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Why Kayani's exit may halt Pak ceasefire violations

October 24, 2013 13:52 IST

Violations from the Pakistani side along the Line of Control have become a common recurrence, and according to sources in the Intelligence Bureau, some peace can be expected only after Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani retires next month.

There is a lot that one could link between the constant ceasefire violations and the retirement of the Pakistan army chief. It is clear that he wants to have a major say in the affairs of Pakistan’s terror policy post-retirement.

Many believe Kayani will follow the footsteps of Hamid Gul, the former Inter Services Intelligence chief, who still commands a great deal of respect in all quarters of Pakistan including terror groups.

Pakistan does ensure that its former chiefs either in the army or the ISI don the role of a loose cannon post retirement. This is done mainly to avoid heat on the establishment and at the same time ensure that the terror groups are well guided. Kayani, according to sources in the Indian intelligence agencies, is aiming at becoming one of those many loose cannons who would post retirement guide Pakistan’s terror policy.

In this context it would be interesting to narrate what an officer in the intelligence had to say about an incident that took place in Afghanistan a few years back. It was at a private hotel in Kabul in which Hamid Gul was residing. At around 5.30 PM,

“Gul was seen sitting at the lobby of the hotel hosting a durbar in which jihadis of the Taliban¸ Lashkar-e-Tayiba and other groups were present. While Gul was perched on a sofa, the operatives were sitting on the floor intently listening to what the former ISI boss had to say. He was discussing with them a strategy which involved future attacks”, the Indian officer who witnessed this told

The role of former officers is always crucial for Pakistan and it was seen very clearly in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks where a bunch of former army and ISI officers took part in the planning the ghastly strikes.

Kayani wants to be one such loose cannon and in order to attain this rank he needs to build the confidence of terror groups especially the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The best way for him to do so is launch an anti-India tirade and he appears to be doing very well with 192 violations since January.

The Pakistan army chief kills several birds with one stone with such a launch on India. He not only pleases the ISI, which is hell bent that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharrief does not talk peace with India, but also earns the trust of the terror groups who are looking for ways to enter into India and carry out an attack.

Kayani is basically using the army to ensure that there are violations on the border and this in turn is helping with the infiltrations of jihadis into Indian soil.

Indian officials point out that Kayani does not want to settle into a shadow post retirement. He wants to play an active role in the affairs of Pakistan. This he appears to be doing at the behest of the ISI which has ensured him all support post retirement. Kayani is clear that he does not want to go the Musharraf way where a coup was staged to overthrow a democratic set up.

Image: Pakistan Army Chief Gen Kayani is set to retire in November

Photograph: Reuters

Vicky Nanjappa