Why Pakistan is unlikely to dismantle its deep state
Thirteen years after the deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, there is little doubt that the attacks were carried out with the active support of the Pakistani army and its Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Even today, the Rawalpindi headquarters (GHQ) continues to support ânon-state actorsâ like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba for attacks on India.
“There is sufficient evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack, it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said during a conclave of the chief ministers in New Delhi on January 9. , 2009, one month after the attack. It is another matter that the then prime minister canceled the options for retaliation against non-state actors suggested by Indian heads of the NSA and Air Force. This fact was sadly highlighted by Congressman Manish Tiwari in an upcoming book.
Today, the sophistication, scale and scope of the 11/26 attacks continue to stun. The attackers hijacked an Indian fishing trawler, launched an inflatable dinghy into it like marine commandos would for a naval raid, split into pairs of buddies, and used GPS equipment to navigate to their targets with the ” military precision “that Prime Minister Singh was talking about, murdering innocent people in cold blood. They carried out multiple assaults on civilian locations that turned into sieges – the Taj Hotel, the Oberoi Towers, and a Jewish center. A planned fourth bloodbath at the iconic CST station collapsed because the attackers got lost. All the terrorists were in contact with their masters until they fired their last bullets. For more than two days, the manipulators guided these agents, motivated them and watched live footage of the attacks, to better direct them against the Indian security forces. A carefully crafted deception plan – another military ploy – was intended to mislead Indian investigators. The terrorists carried fake IDs from a Hyderabad-based college to give the impression that Indians carried out the attack. Despite the evidence, since 2008 Pakistan has resisted global pressure and the “gray list” of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force, an international agency established to fight the financing of terrorism, among other activities) for its funding. continuous terrorists. What New Delhi calls âthe infrastructure of terror,â a metaphor for what the Pakistani deep state is doing, remains intact.
The deep state of Pakistan
While much of India’s anger has been aimed at bringing LeT leaders to justice, the real perpetrators in Pakistan have escaped scrutiny. But what is the Deep State? The concept originated in Turkey in the 1990s – the term is a literal translation from Turkish “Derin Devlet”. French academic Jean-Pierre Filiu explains in his 2015 book From Deep State to Islamic State that it is “a murky cooperation between the secret services of the State, corrupt justice and organized crime [that] seems to “run” the system behind the scenes “. This parallel state calls into question the very legitimacy of the national administration, accused of being too “superficial” to fulfill its missions. This may well be the case in Pakistan where the military has controlled all levers of power since its first coup in 1958 and pursues policies contrary to the elected civilian government.
In his authoritative 2016 book Faith, Unity and Discipline: ISI Pakistan, German researcher Hein G. Kiessling mentions three reasons why the Pakistani army could have attacked Mumbai: Afghanistan, Kashmir and nuclear weapons. President Zardari’s speech on a cooperative relationship with India sounded the alarm in Rawalpindi, which was waging a secret war in Kashmir. India’s interest in Afghanistan challenged GHQ Rawalpindi’s strategic interests in Kabul, and possible cooperation between Pakistan and the United States could have revealed its nuclear weapons secrets. Kiessling calls 26/11 a simultaneous warning to Islamabad (the civilian government), New Delhi and Washington.
There is evidence that Pakistani military officers set up the LeT control room and facilitated VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) communication with terrorists. The 2010 interrogation of David Headley by Indian investigators showed that ISI agents were aware of all of LeT’s activities. Headley, an American citizen who hid his Pakistani origins, extensively explored the targets of 11/26 while living undercover in Mumbai for two years before the attack. Every great LeT leader, including its leader Hafiz Saeed, had an ISI manager who closely monitored their activities. A person Headley believed to be a Navy Frogman, possibly from the Pakistani Navy Special Services Group, went to LeT headquarters in Muzaffarabad and reviewed their plans and briefed them on the time. and the precise place where the terrorists land on the coast of Mumbai.
Three generals were in charge of the ISI as the attacks of 11/26 approached: General AP Kayani between 2004 and 2007 (when the attacks were planned), General Nadeem Taj between 2007 and 2008 (he was moved a months before the attacks) and finally, Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, from 2008 to 2012. Of the three, General Kayani’s role is the most doubtful: he was the first ISI DG to become head of the army, as well as the immediate superior of the two generals Taj and Pasha. (ISI’s secret âDirectorate Sâ deals with non-state actors and is headed by a deputy director general with the rank of major general.)
âAn operation such as the Mumbai attacks, which required expert technical assessment, money and time to prepare, could not have been carried out without the knowledge of the service leadership. Considering the political explosiveness of the event, COAS [chief of army staff] also should have been informed, âwrites Kiessling.
The only real attempt to bring the Pakistani military’s ISI to justice failed in 2012. A lawsuit filed in US court by the families of US victims failed after the US government told the court that “the former directors Generals Pasha and Taj are immune because the plaintiffs ‘allegations relate to acts these defendants allegedly committed in their official capacity as directors of an entity which is unmistakably a fundamental part of the government of Pakistan.’ This is precisely why the ISI maintains non-state actors to carry out operations that it may refuse.
Non-state actors are trained, equipped and provided with a sanctuary. In 1993, for example, ISI co-opted Dawood Ibrahim’s crime syndicate to carry out 13 devastating bombings in Mumbai. Ibrahim, a globally designated terrorist since 2003, remains under the protection of the Pakistani military. In 2006, ISI raised a so-called âIndian Mujahideenâ who bombed suburban trains in Mumbai in 2006, killing over 200 people.
Over the years, the ISI has made its mastery of secret warfare an art. In his 2014 book, The bad enemy, journalist Carlotta Gall describes how the Pakistani military has waged an elaborate deception since 2001 – it was supposed to wage the war on terror against the Taliban and al-Qaeda alongside the United States and its allies, but secretly l ‘ISI continued to provide sanctuary for the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
It first appeared in 2011 when US special forces killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. The world’s most wanted man had been hiding for six years in a three-story house a stone’s throw from the Pakistan Military Academy. Gall, who has reported on Afghanistan and Pakistan for 12 years, writes that the ISI ran a special office to deal with the al Qaeda leader. âIt operated independently, headed by an officer who made his own decisions. He didn’t have to hand things over to a superior. He only treated one person: Bin Laden. What he did was of course totally denied by virtually everyone at ISI.
The Pakistani military has yet to achieve a clear military victory in nearly 75 years of existence. But his ISI can claim to have played a crucial role in two victories in Afghanistan: the humiliating exit from the Soviet Union in 1988 and the withdrawal of American forces in August 2021. Not without a touch of irony, he learned several tricks from the trade in the Ten Year War against the Soviet Union in which the ISI and CIA operated side by side.
Gall’s exhibition saw its denouement this year. On September 4, 2021, barely a fortnight after the astonishing defeat of the Afghan government by the Taliban, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed surfaced in a Kabul hotel, sipping tea smugly. . “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine,” the spy master told reporters in the lobby of the Serena Hotel. The Pakistani military is in the driver’s seat and is not afraid to take credit for its second biggest victory to date.