More Linking Patsystan to "al-Qaeda"

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Somewhere, a fat man just creamed himself... but really--Newsweek-Pakistan? Bwahahaha!


A Story to Kill For?

Journalist Saleem Shahzad’s posthumously released book
has some explosive disclosures.


By Khaled Ahmed | From the July 8‚ 2011‚ issue

Rizwan Tabassum / AFP


Syed Saleem Shahzad was killed days before his book, Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 (Pluto
Press, 2011), hit Pakistan. It is possible that those who killed him
knew about its contents, or simply reacted to his May 27 article for the
Web-only Asia Times Online which claimed penetration of Al Qaeda into
the Pakistan military. Since the book is based on his many years of
reporting on terrorism, his killers might have guessed what was coming
The book is a bombshell. It is based on Shahzad’s
intimate contacts within the network of terrorists aligned with Al
Qaeda and seeks to prove that terror associated with the Taliban is
nothing but Al Qaeda acting through its minions. It makes no bones about
Lashkar-e-Taiba, Pakistan’s “asset” against India, as an offshoot: “In
1988 Abu Abdur Rahman Sareehi, a Saudi and one of [Osama] bin Laden’s
deputies, had founded an organization in the Afghan Kunar Valley to
recruit Pakistanis from the Bajaur Agency … to fight the Soviets.
Sareehi was the brother-in-law of Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, who is now the
commander in chief of [Taiba] and the main suspect for the Mumbai attack
on November 26, 2008.”
Taiba, it goes on, “was born in Kunar Valley … as
a branch of Sareehi’s setup whose foundation was laid by bin Laden.” It
is not just a bold statement without proof. Much else follows,
including a wrinkle in the relationship between Taiba and its patron.
Abu Zubayda, the first Al Qaeda man caught in 2002 and consigned to jail
in the U.S., was in Faisalabad—the city where all Wahabi and
Ahl-e-Hadith parties are headquartered, and which was named after a
Saudi king after he made his seed money for Pakistan’s zakat funds conditional upon assistance to these pro-Saudi elements.
Zubayda was to arrange safe passage out of
Pakistan for bin Laden’s family with the assistance of Taiba’s Hafiz
Saeed, who had been paid for the job. But the job was not done. Zubayda
went to Lahore to see Saeed but to no avail. Incensed, he returned to
Faisalabad. A few days later, Zubayda’s Taiba safe house was raided and
he was arrested.
It was not Taiba which attacked Mumbai in 2008,
but Al Qaeda with the help of Taiba about which Inter-Services
Intelligence did not know—or at least the ISI leadership did not. The
objective was to precipitate a Pakistan-India war that would force
Pakistan to move its troops out of the tribal areas and redeploy them on
the eastern border. After Mumbai, Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah
declared they would fight India together with the Pakistan Army, an
offer that, the book says, was welcomed by ISI chief Gen. Shuja Pasha.
The man who did this was Ilyas Kashmiri,
Pakistan’s Kashmir related “asset,” who was once in Taiba, then in
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami and finally in Al Qaeda as its top local
commander. The man who handled the nitty-gritty was one former Maj.
Haroon Ashiq who had defected to Al Qaeda emulating his brother Capt.
Khurram, who died fighting the Americans in Helmand. Ashiq is now in
Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail after getting caught trying to kidnap an
Ahmadi. Kashmiri also got Ashiq to kill former Maj. Gen. Faisal Alavi in
Islamabad in 2008. (Kashmiri was killed in a drone strike last month.)
Al Qaeda thought kidnapping non-Muslims for
ransom was kosher and had first got Ashiq to kidnap a Hindu from Karachi
with the help of one Maj. Basit. When the Hindu was discovered to have
no cash at home, he was let off on the condition of embracing Islam
which he did. Al Qaeda’s policy of kidnapping Ahmadis continues in
Shahzad used to receive Ashiq at his home in
Karachi, noting that he believed in the Battle of India and thought Imam
Mehdi was already born and would fight at the head of the army of Khurasan (Afghanistan-Pakistan).
He told Shahzad that he had carried into Pakistan night-vision goggles
meant for Al Qaeda on his person and was “facilitated” at Islamabad
airport by one Maj. Farooq, then attached to the security detail of
President Pervez Musharraf.
The myth of Lal Masjid, which caused the lowest
performance ebb of Pakistani media in 2007, has been exposed by another
Pakistani journalist Zahid Hussain in his The Scorpion’s Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan—And How It Threatens America (Free
Press, 2010), but Shahzad has the inside track as usual because he
could walk into the seminary and talk to Maulana Abdul Aziz after the
chief cleric of Islamabad became takfeeri (given to apostatization) under the influence of Al Qaeda’s Sheikh Essa and his book Al-Wala Wal Bara, which justifies the killing of Muslims under a transformed doctrine of jahiliya.
The celebrated Sheikh visited Aziz at Lal Masjid
and personally converted him, after which he started his “direct action”
in Islamabad against “sinful” activities while threatening his patron,
the ISI, with suicide bombers. He did not give up even after his
Deobandi spiritual master former Justice Taqi Usmani flew in from
Karachi and rebuked him, and the then Minister for Religious Affairs,
Ijaz-ul-Haq, abjectly touched his feet.
It was after the assault on Lal Masjid by
Musharraf that Al Qaeda launched its most virulent verbal attack on
Pakistan. It created the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and got its minion
Fazlullah, son-in-law of an already converted Sufi Muhammad, to raise
the flag of revolt in Swat. ISI failed to control its assets. It got
Fazlur Rehman Khalil of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen—an Al Qaeda affiliate—to
talk to Aziz, but to no avail. Shahzad doesn’t mention it but there were
other, less savory assets who also failed: Javed Ibrahim Paracha, who
had blown up Islamabad’s Shia shrine, Barri Imam, also could not
dissuade Aziz. In the end, Lal Masjid had to be attacked as a partial
result of which Musharraf himself had to end his most ambivalent decade
in power.
Some sections of the book are more shocking.
Shahzad reveals that the Haqqani network is a part of the Al Qaeda
empire in Pakistan while posing as an “asset” of the Pakistan Army. If
the Pakistani Taliban are a pain in the neck of their former patron,
they are also firmly ensconced inside the Haqqani network. What the book
ends up presenting is a statement of blurred boundaries between terror
and governance in Pakistan.
Enough to kill a journalist? Perhaps. Shahzad had
once belonged to Jamaat-e-Islami, the religious-jihadist party first to
come in contact with Al Qaeda. (Shahzad, however, faithfully records
Jamaat leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad’s objection to the doctrine of takfeer favored
by Ayman al-Zawahiri). He tells us about youths who emerged from the
“student wing” of the Jamaat to become leaders of other parties:
Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani; Pakistan Muslim
League (Nawaz) leaders Javed Hashmi and Ahsan Iqbal; and the ruling
party’s Sen. Babar Awan, to say nothing of “almost 80 percent of
Urdu-language newspaper and electronic media opinion writers and
television talk-show anchors in Pakistan who were once members of the
student wing.”
A book can be the moment of transformation for
some writers because the facts they handle tend to dwarf doctrines. From
the abovementioned members of the Jamaat student wing, only two have
succumbed to metamorphosis, but not without greatly upsetting the State:
Haqqani with his Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military (Carnegie
Endowment, 2005), and Shahzad, dead at the age of 40. Haqqani relocated
to the U.S. and saved himself. Shahzad refused to consider moving.
Ahmed is a director at the South Asian Free Media Association in Lahore.