‘India got the shock of its life’: In conversation with Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib

International community is embracing Pakistan

The brutal state terrorism in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) has further exposed the designs of the regime and India is now facing international isolation. On the contrary, the world community is now approaching Pakistan

Nothing about Pak-India has been dull for a while now, especially since Modi took power in Delhi. Not that anything about his rhetoric is really surprising; he promised just as much on the campaign trail. But the Kulbhushan episode has made the situation a lot more complex. Why, for example, has India changed its position so many times on the issue? And why has it become so desperate about the spy after the death sentence? Also, what is the way forward?

To discuss these difficult issues, DNA talked exclusively to noted analyst Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib.

Question: By acting so indecisively with regard to such a sensitive case as of Kulbhushan Jhadhav, isn’t the Indian government making a very bad investment in international diplomacy? Or, perhaps, there’s still more to this story that the public is not aware of?

Gen Amjad Shoaib: In fact, India received the shock of its life when Kulbhushan was sentenced. The BJP-RSS government has been extremely hawkish towards Pakistan as well as the Indian minorities. The international community has started to criticise the intolerant attitude of the Indian government towards its minorities.

The brutal state terrorism in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) has further exposed the designs of the regime and India is now facing international isolation. On the contrary, the world community is now approaching Pakistan.

In this international atmosphere, the Indian regime has decided to go the extra mile to save its serving intelligence officer who was involved in terror financing, terrorism and activities of sabotage inside a sovereign state. This has made the Indian position more complex. This all is bad investment in diplomacy and New Delhi would soon face the music.

Q: Why do you think India has hopes of ‘rescuing’ Kulbhushan Jhadhav? After all, his crimes include not just espionage, but also murder/terrorism. Surely Delhi must realise there’s no way Pakistan will bend, especially since the spy is responsible for so many lives. Your thoughts, please?

GAS: In my view, India would first try to bully Pakistan through threats and diplomatic gang-ups to make Pakistan compromise on Kulbhushan’s case. In case they can’t bully us, then India may opt for teaming up with the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) to push the government of Pakistan to bow.

Even if that does not work, India may go for increasing acts of terrorism and sabotage in Pakistan, using Afghan soil. Balochistan would be their immediate target. Indians may also mount attacks against CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) in and around Gwadar through the Iranian Chabahar border.

Pakistan should also be ready to respond to any false flag operations from India along the Line of Control (LoC) or a repeat of the false claim of surgical strike just to help shift media focus from the real issue of India’s role in terrorism and sabotage inside Pakistan.

I would also not rule out a political effort to fool the political leadership in Pakistan through a repeat of so-called peace dialogue — just to seek some concessions on Jhadhav. However, the chances of success of such an effort are remote as the military leadership looks committed to carry forward the sentence of Jhadhav.

Q: The Indian government has changed its position thrice since the story of Kulbhushan broke. First they distanced themselves, then said he’d set up shop in Iran and was wrongly captured by Pakistan. Now they want to provide him with legal help. Why the back and forth in your opinion?

GAS: Yes, the Indian stance over Kulbhushan has been full of contradictions from day-one. Initially New Delhi did not accept Jhadhav as an Indian and distanced itself from him. Then New Delhi claimed he was a retired officer of the Indian navy. Then they said he was not a serving officer and rather he started his business at Chabahar after retirement from where he was picked up by Pakistani intelligence.

Now, for the sake of argument, I would ask if he was not related to intelligence, why had India issued him fake identity papers? Why was his name put as Hussain Mubarak Patel while his name is Kulbhushan Jhadhav?

Moreover, if India does not accept him as a serving officer, why did the Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently claim to invoke the Vienna Convention?

We know that the Vienna Convention deals with serving military officers. So if Jhadhav is a retired officer, why does India claim to invoke the Vienna Convention?

At the moment, Pakistan has no bilateral relations with India. So the question doesn’t arise of Kulbhushan’s sentence impacting bilateral ties. New Delhi is not bothered to even talk to us

India has also claimed that Jhadhav was abducted from Chabahar, Iran. Now if it was the case, Iran should have taken up the matter with Pakistan officially rather than New Delhi. Actually, after initial investigations, the Iranians went on the defensive once they found there was no truth in Indian claims.

Q: How does this affect bilateral relations going forward? Is there still an outside chance of the two countries returning to talks?

GAS: At the moment, Pakistan has no bilateral relations with India. So the question doesn’t arise of Kulbhushan’s sentence impacting bilateral ties. New Delhi is not bothered to even talk to us. The fascist regime is making life miserable in IOK where hundreds of unarmed civilians have been brutally martyred by occupant forces since the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. Over 1,000 people have been partially or fully blinded while over 10,000 youth have been arrested.

They are not prepared to even listen to international calls to halt this killing spree in Occupied Kashmir. Ceasefire violations on the Line of Control are a permanent feature now. No bilateral engagement has been observed on this issue. What we have common between us is the embassies which have failed to deliver. Hence, one must not assume the revival of a meaningful dialogue between the two sides in the near future.

Q: How do you view the recent abduction of Col (r) Habib Zahir from Nepal? Do you believe he was trapped by Indian intelligence to facilitate a possible swap for Kulbhushan Jhadhav?

GAS: Yes, it is an almost established fact now that Col (r) Habib Zahir has been trapped by Indian intelligence. Perhaps the Indians were aiming at a bargain for Jhadhav. There have been some recent Indian media reports aiming a failed bid to club Habib with Kulbhushan’s catch.

However, this effort failed to attract attention due to fact that Col Habib had retired in September 2014 while Kulbhushan was arrested in March 2016.

The abduction of Col Habib from Nepal is a repetition of what Indian intelligence agencies did to Ajmal Kasab, who was also picked from Nepal.

Of late, the family of Ajmal Kasab has contacted some international human rights associations. According to their investigations, Kasab was also kidnapped from Nepal where he had gone for a job. This is what exactly happened to Habib Zahir.

The matter has also been raised by a former indian inspector general of police, SM Mushrif, who in his book has admitted that Kasab had been kidnapped by Raw from Kathmandu and he was in police custody since 2006 — well before the Mumbai attacks.

However, despite these facts, Kasab was falsely implicated in the Mumbai attacks and was later hanged quietly without a fair trial. This is how India has turned into a slaughter house for Muslims.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Pingback: ‘India received the shock of its life’: In dialog with Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib | بغاوت

  2. parvez said:

    Col (r) Habib Zahir what in the world was he doing in Nepal?

  3. KK said:

    If you can defend Kasab, you can defend and accuse anybody..Be practical and pragmatic. Am a bit dismayed by your views..Wondering if it was worth carrying this interview….

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