Friday, July 31, 2009



On March 7,2008, the Chinese authorities had claimed to have foiled an attempt by three Uighurs to blow up a plane of the China Southern Airlines flying from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province, to Beijing. The persons involved had allegedly managed to smuggle inside the aircraft gasoline concealed inside a can of soft drinks. The plot was foiled by alert security guards on board the plane and two of the suspects were arrested on board the plane. A third was arrested subsequently.

2.The Chairman of China Southern Airlines Liu Chaoyong said that a female passenger came out of the rest room and passed by a flight attendant who detected a suspicious smell. Then she smelt the scent of perfume and gasoline in front of the rest room. The attendant immediately searched the rest room and found an inflammable substance inside the garbage bin of the rest room. The attendant notified the airplane security guard immediately. Based upon how the female passenger spoke and acted, they realized that the male passenger next to her was a companion. The two individuals were arrested. The plane crew then moved the suspicious substance into the special container bin for handling such materials. The plane made an unscheduled stop at the Lanzhou airport. The two suspects were taken away by the police. Liu Chaoyong said that the preliminary analysis was that the two individuals intended to hide the inflammable material and then take action at the appropriate moment. ( Please refer
to )

3. Since then, the Chinese authorities have been greatly concerned over the dangers of an act of aviation terrorism by Uighur jihadis belonging to the pro-Al Qaeda Islamic Movement of Eastern Turkestan (IMET). Apart from conventional acts of hijacking an aircraft, their concerns are focused on acts such as causing an explosion in mid-air with explosive material smuggled into an aircraft and a 9/11 style attack on a ground target with a hijacked aircraft. Possible responses to such scenarios have formed an important part of counter-terrorism exercises
in China.

4. These concerns, which are not only continuing, but have also been aggravated after the violent incidents in Urumqi from July 5 to 8,2009, were reflected in the third joint Sino-Russian counter-terrorism exercise code-named "Peace Mission 2009" held for five days from July 22,2009, in the Sino-Russian border region. The actual exercise was preceded by a strategic preparatory meeting held at Khabarovsk in Russia on July 22. This was followed by the actual exercise held at the Taonan tactical training base of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in northeast China's Jilin Province. It comes under the Shenyang Military Command.

5. Whereas in the previous two exercises held in 2005 and 2007, army units of the two countries played a prominent role, in the latest exercise Air Force units of the two countries played a prominent role The greater prominence given to the role of the Air Force in counter-terrorism resulted in a drastic reduction in the number of military personnel involved in the exercise. This came down from about 10,000 from each side in the previous two exercises to about 1300 from each side in the latest exercise.

6.Russia deployed 22 aircraft ---- including Su-27 fighters, Su-24 and Su-25 attacker aircraft--- and several helicopters in the exercise.. They arrived at a military airport in Qiqihar in the Heilongjiang Province. The PLA deployed more than 40 aircraft including attackers, fighter-bombers, armed helicopters and transporters. Interestingly, the Russians and the Chinese also deployed surface-to-air missile units. The deployment of the SAM units indicated that their operating instructions against aviation terrorism envisaged the shooting down of a hijacked aircraft if there was a danger of a 9/11 type incident.

7. Briefings and comments by Chinese experts to their media, which was allowed to watch the exercise, indicated that their concerns mainly focused on the dangers of an act of aviation terrorism by the Uighurs. Even though the exercise was planned long before the recent Urumqi disturbances, these disturbances found mention in the briefings and comments.

8.In a curtain-raiser despatch of July 20,2009, the Xinhua news agency quoted Major General Wang Haiyun, a former Chinese Military Attache to Russia and an expert in international strategy, as saying as follows: "Russia, a large country with many ethnic groups and complex political situations, is facing similar challenges. To some extent, the July 5 Xinjiang riot pushed forward anti-terrorism cooperation between China and Russia. Russia and China should also cooperate more vigorously to defend themselves and prevent terrorism from spreading from Afghanistan to Central Asia."

9.In an interview to the "China Daily" (July 31,2009) after the conclusion of the exercise, Major General Meng Guoping, who is the Deputy Director of the War Operations Department under the General Staff Department of the PLA, said: ."Rules of engagement for anti-terrorism combat operations are being formulated by the Chinese army to deal with the growing terrorist threat facing the nation. The move would mark the first time since its founding 82 years ago that the 2.3-million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA) would have separate regulations for anti-terrorism operations. The army is drafting an Ordinance for Anti-terrorism Combat Operations based on its experience in
anti-terror missions over the past few years. The army will also publish its first set of combat guidelines on anti-terror operations for the whole armed forces. The guidelines will regulate the anti-terror mission's responsibility, composition, command and logistics support. The PLA has included anti-terror combat training in its elite armed forces divisions since last year and each army division has set up its task force for emergency response."

10.The same paper quoted Song Xiaojun, a leading military expert based in Beijing, as saying as follows: "Extremists, separatists and terrorists have been collaborating to target China and turning more violent, almost to the point of forming an anti-Chinese government rebellion. The "three forces" defined in the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation ) Shanghai Treaty, namely extremism, separatism and terrorism, were said to be behind the deadly riot in the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region on July 5, during which 197 Han people and Uighurs died. China gave legal rights to its army to combat terrorism when it implemented the Emergency Response Law in August 2007."

11. An interesting feature of the just-concluded exercise was the virtual absence of any role for the police and other civilian
counter-terrorism agencies, if China has any. China treats counter-terrorism, even against its own nationals taking to violence amounting to terrorism, as a military and not a police operation. The result is the relative inexperience of the Police in dealing with terrorism-like situations and other law and order disturbances involving the use of violence by protesters. Any such disturbances tend to be looked upon by the Police as terrorism. They easily lose their cool and over-react, using disproportionate force. This is what happened at Urumqi

12. India has already held two joint counter-terrorism exercises with the Chinese armed forces---- the first in Yunnan and the second in Karnataka. The police has a very important role to play in our counter-terrorism operations away from the border. We must take care that our security forces do not get infected with the ruthless Chinese ways of dealing with their own people under the name of counter-terrorism.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

Saturday, July 18, 2009




Indonesian investigators are still in the preliminary stages of investigating the two explosions in the Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels of
Jakarta on July 17, 2009, which caused the death of nine persons----eight in the two hotels and the ninth in a hospital of injuries sustained.

2.How many of those killed are locals and how many foreigners is not yet clear. The only confirmed information so far is that one business
executive from New Zealand was among those killed. According to the Australian authorities, three Australian nationals are missing,
including possibly an employee of the Australian mission in Jakarta.

3. Locally-based officials of other countries have spoken of their nationals being among those injured and not of their nationals being
among those killed or missing. From this, an inference could be that of those killed, not more than four were probably foreigners, the
remaining five being locals.

4. According to the Police, two suicide bombers had carried out the explosions. They have come to this conclusion from the severed heads
of the bombers. It has been reported that a footage of the closed circuit TV in the Marriott showed a man wearing a cap pulling a bag on
wheels into a restaurant where the hotel guests were taking breakfast followed by a flash and smoke. Security camera footage at the
Ritz-Carlton reportedly showed a man carrying a backpack and a suitcase entering the hotel restaurant moments before a bomb exploded.

5. It is not clear whether the dead bodies of the suicide bombers have been included in the tally of nine fatalities. If this is so, the number of
fatal victims will come down to seven.

6. The police have also come to the preliminary conclusion that the terrorists had assembled the two improvised explosive devices in a room
of the Marriott hotel where they recovered subsequently a third unexploded IED and some explosive material. This gives rise to the following questions:

· Why a third IED? Was there a third bomber? If so, why he did not use the IED? What happened to him?
· Did the terrorists hire the room in which they assembled the IED? If so, xerox copies of their identity papers and credit cards must be available in the reception. If no such documents were there in the reception, the terrorists must have used an empty room without hiring it. This would have been possible only if one of the terrorists was a member of the staff of the Marriott hotel or if they had the complicity of a member of the staff, who had allowed them use the room.

7.Preliminary investigations also seem to show that high-grade explosives were probably not used. The lethality of the explosives came from the nails, ball-bearings, nuts and bolts, which had been packed into the IEDs. This technique is being used by many of the terrorist organisations in India and Pakistan too.

8.The Jakarta Police have been quoted as saying that the IEDs "appeared to be identical" to ones previously used in attacks by Jemaah Islamiyah. According to them, the IEDs resembled devices discovered at an Islamic boarding school in Central Java last week during a raid to search for Malaysian-born extremist Noordin Mohammed Top. Noordin is wanted for his suspected role in the previous terrorist strikes in Bali and the 2003 bombing at the Jakarta Marriott, and the 2005 truck-bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta.

9. Noordin had shown in the past two signature modus operandi relating to target selection and bomb-making. He looks for targets, which
provide the possibility of Australian fatalities. He uses projectiles for increasing the lethality of the explosives.

10. Does he have the ability or charisma to induce people to offer themselves for suicide terrorism? To be able to operate undetected thrice
in Jakarta requires some local support and complicity. Who provides them? Does he have any trans-national networking or guidance or both?
What are the sources of his funding? Answers to these question are important to neutralise his group. (18-7-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical
Studies, Chennai.E-mail:

Friday, July 17, 2009




According to Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs, Widodo AS, nine persons were killed and at least 42 injured in two powerful blasts that hit the JW Marriott and the Ritz Carlton hotels in the Mega Kuningan business area in downtown Jakarta early on the morning of July 17,2009.Widodo told reporters that six of the victims were killed at the Marriott hotel, two others at the Ritz-Carlton hotel and one died in hospital. He also said that the 42 injured , including 13 foreigners, were being treated at four hospitals in Jakarta. At least one of those killed has been identified as a business executive from New Zealand.

2. The explosion at the Marriott hotel was reported to have occurred at 7:47 a.m. at the Restaurant Syailendra in the hotel's basement, two minutes before the explosion at the Ritz Carlton. At the Ritz, windows were blown out in a restaurant on the second floor. It appeared that the improvised explosive device (IED) had been placed inside a restaurant in the Ritz too.

3. While there were two explosions---one each in the two hotels--- a third unexploded IED along with some explosive material was
subsequently found by the police in a room of the Marriott Hotel. The IED was deactivated by the police. The Agence France Presse (AFP) has quoted Presidential advisor Djali Yusuf as saying as follows: " The control-centre (for the terrorists) was a room at the JW Marriott, room number 1808, where anti-terror police found explosive materials and an unexploded bomb. The anti-terror police squad has managed to make the bomb inactive."

4. With the Jakarta blasts of July 17, 16 luxury hotels patronised by high-budget tourists, travelling and working businessmen, travelling public servants and local elite, who can afford to eat or stay in such expensive hotels, have been the targets of terrorist attacks since 9/11. Thirteen of these hotels were targeted directly and three others suffered fatalities or other damages as a collateral effect of attacks of which the hotels were not the primary targets.

5.The Marriott hotels in different cities suffered from terrorist attacks in seven incidents--- New York, Jakarta twice, Islamabad thrice and Karachi once. Hotels with link-ups to the Marriott chain were attacked twice--- in Peshawar and in Jakarta on July 17. The Islamabad Marriott and the Peshawar Pearl Continental are run by the same person. The Jakarta Ritz-Carlton has a common employees' pool with the Marriott. An underground passageway connects the two hotels that are located across the road from each other. The Ritz-Carlton group is managed by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company , which is reported to be a subsidiary of Marriott International. The Marriott Hotels have a good reputation for physical security. Despite this, terrorists have managed to strike them repeatedly.

6.Out of the 15 attacks reported after 9/11, in 12 the attacks were mounted from outside either through a suicide bomber or through car bombs. In the two blasts of Jakarta of July 17 and in the Islamabad attack of October 28,2004, the explosions were believed to have been caused by someone inside. In the two blasts of July 17, the IED was suspected to have been assembled inside one of the rooms in the Marriott, which had apparently been rented by the terrorist or terrorists. How did they get the explosive material for the IEDS? Did they manage to smuggle it inside despite tight security or did they fabricate it inside out of commonly available materials bought by them from one of the shops inside? An answer to this question is not available though the Jakarta Police must be knowing from the recovered unexploded IED and the explosive material reportedly found inside a room, how and wherefrom they got the explosive material.

7. Of the 15 attacks after 9/11, two of the attacked hotels were Indian-owned. Ten were owned by Jewish or Western interests or franchised to locals by Western companies.The ownership of the remaining three in Amman is not known.

8. Since luxury hotels patronised by local and foreign social and business elite continue to be among the favourite targets of terrorists, standardised physical security enhancements have to be drawn up. The past enhancements were essentially meant to prevent car bombers and other suicide bombers through tightened access control. How to prevent the fabrication of explosive material and an assembly of an IED inside is a question, which needs urgent attention in the wake of the latest Jakarta blasts.

9.No one has so far claimed responsibility for the Jakarta blasts, but the needle of suspicion points to the Jemaah Islamiyah.

10. Annexed below is a list of attacks on hotels since 9/11. This does not include the attacks on night and tourist spots in Bali in 2002 and 2005 and in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt in 2005.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (red), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )


9/11:The destruction of the two towers of the New York World Centre by Al Qaeda destroyed the New York Marriott World Trade Center Hotel and the 504-room Marriott Financial Center located there. Some senior executives of the hotel chain, who had their offices in the towers, were killed.
May 8, 2002: Twelve persons, nine of them French, and the remaining Pakistanis were killed when an explosion destroyed a bus of the Pakistani Navy outside the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi. Twenty-five others were injured, many of them French. All of them were working in a production facility of the Pakistan Navy near Karachi where the French company producing the Agosta class submarines was assembling a submarine out of parts imported from France and training Pakistani Navy personnel in the assembly and ultimate indigenous production of submarines out of technology bought by Pakistan from the French company. The bus was to transport the French personnel to the work site as it was doing every day. According to the Karachi Police, the explosion appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomber sitting inside a car. Suspicion centred on Pakistani jihadi organizations associated with Al Qaeda.
June 14, 2002:The Marriott Hotel in Karachi suffered minor damages when a suicide car bomb exploded near the US Consulate in the same area. Eleven persons----mostly passers-by---were killed. The hotel was not targeted.
November 28,2002:A car bomb explosion outside the Jewish-owned Paradise Hotel in Mombasa caused a number of fatalities among Israeli tourists.
August 5, 2003: The Marriott Hotel in Jakarta was the direct target of an attack in which 14 people were killed. The pro-Al Qaeda Jemaah Islamiya was suspected.
October 28, 2004:The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad suffered some damage to its lobby, as a bomb went off inside the hotel. Fifteen persons were injured, including an American diplomat.
November 9,2005: The Al Qaeda in Iraq , headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (subsequently killed), reportedly claimed responsibility for blasts directed at three hotels in Amman in which about 60 innocent civilians, the majority of them Jordanian nationals, were killed
January 26, 2007: An alleged suicide bomber and a private security guard, who stopped him for questioning, were killed when the terrorist blew himself up in the parking lot of the Islamabad Marriott hotel.
September 20,2008:sixty persons---including some foreigners--- were reported to have been killed in the Islamabad Marriott Hotel when a truck bomber carrying about one ton of explosive blew the truck up, when he was stopped for questioning at the gate by the security guards. Al Qaeda operating through the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-Shia organization, suspected.
November 26 to 29,2008:Six terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) of Pakistan, divided into two groups of four and two and carrying hand-held weapons, forced their way into the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Oberoi Hotel of Mumbai. They killed 36 persons in the Taj Mahal Hotel and 35 in the Oberoi Hotel before they were finally liquidated by the National Security Guards. Of the 71 persons killed by them in the two hotels, 20 were foreign nationals.
June 9,2009: At least 16 persons, including two foreigners (a Serb and a Filippino), were reported to have been killed and over 60 others injured when a group of three terrorists forced their way into the parking lot of the Pearl Continental Hotel of Peshawar at around 10-30 PM and blew up an explosive-laden truck. Two terrorists with hand-held weapons, who were believed to have been traveling in a car, engaged with the guards at the security barrier near the gate of the hotel in an exchange of fire and enabled the truck bomber drive into the parking lot. It was not known what happened to the two terrorists with hand-held weapons. They were not captured.

Sunday, July 12, 2009






Friday, July 3, 2009




In a press note issued on July 1,2009, the US Department of Treasury gave the personal particulars of four persons--- a Pashtun born in Afghanistan, two Punjabis and a fourth person of
unclear ethnicity originating from Karachi----associated with the Lashkare-Toiba (LET),who were designated by the Department under Executive Order 13224 “as providing direct support to Al Qaeda and the LET and as facilitating terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai.”

2. The four persons so designated by the Treasury Department are:

(a).FAZEEL-A-TUL SHAYKH ABU MOHAMMED AMEEN AL-PESHAWARI born in the Konar Province of Afghanisan and living in Peshawar.
(b).ARIF QASMANI, a Pakistani national from Karachi.
(c).MOHAMMED YAHYA MUJAHID, a Pakistani national from Lahore.
(d).NASIR JAVAID, a Pakistani national from Gujranwala, Punjab, living in Manshera, NWFP.

3.The Treasury Department's notification does not specifically refer to Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al-Peshawari (Ameen al-Peshawari) as an associate or an office-bearer of the LET. However, it says of him as follows: " He was providing assistance, including funding and recruits, to the al Qaida network. He has also provided funding and other resources to the Taliban, including explosive vests and other resources and actively facilitated the activities of anti-Coalition militants operating in Afghanistan by raising money in support of terrorist activities. In addition, he had begun a campaign to support militants in Pakistan. As of 2007, Ameen al-Peshawari was responsible for recruiting fighters and suicide bombers and for the acquisition of funds and equipment for militants in Afghanistan. Ameen al-Peshawari has also provided monetary compensation to families of fighters killed in Afghanistan and has been involved in anti-Coalition militia recruiting activities."

4.All the activities of Abu Mohammed al-Peshawari referred to in the notification relate to Afghanistan. No activities of his in relation to India have been cited.

5. However, Arif Qasmani of Karachi has been specifically named by the notification as involed in the Mumbai suburban train blasts of July,2006, and in the Samjotha Express blast of February, 2007. It says of him as follows: "Arif Qasmani is the chief coordinator for Lashkar-e Tayyiba's (LET) dealings with outside organizations and has provided significant support for LET terrorist operations. Qasmani has worked with LET to facilitate terrorist attacks, including the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India. Qasmani conducted fundraising activities on behalf of LET in 2005 and utilized money that he received
from Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian crime figure and terrorist supporter, to facilitate the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India. Since 2001, Arif Qasmani has also provided financial and other support and services to al Qaida, including facilitating the movement of al Qaida leaders and personnel in and out of Afghanistan, the return of foreign fighters to their respective countries, and the provision of supplies and weapons. In return for Qasmani's support, al Qaida provided Qasmani with operatives to support the July 2006 train bombing in Mumbai, India, and the February 2007 Samjota Express bombing in Panipat, India. In 2005, Qasmani provided Taliban leaders with a safe haven and a means to smuggle personnel, equipment, and weapons into Afghanistan."

6.From the notification, three significant points about Qasmani emerge: First, he received money from Dawood Ibrahim for the July 2006 bombings in Mumbai; second, he provided financial and logistics support to Al Qaeda and its leaders; and third, he provided safehaven to the leaders of the Afghan Taliban.

7. According to the notification, "Mohammed Yahya Mujahid is the head of the LET media department and has served as an LET media spokesman since at least mid-2001. In that capacity, Mujahid has issued statements to the press on behalf of LET on numerous occasions, including after the December 2001 LET attacks on the Indian Parliament, and following the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India. Mujahid's statements on behalf of LET have been reported by international news sources such as BBC News, the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and Asia Times Online. As of late 2007, Mujahid was influential among the LET central leadership."

8.The notification says that "Nasir Javaid is an LET official involved in LET operations and has served as an LET commander in Pakistan. From 2001 to at least 2008, Nasir Javaid was also involved in LET military training. In mid-2001, Javaid assumed command of an LET training center in Pakistan."

9. The notification does not specify whether the evidence against the four designated individuals cited in it was collected by the US intelligence or whether some of it came from India too. Some inputs from India are likely.

10. Earlier on June 29,2009,the Department of Public Information of the UN Security Council had announced as follows: " The Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee approved the addition of three entries to its Consolidated List of individuals and entities subject to the assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 1822 (2008) adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations." The three names added by the UN Committee to its list are those of Abu Mohammad Ameen al-Peshawari, Arif Qasmani and Mohammad Yahya Mujahid. The name of Nasir Javaid does not figure in the list issued by the UN Committee possibly because there is no evidence of his involvement with Al Qada and/or the Afghan Taliban. The evidence against the three persons cited in the notification of the UN Committee is the same as subsequently cited by the US Treasury Department.

11.The UN Committee notification has one additional detail which is not there in the Treasury Department notification ---- namely, all the three persons were in custody as of June,2009. While it does not mention where they were in custody, it must be in Pakistan. It also does not say when they were arrested.

12. However, in a report on the Mumbai terrorist attack of November,2008, carried by "Asia Times Online" on December 2,2008,Syed Saleem Shahzad, its Special Correspondent in Pakistan, had indicated that Arif Qasmani, whom he described as a millionaire businessman of Karachi, was already in detention in Pakistan because of the ISI's anger over the double role allegedly played by him---- namely, assisting the ISI in its operations in India through the LET and at the same time assisting the Pakistani Taliban in its operations against the Pakistan Army.

13. Shahzad reported as follows: "The most important asset of the ISI, the Laskhar-e-Taiba (LET), was split after 9/11. Several of its top-ranking commanders and office bearers joined hands with al-Qaeda militants. A millionaire Karachi-based businessman, Arif Qasmani, who was a major donor for ISI-sponsored LET operations in India, was arrested for playing a double game - he was accused of working with the ISI while also sending money to Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal area for the purchase of arms and ammunition for al-Qaeda militants."

14. Shahzad did not mention when Qasmani was arrested, but from the wording of his article it appeared that he must have been arrested before the 26/11 Mumbai strike. Earlier, the "Dawn" of Karachi had reported on December 29,2005, as follows: "The Sindh High Court asked the federal interior secretary on Wednesday to file, within 10 days, a rejoinder to a petition alleging that a man was being detained by a federal law enforcement agency unlawfully. Petitioner Javeria Arif submitted through Advocate Nihal Hashmi that her husband, Arif Qasmani, was picked up by law enforcement personnel from his KDA Scheme residence on Nov 29 for his suspected links with Al Qaeda and Taliban. No case was registered against him, nor was he produced before a magistrate for remand. The police were informed but was of no help to her. An additional advocate-general informed a division bench, comprising Justices Mushir Alam and Athar Saeed, that the provincial government had nothing to do with the matter but he required more time to make a formal statement on behalf of the police. Adjourning further hearing to Jan 19, the bench expressed its concern that, judging by the number of petitions being filed in this behalf, the incidence of ‘disappearance’ of people was on the increase. It observed that the government agencies were legally obliged to protect the life and liberty of citizens and they should act in accordance with the law."

15. On December 1,2005,Shahzad reported to the Italian news agency AKI ( Adnkronos International) as follows: "Arif Qasmani is a veteran jihadi, having fought against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and been associated with the armed struggle in Indian-held Kashmir. He was picked up by Pakistani security forces last October but released a few days later. Now Qasmani is once again missing. According to his family, he was in Karachi and departed for Lahore two days ago but since he left home his whereabouts are unknown." Around the same time, he reported to "AsiaTimes Online" as follows: "Arif Qasmani was a part of a high-level November 14 meeting in Islamabad held to initiate a process for peace between the Afghan resistance and coalition forces led by the US.”

16. The same day,Amir Mir, the well-known Pakistani journalist, who writes for sections of the Pakistani media and some of whose articles are also carried by sections of the Indian media, reported as follows: "One of the four Pakistanis who reportedly held a clandestine meeting with the visiting American Undersecretary of State for Public Affairs Karen Hughes and other senior US State Department officials at Serena Hotel in Islamabad on November 14, 2005, to broker a deal between the Taliban and the United States is believed to have been kidnapped by the Pakistani intelligence agencies.”

17. He added: “Previously linked with the now defunct Lashkar-e-Toiba, a militant outfit active in the Indian-administered Kashmir, Arif Qasmani is considered close to Javed Ibrahim Paracha, a former member of the National Assembly from Kohat district of the NWFP. Paracha, who is also the chairman of the World Prisoners' Relief Forum, claimed on November 17, 2005, that he was requested by the Americans during their Islamabad meeting to serve as a bridge between Washington, the Taliban and their Arab comrades for the purpose of 'reconciliation'. According to Paracha, Arif Qasmani has been picked up by the Pakistani intelligence agencies without any justification. "Qasmani went missing on Tuesday after he had left Karachi for Lahore by plane which was supposed to take off at 8 in the morning. His wife has informed me that Qasmani has not yet reached Lahore where he was supposed to hold a business meeting. I understand that he has been arrested by the sensitive agencies. He was earlier detained in August 2005. His family members now fear for his life", Paracha said.

18. He further reported: “Paracha, who is also Chairman International Rabita Jehad Council, said those who met the Americans on November 14 and discussed the possibility of negotiating with the Afghan resistance leaders included (besides him) Arif Qasmani, Khalid Khawaja and Shah Abdul Aziz of MMA from Karak district in NWFP. "There is every possibility that Qasmani has been detained for nvestigations in connection with the November 14 meeting", Paracha added. Khalid Khawaja, a former officer with the (ISI) Inter Services Intelligence said, "I have just met Arif Qasmani's wife in Karachi. She is much disturbed. She is shocked and believes that Qasmani has been kidnapped by the agencies who had previously detained him in August this year".Khawaja said the family of the kidnapped businessman is seriously considering approaching the court of law for his recovery. "I appeal to the government to inform his family members about his exact whereabouts. The government should ensure that Qasmani is recovered as early as possible", he added."

19. Thus, during his career, Arif Qasmani had helped the LET, the ISI, the TTP and the US State Department. He had helped the LET in its operations in India. He had helped the ISI by acting as its cut-out with the LET in order to maintain the deniability of the ISI's use of the LET against India. He had helped the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in its operations against the Pakistan Army and the ISI and he had helped the US State Department by acting as an intermediary between it and the so-called good Taliban. He was also acting as the cut-out of Dawood Ibrahim for funding terrorist attacks in India and of Al Qaeda for using Pakistani jihadi cells in India for its operations. He was also associated with Khalid Khawaja, a retired officer of the Pakistan Air Force who had served in the ISI. Khawaja's name first cropped up during the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the journalist of the "Wall Street Journal", at Karachi in
January-February, 2002. Information regarding his alleged role in the Pearl's case had alleged that it was he who had told the kidnappers that Pearl was Jewish.

20. It is surprising that a man with such a controversial background should be moving in and out of informal custody in Pakistan since August 2005 and at the same time assisting the LET, Al Qaeda and the Taliban in their terrorist strikes, including the Mumbai attack of July,2006, and the blast of February,2007, in the Samjotha Express without ever being prosecuted under Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Act.

21. The State Department had known about him at least since 2005, if not earlier. Has the US Government now decided belatedly to act against him because he failed to deliver on the question of a peace deal with the so-called good Taliban? ( 4-7-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )



Shaykh Aminullah
Sheik Aminullah
Shaykh Ameen
Abu Mohammad Aminullah Peshawari
Shaykh Aminullah al-Peshawari
Abu Mohammad Amin Bishawri
Abu Mohammad Shaykh Aminullah al Bishauri
Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen al-Peshawari
Circa 1967
Alt. DOB:
Circa 1961
Alt. DOB:
Circa 1973
Konar Province, Afghanistan
Ganj District, Peshawar, Pakistan

Muhammad Arif Qasmani
Muhammad 'Arif Qasmani
Mohammad Arif Qasmani
Qasmani Baba
Arif Umer
Memon Baba
Baba Ji
Circa 1944
House Number 136, KDA Scheme No. 1,
Tipu Sultan Road, Karachi, Pakistan

Mohammad Yahya Aziz
Yahya Mujahid
March 12, 1961
Lahore, Punjab Province, Pakistan
National ID Card No.: Pakistan, 35404-1577309-9

Naser Javed
Nasir Javed
Nasser Javid
Abu Ishmael
Haji Nasir Javed
Nasar Javed
Qari Naser Javed
Circa 1956
Alt. DOB:
Circa 1958
Alt. DOB:
Circa 1965
Gujranwala, Punjab province, Pakistan
Mansehra district, Northwest Frontier
Province, Pakistan



Why the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is now targeting scientists and engineers working in Pakistan's strategic weaponry establishments such as the Army-run Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) at Taxila and the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL), which is responsible for the development of Pakistan's military nuclear and missile capabilities. Both these establishments have come up with substantial Chinese assistance---the HMC since 1979 and the KRL since the 1980s.

2. This question should be of great concern to the Pakistani authorities following a reported attack by a single suicide bomber riding on a motor-bike on a bus in which scientists, engineers and others working in a Pakistani strategic establishment were traveling on the evening of July 2 on the Rawalpindi-Peshawar road. Initial reports had said that at least six persons were killed and 36 others injured when the suicide bomber rammed his motor-cycle fitted with an explosive device against the bus. The Pakistani authorities subsequently claimed that the suicide bomber was the only fatality.

3. The are conflicting versions of the establishment in which the persons traveling in the bus were working. While the "Dawn" of Karachi and the "Daily Times" of Lahore described them as the staff of the KRL, the "News" has described them as the staff of the HMC. Amir Mir, the well-known Pakistani correspondent, has described them as the staff of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). One thing seems to be certain--- those traveling in the bus were working either in the HMC or in the KRC or both. If they really belonged to the ISI as reported by Amir Mir and were not scientists and engineers as reported by other sources, the possibility is that they were part of the physical security set-up at these establishments.

4.Even though no claim of responsibility has so far been made by the TTP or any of the organisations associated with it, the needle of suspicion points to the TTP which had in the past similarly targeted buses carrying the staff of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the Islamabad/Rawalpindi area and Air Force officers in the Sargodha area. The HMC manufactures, inter alia, tanks and armoured personnel carriers with Chinese assistance.

5. Since the commando raid of the Pakistan Army into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007, there has been a wave of suicide attacks in the non-tribal areas on the Pakistan Army, the Special Services Group, which led the commando raid, the Air Force, the Navy, the ISI, the Federal Investigation Agency and the Police, but there has not been any attack on scientists and engineers working in the military-industrial-nuclear-missile complex. They are amongst the most popular of Pakistan's security bureaucracy. Pakistani society venerates them for giving Pakistan a nuclear and missile capability and for strengthening its capability for the production of arms and ammunition. Attacking them runs the risk of antagonising the Pakistani society----- including the mainstream fundamentalist parties which lionise these scientists and engineers.

6.If it turns out that those traveling by the bus were scientists and engineers and not ISI personnel as claimed by Amir Mir and if it further turns out that it was the Pakistani Taliban which carried out the attack, why did it take the risk? The only possible answer is that the Taliban had calculated that the only way of exercising pressure on the military to slow down, if not halt, its military operations against the Taliban is by threatening to target strategic establishments such as the HMC and the KRC. The Armed Forces and the Police have so far taken in their stride the increasing suicide attacks on their personnel and establishments. Will they treat with equal equanimity attacks on scientists and engineers and strategic weaponry establishments if such attacks are repeated or will they once again make peace with the Taliban to halt such attacks? An answer to this question will depend on the Taliban's capacity to keep such attacks sustained.

7. The attack on the scientists and engineers, if true, coming in the wake of the suicide attack on some Army personnel in
Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir can be interpreted as indicating the Taliban's determination to fight with no holds barred----- even to the extent of damaging the strategic capabilities of Pakistan either in respect of Kashmir or in respect of its nuclear, missile and other military arsenal --- in order to force the army to stop its operations in the Pashtun tribal belt. (3-7-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. (E-mail: )


Text of Amir Mir’s Analysis As carried by sections of the Pakistani media

" The unending spate of lethal suicide bombings across Pakistan has killed 465 people and injured 1121 in 36 attacks carried out by human bombs in the first six months of 2009 - between January 2 and July 2 - literally turning the country into the suicide bombing capital of the world.

“The July 2 attack in Rawalpindi on a bus carrying the staffers of the Inter Services Intelligence was the 36th incident of suicide bombing since the beginning of 2009. Data compiled by the Pakistani authorities show that the human bombs struck 36 times in the first six months of 2009 in various parts of Pakistan and killed at least 90 people a month on average. While the per week average killing for the first 180 days of 2009 comes to 18, the daily average casualty rate due to suicide attacks stood at three persons.

“ Available figures show that the human bombs struck four times in January 2009, killing 21 people and injuring 52. The month of February saw seven suicide hits, killing 118 people and injuring 158. March proved worst for Pakistanis as six human bombs exploded themselves killing 130 people and injuring 147. The deadliest suicide attack of 2009 came on March 27, targeting a mosque on the Peshawar-Torkham Highway in the Jamrud sub-division of the Khyber Agency in FATA during Friday congregation, which killed 85 persons, including over a dozen security forces personnel.

“In five incidents of suicide bombings carried out in April 2009, 103 people were killed and 137 injured. The human bombs killed 63 people in five more attacks conducted in May 2009 and injured 286 others. The worst hit of the month was carried out on May 27, 2009 when 35 people were killed and over 200 injured in Lahore, after a massive bomb attack targeted the provincial headquarters of the ISI. The blast was so powerful that it bulldozed a part of the ISI building killing a serving Colonel of the Pakistan Army besides demolished the nearby Rescue 15 building, which was adjacent to the head office of the Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore.

“However, the month of June 2009 saw the highest number of suicide attacks as eight deadly hits killed 101 people and injured 231 others. The worst hit of the month was carried out on June 9, 2009 when at least 23 persons, including many foreigners working for the United Nations, were killed and many others iinjured as a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden truck into Peshawar’s lone five-star Pearl Continental Hotel, adjoining the residence of the Corps Commander Peshawar.

“In yet another incident of suicide bombing on June 12, 2009, a known religious scholar Dr Sarfraz Naeemi was martyred, along with five others, as a 17-year-old boy blew himself inside the Jamia Naeemia premises in Garhi Shahu area of Lahore, soon after the Friday prayers. On June 26, 2009, in the first ever incident of suicide bombing in Azad Kashmir, three army soldiers were killed and three wounded as the bomber blew himself up after approaching a military vehicle. On June 30, 2009, five people were killed and 11 seriously injured in the first ever incident of suicide bombing in the Kalat area of Balochistan, targeting a hotel.

“In the first suicide attack of July, a human bomb riding a motorbike struck an ISI staff members’ bus in Rawalpindi, killings six people....

“According to the figures compiled by the Ministry of Interior, a total of 2267 people have so far been killed in 158 incidents of suicide attacks between July 2, 2007 and July 2, 2009, in the aftermath of the bloody Operation Silence carried out against the fanatic Lal Masjid clerics in the heart of Islamabad by the security forces exactly two years ago which killed Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi and many others.

“The year 2007 was considered to be the bloodiest year since Pakistan joined the war against the al-Qaeda, Taliban and other militant groups. During the year, a series of deadly suicide attacks and roadside bombings rocked the four provinces of the country as well as the federal capital, Islamabad, claiming the lives of more than 1,100 people. The dangerous trend of suicide strikes, targeting the Pakistani security forces touched alarming heights in 2007, averaging more than one hit a week.

“While Benazir Bhutto’s 27 December 2007 assassination in Rawalpindi was the most high-profile suicide attack of the year 2007, there were total 56 incidents of suicide bombings across Pakistan. Figures compiled by the Ministry of Interior show that Pakistan witnessed a ten-fold increase in the incidents of suicide bombings in 2007 as compared to 2006. The year 2007 witnessed 56 suicide hits, killing 837 people and injuring 1227 others, mostly belonging to the law enforcement agencies. In fact, there had been only 12 such attacks all over Pakistan between 1 January and 3 July 2007, killing 75 people.

“Yet the turning point came with the Operation Silence against the Lal Masjid clerics, killing hundreds. The rest of 44 suicide attacks took place between 4 July and 27 December 2007 after the Lal Masjid action was launched, spreading to Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad etc, killing 567 people, mostly belonging to the Pakistan Army, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the police. The number of suicide attacks rose from 56 in 2007 to 66 in 2008, killing 965 people during that year compared with the 837 people killed by human bombs in 2007. The bombers killed 78 people a month on average in 2008 across Pakistan, compared with the average of 70 killings a month in 2007. But if the brutal trend of suicide strikes recorded across Pakistan in the first six months of the year 2009 is anything to go by (465 people killed in 36 attacks), it may turn out to be the worst year ever for the people of Pakistan."