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The Hijacking of Pakistani Foreign Policy

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    The Hijacking of Pakistani Foreign Policy

    The Hijacking of Pakistani Foreign Policy

    Four days ago, hijackers took control of an Indian Airlines plane, which now sits with more than 150 hostages trapped inside on a runway in Kandahar, southern Afghanistan. Indian officials are now negotiating with the hijackers, who demand the release of Pakistani Islamic cleric Maulana Masood Azhar, arrested in Indian-held Kashmir in 1994, and that of several other prisoners. The incident has strained already tense relations between Pakistan and India, re-igniting the issue of Kashmir, where both countries claim land.

    Kashmiris, Pakistani nationals and Pakistanís intelligence agency are the most likely suspects in the hijacking. But whoever is responsible, the hijacking has the same result: It usurps control of Pakistani foreign policy, undercutting Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharrafís attempts to focus the governmentís attention on domestic problems.

    In recent months, Musharraf has attempted to step back from regional conflicts, wanting to attend to domestic issues facing the new regime. He has weakened his governmentís traditional support for Afghanistanís Taliban, whose forces have fought alongside Pakistani rebels in Kashmir. He has also made efforts toward defusing conflict along the disputed India-Pakistan border.

    The hijacking disrupts both of Musharrafís initiatives. First, it highlights the relationship between Islamabad and the Taliban, damning any attempts by Musharraf to disassociate the two in the international eye. The plane sits grounded in Kandahar, where Afghanistanís ruling Taliban is based. And although the Taliban is reportedly ready to sabotage the hijackers if they harm passengers, its connection to Pakistani radicals is well-known.

    Second, and more significantly, the hijacking forces the Kashmir issue back into the forefront. As well, it increases tensions between Pakistan and India. Each country has blamed the other for the hijacking. On Dec. 27, Musharraf reiterated that resolving their territorial dispute must take first priority in any future talks with India.

    India has accused Pakistanís intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), of organizing the attack. There may be truth to New Delhiís allegations. The ISI is well-known for its support of militants in Kashmir and has recently been implicated in separatist violence in Indiaís state of Assam.

    The involvement of the Pakistani spy agency would indicate that Musharraf has not fully consolidated power in Pakistan. In addition, it would suggest that old rifts between the ISI and Musharraf have not been resolved.

    If the ISI is acting on its own initiative, any attempts to reorient Pakistanís regional position, particularly with regard to the Taliban and Muslim radicals, may be doomed from the beginning.

    But regardless of whoever masterminded the attack, one thing is clear: For the time being, the hijackers control not only the fate of 150 passengers, but also the fate of Pakistanís foreign policy.

    I think you should become the foreign minister of India. LOL

    Fata Morgana



      Fata Morgana: This was a studt by Strategic Study of Foreign Affairs an independent think tank on World Affairs.



        Fata Morgana: This was a study made by 'Strategic Study of Foreign Affairs' an independent think tank on World Affairs.


          A study is not necessarily the final truth.

          BTW, with this hijack drama, India's both internal and exernal ministries/policies are hijacked. LOL

          Fata Morgana


            How you pasted the whole stuff?


              Durango quoted: "...Kashmiris, Pakistani nationals and Pakistanís intelligence agency are the most likely suspects in the hijacking..."

              Three separate entities here:
              1)Kashmiris (this includes many of my friends)
              2)Pakistani nationals (this includes my parents and many posters here)
              3)Pakistan's intelligence agency

              Only the last category is specific, the other two are SO broad, this think tank has placed all Pakistani's as suspects. How frightening. This is just another irresponsible statement, fueling suspicion, which in response fuels hatred for both Pakistanis and Muslims in general.

              BTW Durango, there is no such thing as an "independent think tank", funding comes from somewhere, and that funding drives research.

              Watch...I can make an irresponsible statement to, condemning an entire nation and its inhabitants for the brutality inflicted by its government:

              "...Hindus, Indian nationals and the Indian military and government are the most likely suspects in the oppression, killing and rape of innocent Kashmiris..."

              Its not difficult to make such ignorant statements. Its hard to believe that some people actually get paid for making them.



                of course, there is no final truth and everyone who is making certain statement is making it cuz they are paid for it. this criterion does not extend to statements that support to one's side, nor religious books.


                  I have just cut and pasted the report. Go to the site and have a look at it. Also look at the body which has researched on this subject. This is not an Indian intelligence report or a Pakistani or American.


                    Pakistani Forces Continue to Provoke India
                    16 August 1999


                    India accused Pakistani troops of attacking an Indian border post August 16 to create a diversion to facilitate an incursion of Moslem militants into Kashmir. While India has said it repelled the invasion force, this attack and other operations by Pakistanís Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military and the militants, raises questions Pakistanís continued actions against India. While Pakistan is incapable of launching a full-scale attack against India, the reverse is certainly not true. Pakistanís continuing prodding of India, which threatens to trigger a resumption of widespread fighting, raises questions about Pakistanís motivation. Either the Pakistani government has lost sight of reality, or it has lost command and control of the numerous factions involved. Either way, the situation presents a real threat to the already tense Indian-Pakistani relations.


                    Pakistani troops attacked an Indian border post in Charwah, 50 miles south of Jammu, on August 16 in an effort to create a diversion to facilitate an infiltration by Moslem militants, according to an Indian police source cited by the Associated Press. The report said that Pakistani troops attacked the station with machine guns and rockets early in the morning to distract border guards while a group of armed Moslem militants tried to sneak into Indian territory. One Indian soldier and two infiltrators were killed in the ensuing six-hour battle, and several members of the Indian Border Security Force were wounded. The attack comes a day after Indiaís Independence Day celebrations, which were marred by several acts of violence in the border regions and Assam.

                    Since the beginning of the recent Kashmir crisis, Pakistan has continued its involvement in border exchanges with India and has supported Indian separatist movements through the Pakistani ISI. There are currently three fronts on which India and Pakistan are carrying out a low-intensity conflict: Kashmir, Assam, and Gujarat/Sindh []. In Kashmir, border shelling and infiltration by Moslem militants continues. In Assam, the ISI has been working with separatists in a recent bombing campaign against Indian rule. Tensions flared recently along the Gujarat/Sindh border with the downing of a Pakistani reconnaissance plane, though India claims the region had been the site of multiple incursions by militants prior to the downing.

                    The ISIís actions in India and its military associations with Moslem militants are provocations that the Indian state simply cannot continue to ignore. The downing of the reconnaissance plane illustrates Indiaís dwindling patience toward Pakistan. While Pakistan is using the Indian attack on its aircraft as a way to repaint India as the aggressor, its own cross-border operations fly in the face of this argument. Pakistanís continued operations in India raise the question of what, actually, Pakistan is trying to do. With the current correlation of forces, a full-scale Pakistani invasion seems improbable at best. In fact, Indian military strength heavily outweighs Pakistanís. There are an estimated 980,000 active Indian troops with another 800,000 in reserve. In comparison, there are an estimated 562,000 active Pakistani soldiers with 500,000 reservists. India boasts 3600 tanks to Pakistanís 2200 and the Indian Air Force maintains 890 fighting aircraft as compared to Pakistanís 620. Pakistani troops are already committed in Afghanistan on the side of the Taleban militia, leaving Islamabad facing the possibility of waging two simultaneous wars on multiple fronts. In addition, India has the overwhelming advantage in simple numbers, with almost one billion people; Pakistanís population is estimated at 135 million.

                    This being the case, the question is why Pakistan continues to provoke India. Pakistan may want Kashmir for ethnic and religious reasons and to provide strategic depth for Islamabad and northern Pakistan, but it only reaps those benefits after seizing the disputed state. Until then, a war for Kashmir puts Islamabad nearly on the front lines. Actions by the ISI, Pakistani troops, and Pakistani-based Moslem militants are bringing India and Pakistan closer and closer to a state of war. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has used Pakistanís aggression as a way to increase support before the upcoming elections and to increase Indiaís military arsenal. This, along with the international support India received during the Kashmir crisis, makes it illogical for Pakistan to continue to goad India into another confrontation.

                    While it may appear that the Pakistani government has lost its collective mind, we believe the more likely explanation is that it has simply lost a degree of command and control over its forces. Pakistanís decision to withdraw from Kashmir in response to growing international consternation left the military humiliated, the militant Moslems feeling abandoned and betrayed, and the ISI in deals with Indian separatists that were left unfulfilled. The ISI has continued operations with separatists, primarily in Assam but also in other places, even though the Kashmir conflict is over. The ISI was working with the separatists to gather intelligence of Indian troop movements in exchange for arms and tactical training. While there may be no immediate tactical use for the knowledge, the ISI has remained involved in inciting unrest in India.

                    The Moslem militants were the most affected by Pakistanís decision to withdraw. Rather than fully accept Pakistanís decision, however, they have continued operations, albeit on a smaller scale, against Indian border outposts. While the Pakistani military has generally disengaged from the Kashmir infiltration, elements within the military remain involved. Overall, there is a general loss of coordination among the Pakistani government, the military, the ISI and the militants that had been present during the Kashmir crisis. While the Pakistani government was able to withdraw most of these elements from Kashmir, it has not yet regained full control or trust. This lack of control threatens to incite a larger war between India and Pakistan.


                    New York Times
                    In a Desolate House, Vestiges of a Violent 1999 Hijacking
                    By DAVID ROHDE

                    KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 4 ó The tiny piece of paper is inscribed with the names, ages and nationalities of the hostages. Four Spaniards at first. Then an American. A 71- year-old Frenchman wrote his name and his wife's, the last name in capital letters, the first name in cursive. One captor, for some reason, kept this reminder of the lives he once held in his hands.

                    This scrap of paper from an Indian Airlines hijacking in 1999 was one item among scores of documents including terrorist training manuals found here Sunday in a house neighbors said was a headquarters for Pakistani militants.

                    Five men carried out the hijacking: four ticket stubs from the flight, two boarding passes and an Indian Airlines Airbus 300 safety procedure card were among the souvenirs left behind in the house along with the handwritten list of hostages' names.

                    The house was also filled with scattered documents ó business cards, boxes of cassette tape labels, sheets of blank stationery, recruitment literature and fliers ó bearing the name of Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, a Kashmiri Islamic extremist group that American officials believe has long been supported by Pakistan. It has been on the State Department's terrorist organizations list since 1997.

                    The group was accused in the hijacking, but denied involvement. Its presence here suggests why a Taliban-run Afghanistan was of such strategic importance to Pakistan over many years: the country provided a haven for Islamic militants who could later be deployed to fight Indian rule of mainly Muslim Kashmir. Successive Pakistani governments have attached great importance to this campaign.

                    Along with the Harkat ul-Mujahedeen literature were more than a dozen small green artillery instruction booklets with "Al Qaeda" printed on their front cover. There also was an Arabic-language guide to making weapons that was dedicated to Osama bin Laden.

                    An examination of thousands of pages of documents left behind in seven houses and what appeared to be a training camp suggests that terrorists in training lived or worked in the houses.

                    Northern Alliance officials say there are scores of houses here like this one, abandoned since the fall of Kabul but once inhabited by Arab, Chechen, Pakistani and other militant foreigners.

                    American officials said they had removed chemical samples from 40 Al Qaeda sites and training bases here. This reporter visited one of those houses along with six other houses and the camp, all of which contained documents of various militant groups.

                    This house, like others, was pointed out to Northern Alliance officials by neighbors who were canvassed. They said they had noticed many Pakistanis and other foreigners using the house during the Taliban rule.

                    Some of the houses were open and could be entered. Others were guarded by alliance soldiers who allowed journalists to enter them. All the houses had been entered by Northern Alliance officials or soldiers or civilians living in Kabul. Many appeared to have been ransacked, some appear to have been cleaned out in part before they were abandoned, and in most there was evidence of some papers having been burned. It is not clear who might have been in the houses since the fall of the Taliban; nor is it clear whether anybody may have tampered with or left the documents during this time.

                    The Central Intelligence Agency has examined documents left in houses in Kabul, according to an American intelligence official. While the government has found some materials that show that Al Qaeda had an interest in weapons of mass destruction and was collecting materials on the subject, the official said nothing found was considered sensitive.

                    The array of materials found in the seven houses include forged visas, altered passports, listings of flight schools in Florida and registration papers for a flight simulator.

                    The groups seem to have been highly organized and appeared to share research sources and other materials. The same standardized terrorism textbooks, religious booklets and military manuals were in several houses this reporter visited.

                    The occupants kept detailed records, listing expenses on ledgers, using computers, setting up complex course schedules and grading their pupils as they progressed.

                    Books and materials found in the houses made mention of nuclear weapons, anthrax and other biological weapons, sarin gas and poisons like ricin.

                    There is also a lack of sophistication to the training materials and documents. While the groups may have dreamed of weapons of mass destruction, no evidence has emerged here of their actually having obtained any. Many of the texts in the houses are outdated and the plans sketched out in notebooks are crude.

                    But the house here and the Indian Airlines hijacking suggest that a combination of crude tactics, luck and determination can succeed, as they did on Sept. 11.

                    On Dec. 24, 1999, the five hijackers armed with knives and guns seized control of the flight from Katmandu, Nepal, to New Delhi with 155 people on board. The hijackers directed it from India to Pakistan to the United Arab Emirates and finally, on Dec. 25, to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

                    During the stopover in Dubai, the hijackers called a group of strong- looking men to the front of the plane and made an example of one, Ripen Katyal, a 25-year-old newlywed. As the men watched, the hijackers slashed Mr. Katyal's throat and let him bleed to death.

                    Over the next week of negotiations, one hijacker seemed to befriend the hostages, leading them in singing games and joke contests. When talks broke down on the seventh day, he threw open the doors of the plane, woke up the passengers and told them to pray. In 30 minutes, he said, they would be shot one by one.

                    The next morning, everyone was freed in exchange for three jailed members of Harkat ul-Mujahedeen, which opposed Indian rule in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir. The five hijackers were allowed to escape with them.

                    Taliban officials gave the hijackers 10 hours to leave the country and won international praise for their role in ending the standoff.

                    American and Indian officials demanded that Pakistan shut down the group, but Pakistani officials refused, saying that could spark violent protests. Maulana Masood Azhar, a militant leader freed from prison in India as a result of the hijacking held public rallies in Pakistan and started an even more militant sister group, Jaish-e-Muhammad. The hijackers were believed to have re-entered Pakistan and disappeared.

                    Numerous documents related to the hijacking were found in the house in the upper-class Wasir Akbar Khan neighborhood near the embassy district. They included a receipt from the purchase of one hijacker's ticket, that hijacker's fake Indian identity card, airport departure fee receipts and train passes two hijackers used while living in India planning the attack.

                    The business cards of Harkat's general secretary, blank stationery, enrollment forms and letters to leaders of the group were found in the same room as the hijacker's tickets. Letters of introduction from Jaish-e- Muhammad, ask Harkat officials to enrol young men arriving in Afghanistan "in school."

                    The documents could prove embarrassing to the Pakistani military, which American officials believe has covertly supported Harkat for years.

                    Other documents show close ties to the Taliban. One paper listed the units and commanders of Taliban forces on the front lines near Kabul and their code names.

                    Neighbors said the house served as a military headquarters, with scores of Pakistanis arriving there to receive orders about deployment.

                    The house, which is being guarded by alliance soldiers but apparently has not been inspected by American intelligence officials, includes a list of trainees' names, home addresses and code names. There were also several copies of publications by American extremist groups that described poisons, espionage, disappearing ink and exploding pens.

                    [This message has been edited by durango (edited December 06, 2001).]