Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Why Jews are powerful and Muslims are powerless

Why Jews are powerful and Muslims are powerless
Dr Shabir Choudhry 23 December 2008

Muslims, especially youths, believe that they are under attack; but many non Muslims believe that it is young Muslims who are at a war with rest of the world. In this ‘war’ innocent people are being killed in many parts of the world; and sad thing is that these deaths and destruction are justified as means to end.

Whether Muslims are ‘under attack’ or Muslims are ‘at war’ depends on how both questions are viewed, and positions of individual people; but one thing is sure that all bad things are related to Muslims and they are viewed as terrorists, extremists, backward, rich but powerless and out of step with rest of the world. Moreover most bad things are traced back to Pakistan; and that is blocking path of progress for Muslims peacefully settled in European countries.

Like any other community or followers of any other religion, overwhelming majority of Muslims are good people. However they could be powerless and backward in their thinking and approach to life, because they think this life is temporary and does not deserve their full attention. This approach to life is against the teaching of Islam and practise of the Messenger of Allah.

Almighty Allah demonstrated superiority of knowledge in Qur’an and urged mankind to think and explore. Allah’s Messenger also gave high priority to learning and teaching. Net result of their learning, research and practise was that Muslims made enormous contribution to knowledge and learning in all aspects of human life; and they became rulers of the biggest empire on earth. Over the past centuries Muslims are lagging behind in all walks of human life; and suffer humiliation and face appalling treatment.

Some of the data below might help us why we are so behind. Jews have total population of around 14 Million, which is spread over in various countries. Muslim population on the other hand is more than 1.5 billion, which means for every Jew there are 107 Muslims; and every fifth human being is a Muslim. This small number of Jews – 14 Million are more powerful than 1.5 billion Muslims, not because they are Jews but because they have made more contribution to human life than Muslims can even think.

Just look at the following people who have made enormous contribution to human knowledge and learning; and one thing in common among them – they are all Jews:

Medical Milestones
Vaccinating Needle: Benjamin Ruben Jewish
Polio Vaccine Jonas Salk Jewish
Leukemia Drug Gertrude Elion Jewish
Hepatitis B Baruch Blumberg Jewish
Syphilis Drug Paul Ehrlich Jewish
Neuro muscular Elie Metchnikoff Jewish
Endocrinology Andrew Schally Jewish
Cognitive therapy. Aaron Beck Jewish
Contraceptive Pill Gregory Pincus Jewish
Understanding of Human Eye G. Wald Jewish
Embryology. Stanley Cohen Jewish
Kidney Dialysis Willem Kloffcame Jewish
Inventions that changed History
Micro- Processing Chip. Stanley Mezor Jewish
Nuclear Chain Reactor. Leo Sziland Jewish
Optical Fibre Cable Peter Schultz Jewish
Traffic Lights Charles Adler Jewish
Stainless Steel Benno Strauss Jewish
Sound Movies Isador Kisee Jewish
Telephone Microphone Emile Berliner Jewish
Video Tape Recorder Charles Ginsburg Jewish
Individuals who changed course of History
Albert Einstein Jewish
Sigmund Freud Jewish
Karl Marx Jewish
Paul Samuelson Jewish
Milton Friedman Jewish

Apart from that, most of multi nationals and transnational companies are either owned or managed by Jews. It is amazing to note that 14 Million Jews have produced 180 Nobel Prize Winners; and 1.5 billion Muslims have only managed 3 Nobel Prizes. Dr Abdus Salam was awarded Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979, and had distinction of being the first Pakistani and the first Muslim Nobel Prize Winner.

He belonged to Ahmedi Sect of Islam which was declared non Muslim in Pakistan. In early 1960s he played a leading role in establishing the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) - the atomic research agency, and Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO). Also he was instrumental in setting up five Superior Science colleges throughout Pakistan to further the progress in science in the country. Despite these achievements life was made difficult for him and this genius was forced to leave the country and settle in Italy where he set up International Centre for Theoretical Physics. In other words Italy benefitted from his wisdom and knowledge, and Pakistan didn’t because his religious faith was different to majority of the Pakistani people.

One can also see how India treated its Muslim scientist, Dr Abdul Kalam, and elected him as a President of India; and Pakistan imprisoned its top Scientist, Dr Qadeer Khan who provided nuclear weapons and a series of very advance missile system to bolster defence of pakistan. If Centerfuges and other materials were given to other countries in contrvention of international laws he could not have done this without help and support of senior army and government officials, then why make him scapgoat?

The attitude explained above speaks volumes about love and care Muslims have for knowledge and research. Even in the 21st Century, in Pakistan millions of people have no access to education, and where schools are built they are systematically burnt down or blown out by bombs. Muslims are fast losing interest in education and benefits it could provide because they think they can become rich by other means which might not be legal. Also value of our education is constantly declining; and our ability to provide quality training and produce knowledge is shrinking. As a result of this Muslims are becoming less competitive in every field.

There are 57 Muslim Countries in the world with enormous resources, and yet there are only 500 universities in the Muslim World; and none of the universities in the entire Islamic World rank in the top 500 universities of the world. On the other hand the USA alone has 5,758 universities. In Christian countries 40% of population attend university; and in Muslim countries only 2% make to universities.

Even Pakistan’s neighbour and Third World country, India has 8,407 universities; and Indian scientists, doctors and engineers are performing crucial role in advanced societies of the world. It is on strength of this, after the Mumbai carnage one USA based Indian wrote to me that India has softwere engineers, scientists and doctors to ‘export’, and Pakistan can only ‘export drugs and terrorists’.

So problem is lack of educational and high tech training facilities, our failure to learn new knowledge; and our wrong priorities and failure to provide resources for education and research has put us where we are today. And instead of learning from our past mistakes and sorting out our priorities we Muslims, especially Muslims of South Asia like to shift blame to others by saying that it is Jewish, Hindu or American conspiracy.

A prominent Kashmiri journalist, Sardar Zia Mahmood who has kindly provided me this data, while talking to me said, ‘One cause of extremism and terrorism is our inability to educate our young people and provide adequate opportunities for those who worked hard to get qualifications’. He further said, ‘If we want to combat terrorism and extremism then we have to divert resources to educate and train people and promote culture of tolerance and democratic values’.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Terrorism is the biggest threat to peace, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Terrorism is the biggest threat to peace, Dr Shabir Choudhry
Presentation of Dr Shabir Choudhry in a conference organised by Baroness Emma Nicholson in European Parliament on 10/11 December 2008

It is an honour to be here and express my views in a conference on issue of Kashmir organised by Baroness Emma Nicholson, who has already made enormous contribution to the cause of Jammu and Kashmir by authoring the EU Kashmir report, which was passed by the EU Parliament with a massive majority.

Ethnic and cultural identity is important for people as it gives them a sense of belonging. But cultures and civilisations can only flourish when there is no oppression and intimidation in society. Majority of people in every society are good and want to live in peace and harmony, but in every society there is a small minority which is criminal minded.

It is this small group which makes life difficult for every one. They promote violence and terrorism in order to advance their political or personal agenda. They conceal their agenda by using name of religion or some ideology, which helps to raise funds and recruit people. It is imperative that all those who believe in peace, democracy and rule of law must work together to counter and defeat these criminals.

These terrorist groups are highly organised and ruthless. They have no religion and no nationality. Their activities are not limited to one country – they are transnational organisations with close working relationship with terrorists in many other countries. These terrorist groups are the biggest threat to peace; and in order to root out this menace international strategy and approach is required.

Terrorists have more than once brought India and Pakistan close to a full scale war. Once again both countries are going through very difficult time as a direct result of terrorism in Mumbai, which no religion or civilised person can justify. One can understand the civilian government of Pakistan is not directly responsible for the Mumbai attacks, but those who committed this horrible crime came from Pakistan and allegation is that they were trained by some junior officers of the ISI.

Many people believe that the present civilian government could be ‘innocent bystander’ in the current crises. As the government had no role in the Mumbai attacks, and offer of full cooperation was made, and even agreed to send ISI Chief to help in the investigations. But when the real rulers of Pakistan heard what was going on, they were furious over this and once again demonstrated that they hold key to power and strategic decision making. Soon after this pressure both President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani changed their tone and withdrew their offer.

In Pakistan those who have power to fight terrorism are not willing to commit themselves; and those who are in government and wish to effectively fight terrorism have no power to carry out this gigantic task. As a result of this many experts on South Asia and terrorism believe that the Pakistani governments never abandon policy of jihad, and training and promoting terrorism.

David Kilcullen, a counter-insurgency expert, while commenting on the Mumbai attacks said: "It looks more like a classical Special Forces or commando operation than a terrorist one. No group linked to al-Qaeda and certainly not Lashkar has ever mounted a maritime attack of this complexity." So in view of many experts some kind of ‘official’ help and support cannot be ruled out.

In any case people ask which is worse: the Pakistani military had knowledge of this planning in advance, and decided to turn a blind eye; or they didn't know about it which shows their negligence and inefficiency. In the case of the latter it also shows that the Pakistan military and intelligence services are unable to effectively monitor militant activities inside Pakistan, which raise many serious questions whether or not they are capable of safeguarding weapons of mass destruction.

It is an established fact that in Pakistan there is a civilian government in office, but it doesn’t have power. And if relationship between the both countries deteriorates or in the worst case scenario, there is a military clash then those who are running the democratic show from behind will topple this government. That will be bad for democracy, bad for peace, bad for India and bad for stability and prosperity of South Asia. It will also be bad for America and its war on terrorism.

Terrorism has a long history, and there could be many reasons for this. In my view injustice perpetrated by those who are powerful in society, injustice to other communities and nations; discrimination on grounds of religion or ethnic and cultural backgrounds are main causes of violence and terrorism.

Festering wounds where rights have been denied and justice has been continually denied are Palestine and Jammu and Kashmir. Other sources of terrorism are:

The first Afghan war of 1980s and subsequent civil war;
American invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq,
War on terrorism which is perceived as a war against Muslims;
And in view of many, Pakistan Army and extreme elements within the ISI, which is in a league of its own when it comes to supporting and exporting terrorism.

India was divided not to strengthen Islam or Muslims, although name of Islam was used to create hatred and divisions in the Sub Continent. India was divided on religious lines to advance and protect rights and privileges of certain groups; and to protect geo political interests of imperial powers of that time.

However it must be pointed out that the Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States including the State of Jammu and Kashmir. This fact was confirmed by no other than Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan in his statement on 17 June 1947, who said and I quote:
"After the lapse of Paramountcy the Indian States would be constitutionally and legally sovereign States and free to adopt for themselves any course they wished. It is open to the States to join Hindustan, Pakistan or to decide to remain independent. In my opinion they are free to remain independent if they so desire." Unquote

Furthermore Mohammed Ali Jinnah accepted accession of State of Junagarr which had non Mulsim majority and a Muslim Ruler, and if the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then this state should have automatically joined India. But Mohammed Ali Jinnah accepted its accession even though it had no land link with Pakistan, practically showing that the Two Nations Theory was only related to the British India.

Apart from that Mohammed Ali Jinnah acknowledged Ruler of Hyderabad’s right to become independent even though this state also had a non Muslim majority, and if the Two Nations Theory was applicable to the Princely States then this state should have joined India. These examples clearly show that the Two Nations Theory did not apply to the Princely States, and Pakistan’s demand to get Jammu and Kashmir because of religion is totally wrong.

In any case the Two Nations Theory proved wrong when East Pakistan separated after a blood bath from the rest of Pakistan in 1971, showing that religion alone does not provide strong enough foundations to build a nation state. But despite this set back to the Two Nations Theory, extremists are determined to promote communalism and hatred to widen the gulf on religious lines.

A new extremist ideology has come in to being which actively promotes religious extremism, hatred and terrorism. People following this ideology believe that end justify means, and military conflict between Muslims and non Muslims must be encouraged and managed that there are frequent terrorist acts which invite oppressive response of authorities resulting in death and destruction of innocent people on both sides. Death of innocent people fuels anger, and terrorist groups use this to raise funds and recruit people.

Some of these extremists believe that India and Pakistan must be in a state of war all the time. Apart from that they are creating religions and ethnic divisions within India that minorities, especially Muslims become target, fuelling Muslim anger against the government. These groups believe that for the survival of Two Nations Theory and existence of Pakistan’s large and powerful army could only be justified if both countries remain unfriendly and Muslims within India appear oppressed and victims of Hindu extremists.

The monster of terrorism cannot be defeated by use of force alone. Other strategies have to be put in place. And moreover, a strategy must be worked out to resolve long standing disputes like Kashmir and Palestine to the satisfaction of all concerned. In South Asia terrorist groups use the plight of Kashmiri people to recruit people that they can carry out violent activities in name of Jihad and independence.

A map is in circulation which showed large areas of India in green colours with the title: Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The email message with the map said, ‘we will not only liberate Kashmir from Hindus we will also have a Pakistani flag on the Red Fort in New Delhi’. It also said we are waiting for India to make a move that we can use our nuclear bombs to kill Hindus and defeat India.

I am sure extremists on the Indian side are also saying more or less same thing. War is a very serious matter, and we must not allow extremists to dictate their agenda and precipitate a war between nuclear rivals. At the same time we have to check activities of these terrorist groups. These groups must be crushed and their leaders put behind bars.

Governments of India and Pakistan have to be more tolerant and wiser. They should not walk in to the trap set up by the terrorists. If they break the peace process and roll back the confidence building measures which were put in place after months and years of hard work, then that will be a victory for the terrorists.

I can understand the frustration and anger of India, but decisions taken in anger or under public pressure are not always the best decisions. Both governments should work together to investigate the Mumbai tragedy and punish all those who are found responsible.

Also both governments should work out a strategy to involve people of Jammu and Kashmir in the peace process to find a workable and honourable solution to the Kashmir dispute. Whether we like it or not we have to live in South Asia, and it is in the interest of all of us that we live as good and friendly neighbours. We need to promote good governance, rule of law, trade, economic growth and peace and stability; and for that both India and Pakistan will have to think with a public welfare in mind rather than military strength and number of nuclear war heads.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.
Email: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com

Friday, 12 December 2008

Is it struggle for independence terrorism or a proxy war?

Is it struggle for independence terrorism or a proxy war?
Dr Shabir Choudhry Nov 2008

One person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist, we were told. There is very thin line between a freedom fighter and a terrorist, yet we used to support Kashmiri armed struggle as we sincerely thought it was a genuine struggle for freedom of our homeland. As we got more information and established our independent sources of information about what was going on in name of Kashmiri ‘freedom struggle’ or ‘Jihad’ we started opposing it, and that was 5/6 years before the tragic events of 9/11 which changed many things including any distinction between armed struggle and freedom fight.

Kashmiri struggle in a view of ‘nationalist Kashmiris’ is a struggle to get national independence for the State of Jammu and Kashmir, but this should not be done in name of any religion as Kashmir dispute is not a religious in nature. Furthermore, in view of nationalist Kashmiris religion is a personal matter of citizens in which state has no role to play. State of Jammu and Kashmir is a multi national, multi religious and multi culture and we all must have same rights and privileges as citizens of Jammu and Kashmiris.

It must be pointed out here that when the term of ‘Kashmiri struggle’ is used it signifies the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir and struggle of all people who were part of the State on 15th August 1947. I understand recently people of other regions, especially Jammu and Gilgit and Baltistan are expressing their strong resentment against this and don’t want to be called Kashmiris; although they agree that they are part of the State, hence still part of the dispute.

Is it Jihad?

Jihad is a very noble concept of Islam and it has two possible definitions. Jihad could be defined as a fight or struggle for one’s rights, which can involve use of arms, especially if the struggle is against a foreign occupier. But this kind of jihad is of less significance, as Prophet Mohammed PBUH, while returning from a battle field declared that: "We have returned from the lesser jihad (battle) to the greater jihad (jihad of the soul)." (BBC - Religion & Ethics - Jihad: The internal Jihad". Retrieved on 2007-01-09).

This ‘greater jihad’ is an inner struggle of each man against vice, passion and ignorance, and takes a form of spiritual struggle. This Jihad is directed against satan’s inducements. Jihad is a struggle for any cause for the betterment of the humanity whether it is violent or not, religious or non religious. A Pakistani scholar and Professor Fazlur Rehman Malik defines the term to describe the struggle to establish "just, moral and social order", which could be to fight for rights of minorities or to struggle for economic development in a country.

There are four major categories of jihad: Jihad against one's own self (Jihad al-Nafs), Jihad of the tongue (Jihad al-lisan), Jihad of the hand (Jihad al-yad), and Jihad of the sword (Jihad as-sayf). Firestone, Rueven (1999). Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam. Oxford University Press. ISBN 019-5125800. pg. 17.

The ‘lesser jihad’ is defined as a holy war against infidels and infidel countries, aiming at spreading Islam. This kind of jihad is described in both the Qur’an and in the hadiths; and there is a clear guidance on this kind of Jihad and why it was made obligatory. This Jihad could be offensive or defensive and is a duty for every Muslim community, but not necessarily for every individual. The one who dies in the battle against the infidels or against forces of occupation, becomes a martyr, a shaheed, and is guaranteed a place in Paradise as well as certain privileges there.
Some of directions or guidance for this kind of Jihad was permitted when the Muslims were persecuted and oppressed by the rulers of Makka. Even after the migration of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH to Madina, there were still some Muslims there who were still oppressed because of their faith, and Surah 4, verse 75 is referring to this fact:
‘And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help’! (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
Islamic jurisprudence has clearly regulated terms and conditions of this kind of jihad. According to this surah 2, verse 190 was revealed:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.
Such rules include not killing women, children and non-combatants, as well as not damaging cultivated or residential areas. Some scholars stress that this Jihad is essentially a defensive warfare aimed at protecting Muslims and Islam. ‘Jihad of the sword’ will always include weapons, but the aim must be to protect people whether Muslims or non Muslims from persecution and oppression.
Some people wrongly associate Jihad with violence and killings or threat to peace and security. Jihad is not a war or violence. For wars and killings holy Qur’an use the term Qital. Allah says: “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.”

This means that Jihad has much broader application and encompasses many aspects of human life; and ‘qital’ is the final stage in that struggle. But one has to satisfy certain pre-requisites before embarking on this phase of the struggle; and some people call this jihad offensive in nature. But this kind of Jihad must be declared by the state and no group is entitled to declare this jihad, as it is a serious matter and could result in death of many people, animals, crops, trees and destruction of property and assets. Such a serious matter could not be left to adventurism or romanticism of some ideologues or fanatics as it could lead to war, civil war and unrest.
It was because of this defintion and problems associated with individual groups declaring jihad that Maulana Abu Ala Mohdoodi, founder of Jamat e Islami and famous scholar declared jihad in Kashmir as ‘illegitimate’ and wrong. Jamat e Islami after him had changed its stance and has become more like a commerical and mercenary organisation willing to take on different tasks provided they are appropriately rewarded for them.
In view of the above definition and explaination one has to see what is going on in name of Jihad or freedom struggle on the Indian side of the Jammu and Kashmir. First of all this jihad is declared by individual groups, and some of them have transformed the Kashmiri struggle in to a commercial enterprise. That declaration of Jihad is similar to Jihad being carried out in FATA and various parts of Pakistan, which is strongly opposed and contested by the government of Pakistan and many scholars in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Islamic Jurisprudence of offensive or defensive jihad clearly state that no innocent or civilian should be killed. It is very clearly explained that not even trees and crops should be destrroyed, and what we witness in Jammu and Kashmir is clearly against the teaching of Islam. In Jammu and Kashmir we have witnessed time and again that the so called Jihadi groups and Mujahideen have delibeerately targetted civilians, women, children and old. They have killed and tortured members of minority groups in name of Jihad and Islam which is to defame Islam and change fundamental character of the Kashmiri struggle.
To us Kashmiri nationalists, it was a struggle for our right of self determination, and aim was to establish a democratic and non religious state in united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. To these Jihadi groups which converged from various parts of the world to carry out Jihad, it was an Islamic mission to establish Islam in Jammu and Kashmir; and after accomplishing this mission proceed to New Delhi and else where. In other words there is no end to their struggle or Jihad and it continues until there are no none Muslims on the planet of earth. Of course these jihadis were handsomely rewarded for their services in form of priviledges, power and money.

Is it Terrorism?

There is no agreed definition of terrorism but the term is used to describe violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians by groups or persons for political or ideological goals. The majority of definitions in use are written or proposed by government agencies who deal with various kinds of violence and terrorism, and that ultimately result in bias to exclude governments from such definitions. Furthermore certain actions are termed as ‘terrorism’ even though it does not not result in violence or casualties, for example, the Terrorism Act 2000 include the disruption of a computer system but no violence is intended or results.

Some definitions legitimate use of violence by civilians against an invader or forces of occupation; but other definitions call all kinds of violent resistance as terrorism. Mosst people define terrorism which involves the use or threat of violence with the aim of creating fear to the intended victims and others in the community. This application of ‘fear’ distinguishes terrorism from both conventional and guerrilla warfare. Terrorism aims to achieve political or other goals, when direct military victory is not possible. This has resulted in some social scientists referring to guerrilla warfare as the "weapon of the weak" and terrorism as the "weapon of the weakest".

The Oxford English Dictionary defines terrorism as "a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorising or condition of being terrorised."

Webster's New International Dictionary defines terrorism as the "act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; specif.: a/ The system of the Reign of Terror. b/ A mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation. c/ Any policy of intimidation. The definition of the term in the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition) begins:

The Council of the European Union adopted a framework on combating terrorism on 13 June 2002 (2002/475/JHA), reads:
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Union,
and in particular Article 29, Article 31(e) and Article 34(2)(b)
Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),
Having regard to the opinion of the European Parliament (2),
(1) ‘The European Union is founded on the universal values of human dignity, liberty, equality and solidarity, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is based on the principle of democracy and the principle of the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States.
(2) Terrorism constitutes one of the most serious violations of those principles. The La Gomera Declaration adopted at the informal Council meeting on 14 October 1995 affirmed that terrorism constitutes a threat to democracy, to the free exercise of human rights and to economic and social development.’

In an interview to Bret Stephens for Wall Street Journal, Asif Zardari, President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has given new definition to the on going militancy in Jammu and Kashmir. The previous incumbent of the President House in Pakistan despite his opposition to terrorism and his participation in war against terrorism would only went as far as calling people fighting against India as ‘militants’. Asif Zaedari has made a big leap and has called them ‘terrorists.’ Apart from that he has called APHC leaders, who were hailed as freedom fighters, beacons of the Kashmiri struggle and as ‘heroes’ by previous government officials, ‘terrorists’ as well. This is a big change.

Apart from the few, non of these leaders have actually taken part in any form of militancy, and perhaps he has called them ‘terrorists’ because they either don’t denounce militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, or one way or the other are supporting it or have supported it in the past. It is normal practise of Pakistani politicians that when they are in hot water due to something they have said they generally say they were ‘mis quoted’; and it is quite possible that Asif Zaedari might do the same.

Also he has very boldly claimed that "India has never been a threat to Pakistan". This view has been recently expressed by some Pakistani writers that it is always Pakistan who has picked up fights with India resulting in catastrophic wars and defeats for Pakistan, even its dismemberment in 1971. Asif Zardari’s statement is perceived as an indirect support for this claim.

Proxy war - a war instigated by a major power that does not itself participate. It is a war that results when two powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly.

In its fight against terrorism the USA has declared its emphasis on a policy which stands on two pillars: first, “promoting freedom, justice, and human dignity—working to end tyranny, to promote effective democracies, and to extend prosperity through free and fair trade.” The second is “confronting the challenges of our time by leading a growing community of democracies,”
The USA's Department of Defence issued a directive in 1996 and provided a new definition of terrorism in order to bring under its ambit acts directed against civilians as well as security forces:" Unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property, with the intention of coercing or intimidating governments or societies, often for political or ideological purposes."
International (or Transnational ) Terrorism. Terrorism has become a ‘ trade ’ for some and it is no longer confined to boundaries of any one country. Terrorists have complex international network and terrorism transcends national boundaries. Its planning can take in one country and its execution could be in other countries thousands of miles away. This kind of terrorism attracts wider publicity and help terrorists to promote their demands and cause.

In order to combat this kind of terrorism a sincere and concerted international effort is required. Terrorism experts define the following kinds of terrorism:
Non-State Supported Terrorism. Terrorist groups which are highly organised with their own finance and logistics; and good command and control system. They, by and large, operate autonomously without receiving any significant support from any Government.
State-Directed Terrorism. This class of terrorist groups operate as agents of a Government, act as a proxy to a government to advance interest or cause of that government or a cause which is mutually beneficial. They receive substantial intelligence, logistical, and operational support from the sponsoring Government.
State-Supported Terrorism. This class of terrorist groups have somewhat independent existence with their own resources and their own agenda; but at times they receive help, support and guidance from one or more Governments.
It is widely believed that ‘terrorist organizations do not exist in a vacuum’ - they heavily rely on states who provide them all the necessary support, and in fight against terrorism it is imperative that these states could be pressurised to stop their support for terrorists.

Fight against terrorists is not easy, because it is not possible to win or defeat those fanatics who are willing to die for their cause, whether that cause is justified or not. Phenomenon of Suicide bombers is not new, as they have been around in many cultures and religions for ages. It is believed that these fanatics burning with revenge or ideological fervour could not be influenced through reasoning or incentives.
Indian claim is that Pakistan launched the proxy war in the name of "Operation Topac". The entire scheme was formulated by former military dictator of Pakistan, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq. According to well-known journalist and author, Altaf Gowhar, Pakistan's proxy war is amended version of "Operation Gibralter" and is based on the suggestions of Chou-En-Lai and has been named as "Operation Topac". The "Operation Topac" type prolonged campaign used to be carried out during the hey-day of imperialism. The Soviet Union too had adopted a similar plan.
The Indian officials claim that the Operation Topac had four main aims:
1. Giving training to Kashmiri youths in the handling of sophisticated weapons.
2. To destabilize and discourage the state administration.
3. To make the Kashmir Valley a Hinduless Muslim area.
4. To prepare Kashmiri Muslims for "Jehad".
This strategy aimed to ensure that:

· A large number of Indian forces (more than half million) are kept bogged down in Kashmir;
· It will result in fatigue, resentment, causalities among civilians and men in uniform;
· In other words ‘keep India bleeding’, economically and militarily;
· It also ensures that the Indian forces will take causalities and in frustration react to kill and torture militants, suspected militants and their supporters;
· It will surely result in human rights violations which will result in more alienation and anger against India;
· It will keep fanatics engaged in Jammu and Kashmir, and probably get them killed, hence keep them away from cities and towns of Pakistani and Pakistani Administer Kashmir;
· It will provide Pakistan and Kashmiris with a propaganda stick to beat India at national and international level.
· It will motivate other extremists both Hindu and Muslims to organise in groups and clash with each other, creating further tension and chaos.
And this tension, frustration and alienation of Muslims in India will help to create divisions inside the Indian society; hence provide justification for the Two Nations Theory and Partition of India in 1947. I am sure one can add more things to this list.
Many critics believe that with the above objectives Pakistan wanted to promote national interest; certainly this is how government India view these objectives. By and large majority of Kashmiris at the beginning believed that they were fighting to liberate their country; and many still think that they are fighting war of liberation. And they think their target should be India and not Pakistan, even though they acknowledge that Pakistan is also controlling or occupying some parts of the State. This includes pro Pakistan Kashmiris and some so called nationalists who speak of an independent Kashmir but their policies are designed to promote Pakistani national interest.
Because of the topic and the explanation it required the preface has already become too long; but I cannot end this without expressing my deep gratitude to most respected Baroness Emma Nicholson, who has honoured me by writing an introduction to this book.

Baroness Emma Nicholson has championed cause of democracy, fundamental rights for all and rule of law; and has done a great service to people of State of Jammu and Kashmir by authoring highly valuable and comprehensive report, ‘Kashmir: present situation and future prospects’, which was adopted by the European Parliament in May 2007.

In the report Baroness Emma Nicholson made an important distinction between right of self determination and right of accession. What Pakistani governments have been promoting over the past decades was not a right of self determination but a right of accession, giving people of Jammu and Kashmir a choice to accede to either India or Pakistan

Baroness Emma Nicholson has kindly commended my efforts to advance the cause of Kashmir in the following words: ‘Dr Choudry has worked tirelessly for nearly thirty years promoting peace, stability, human rights and democracy in the region. He has become a leading authority on the Kashmiri struggle’…

To get this compliment from a person of her stature is like receiving a medal in recognition of my work on Kashmir; and I am grateful to her for kindness.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The coming of a new war

The coming of a new war
Dr Shabir Choudhry 4 December 2008

The man was furious and had difficulty in controlling his emotions. ‘We will teach lesson to Pakistan. We cannot take this anymore. As long as Pakistan and ISI are there we cannot live in peace’, he said. The man said he was a journalist and phoned me from India to get my views on terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

After a few minutes it turned out to be not an interview but heated exchange of views. At no time I defended Pakistan, there was no need to, but as a person with inquisitive mind and rational approach I raised some doubts about India’s allegations and asked some questions which upset him. ‘You are all same’, he shouted, ‘All of you are promoting a Pakistani agenda from different platforms.’

I laughed at this allegation, and told him that many Pakistanis claim that I am advancing an Indian agenda. ‘You are laughing because you have not lost anyone in this attack’, he interrupted me. ‘I have lost my brother – in - law in these attacks and my sister has to live a life of a widow for rest of her life. She is only thirty years old. Her three children will be without a father. You don’t understand feelings of those who are victims of terrorists who came from Pakistan.’

I tried to explain that I also condemn this inhuman act; and that my heart bleeds for the victims of this tragedy, but he was too emotional and his thought process was also irrational. ‘We will destroy training camps in Pakistan and Pakistani Occupied Kashmir. We cannot let our territory to be used against us – we will take over POK and teach Pakistan a lesson like we did in 1971…..’

I interrupted him and said to him that, ‘Pakistan is not a piece of cake that you will come and eat; Pakistan is a state with nuclear weapons and issues have to be resolved by dialogue and not by a threat of force. And as far as Pakistani Administered Kashmir is concerned it is not part of Pakistan and it is not part of India….’

‘The entire Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India’, he interrupted me. ‘The Maharaja acceded to India, but Pakistan occupied this area where training camps are set up for terrorism against India and we cannot allow that. No matter the price we will take back our land.’ Perhaps he was referring to reports of some Indian papers which claimed that terrorists were trained in the Mangla Dam in Mirpur and in militants camps situated in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir.

It was pointless to continue this conversation as he was emotional and abusive, and issue of interview was out of window, so I put the phone down; but it helped me to understand strength of feelings of the Indian people and dilemma and pressures on the Indian government.

Like him tens of millions of Indians are extremely angry and highly charged. They are angry that once again their country was under attack in which their fellow country men were mercilessly killed. They want their government to take tough action, but they don’t understand implications of this course of action. I have followed very closely these attacks and subsequent action and reaction of both countries and their people; and also reaction of the international community.

Government of India is under attack for thinking too much and for taking too long to decide its future course of action; and government of Pakistan is under fire for not thinking and taking hasty actions without consultations and without considering likely reaction from the people and different power bases in the country. The government of India is accused of being helpless, toothless and spineless, even though the Indian Prime Minister said:
‘‘We will go after these individuals and organisations and make sure that every perpetrator, organiser and supporter of terror, whatever his affiliation or religion may be, pays a heavy price for these cowardly and horrific acts against our people."
As a result of these attacks one kind of war has already started – it is a war of media which is busy on both sides of the border to score points against each other, rather than looking at this tragedy objectively and cooling down the emotions. But in view of the people, greatly influenced by the hostile media that it is not enough and that government should tell Pakistan – ‘enough is enough’, and that we will strike back with vengeance.

Crises management has already begun, but my fear is that if this media war in not brought under control then fanatics in media and in politics could lead the both countries to a direct military confrontation with disastrous results.

It is almost established that terrorists were Pakistanis, and also acknowledged by Pakistani officials as non state actors. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said. “The militants who attacked Mumbai came from Pakistan and were coordinated from Pakistan”. He demanded that “the terrorists and organisations who perpetrated these attacks are arrested and brought to justice. What action will be taken by the government will depend on the response we have from the Pakistan authorities”.

This means military strikes are not ruled out. Apart from that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after meeting his counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee said: ‘Pakistan needs to act with resolve and urgency and cooperate fully and transparently’. She further said it is important to ‘go to the source and to know what happened, to follow every lead, wherever it may lead, and to bring those to justice who did this.’

This means United States wants full and urgent cooperation from Pakistan. What kind of cooperation is expected from Pakistan; and is Pakistan in a position to provide that cooperation? If it is established that it was ‘non state actors’ like Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish e Mohammed which are banned in Pakistan, but not crushed by the authorities and their leaders are free to do whatever they wish. Then question arises, is present government of Pakistan in a position to land its hand on those militant organisations which were very close to ISI (and may still have working relationship with them), and military establishment?

If we look at some of recent decisions of the government in Pakistan it clearly shows that it is in office but lacks authority. It takes a decision of great importance before Prime Minister’s visit to the USA, and hastily retreats. It takes another important decision after the Mumbai attacks; and again retreats in haste. Decisions of that magnitude should be taken with consultation, especially by taking cabinet and the army in confidence. On both occasions they were ignored and the government faced embarrassment, exposing its weakness and telling the world that real power base is somewhere else. It doesn’t seem to have power, wisdom, experience, coordination and sense of direction.

One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to visualise what kind of support and cooperation this government is capable of providing. India has provided a list of about twenty people to Pakistan and demanded that Pakistan should hand over these people to India as these persons ‘are fugitive of Indian law’.

This is the same list which was provided before and government of the time, which was better placed than the present one, refused to take any action. If the present government finds it difficult to take the required action then could this be construed as non cooperation. If that is the case what could be the Indian government’s response, a government which is under pressure from public and whose image has been tarnished very badly.

Opposition and people are not endowed with the responsibility to rule and protect life, liberty and property of the people. This right is vested with the government of the day; and when people are killed, their property is destroyed in terrorist attacks and the government feels unable to take any action then people are bound to get angry and ask for action. When that action is not forthcoming because of many implications which people and opposition are not fully aware of, then people vote that government out of office; and general elections in India are around the corner. The government of India has to think of all that before it plans its future action.

The Pakistani government has problems of its own. It is deep in financial crises. It has a weak coalition government. It has insurgency going on in Balochistan, North West Frontier and FATA. It has serious problems with Afghanistan and the American strategy of bombing Pakistani territory in search of some terrorists. So they need an issue which can unite people behind the government and the Mumbai attacks and subsequent ‘media war’ has done that. All Parties Conference held in Islamabad has also provided unconditional support to the government that it can take bold decisions against any Indian adventurism.

Some Pakistani leaders very irresponsibly said, ‘We have nukes and we will ensure that we annihilate India, there is no grass left in India, no birds left there and no bells ringing in temples’. Some zealots have issued a map of South Asia showing large parts of India in green colour with the name of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. These people are not friends of Pakistan or India.

America is bombing Pakistani territory not because its territory is under attack, but because they think militants from here are helping the Talibans, which ultimately have impact on its war strategy in Afghanistan. India on the other hand is directly hit by militants, who they believe came from Pakistan and were trained and coordinated from there as well.

Does that mean India can also follow the American strategy and take some military action in ‘self defence’, especially in areas of Azad Kashmir where they claim terrorist training camps are situated? India claims that these areas belong to India and are illegally occupied by Pakistan; and these areas are used for training and launching attacks in India and Jammu and Kashmir.

Some tacticians suggest that India should carry out surgical strikes at the training camps in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan. It should destroy these camps, give clear message to Pakistani authorities that India will not tolerate any more terrorism; and it will also help to cool tempers in India and win elections.

But is this strategy safe? Answer is no. Pakistanis can take more beating from the Americans but will not take anything like this from India which is conceived as arch enemy. That means some kind of retaliation. What retaliation it would be and what it might lead to is horrible even to visualise.

Some Indian writers point out that we must be prepared for all eventualities. They say if Pakistan is not prepared to be a good neighbour then this is the best time to teach a bitter lesson, as Pakistan is faced with serious economic problems and militancy in Balochistan, North West Frontier and FATA. Above all Afghan army, NATO and the American forces are also applying pressure from that side, which means Pakistan army, smaller in number to India, in any case, will be fighting on more than one war.

Thinking is that during this war Afghans can settle their score with Pakistan in FATA and North West Frontier, and possibly take over; and India can take over Kashmiri areas of State of Jammu and Kashmir. These thinkers forget that Pakistan has a large army and in possession of highly sophisticated weapons including nuclear weapons; and will they sit aside and let that happen. As a last resort, or whenever they choose, they can use nuclear weapons; and do people realise consequences of a nuclear war.

I agree with those Indian writers who say Pakistan is in economic mess and India is emerging as economic giant; and terrorists wanted to hurt economic strength of India by striking at the heart of Mumbai. Unlike the previous attacks these attacks were planned to frighten the people with money, especially foreigners that they don’t come here to invest and spend.

The planners of these attacks had many objectives, and by and large, they have been successful. If both countries go to war as a result of these attacks it will be icing on the cake for them. Therefore I urge people in power to exercise restraint, and make a new start by setting up some kind of mechanism to fight monster of terrorism. If however a military clash has to take place, I think it could take place by February and March of 2009 with disastrous consequences.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

Email: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.co
To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com

Monday, 1 December 2008

Terrorism and ‘war on terrorism’

Terrorism and ‘war on terrorism’
Dr Shabir Choudhry 01 December 2008

Terrorist action in Mumbai has once again shaken the world. World public opinion is united in the demand that menace of terrorism must be defeated; and those behind terrorist organisations must be punished. However opinion is divided as to what is the best method to eliminate or at least contain terrorism.

No matter how absurd they are conspiracy theorists are busy churning out many possible culprits. Pakistani groups and officials are busy trying to find contradictions in the Indian news stories about the whole tragedy and trying to prove that it was done by the Hindu extremists. Some of these theorists even claim that the government of India could have hand in it as they wanted an excuse to ‘attack Pakistan’ and also ‘influence forthcoming elections in India’

Other Pakistani conspiracy theorists say that CIA or Mossad could be behind this, as they want to twist hands of Pakistan to get more concessions on the war on terrorism. Although there is no conclusive evidence as yet to prove who was behind this heinous crime, but on the bases of available indications the international public opinion believes it was Lashkar E Tayba; and noose is getting tighter; but it remains to be seen around whose neck it would be tightened – LeT or government of Pakistan by creating a link between LeT and the ISI - Pakistan’s elite secret agency.

Like Taliban, Lashkar E Tayba (army of the pure) was also set up by the Pakistani secret agency, ISI. Whereas the Taliban were assigned the task of toppling the Afghan government and create a friendly government in Kabul that Pakistan could have ‘strategic depth’ in case of a war with its arch rival India; the LeT was assigned tasks in Jammu and Kashmir and India to fight as a ‘proxy war’ ‘in the contested territory of Kashmir, part of a decades-old strategy by the militarily weaker Pakistan to 'bleed' its bigger rival’.

Apart from LeT another militant group - Jaish-e-Mohammed was also set up to carry out militant actions in Jammu and Kashmir; and both are very oganised and well financed. The JeM is accused of being responsible for many brutal attacks, including the murder of Jewish American journalist Daniel Pearl. It is believed that both of these groups have close working relationship with Taliban and Alaqaaeda. Both groups believe that it is their religious duty to fight in Afghanistan and in Jammu and Kashmir; and to continue their struggle against enemies of Islam whereever they might be.

This terrorist action has not only caused death and destruction but has also provided an opportunity to extremists on both sides of the border to fan coomunalism and hatred which could throw spanner in the peace process and confidence building measures. This strategy of extremists must be checked as it could result in more violence in both countries; and could possibly drive the both countries to a war. A war which none of them want and in which tens of thousands of innocent lives could perish; and moreover which could possibly change politics and geography of the region.

The relationship between the ISI and these terrorist grroups came under tremendous strain becaue of the tragic events of 9/11, and Pakistan’s involvement in the war on terrorism. These groups were also accused of carrying out high target attacks in India and pressure was that they should be disbanded. Pakistani government for obvious reasons was reluctant to rein in on these groups but when there were attacks on General Musharaf, the government had no choice but to take some action against them.

These groups were seen as great strategic and military asset, as they helped to advance the cause of Pakistani secret agencies, which was not necessarily in the national interest of Pakistan and stability of Pakistan. True these groups were set up, trained and financed by Pakistani agencies; but with time they developed their own ideology, separate agenda, separate recruiting and training starategies with their own command and control system.
When Paksitan joined war on terrorism they developed closer ties with Taliban and Alqaeeda; and when they came under pressure from the Pakistani authorities their relationship with them strengthened. It is also believed that some disgruntled operatives of ISI, who disagreed with policies of Musharaf government collaborated with these groups.

Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist of The Times is of the view that ISI had longstanding links with JeM and LeT, but these links were cut back after pressure from Washington. However ‘Pakistan never really cracked down and put either group out of business as it could have… ‘The Pakistani security forces have always tended to see militants as tools to be used in India or Afghanistan, rather than as threats to stability’.

As a result of some pressure from Pakistani government these groups lowered their profile, but they were not out of ‘business’ and it is possible that they could have been activated to carry out this task. However it is unimaginable that the government of Pakistan which is facing very serious challenges, including acute economic and security challenges could even think of doing anything like that, especially when they have declared to establish more friendly relations with India.

Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, a leader of Pakistani Peoples Party in current affairs TV programme ‘Aaj Kal’ openly said, ‘those forces are behind this act who were responsible for sabotaging the peace process by doing Kargil in 1999, and who wanted to undermine Nawaz Sharif government’. He said now that the ‘Zardari government wanted to strengthen the peace process by forging closer ties and signing deals with India those forces have done it again’.

Whether guilty or innocent the government of Pakistan has to face the consequences of this attack. War mongers and hate preachers have their own agenda which is not in the interest of ordinary people, and which is also not in interest of both countries. It is therefore imperative that common sense prevails and power and influence of those who say India is ‘under attack’; and that nation is ‘at war’ is contained.

American experience in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Pakistani experience in FATA and in parts of North West Frontier shows that terrorism could not be eliminated by use of force alone, because violence breeds more violence and this cycle of violence has snow ball affect. India and Pakistan cannot change their geography – they both have to live in the same region and it is in the interest of both that they live as good neighbours. They should avoid falling in to trap of these terrorists and continue with their peace process and confidence building measures.

Among much hype and rhetoric one sane voice emerged in Times of India. Gautam Adhikari in his article ‘Save Pakistan To Save Us All’ argues that people of Pakistan are not problem, the problem is economic instability and Islamic extremism, which ISI and the army use to advance their plans. He says Pakistan needs to be helped and supported that there could be economically stable and viable Pakistan.

He further says: ‘Stabilising Pakistan which means genuinely democratising its polity and helping its economy grow back to a sustainable level of prosperity in the medium term will help ensure a viable future for the nation and its people, thereby beating the menace of Islamist extremism that provides ideological energy for jihadi terror’.
In his opinion weak and unstable Pakistan is dangerous to every one; after all it is a nuclear country with a large army and weak political institutions. Economic and political instability will empower forces of extremism and hatred, giving further rise to terrorism, hence destabilising the whole region.

It is in the interest of Pakistan’s neighbours and the world at large that there is democratic, stable and friendly Pakistan; rather than unstable, extremist and unfriendly Pakistan. Use of force against Pakistan or leaving it alone to put up with challenges of terrorism, extremism and economy will not help the matters, if anything it will help the extremists to takeover the politcial and national agenda.

True both countries have many unresolved issues, which could only be resolved by a process of dialogue. Both countries were in competition in Jammu and Kashmir and in many other fields; and now new dimension has been added and a new frontier has been included – and that is to increase their influence in a war torn Afghanistan, which further complicates the matters.

If common sense prevails and both countries are not influenced by domestic pressures and immediate political gains, then they can avoid further escalation; and work out a mechanism to jointly fight forces of extremism and terrorism. If on the other hand they give in to pressures then some kind of show down could take place early next year – probably February and March of next year with devastating consequences.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com

Terrorists call shots again

Terrorists call shots again
Dr Shabir Choudhry 27 Nov. 08

Mumbai is under attack once again. The terror attack is so devastating that it is called India’s 9/11. The attack shows very careful planning and military style execution with sophisticated weapons and grenades. They chose many targets in centre of Mumbai and aim was to cause maximum damage to people, property and paralyse nerve centre of India’s economy.

The fight to flush out these terrorists is still going on. It is believed that more than hundred people have lost their lives and more than two hundred are injured, among them some Western citizens. It is too early to say who is behind this shameful act, but a claim in name of hitherto unknown Daccan Mujahideens has been made. But later on they were called as Indian Mujahideen.

Some even suggest that Somali pirates could be responsible for this. A top Indian naval official has said that he ‘would not rule out the role of Somali pirates in the terror strikes in Mumbai in view of the recent action by the (Indian) Navy against the sea bandits in the Gulf of Aden’. When asked whether there can be any connection between the pirates and the attacks in Mumbai, Vice Admiral Sunil K Damle, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, said ‘such a thing cannot be ruled out’.

Some people are clearly saying that there was outside hand in this incident. One commentator said, ‘These Islamic terrorist crossed all barriers of being human… These senseless Islamic terrorist have only succeeded in butchering their own youth and offering local governments a handle a reign of terror against our innocent Indian Muslim and Hindu populations’.

Some others, especially Pakistani experts point finger of blame on India’s home grown right wing extremists of BJP, RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh), Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). In opinion of these people ‘Hindu terrorists’ have committed this crime that Muslim extremists (organisations like SIMI) are blamed for it resulting in crackdown on Muslims in India, as was done after 9/11 in the USA and elsewhere.

In order to support their contention they give example of recently discovered Hindutva extremist network of Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, her accomplices Shyam Banwarilal Sahu, Shivnarayan Singh Kalsangar, Sameer Kulkarni and Ramesh Upadhyay. It is claimed that these Hindutva militants are linked to some bomb blasts for which Muslim extremists were initially blamed. On this issue, Andrew Buncombe wrote on 23 November 2008 that for bomb blasts police usually blame:

‘Muslim extremists’, and link them to militant groups based in either in Pakistan or Bangladesh. As a result, the recent cracking of the alleged Hindu cell has forced India to face some difficult issues. A country that prides itself on purported religious and cultural toleration – an ambition that in reality often falls short – has been made to ask itself how this cell could operate for so long. India's military, which prides itself on its professionalism, has been forced to order an embarrassing inquiry’.

Some are even linking it with the problems if Jammu and Kashmir, as some unconfirmed reports have suggested that the terrorists have condemned Indian actions in Jammu and Kashmir and spoke in Urdu. But Urdu is spoken by many other people who could be behind this terrorism, and this rumour is spread to ‘defame Kashmiri cause’.

However at this stage it will be difficult to say with certainty who these terrorists are, but surely they have caused havoc in Mumbai causing death, destruction and chaos; and created more difficulties for Muslims in India and elsewhere. In my opinion these terrorists are not friends or well wishers of India or Muslims; and it would not be prudent to suggest any names because of repercussions against Muslims and other groups.

Terrorists selected their targets carefully to cause maximum damage. Among the targets were top class hotels of Mumbai which are favourite spot for tourists Sajjad Karim Member European Parliament who was part of the British delegation was also staying in the Taj Mahal Palace hotel when the terrorists began firing. Sajjad Karim said, "I was in the lobby of the hotel when gunmen came in and people started running. A gunman just stood there spraying bullets around, right next to me. I managed to turn away and I ran into the hotel kitchen and then we were shunted into the

It is believed that these hotels were targeted because of their high status and Western visitors, who could have been potential hostages. Alex Chamberlain, who was there on a business trip, told Sky News that he believed the gunmen were looking for British and American visitors. He said: "They told everybody to stop and put their hands up and asked if there were any British or Americans. My friend said to me, 'Don't be a hero, don't say you are British'."

It is because of this some, analysts think they could have Muslim connection because they wanted to target the British and the Americans; and it could be due to the British and the USA role in the war against terrorism. Some think these extremists dislike Western values and either out of hatred or envy attack these targets.

The British High Commissioner in India Sir Richard Stagg said: "that while India had significant experience of terrorism, it had not suffered attacks of this nature before. Clearly there has been a massive and carefully planned operation which has, to a degree at least, changed the way in which terrorism has been operated in India and it will make everybody here reflect on how best to deal with this scourge,"

Some senior Indian analysts and officials are suggesting that there is a foreign hand in these acts of terrorism, and that they will give appropriate reply. In their view this kind of coordination and sophistication could not be managed by individual groups. But important question is reply to whom? Some suggest that India and Pakistan are forging closer links which include their cooperation to fight terrorism; and that is not to the liking of some militant groups in Pakistan.

Moreover President Zardari’s policy on Kashmir and India is strongly opposed within the state apparatus, especially in certain quarters of elite secret agency. In other words the government is pushing things in one direction and these masters of terrorism are pushing it in the other direction or throwing a spanner. Latest reports suggest that police found a mobile phone believed to be belonging to terrorists, which received phone calls from Pakistan. But the sim card of the phone is not Pakistani, and is probably an American or Euopean, and that information, if true, changes the direction of investigations.

It should now be clear to all concerned - even to those who promoted it in the past - that terrorists have no religion; and that they are enemies of humanity who must be defeated. A coordinated effort must be made to counter and eliminate scourge of terrorism.

However I can visualise more and very serious trouble in the early part of next year, and battleground could be areas adjacent to Afghanistan. This battle will be a turning point in the politics and history of the region with death toll surpassing tens of thousands.

Writer is a Spokesman of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email: drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

To view other articles see my blog: www.drshabirchoudhry.blogspot.com