India, not Kashmir, is Lashkar's true goal: US congressman
WASHINGTON: A resolution of Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan would no longer satisfy Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the terrorist outfit responsible for 26/11 and attack on Indian Parliament would continue to pose a serious threat to both India and the western world in particular the US, top experts have told American lawmakers.
"There is no doubt in my mind that we have to find ways to resolve the issues relating to Kashmir. But I think resolving Kashmir is not going to solve the problems relating to LeT," Ashley J Tellis, senior associate at the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing on Thursday.
"Resolving the Kashmir problem by itself is not going to remove this threat because the aim of these groups is to leverage themselves into a position of power inside Pakistan and to take control," said eminent Pakistani scholar, Shuza Nawaz, Director, South Asia Centre, the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Both Nawaz and Tellis were responding to concerns of the US Congressmen at the hearing if LeT would abandon terrorism if Kashmir dispute was resolved; given that Lashkar was initially popped up by the ISI of Pakistan for the specific purpose of targeting Kashmir and India in particular.
"I always find it interesting that the people conducting the murder and mayhem (in the Valley) today are not Kashmiri. The people who actually are deprived of all their political rights, they are not conducting the murder and mayhem," Tellis said.
"The murder and mayhem is being conducted by groups that have absolutely no connections to Kashmir. To my mind that is story, the fact that this is a group that has operations in 21 countries, that has an ideology that is completely anti-western, that is opposed to modernity and secularism and all the kinds of values that we take for granted. This group is not going to be satisfied by dealing with the issue of Kashmir," Tellis said.
Noted Pakistani scholar Shuja Nawaz said, "LeT represents -- a word that's been used often -- a Frankenstein's monster created for the purpose of assisting the Kashmiri freedom movement but that ended up becoming a powerful Sunni Punjabi movement with an independent agenda that appears to have taken on a broader regional role."
It was born out of the US-backed Afghan jihad against the Soviets, and built on the training provided by that war to Punjabi fighters who could then inculcate Kashmiri fighters in their ways.
Successive civil and military leaders of Pakistan supported the movement as a strategic asset to counter a powerful India to the East and to force it to negotiate for a settlement of the disputed territory by waging a war of, quote, "a thousand cuts", he told the lawmakers.
"Over time, however, the sponsored organisation took a life of its own, finding the economically disadvantaged area of Central and Southern Punjab to be a fertile territory for recruitment of Jihadi warriors," he said over time, the ISI began losing its control as the LeT became self sufficient.
"But the realisation that the LeT had become autonomous was slow in being understood or accepted in the ISI and by the military leadership of Pakistan under General Pervez Musharraf," he said.
"General Musharraf did make an effort to lower the political temperature in Kashmir and began distancing the state from the LeT. However, the process was not handled as well as it could have.
Similar to the disbanding of the Iraqi army after the US invasion when thousands of trained soldiers and officers were let go, the LeT was cut loose without a comprehensive plan to disarm, re-train, and gainfully employ the fighters."
A dangerous corollary was the induction into the militancy of some former members of the military who had trained and guided them in their war in Kashmir, Nawaz said.
Congressman Gary Ackerman said there is a temptation to think that the LeT is really India's problem, that the LeT is just interested in the so-called "liberation" of Jammu and Kashmir.
"While it's true that the primary area of operations for the LeT has historically been the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region, the LeT has also undertaken repeated and numerous mass casualty attacks throughout India and, in particular, directed at the Indian government. But the idea that this group can be appeased on the subject of Kashmir is dangerous nonsense," he said.
"The LeT's true goal is not Kashmir, it is India. And the LeT is not shy about announcing that its intention is to establish an Islamic state in all South Asia. Neither does it hide or try to play down its declaration of war against them Ackerman said.
Re: India, not Kashmir, is Lashkar's true goal: US congressm
This discussion was held on 11 March 2010, just a few days ahead of the high powered delegation from Pakistan for their historic 'First Strategic Dialogue' with the US Secretary of State and her relevant Dept. This Dialogue took place between 22-24 March 2010 in Washington.
They were discussing the terrorism besides the Pakistan's other doles in Washington; the terrorist juntas of the Islamic Fundamentalist groups were holding open rallies in broad day light in Kotli, PoK on 23rd March 2010 vowing and spewing venom for jihad and continuing terror in Kashmir and India.
The entire gamut of these jihadi amalgam were there including the internationally banned outfits like Sayeed Salahuddin, Hafiz Md Saeed, Maulana Masood Azhar and others leading a huge gathering of strong more than ten thousand people or rogues. But not a single voice of descent was spoken against them in the so called "Strategic Dialogue" between US and Pakistan in Washington. Most audacious and humiliating for the US I find, is the coincidence of these both meetings - one in Washington and other in PoK, Pakistan. I do understand the message these wand of gangsters wanted to convey, I am sure, so do you. They need a drastic management in the language they only understand better in their style.
Your Congressional meeting is besides the point, as it has hardly deterred them in their resolve. I have no doubt that these jihadis will not satisfy even if you Islamise the whole world. Because they will have nothing to fight for after that. Do you think so. They will still have plenty for that.
Dr. O. P. Sudrania