Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence has been trying to engineer trouble in Punjab for the last twenty years, former director general of Punjab Police Kanwar Pal Singh Gill told rediff.com in an exclusive interview on Monday.
Now that Punjab has managed to put the era of terrorism behind and move on, the ISI is again trying to destablise the state, said Gill. In fact, the supercop said that he had expected ISI to trigger terrorist attacks in the state much earlier.
"I am surprised that the bomb attack has come late. Knowing the Punjab militants, I was expecting it soon after the judgement about former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh's murder case. In spite of his security cordon, he was killed by a bomb which was delivered in a packet," Gill said in a telephonic interview from Pune.
Gill confessed that the Babbar Khalsa international group of terrorists has been trying to regroup.
"I do believe that the incident has something to do with the internal situation in Pakistan. It comes days before President Pervez Musharraf's fate is decided by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a former ISI chief takes over as the new army chief," he said.
Gill, who is often credited with snuffing out terrorism in restive Punjab, points out, "But this is not an isolated case because the entire planning is being done by ISI men and carried out by their agents working on a local level," he said.
However, former chief of Intelligence Bureau Ajit Doval feels that a proper study should be made before drawing any particular conclusion about the recent spate of terror attacks.
Six people were killed and more than 40 injured in a blast at a multiplex theatre in Ludhiana on Sunday.
The Punjab Police raided the hideouts of the Babbar Khalsa across the state on Monday and rounded up over twenty hardcore former terrorists for interrogations. According to intelligence sources, the group had met in Germany recently to rebuild their organisation.
Sri Prakash Jaiswal, Minister of State for Home Affairs, who visited the blast site on Sunday night, said that it is too premature to comment about the involvement of terrorist groups in the strike. But this the first time in the history of the state that the militants have allegedly tied up with the ISI to carry out terror attacks.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil had earlier warned intelligence agencies that terrorists could strike during the festival season.