Not quite the blowback

One of the two suicide bombers, who attacked President Gen Musharraf’s convoy in Rawalpindi last Thursday, had been cleared of involvement in anti-state activities by security agencies in April last year , background interviews and investigations by Dawn revealed.

Dawn’s investigation revealed that Muhammad Jameel, 23, was affiliated with the banned Jaish-i-Muhammad, a militant organization, that had training camps in Rishkore near Kabul in the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and was actively involved in the occupied Kashmir.Dawn

“We had been publicly telling Pakistan that those who start terrorism could end up facing it themselves. Now look what has happened,” Defence Minister George Fernandes said at Pokhran. George Fernandes/Rediff

QED?

Not quite.

Just like the Kahuta scientists could not have sold nuclear secrets for their ‘own personal greed’ the jehadis of Jaish-e-Mohammed could not have attempted a hit on Musharraf without official sanction from the Pakistani military establishment. The Pakistan army and ISI have long used jehadis in circumstances where they needed to distance themselves from the actors and have plausible deniability. It is no different now.

Given the extraordinary dependence of Pakistan on Musharraf’s personal rapport with the United States, it is unlikely that the Pakistani establishment would desire to overtly upstage him and thereby provoke the wrath of the international community. And the jehadis are a convenient vehicle to get rid of Musharraf, put a full stop to his U-turns, and at the same time continue to play ball with the United States. Even if the actual assassination attempt failed, it would serve as a warning to Musharraf against selling the military’s family silver – the nukes and the Kashmir cause.

Related Link: Pervez Hoodbhoy’s excellent op-ed in Dawn