Punjab Kesari, February 28, 1994.

23. They were the Harakat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami and the Harakat al-Mujahideen.

24. Al-Faran, a front group of the HUA, took six foreign tourists as hostage in Kashmir in July 1995. One of the hostages managed to escape and another was beheaded by the terrorists. The fate of the remaining four hostages is not known with certainty.

25. Anderson, n. 3, p.460.

26. Afghanistan's Deputy Prime Minister Maulana Rahmani, quoted in the Report of US House (of Representatives) Republican Committee Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, cited in The Indian Express, June 29, 1994.

27. Ibid., Dcember 21, 1995.

28. O.P. Sharma, Director General of Police, Punjab, as reported in Punjab Kesari, March 3, 1996.

29. Ibid. March 16, 1996.

30. The Tribune, September 29, 1996.

31. Taliban is Pushtoo plural of the word 'talib', meaning 'student'.

32. Kamal Siddiqi, "Call of the Taliban," The Indian Express, June 2, 1997.

33. Ibid.

34. A report in The Sunday Telegraph (London), June 1, 1997, cited in a London-datelined 'Bhasha' dispatch in Punjab Kesari, June 2, 1997.

35. Zahid Hussain, "Islamic Warriors," Newsline (Karachi), Febraury 1995, p.26.

36. Ibid.

37. A December 1995 report in the Russian Daily Izvestia, cited in a PTI report in The Indian Express, May 22, 1996.

38. Ibid.

39. Zahid Hussain, n. 35, p.26.

40. The Indian Express, January 5, 1995.

41. For Pakistan's involvement in promoting Islamic militancy in Xinjiang, see P.B. Sinha, "Islamic Militancy and Separatism in Xinjiang," Strategic Analysis, June 1997, Vol XX, No.3, pp.452-453 and 456.

42. 'Intelligence', Far Eastern Economic Review (Hongkong), July 10, 1997, p.12.

43. Cairo-datelines AFP report in The Asian Age (New Delhi), November 21, 1995.

44. The Nation (Islamabad), November 23, 1995.

45. AFP report in Ibid., November 25, 1995.

46. John K. Cooley in International Herald Tribune, July 30, 1996.

47. Zafar Abbas, "Back to the Frontline," The Herald, December 1995, p.29.

48. The Times of India, June 20, 1996.

49. AFP report in Khaleej Times, November 2, 1995.

50. AFP report in The Nation, November 25, 1995.

51. Zafar Abbas, n. 47, p.26.

52. 'School for Scandal?', Ibid., p.32.

53. Patterns of Global Terrorism (United States Department of State)(hereafter referred to as 'Patterns'), 1995, p.5.

54. A.A. Khan, "Have Gun Will Travel," The Herald, p.31.

55. Ibid.

56. Ibid., p.32.

57. Ibid.

58. 'Task Force Report 93, n. 12, p.52.

59. 'Patterns' 1993, p.9.

60. 'Patterns' 1995, p.6.

61. US Coordinator for counter-terrorism, Philip C. wilcox, quoted in 'Innocent till proven guilty', The Week (Kochi), June 2, 1996, p.6.

62. 'Patterns' 1996, cited in The Indian Express, May 2, 1997.

63. AP report in The Asian Age, July 24, 1996.