Somewhere inside Pakistan, an Indian spy has unleashed an inner Rajinikanth no one ever suspected existed — if the Pak Army is to be believed, that is. Over the last 3 weeks, Gen Raheel Sharif and others have blamed the Research & Analysis Wing for everything from killings in Karachi to the insurgency in Balochistan. PRAVEEN SWAMI gives the facts and perspective.
For months now, as Pakistan’s anti-jihadist campaign has escalated, Islamists have accused the army of being apostates, acting at the behest of the US, India and Israel. Propaganda videos circulated by groups like al-Qaeda are suffused with images of killings carried out by the Pak army. In a society radicalised by state-backed Islamism, these allegations carry weight. Hitting out at India is an easy way to get the public together behind nationalism, and the Pak army.
Raheel Sharif is a hawk on India. His brother, Rana Shabbir Sharif, was killed in 1971, and is the only recipient of both the Sitara-e-Jurat and Nishan-e-Haider. Some analysts say Gen Sharif hopes to stake his own claim to greatness.
Old Pak army weapon — Pervez Musharraf whipped up Islamist protests to stave off pressure to act against jihadists; Pervez Kayani claimed Pak had been infiltrated by a US fifth column to undermine Asif Ali Zardari’s government.
THE BACK STORY
RAW’s shadow wars
After Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ordered retaliation against the ISI arming Khalistani terrorists, RAW set up the covert Counter Intelligence Team-X and Counter Intelligence Team-J to target Pakistan and the Khalistanis respectively. Each Khalistani terror attack was met with retaliatory attacks in Lahore, Multan and Karachi through CIT-X. “The role of our covert action capability in putting an end to the ISI’s interference in Punjab by making such interference prohibitively costly is little known,” former RAW officer B Raman wrote in 2002. For reasons that remain unknown, CIT-X and CIT-J were shut down by I K Gujral in 1997. P V Narasimha Rao is believed to have earlier shut RAW’s eastern operations as part of efforts to build bridges with China and Myanmar. There is no evidence that India has been fuelling the recent insurgencies inside Pakistan.
RAW had stellar success in Bangladesh, where it trained covert forces who operated against Pakistani forces long before the war broke out. General Surjit Singh Uban’s Force 22 crippled Pakistani lines of communications. But the stories of the spies and secret warriors have never been acknowledged.