‘Pakistan army, ISI targeting India to undermine Nawaz Sharif’

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September 6, 2014

Sharif has been urging deescalating the Indo-Pakistan rivalry and cutting back on the arms race, positions the army hardliners find threatening

September 6, 2014

Sharif has been urging deescalating the Indo-Pakistan rivalry and cutting back on the arms race, positions the army hardliners find threatening

Washington: Pakistan's powerful army and the ISI are using "terrorist brinkmanship" to threaten India and undermine their own Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to secure domestic gains against their civilian leaders, a former CIA analyst has said.

"Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence directorate is using terrorist brinkmanship to threaten India and undermine Nawaz Sharif," Riedel said.

On Wednesday, "to complicate the situation further, al Qaeda released a new videotape of its leader, Ayman Zawahiri, announcing the creation of an al Qaeda franchise in India", he wrote in the Daily Beast.

Amid growing concern in India over the formation of new al-Qaida franchise in India, Riedel said there was no doubt that al-Qaida leader Ayman Al Zawahiri made the latest tape in his hideout in Pakistan.

"Zawahiri made the tape in his hideout in Pakistan, no doubt, and many Indians suspect the ISI is helping to protect him. Zawahiri has longstanding links to LeT and to (Hafiz) Saeed," Riedel said, adding, "The domestic politics of Pakistan are central to this drama, and to this threat."

A squad of heavily armed terrorists attacked the Indian consulate in Herat, Afghanistan right ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inauguration, Riedel said.

"One of the goals of the Herat operation was to discredit Sharif, who has no control over the ISI or the Pakistani army," he said.

"Since he was elected in his own landslide victory last year, the army has become increasingly unhappy with Sharif. They are very upset that he has put the former army dictator Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason and did not just let him leave the country quietly," he said.

Sharif had been urging deescalating the Indo-Pakistan rivalry and cutting back on the arms race, positions the army hardliners find threatening.

The US State Department publicly blamed Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group which attacked Mumbai in 2008 for Herat attack.

"LeT is very close to the Pakistani military's Inter Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI. LeT would not have taken such a highly provocative action without at least some advance nod from the Pakistani spies in the ISI and the generals who command them," he said.

"LeT's leader, Hafeez Saeed, lives openly in Pakistan, frequently appears on television denouncing the United States, and is the darling of the ISI," he added.

"If there is another LeT attack like the one in Mumbai or the one in Herat, it will provoke the most serious crisis in years between India and Pakistan," he said and called for greater US-India cooperation to tackle such threats.

The army and the ISI were effective in neutering Sharif's predecessor, Asif Zardari. In fact, that was a key goal achieved by the Mumbai attack in 2008. They want to neutralize Sharif by any means possible.

"In short, the Pakistani army and its ISI spies are once again playing with fire— with India, the LeT and Kashmir—in order to secure domestic gains against their civilian leaders," he said.


Courtesy: PTI

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