Zia ul Haq, ISI and Afghan Jihad

(Talha Ahmad, Islamabad)

Gen Zia Ul Haq, Gen Rahimuddin Khan & Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman.. History speaks itself .The backbone of resistance against Sovient Union.

On 17 August, 1988, the former President Gen Zia Ul Haq died in a plane crash. The causes of the crash were never properly investigated. Zia Ul Haq the fourth chief martial law administrator and sixth president of Pakistan is usually viewed as one of the most controversial figure in Pakistan. He is often criticized for the Islamization ,radicalization and Afghan Jihad. Just like many other pages of our history this page is also manipulated just because of political and ideological differences. Many belive that General Zia ul Haq, Hameed Gul and Akhter Rasool are responsible for the current turmoil in Pakistan and belive that the Afghan Jihad is the main reason which brought us here. Many of us build opinion,Perception on personal liking and disliking regardless of what the facts and figures are.

Terrorism in Pakistan
Following some events of late 60 and early 70 might help us in analyzing the factual situation and finding the correct picture. . It all started in 1957 when the nationalist belonging to Sindh Baluchistan and KPK jointly started a movement under the banner of NAP (National Awami Party) to tackle Pro-Punjab polices of the state.But soon it got influenced by the Geo political scenario of South Asia and splinted into two factions The pro-Soviet NAP became NAP-Wali headed by Wali khan while the pro-China one became NAP-Bhashani. Most of the leader of NAP joined NAP-Wali especially Politian’s and intellectuals belonging from Baluchistan and KPK. The two newly formed student organization Pashtun Students Federation (PkSF), and Baloch Students Organization (BSO), came under the umbrella of NAP-Wali which helped it very much in mobilizing the youth in colleges and universities. In 1968 NAP-Wali had another blow when another faction Mazdoor Kissan Party (Worker & Peasants Party) splinted the ranks and held its first convention in Peshawar. The armed Mazdoor Kissan Party (Worker & Peasants Party) was pro soviet radical socialist armed movement, which aimed to bring Socialist revolution by force. MKP and Baloch separatist movements soon launched terrorist activities within Pakistan. On the other hand NAP-Wali won the election in Baluchistan and KPK. NAP-Wali formed coalition government with JUI in KPK and Baluchistan. The separatist nationalist movement of Baluchistan was fully backed by NAP-Wali government, Iraq and Soviet Union. In NWFP current KPK the prominent terrorist organization working was Pashhtun Zalim.Pashtun Zalmi was fully backed by foreign agenceies and was working on agenda of separate Pashtunistan (include KPK and eastern part of Afghanistan). Along with Pashtun Zalmi MKP continued its terrorist activities in KPK in spite of crackdown by the rivalry government of NAP-Wali.The situation was getting worse when Baluchistan and NWFP (KPK) turned out to be the battlefield for the foreign proxies.CIA couple of times to toppled Bhutto's regimes as well but failed. CIA wanted a pro US puppet regime in Pakistan just like of Iran. Henry Kissinger directly threatened Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on Nuclear program and said that '' We will make a horrible example of you''.In 1973 Intelligence service (ISI), Special services Group (SSG) and PAkistan paramilitary rangers conducted succesful special operation on Iraqi Embassy located in Islamabad. Ammunition and latest weapons were recovered, Staff members and ambassador was arrested. Pakistan deported Both the embassador and staff members and Embassy was shuted down. After the operation on Suggestion of Intelligence services the Bhutto regime launched an all-out operation against the rebels sponsored by Soviets in 1974. The operation was success full and MKP was crushed, leaders of NAP-Wali Baluchistan and KPK were sented to jail. The Bhutto government forwarded case of banning NAP-Wali to courts. The actions taken by the state against the terrorist were significant. As a result of this action by the government of Pakistan NAP-Wali broke into many factions. The nationalist of different provinces started there separated movement after NAP-Wali was crushed. Wali khan rearrange its pashtun nationalist under the banner of ANP and similarly the Baloch nationalist started separated nationalist movements. After years the remains of the spilled Baloch nationalist rearranged and formed Balochistan liberation army (BLA) The Baluch liberation army (BLA) which is famous for the attack on Quiad e azam residency Ziarat is the same old company with new name and is just the rebranding of the same old terrorist movement.

Afghan Jihad ,Zulfikar Ali Bhutto , Zia Ul Haq
Having said that at that crucial moment of time Pakistan had not many option. The Kabul regime was backing the terrorist activities in Pakistan just like the current Kabul regime is doing. USSR and India used Afghanistan as a launching pad for the terrorist inside KPK and BAluchistan. At that moment of time the Zulfikaq ALi Bhutton made many efforts to improve relationship with Daoud Regime but situation dramatically changed in both countries after the communist coup of 1978 in Afghanistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto placed the first brick of Afghan jihad when he invited prominent Jihadist figures like Hekmatyar and Rabbani to Pakistan. Pakistan inresponse to Doaoud's aggresive policy of backing insurgency in Pakistan started backing insurgency in Afghanistan through Hekmatyar and Rabbani. On 27 December 1979 USSR troops officially entered Afghanistan and replaced Hazi ullah amin with Barak Kamal. Due to this situation millions of Afghan migrated to Pakistan and Iran. The expansionist ideology of communist USSR posted a existential threat to Pakistan as well as Iran. Pakistan became vulnerable to communist expansionist regime which occupied neighbouring Afghanistan. It was obvious that if the USSR remains in Afghanistan this will intensify the communist proxy war in Pakistan. Zia and ISI wanted to neutralize this existential threat hence went to put fight of Pakistan inside Afghanistan. US tried to cash the situation as the policy of Pakistan towards the USSR was also in favour of US as well, Zia declined the Carter offer US$400 million military and economic aid to Pakistan calling it as ''Peanuts''. General Zia just continued Bhutto's policy of backing the resistance in Afghanistan( ''Afghan Jihad'') even without the support of US as it was demand of demand of geo political scenario buidling up in the region. US was helpless and had no other option than supporting Pakistan and Afghan resistance in against the USSR. Soon as Ronald Reagan Regan administration took office CIA suggested them to negotiate with Pakistan. William Casey came to Pakistan negotiate the long-term policy for Afghan War. US also pressurized Germany,holland,England and France to put sanction on Pakistan if Pakistan refuse to give acces of Kahota power plant to US. It was ZIa and DG ISI Akhter abdur rehman smart minds which helped Pakistan in getting the best out of it. Zia smartly internationalize the issue mobilized OIC and UN. Under the agreement with US in 1980 Pakistan received 1.6 billion military aid and other 1.5 billion loan in addition to that Pakistan was able to buy prohibited F-16 Fighter jets. But the biggest advantage Pakistan got out of the situation was freehand on Nuclear program and it was the time when Pakistan boasted its nuclear program. Even though many give credit to Zia Ul haq for the victory against the soviets but in reality the brain behind the successful strategy was no other than Leftinuant General Akhter Abdur rehman then DG ISI. Akhter smartly placed all the cards, mostly recruited Afghan refugees living in Pakistan for the gurella warfare in Afghanistan, Foiled CIA plans to hijack the Afghan jihad. When General william came to pakistan he was so impressed by the professionalism of Lt.General Akhter that he forwarded the suggestion to the congress to Double the Aid for PAkistan. In 1985 US doubled the financial and military assistance to Pakistan. Pakistan received US $ 4.2 billion military and Economic aid from US .CIA and ISI came up against each other when DG ISI Akhter refused the CIA to give access to mujahideen directly. CIA wanted direct connection with mujahideen to deliver stringer missiles to them and train them how to use anti-aircraft missile but Akhter foiled their ambitions. Akhter forced CIA to deliver Anti air crafts to Pakistan and instead of the CIA ISI must train the mujahideen. During his reign The collaboration between ISI and Saudi Intelligence increased on large sclae.Babrak Kamal was removed from the office on May 4, 1986, and Najibullah came to power but he was unable to crush the activities of the activities of the afghan mujahedeen’s. On April 16, , 1988 Geneva Accord was signed and the chapter of Afghan war closed. Two years later USSR collapsed due to economic crisis. But interestingly on August 17,1988 both tha main characters of Afghan war,General Zia ul Haq and Akhter Rasool died in a suspicious plane crash. The case of Cash was never properly some blame the CIA,some blame USSR Some blame AL Zulfikar and some thinks it happened due to technical reasons. But whatever the reason was one thing is clear that both gentleman played vital role for their country and did what was best for the country.

Benazir Bhutto, Lt.General Hameed Gul and ISI
Just few months before the victory of Afghan war surprisingly DG ISI Akhter was promoted to four start and was appointed as Chairman of Joint chief of staff committee. Maybe this was done so that he may not get the credit for the victory in Afghan war. The successor of Zia ul haq first female prime minister of Muslim state Benazir bhutto continued the foreign policy structured by his father Zulfikar Ali bhutto and later managed by Zia ul haq . On the other hand Lt.General Hameed Gul took charge of the ISI. Hameed Gul placed the last brick of the wall started by Zulfikar Ali bhutto and placed USSR on pages of history. It was his significant role in the final stages of Afghan war that the Germans gifted him a piece of the Berlin Wall for '' delivering first blow'' to soviet union. Hameed gul expanded it's covert operation from Afghanistan to Kashmir. Just after the fall of Soviet Union ISI diverted it's focus from Afghanistan to Kashmir. It was hameed's gul efforts that made environment for first intifada in Kashmir. Due to his strategic policies he earned reputation of "Godfather" of Pakistani Geo strategic policies. Pakistan supported different faction during the Afghan civil war against the pro Russia and pro Indian groups. ISI was supporting the Gulbeddin Hikmetyar against former Presidents Dr. Najibullah and Burhanuddin Rabbani. But even after Lt. General Hameed gul got retired. Benazir Bhutto and than interior minister Naseerullah Babar continued supporting Jihadist in Afghanistan. In fact Benazir Bhutto and Naseerullah babar were behind the creation of Taliban. Benazir bhutto and Naseerullah babar wanted a pro Pakistani government in Afghanistan which can give access to Pakistani trade with Central Asia through southern Afghanistan. For this mission for the first time Maulana Fazlur Rehman was made Chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. In "Ghost Wars", author Steve Coll says "Benazir Bhutto was suddenly the matron of a new Afghan faction (Taliban)."In a 2002 interview, Benazir Bhutto herself acknowledged her key role in creating the Taliban. She said, "Once I gave the go-ahead that they (Taliban) should get the money, I don't know how much money they were ultimately given ... I know it was a lot. It was just crate Blanche." .Even though ISI was already working on bringing a pro Pakistani government in Afghanistan but it was plan of interior minister Naseerullah babar which brought Taliban a DE facto proxy to power in Afghanistan. Instead of clearing the whole picture most of the Pakistani especially liberals oversimplify the things by blaming Zia ul Haq for current turmoil and creation of Taliban. But the fact of the matter is that it was the time and Geo political situation that obliged Zulfikar, Zia, Benazir to back the ISI for the Jihad in Afghanistan. But things not gonna work just by cursing Zia,ISI and Jihad for current condition of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact it was the Musharraf's policy shift after the 9/11 that turned the table on Pakistan. After assuming the role of a front line supporter of the war on terror,the annual death troll rose from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009 with a total of 35,000 Pakistanis killed between 11 September 2001 and May 2011. According to the finance minister of Pakistan the total loss in the war on terrorism is US$188 billion. But the fact of matter is that we are in the same situation as we were in early 70's. Just like 70's Raw and other foreign agencies are using Afghanistan as launching pad for the covert operation inside Pakistan, the difference is that first they used liberal Socialist for the turmoil and now the are using Jihadist alongside them. For decades Raw has used its spy network based in different political, nationalist and sectarian organizations operating in Pakistan for Chaos and anarchy in the country. Isn't it the case that the Balochistan liberation army is re branding of same old liberal socialist militant MKP. Isn't it the case that mouth piece of India omer khattak raised the same old slogan of ''Pushtunistan''.The terrorist attacks of Safura and killing of Chinese engineers in Karachi and Baluchistan are example of how the old cards are reshuffled for the same old ambitions of dismantling Pakistan just like they did in 1971. We as a nation must learn from our history and it's time to review our foreign policy. We need a aggressive, loud a clear long term foreign policy in order to safeguard our interest as well as our people.

Talha Ahmad
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