The mayhem in Mumbai had barely subsided when I received the first e-mail suggesting the terrorist attacks had been carried out by agents of Mossad — Israel’s military intelligence — masquerading as Islamic terrorists to give Muslims a bad name.
A writer from Toronto forwarded a news item claiming, “India’s Internal Security Police are now holding and questioning an identified Israeli Mossad agent, who had been in communication with some of the alleged terrorists in India two weeks before the BLACK OP attacks took place.”
As ridiculous as this may sound, chances are countless Muslims are deluding themselves into believing that it is not their co-religionists who are responsible for the savagery let loose on India, but some hidden hand that is part of a U.S.-Zionist conspiracy against Islam. If at all there was an intelligence agency whose finger prints can be spotted all over the crime scene, it appears to be Islamist rogue elements from the Pakistan ISI, hell-bent on disrupting a marked improvement in India’s relations with neighboring Pakistan.
For two decades, the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has been the de-facto government in Pakistan, toppling regimes, aiding the Taliban, giving cover to al-Qaeda fugitives, and running a business empire worth billions of dollars.
In July, the new democratically elected government in Islamabad led by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani attempted to bring the ISI under civilian control, but under threat of a military coup, had to perform a humiliating about-face within 24 hours.
Then last Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign minister announced the political wing of the ISI, responsible for rigging elections and blackmailing politicians, had been disbanded, saying, “The ISI is a precious national institution and wants to focus on counterterrorism activities.” It seems the foreign minister had spoken too soon. Within hours, BBC reported an unnamed senior security official had contradicted the foreign minister’s statement.
While the tussle between the ISI and ruling Pakistan Peoples Party for control of the country’s intelligence network was going on behind the scenes, the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, threw a bombshell that caught the Pakistan military establishment off guard. Speaking to an Indian TV audience via a TV satellite link this week, President Zardari announced a strategic shift in Pakistan’s nuclear policy. He startled a cheering Indian audience by saying that Pakistan had adopted a “no first strike” nuclear war policy.
This apparently did not go down well within Pakistan’s military establishment that has ruled the country for decades using the “Indian bogey” to starve the nation of much needed development investment to put the huge military machine on a permanent war footing with no war in sight.
Immediately military commentators denounced Mr. Zardari, with one saying that he believed the president was “not fully informed or completely aware of” Pakistan’s policy on the issue.
To further alarm Pakistan’s own military-industrial complex, Mr. Zardari borrowed a quote from his late wife, who once said that there’s a “little bit of India in every Pakistani and a little bit of Pakistan” in every Indian
The founder of one of Pakistan’s most feared armed Islamist groups had accused President Zardari of being too dovish toward India, and criticized him for referring to militants in Indian-held Kashmir as “terrorists.” Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a major militant group fighting in Indian Kashmir, described Mr. Zardari’s comments as “a clear violation and digression from the consistent policy of Pakistan.”
Then Wednesday, the so-called Deccan Mujahideen struck against India with the clear aim of triggering a Hindu backlash against the country’s minority Muslims, with the obvious danger to Pakistan-India relations. Most security commentators agree the Deccan Mujahideen is merely a tag of convenience and behind this well-planned terror attack lies the secret hand of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Only time will tell whether these Islamists succeed or whether the good people of India — Hindus and Muslims — can see through this provocation and embrace the hand of friendship extended by President Zardari.
In the meantime, Muslims around the world will also have to decide whether to enter the 21st century and distance themselves from the doctrine of armed Jihad, or go back to the 12th century and embrace these haters of joy and peace.
Tarek Fatah is the author of Chasing a Mirage:
The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State.
E-mail: [email protected]