Dr. Moeed Pirzada |

While FATF (Financial Action Task Force) proceedings at Paris, were non-transparent and Pakistan’s troubles at FATF are not single dimensional, perhaps more political than professional; better understood in the context of difficult US Pakistan relations over Afghanistan and China’s emerging role inside Pakistan, but nevertheless from the narrative shaped around all this, Hafiz Saeed, Mumbai terrorism, Let, JuD and FIF loom large in terms of debate and narrative shaping and most who have definitive opinions against Pakistan are more often possessed by this dark narrative around Mumbai –than what may actually have been discussed in FATF behind closed doors.

While Hafiz is not among defendants facing a trial in Pakistan (Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi & others), all Indians, all diplomats, all those who work in think tanks and international media and most in Pakistan are convinced that Hafiz Saeed, of JuD is either the mastermind of Mumbai attacks as charged by the Indian government or is somehow linked with these; how else to explain what happened? The way Bollywood has shaped a narrative around LeT (defunct since 2002), since 1990s and more passionately since 2008, the figure of Hafiz looms large, in common Indian minds; many imagine Hafiz to be running the show in Pakistan with the help of a rogue army.

If many imagine that they have to take steps to free Pakistan of Hafiz and his gang, to make Pakistan a “normal country” as it is being said occasionally, then one cannot blame them. Narrative is shaped skillfully by media, facts are often not needed; claims made earlier can be repeated ad-nauseam till they assume a reality of their own and then become part of a new international discourse. After FATF decision an editorial in “The Hindu”, most prestigious paper in India, mentions Hafiz Saeed along with Taliban and Al Qaeda in such a way that passive reader absorbs them as one and the same thing.

No wonder that a columnist, Hannah Kuchler, recently argued in Financial Times (FT) that “news literacy should be taught like sex and drug education to protect individuals and society as a whole”. What she did not mention was that in this “brave new world” journalists who disagree with the dominant narratives do this at the risks to their careers. Almost all Indian and western media keep mentioning the $10 million bounty on Hafiz Saeed’s head announced by the US, without even hinting that Secretary Clinton actually announced $10 million as a reward to anyone providing information that can link Hafiz Saeed with Mumbai terrorism. Her actual words, while speaking in New Delhi were:

 “As part of our “Rewards for Justice” program, we have offered a $ 10 million reward that could lead to the arrest or conviction of Hafiz Saeed in those attacks. Our “Rewards for Justice” offer demonstrates our seriousness in obtaining additional information that could withstand judicial scrutiny at least to arrest or conviction and brings the perpetrators and planners of the Mumbai attacks to justice.”(Clinton, New Delhi, April 3 2012)

Clinton’s initiative was clearly yet another US concession to India which uses its burgeoning relations with America essentially to constrain and contain Pakistan, but US Media, brewing on their own and Indian narratives, were shocked; questions were raised in state department briefing next day, April 4, that what have been talking all these years, if we did not have any evidence. Mark Toner, state department spokesman, clarified the next day in these words:

 “Just to clarify, the $10 million is for information that – not about his location, but information that leads to an arrest or conviction. And trdhis is information that could withstand judicial scrutiny, so I think what’s important here is we’re not seeking this guy’s location. We all know where he is. Every journalist in Pakistan and in the region knows how to find him. But we’re looking for information that can be usable to convict him in a court of law..”

Will any reputable western or Indian journalist dare report that? Reality is that most even in Pakistan are afraid to take a clear position on these issues. It will thus be interesting to revisit the original Indian case against Hafiz Saeed. Much has been written in newspapers, magazines, online publications, Facebook and Twitter and much has been debated by think tanks and diplomats behind the scenes and by Bollywood through celluloid products but what evidence was exactly offered by the Indian government, in Mumbai Police Case No. 175 of 2009, that linked Hafiz Saeed (Accused No.1 of 35 accused) with the terror attacks in Mumbai on 26 Nov 2008? This question must possess journalists, columnists, authors and researchers but also diplomats, lawyers and intelligent citizens. So what is this evidence?

Indian Ministry of External Affairs Cable, 222018 of Aug 2009

Thanks to Wikileaks and the Australian bravo, Julian Assange, we can access, read and ponder on the cable No. 222018 that was sent by T.C.A Raghavan, the then Additional Secretary Foreign Affairs, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on 24 Aug 2009 to White House, Secretary of State, National Security Council (NSC), CIA, CENTCOM, PACOM, and several US embassies and Missions (Beijing, Moscow, Tokyo, Geneva and London among others). Raghavan, the polite diplomat, who later was Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad and is now, after retirement, an author of an interesting book “The People Next Door” informed the key US institutions and diplomatic posts that Indian govt. is finding it difficult to reengage with Pakistan since Pakistan is not making any progress on Hafiz Saeed.

This cable, sent three days after a dossier was handed over to Pakistan High Commission in Delhi and western embassies, (Aug 21) then lists the charges and the evidence against Hafiz Saeed. The evidence, as summed up in Raghavan’s cable, is essentially coming from three accused persons in the case no. 175 of 2009. These are: Ajmal Kasab, Fahim Ansari and Sabeeh-ud-Din. What do they tell? Ajmal Kasab informs prosecution that he had joined LeT in Dec 2007 (did’nt exist under this name or banner after 2002) and went to a training camp in Azad Kashmir and there he saw and heard Hafiz Saeed who exhorted all for Jihad in Kashmir, he gave names to all recruits and named Kasab as Abu Mujahid.

Later, he saw Hafiz in an operations center in or near Karachi who gave instructions regarding the forthcoming attack on Mumbai. Fahim Ansari, who was already under arrest since Feb 2008 in Rampur Attack Case, confessed on 18 December 2008 that he was recruited by LeT in 2007, he too went to a training camp in Pakistan and towards the end of his training Hafiz Saeed visited the camp. Sabeeh-ud-Din, the third accused (also in custody in Rampur Attack Case, since Feb 2008) confessed, also on 18 December, that during his training inside Pakistan he was taken to Muridkay where (he perhaps believes) Hafiz and others were based.

After his release from house arrest, Hafiz offered a special prayer at Mochi Darwaza in Lahore; it was where Sabeeh-ud-Din first saw Hafiz and claimed that “he was enlightened by his preaching during the prayer.” T.C.A Raghavan had sent his cable in Aug 2009, and it is obvious that Indian government was merely relying upon confessions of men in Indian custody and the statements even then were sketchy. This is like Pakistan demanding action against current RAW Chief, Anil Kumar Dhasmana, on the basis of statements of RAW Officer, Kulbhahsan Yadav who has admitted, while in Pakistani custody, to supervising several acts of terrorism across Pakistan and has told his investigators of his meetings with Anil Kumar (before 2016; when Anil Kumar was RAW’s second in).

But we don’t need to go in that direction; something more interesting happened when in 2010, Indian sessions court, the trial court, acquitted both Fahim Ansari and Sabeeh-ud-Din. Indian charge sheet against Fahim Ansari, and Sabeeh-ud-din, linking them with Mumbai terrorism was that both were hired by LeT in 2007 (that does not exist; replaced by JuD for all practical purposes) to do reconnaissance and provide maps to the attackers. According to prosecution, Fahim had done the reconnaissance, made sketches and maps and then Sabeeh-ud-din handed these to LeT and these maps were used by the attackers on 26 November. The prosecution had produced confessional statements from another accused, Sheikh, and the maps.

Indian Judge examining the maps and the evidence concluded that Mumbai police had made a bogus case because the quality of information (maps on record by the prosecution) Fahim Ansari allegedly provided or could provide was far inferior than what was easily available from Google and the witness against them was not reliable. The prosecution challenged trial court decision all the way till Indian supreme court and their case was rejected by courts at all levels. Finally, Fahim was acquitted from the Indian Supreme court in 2013. All this has been reported by Indian media and anyone can access this. Sabeeh-ud-Din case, linked with Fahim Ansari, followed a similar trajectory.

Cables of Ambassador Anne Patterson

If Wikileaks had leaked, T.C.A Raghavan’s cable of Aug 22, 2008, then it also leaked Ambassador. Anne Patterson’s cable of April 2009 to her principals in Washington. Patterson, then Washington’s point person in Islamabad, was one of the senior most US diplomats that earned the respect of her interlocutors wherever she worked. I recently met ex-President, Asif Ali Zardari and as we talked casually about international relations, I was struck by the level of respect he showed for Anne Patterson and her integrity.

Patterson in her cable No. 206598, of 12 May 2009, (SUBJECT: MUMBAI PROSECUTION UPDATE: PAKISTAN LACKS EVIDENCE TO CONVICT TOP SUSPECTS) informed Washington that India (GOI, as she refers in her cable) has failed to provide any certified substantive evidence against the accused in Pakistan. She demands that Washington must persuade India to come forth with more substantive evidence otherwise the case in Pakistani courts will soon collapse; following is an exact excerpt from the summary of this cable:

 “While the FIA and prosecutors have been able to use the repeated extensions to gather more evidence, time is running out, and the prosecution does not/not have enough evidence to convict the top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suspects, Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, and al Qama. If the FIA does not receive the necessary third-country evidence from the GOI (or the FBI after GOI approval), these three suspects will likely be acquitted and released. Repeated USG interventions at several levels with the GOI have not yielded any certified evidence being passed to the GOP. If the top LeT terrorists are released, India will certainly accuse Pakistan of a lack of good faith in prosecuting and of directly sponsoring terrorism against India..”

Ambassador Patterson’s cable in para 4 also mentions that, “FIA does not/not have enough independent evidence to successfully prosecute the senior LeT leaders, Lakhvi, Shah, and al Qama. Unfortunately, due to political pressure, the FIA was put in the position of arresting and charging the three individuals before it had conducted a complete investigation or collected the proper evidence..”

Pakistan, however under tremendous pressure being exercised by India through the US, kept moving with a flawed legal process that ended up creating more and more “media narrative” and increasing indictment of Pakistan in public imagination worldwide. At the eve of 17th SAARC summit, the media dialogue that took place between Rehman Malik, the then Pakistani interior minister and Ranjan Mathai, his Indian foreign secretary further helps to understand the nature of Indian evidence and sum total of Indian position on it.

Rehman Malik stated that “Indian side is giving us lots of information and dossiers but no credible evidence” (Rediff.com, Nov 2001; Addu City, Maldives). Responding to Malik’s statement, Ranjan Mathai, India’s respected Foreign Secretary, stated, “If the Pakistani Interior Minister thinks that Kasab must be sent to the gallows then he is saying that based on the information we have provided” (Rediff.com – SARRC Summit, Addu City, Maldives). What becomes obvious from T.C.A Raghavan’s cable of 22 Aug, 2009 and Ranjan Mathai’s response in Maldives is that Indian government totally relied upon – for its case against Hafiz Saeed and others – on the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab and two other accused.

As mentioned earlier, both Fahim Ansari and Sabeeh-ud-Din (66% of the evidence Indians relied upon against accused in Pakistan) were soon acquitted by Indian courts of all charges related to Mumbai terrorism. Ajmal Kasab recanted his confession later and took the stand that confession was extracted from him under duress. This makes his confessional statement legally inadmissible to be used against others he had earlier accused. However, problems with Indian position on Ajmal Kasab do not end there. While Pakistani government never sought consular access for Kasab, Pakistani investigators did.

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police officers who were working to piece the story together for the trial of accused in Pakistan wanted to cross-examine Kasab on his confessional statement. They were repeatedly denied by Indian authorities. Same happened to the lawyers of the defendants; they under law had the right to cross-examine the person whose statements and evidence was being used to frame their clients. However, after several months of wrangling, and frustrating debate, all what they could get was access to the Mumbai police officers who had recorded Ajmal Kasab’s statement.

Did Ajmal Kasab enter India from Nepal?

Why Indian authorities were so afraid of granting access to investigators and lawyers to Ajmal Kasab? Why they consciously weakened the case knowing fully well that defendant’s lawyers and investigators had to get access to the man whose statement creates the basis for FIR? Why denying access was so important that it superseded all other considerations? There is no satisfactory answer to this question. Nature abhors vacuum and Indian diffidence on this has lead to interesting theorizing in Pakistan.

As soon as name Ajmal Kasab had appeared on horizon, immediately in the aftermath of Mumbai terrorism, in December 2008, there were murmurs in Islamabad that Ajmal Kasab might be an agent of LeT or even some Pakistani agency but he was someone who had entered India from Nepal, 2-3 years ago and was considered lost; he was believed to be in Indian custody – just like Col. Habib who recently disappeared from Nepal (after RAW Officer Kulbhashan’s arrest in Pakistan) and is believed to be in possession of Indian external agency.

These arguments, from hushed hushed discussions in drawing rooms, soon reached television programs and such programs do exist on YouTube – and have been written about in major papers. When Kasab’s confessional video, from a hospital bed, appeared on Indian TV and on YouTube, Pakistanis were struck by the fact that he spoke Urdu/Hindi in a local (Marathi) accent, and did not sound like a young Punjabi lad from Pakistan.

Most Indians easily ignored this aspect, westerners off course had no capacity to pick up such subtle shades of ethnicity and dialects, but Punjabi Pakistanis, native to Punjabi street, were intrigued that this young man, from dusty Farid kot, not formally educated, does not exhibit the usual rough Punjabi accent, of how you utter words and syllables, that easily creeps into the Urdu expressions of all less educated Punjabis. Many satisfied themselves that may be he did penetrate from Nepal, was in Mumbai for a while and had picked up local accent –and could have joined the gunmen from Mumbai.

But Ajmal Kasab on hospital bed, singing like a canary, also used word, “Bhagvan” and Indian prosecution case states that he came from Karachi on the boat and had joined the Hafiz’s LeT in 2007. If that is the case, then his “Bhagvan” and local accent did not make sense. This theory does not deny that Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani born in Farid Kot, or he could be recruited by Hafiz’s militia but it certainly raised the question: If the man, singing like a canary, on hospital bed, and repeating words like, “Kaha maro maro” was in fact the same Ajmal Kasab? Or he was someone, a look alike, who was needed to fill in the gaps in prosecution’s case?

Whatever the reality, this theory does help to explain the possible Indian anxiety in providing access to this man, Ajmal Kasab, to the lawyers of defendants and Pakistani investigators. Perhaps it will be a safe conclusion to argue that in terms of media and public narrative, carried by tv broadcasts, columnists, think tankers, news agencies and counter-terror specialists of all kinds Hafiz Saeed is definitely the evil master mind of Mumbai terrorism but in terms of evidences on record, provided by the Indian government, the case was always a non-starter.

This is nothing to do about innocence or being guilty; its about the evidence. Could it be possible that Indian imperative to focus on Hafiz – even if evidence had to be stretched or fabricated – was driven by the strategic realization that he had been, from 1990’s, an instrument of Pakistan’s state policy on Kashmir and getting him implicated was a necessary step in getting Pakistan in the dock. In 1992, the then Indian PM, Narasimha Rao, had ordered Indian intelligence, in what has been described as “Rao Doctrine” to initiate a strategy of isolating Pakistan by getting it declared as a “terrorist state”.

Al Faran terror group, that abducted western tourists and beheaded some, appeared soon afterwards. Pakistanis and their jihadi assets in Kashmir had immediately cried that “Al Faran” appears to be an Indian ploy. Almost 18 years later, two British scholars, Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott, armed with massive research, in their book, “Meadow- Kashmir; Where the terror began” argued, as cautiously as they could, that Al Faran was under the control of Indian intelligence that did not want a negotiated outcome and wanted to prolong it. Pakistanis had always argued that Al Faran was a narrative shaping bombshell.

Altaf Hussain & London: An interesting comparison Case of MQM leader, Altaf Hussain, offers an interesting extension – and perhaps international dimension – to the strategic battles being fought in South Asia. Even before the Sept 2010 murder of Dr. Imran Farooq, on Green Lane, London hundreds of people in Pakistan – police officers, MQM insiders, media reporters of Karachi, intelligence officers etc – were convinced, beyond any degree of doubt, that Altaf Hussain was directly responsible for widespread extortions, abductions and the cycles of violence that hit Karachi again and again.

And thatscores of people, including MQM workers, police officers, businessmen and at least one Army officer were tortured and killed on his orders. At the time of infamous NRO deal struck between Gen. Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, in 2007, more than thirty murder charges (police FIRs) existed against his name – and were dropped. So most Pakistanis, especially denizens of Karachi, immediately concluded, in the Sept of 2010, that Dr. Imran Farooq’s murder in London will be nothing but work of Altaf Hussain.

They were however sure that this time, Karachi’s mafia don has murdered a man in the wrong place – and will be punished. London police showed lots of activity, interviewed hundreds, made preliminary arrests and things kept on moving from one to the other level –but almost eight years down the line justice for Dr. Imran Farooq remains more elusive than ever. In the end, the matter remained stuck on a strange point. UK Home office wanted the extradition of only Mohsin Ali Syed (main murder accused; since Kashif Khan Kamran had died in Pakistani custody) but Pakistani interior minister, Ch. Nisar, and intelligence community insisted on handing over Khalid Shamim and Muazzam Ali along with Moshin.

Why? Difficult to be sure, but some sources argue that Pakistanis remained worried that British are only interested in the man, Mohsin, who was the actual killer of Dr. Imran Farooq, on Green Lane whereas killing was planned and ordered on instructions of Altaf Hussain and Khalid Shamim and Muazzzm Ali allegedly – as per their confessions – the masterminds who, as per orders from Altaf Hussain, had sent Mohsin and Kashif to London for killing Dr. Imran Farooq. During the murder investigations, London police, in 2012, trampled upon almost half a million pound of cash in Altaf’s office and home.

In post 9/11 and 7/7 legal and political atmosphere this was worst than committing blasphemy in Mecca or Vatican. Money laundering investigations were initiated; once again hopes were up that now he is done; after all this is London and not Karachi or Mumbai. Four years later, a defeated London Metropolitan police dropped the charges and returned the cash. “The return of the money to Mr Merchant and the MQM marks a humiliating climb-down for the UK police” observed Owen Bennet Jones, respected British journalist and author who himself had assiduously followed the whole case against Altaf Hussian.

He further revealed that “sources close to the police investigation always insisted that they would not return the MQM’s cash. Asset confiscations require a lower burden of proof than money laundering charges. But it turns out the UK authorities have been unable to meet even that lesser threshold” UK-based lawyers argue that one of the reasons the money laundering case against Altaf Hussain failed was the UK authorities’ reluctance to use “terrorism legislation” as opposed to the Proceeds of Crimes Act. Although the US describes the MQM as a Tier 3 terrorist organization, neither the UK nor Pakistan has made a similar designation.

Then in August 2016, Altaf was caught on TV cameras instigating a mob attack on offices of a TV station in Karachi, one man died several were injured. Though this kind of activity was nothing new for him but this time watertight evidence existed; London police was first least interested and then it was busy finding the right English transcripts and translations of his speech to determine if it constituted hate speech.

Indian funding to MQM in London

During the murder and money laundering investigations, interesting things poured out. One of these was a statement, which Tariq Mir, Chief Accountant of MQM London, gave to British police in an interview under caution. It was leaked to the media. It revealed that MQM and Altaf Hussain were receiving substantial funds from Indian intelligence agency RAW, from 1994 onwards. “Indian government funded us because they thought it was good to support us” he explained. Tariq Mir provided details of meeting with RAW officials in Rome, Vienna, Zurich and a small city of Austria (Salzburg); they were getting around $800,000 a year. Payments were initially in US dollars but later due to exchange problems they started getting in pounds.

A few days later, London police, through a short email, denied the possession of any such transcript. However, Sarfaraz Merchant, one of the co-accused in the same case along with Tariq Mir later filed a report with Pakistani Agency, FIA (FIR: 5/17) in October 2017 stating that “After I was granted bail and during the course of the investigation, a document, ‘pre-interview briefing’ dated April 15, 2015, was handed to me by the police, which gave the entire background of the case. The police sought for me to read it and prepare answers to the queries of the investigation officer,” Merchant added that in this pre-interview document he was told that among other charges, Tariq Mir and Mohammad Anwar, MQM leaders, had revealed that MQM was receiving funds from the Indian government.

UK police investigations did not go anywhere despite the fact that during this time period, courts in the UK were increasingly getting cognizant of the terrorism related nature of MQM politics in Karachi. In 2011, a British judge, Lord Bannatyne, adjudicating an asylum appeal case, of an ex-police officer from Karachi, recorded that “the MQM has killed over 200 police officers who have stood up against them in Karachi”. In 2016 another British judge hearing another such case found: “There is overwhelming objective evidence that the MQM for decades had been using violence.”

Why British police miserably failed to prosecute Altaf Hussian on any of these charges – murder, money laundering and incitement of violence – remains a mystery at best. There are three kinds of arguments: One, British interests in Pakistani politics did not permit a conclusive outcome against Altaf Hussain and its external intelligence agency, MI6, considered Altaf and his key elements of MQM as their “strategic assets”- and James Bond 007 is powerful even outside the movies. Second, the Indian government was alarmed by the kind of confessions being made and breathed onto British government to block a possible prosecution.

Off-course British Foreign and Home Offices strongly deny these “conspiracy theories”; their “mainstream narrative” sanctioned by Her Majesty’s government is that London Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service are totally independent and Crown Prosecution was not convinced that a court case exists. Maybe Her Majesty’s Government is right and there was no real case; may be facts in front of British police were different than the media disclosures, maybe pieces of evidence were weak and maybe London did not get the needed cooperation from Pakistan.

But let’s move backward to Hafiz Saeed and others accused in Pakistan. While workings, investigations of London Metropolitan remained mostly hidden and non-transparent, FIA in Pakistan, under political pressure, quickly charged the accused; it presented whatever evidence it had from Indians in court, court proceedings were widely reported and discussed world wide – again and again accused had to be released because there is apparently no logical evidence that can stand legal scrutiny. But international narrative on these proceedings is driven mainly by the Indian media and keeps repeating the same old charges.

Who benefitted from Mumbai terrorism?

Elias Davidsson’s book, “The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence” was published in June of 2017; despite excellent book reviews by Prof. McQueen and others it was mostly ignored in Pakistan. Only with developments at FATF, it found interest on Pakistani websites. Davidsson, in 920 pages, offered a threadbare examination of the case – evidence, testimonies – and conduct of prosecution and courts.

In his conclusions at the end of the book, Davidsson encourages his readers to assess separately the actual attacks and the Indian state’s overall investigation of the attacks (865 ff.) It is “highly plausible,” he argues, “that major institutional actor in India, the United States and possibly Israel, were complicit in conceiving, planning, directing and executing the attacks of 26/11” (873); but the evidence of a deceptive investigation is even stronger; quoting Prof. McQueen:

“The first definite conclusion of this book is that India’s major institutions, including the Central government, parliament, bureaucracy, armed forces, Mumbai police, intelligence services, judiciary, and media, have deliberately suppressed the truth regarding 26/11 and continue to do so. I could discover no hint of a desire among the aforementioned parties to establish the truth on these deadly events (865).”

This judgement may be too strong and harsh and sounds like another “conspiracy theory” from the opposite direction – especially the role of US and Israeli institutions – however his conclusions that Mumbai terrorism benefitted Indian institutions (Defense budget hiked by 21% immediately) and helped India, US, UK, and Israel come together and strengthened right-wing Hindutva politics in India makes lots of historical sense. Mumbai terrorism, on the other hand, gave nothing to Pakistan for its supposed actions – and its obvious on a glance that such act of mass terrorism on an urban center –through groups linked with Pakistan – would not have benefitted Pakistan in any way.

If things be seen a bit objectively then Pakistan emerges as the net loser of Mumbai terrorism; its international standing nose-dived, its relationship with the US for which it made major adjustments and painful sacrifices by supporting an ill-defined war in Afghanistan (braced itself to several insurgencies, supported covertly by India leading to almost 100,00 dead since 9/11) suffered immensely. Ten years after the Mumbai terrorism, Pakistan is still battling its ghost and India has acquired a “strategic tool” in the form of an unending multiplying narrative that it uses to isolate Pakistan across the world and is trying to force a “political re-engineering” of Pakistani state as per its own needs.

What appears as India’s final success at FATF, courtesy US help, may be the beginning of a new long drawn struggle toward United Nations Security Council. “Rao Doctrine” of 1992 had never become obsolete; it is on track and is assuming new forms and dimensions. Today, it is not about Hafiz Saeed or LeT or JuD; its also not about Kashmir; this is not 1990’s, now it is about isolating and reengineering Pakistani politics, and its state institutions, through international pressures without the engine of traditional war.

It is about CPEC, about access to Central Asia, it is about isolating Pakistan from the western world and disrupting its relations with China; it is about the battle for global commons in and around South Asia. Walking down a slippery path, under Indian dictations, coming via Washington, will not give any security or peace to Pakistan – it needs “out of box solutions”. Apparently Pakistan’s decision-making elites – in the foreign office, army, strategic community and political parties – have no idea how to get rid of the “Albatross” around their neck. It’s not about Hafiz Seed, stupid! It’s about Pakistan; it’s about all of us. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Moeed Pirzada is Editor Strategic Affairs and a prominent TV Anchor with Dunya News in Pakistan. He writes extensively and lectures widely on international issues. He studied international relations at Columbia University, New York and law at London School of Economics and Political Science as Britannia Chevening Scholar. He tweets at: MoeedNj