September 19, 2020
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Double Standards Inc.

Why did the UAE so readily co-operate with India by handing over Aftab Ansari and why did it avoid co-operating in the terrorism case against Anees Ibrahim? The US has little or no interest in the latter. UNSC No.1373? That stands reduced to a farce.

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Double Standards Inc.

(To be read in continuation of my earlier article titled On The Side, Quietly

In 1983, the INTERPOL, then based in Paris, had issued a red corner alert to all its member-countries to arrest Talwinder Singh Parmar, then the leader of the Babbar Khalsa, Canada (later killed by the Punjab Police in an encounter in 1992), if he was found in their territory and to inform the Govt. of India. He was wanted in India in connection with the murder of a number of Nirankaris (religious personalities) and his suspected involvement in plots by Sikh terrorists to have Mrs.Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, assassinated. 

The West German Police had circulated copies of the alert to all its police stations and border and immigration posts. One of its Constables, while making a routine check of the papers of passengers in a train going from Switzerland to West Germany, found Parmar amongst them. He immediately arrested him, removed him from the train and informed his headquarters. 

The Police immediately informed the INTERPOL in Paris who, in turn, alerted the Govt. of India. New Delhi thanked the West German Government for the action taken and moved for his extradition to India. The necessary papers were rushed to Bonn, the then capital of West Germany. The Govt. of India's request to depute a lawyer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to Bonn to appear directly before the court handling the extradition case was not accepted by Bonn. Instead, it assured New Delhi that one of its prosecutors would handle the case on behalf of the Govt. of India. The prosecutor, after going through the papers sent by the CBI, asked for more papers. 

In the meanwhile, Sikh extremist elements based in West Germany mounted pressure on Bonn through their local political contacts for his release. One day, the Govt. of India, which was under the impression that he was still in jail in West Germany since the extradition proceedings had not yet been completed, was surprised to receive a cable from the Indian Consul-General in Vancouver, Canada, that Parmar had addressed a religious congregation in a local gurudwara during which he had held out fresh threats to have Mrs. Gandhi assassinated. 

When the Indian Embassy in Bonn checked up with the West German Foreign Office, it found that the prosecutor had advised that the case against him was weak and that he had, therefore, been released and expelled to Canada. The Govt. of India strongly protested over the clandestine manner in which he had been sent back to Canada without the courtesy of waiting for the additional papers sought by the prosecutor and without informing it. 

The West German Government justified its action, but at the same time tried to assuage the anger of New Delhi by assuring that it had banned Parmar from entering West Germany again. 

That was 18 yeas before the horrendous events of 9/11. International co-operation in acting against terrorism and mutual legal assistance in bringing terrorists to trial were then more an exception than the rule. Decisions in terrorism-related cases were taken by Western Governments more on political than on professional grounds. 

One thought that the world had become wiser post-9/11 and realised that by withholding such co-operation on political and other extraneous grounds and by failing to act unitedly against terrorists and States sponsoring them, the international community was only playing into the hands of terrorists. 

This realisation was reflected in the UN Security Council Resolution No.1373 passed in September,2001. The Resolution, inter alia, stated as follows: 

"All States shall:

"(a) Refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts; 

"(b) Take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other States by exchange of information; 

"(c) Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens; "

(d) Prevent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other States or their citizens; 

"(e) Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice and ensure that, in addition to any other measures against them, such terrorist acts are established as serious criminal offences in domestic laws and regulations and that the punishment duly reflects the seriousness of such terrorist acts; 

"(f) Afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or criminal proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts, including assistance in obtaining evidence in their possession necessary for the proceedings; 

"(g) Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents; 

" Calls upon all States to: 

"(a) Find ways of intensifying and accelerating the exchange of operational information, especially regarding actions or movements of terrorist persons or networks; forged or falsified travel documents; traffic in arms, explosives or 
sensitive materials; use of communications technologies by terrorist groups; and the threat posed by the possession of weapons of mass destruction by terrorist groups; 

"(b) Exchange information in accordance with international and domestic law and cooperate on administrative and judicial matters to prevent the commission of terrorist acts; 

"(c) Cooperate, particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreements, to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks and take action against perpetrators of such acts; 

" Notes with concern the close connection between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms-trafficking, and illegal movement of nuclear, chemical, biological and other potentially deadly materials, and in this regard emphasizes the need to enhance coordination of efforts on national, subregional, regional and international levels in order to strengthen a global response to this serious challenge and threat to international security. 

" Expresses its determination to take all necessary steps in order to ensure the full implementation of this resolution, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter." 

Despite the strong directives of the UNSC, some member-countries such as Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continue to flout its provisions without the international community acting against them for violating the resolution. 

In March,1993, at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Dawood Ibrahim, the leader of a transnational mafia group, and his brother Anees Ibrahim, both then living in Dubai, had organised a series of explosions directed against economic targets in Mumbai, killing about 250 innocent civilians. 

The perpetrators were clandestinely taken from Mumbai to Karachi via Dubai, got trained in camps run by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), now a member of bin Laden's International Islamic Front (ISI), and sent back to Mumbai. Pakistani explosives and detonators and timers of US origin from the stocks supplied to the ISI by the US during the Afghan war of the 1980s, were sent separately boats organised by Dawood. 

When the Govt. of India asked the UAE Government for the arrest and extradition of Dawood and Anees to face trial in India, the latter pressured them to leave its territory. They took up residence in Karachi and started operating from there. Repeated requests from the Govt. of India for their arrest and extradition were turned down by the Pakistan Government on the ground that they were not in Pakistan. Red-cornered notices of the INTERPOL for their arrest were not honoured by Pakistan. 

This matter was taken up by the Govt. of India with President Pervez  Musharraf of Pakistan when he visited India in July,2001. He denied their presence in Pakistani territory. Subsequently, Newsline, a presitigious Pakistani monthly, in its issue for September,2001, carried a detailed article on their presence and activities in Karachi. The Pakistani media reported that the journalist who wrote this article (Ghulam Hasnain) was detained and harassed by the Pakistani authorities. 

12.The article stated as follows:

"Dawood Ibrahim and his team, Mumbai's notorious underworld clan, including his right hand man Chota Shakeel and Jamal Memon, are on India's most wanted list for a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai and other criminal activities. After the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, the gang have made Karachi their new home and perating base. Living under fake names and IDs (identities), and given protection by government agencies, they have built up their underworld operations in Karachi employing local talent like Shoaib and Bholoo. 

"In Pakistan, Dawood managed to establish another huge empire, comprising both legitimate and illegitimate businesses. In fact, the last few years have witnessed Dawood emerge as the don of Karachi. Dawood and his men have made heavy investments in prime properties in Karachi and Islamabad and are major players in the Karachi bourse and in the parallel credit system business--hundi. Dawood is also said to have rescued Pakistan's Central Bank, which was in crisis at one point, by providing a huge dollar loan. His businesses include gold and drug smuggling. The gang is also allegedly heavily involved in (cricket) match-fixing. " 

The article added: 

"Not only have the Pakistani authorities turned a blind eye to the gang's activities within Pakistan, but many in the corridors of power have partaken of Dawood's hospitality.....He is said to have the protection of assorted intelligence agencies. In fact, Dawood and his men move around the city guarded by heavy escorts of armed men in civies believed to be personnel of a top Pakistani security agency. A number of Government undercover agents, who came into contact with Dawood because of their official duties, are now, in fact, working for him. Nearly all the men, who surround him for security reasons, are either retired or serving officers, claims an MQM Muttahida Qaumi Movement) activist." 

The article further said: 

"According to informed sources, Dawood is  Pakistan's number one espionage operative. His men in Mumbai help him get whatever information he needs for Pakistan. Rumour has it that sometimes his men in Karachi accompany Pakistani intelligence agents to the airports to scan arriving passengers and identify RAW (Indian external intelligence) agents." 

(End of citation from the article) 

Though the laws of Pakistan do not provide for "economic citizenships", the Pakistan Government informally provides them to international criminals and terrorists, who maintain a minimum dollar deposit in Pakistani banks and help the Government. Dawood Ibrahim, who had reportedly lent money to Pakistan in the past for the clandestine procurement of missiles and connected technology from China and North Korea, has been given informal "economic citizenship" in order to protect him from the arms of the Indian law and provided with a Pakistani passport under a different name. 

After the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, the Govt. of India had given to Pakistan a list of 20 terrorists, wanted for trial in India, who have been given sanctuary in Pakistan. The list includes the names of Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibrahim and other members of his mafia group wanted for trial in connection with the explosions in Mumbai in March 1993 and other crimes. Pakistan continued to take up the stand that they were not in its territory. Despite this, Dawood played an active role in organising the referendum campaign of Musharraf in Karachi in April,2002,and in bringing voters to the polling booths in trucks to vote for Musharraf. 

The UAE authorities announced on December 8, 2002, the arrest (on December 3) of Anees Ibrahim in Dubai, when he arrived there from Karachi travelling under a Pakistani passport. The Government of India immediately made a formal request to the UAE authorities for his extradition and sent to them the necessary papers in this regard. To its surprise, New Delhi found that instead of acting on its request, the UAE authorities had him released on bail and sent back to Karachi without even the courtesy of informing the Govt. of India. Pakistan, as before, continues to deny that he is in Pakistani territory or that he travelled to Dubai with a Pakistani passport. 

The blatant failure of the UAE authorities to extend the necessary legal assistance to India in bringing to trial a terrorist involved in the killing of about 250 innocent civilians through explosions in March,1993, stands in marked contrast to their co-operation in February this year in arresting and handing over to India Aftab Ansari,another Pakistan-based mafia leader-cum-terrorist, wanted, amongst other cases, for his suspected involvement in the attack on the security personnel outside the American Information Centre in Kolkatta on January 2,.2002. 

Aftab Ansari was a small-time mafia leader, as compared to Dawood Ibrahim, till he came into contact with Omar Sheikh in the Tihar jail of New Delhi in 1994. Omar Sheikh, along with Maulana Masood Azhar, now the leader of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), and another person was released by the Government of India in December, 1999, in response to the demands of a group of terrorists belonging to the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the parent organisation of the JEM, who had hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in Afghanistan .

They crossed over into Pakistan and resumed their terrorist activities -- Maulana Azhar as the leader of the JEM and Omar Sheikh as the head of an office of bin Laden set up in Lahore. Omar Sheikh frequently travelled to Kandahar to meet bin Laden. 

Aftab Ansari, who also came out of jail, travelled to Pakistan via Dubai and resumed contact with Omar Sheikh. The two started acting in tandem -- Aftab Ansari and his gang indulging in kidnapping for ransom and sharing the proceeds with Omar Sheikh and acting as surrogates for Omar Sheikh's terrorist operations in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and other parts of India and Omar helping Aftab Ansari in securing a Pakistani passport under a different name and in acquiring property in Pakistan with his share of the extortion/ransom proceeds. 

One of the terrorist operations mounted by Aftab Ansari, at the instance of Omar Sheikh, in Indian territory was the attack on the security personnel guarding the American Centre in Kolkata (Calcutta) on January 22,2002.Aftab Ansari was subsequently arrested by the Dubai authorities while trying to fly to Karachi and handed over to India. 

Omar Sheikh has already been convicted in Pakistan for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the American journalist of the Wall Street Journal, and sentenced to death. His appeal against the sentence has been proceeding slowly. In the meanwhile, the six-party pro-Taliban and pro-Osama religious coalition, which has since come to power in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan after the recent elections on October 10,2002, has mounted a campaign for his release from jail. 

Earlier, describing the interrogation of Omar Sheikh by the Karachi Police, the News, the prestigious daily of Islamabad, reported as follows on February 18, 2002: 

"Claiming that his "brothers" were making their presence felt and will continue to do so "on every inch of Indian landscape", Omar has shockedhis investigators by narrating his role and that of his "Jihadi colleagues", in the bomb explosion outside state parliament building in Srinagar in October last and shooting incidents in the compound of Indian parliament in New Delhi and outside the American Centre building in Kolkata in December and January last. 

"While speaking to various police officials here (Karachi) and in Lahore over the past one week, Sheikh Omar not only briefed his police interrogators on his role in the Pearl Kidnapping case and on the terrorist strikes in India, but also provided police officials specific details of his travel to Afghanistan a few days after September 11 to have a personal meeting with Osama bin Laden near Jalalabad. 

"Omar doesn't hide, police officials said, his ties with several other Arab associates of Osama. Several independent reports and interrogation of two other suspects in Daniel Pearl Kidnapping case have independently confirmed Omar's deep connections in Taliban leadership and his status as a guerrilla warfare instructor in one of the key training facilities in Afghanistan. 

"Salam Saqib and Sheikh Adil, two key suspects who had played the central role in sending two e-mails attached with the photographs of the kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter, have told the police that Sheikh Omar was widely respected in Afghanistan and was considered a role model even for the most famous warriors in the Pakistani Jihadi community. 

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