State sponsored assassinations

India Israel and the USA 

Canada has burgeoning trade relations with India. The world was stunned when the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused Indian intelligence agencies of being behind the assassination of Khalistan activist and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar. This event reflected that there has been a cataclysmic change in India’s covert-operation policy.

Emulating the USA and Israel, India has begun to “eliminate” people which it regards as enemies of the Indian state. Israel is believed to be assisting India in honing its covert-assassination skills.

India’s “hard “policy dovetailed with Ajit Doval’s “offensive-defensive” doctrine, has been on the anvil since 2015 or perhaps a few years earlier. Within the framework of this nouveau “hard” policy, India crossed Myanmar’s border ostensibly to punish “Naga militants” in 2015.

Recall the 2016 post-Uri-attack surgical strike across the LoC and the 2019 Balakot airstrike after the Pulwama terror attack, the 72-day stand-off in Doklam due to India’s intransigence, the confrontations at Galwan and Pangong-Tso due to India’s provocations.

The metamorphosis in India’s “soft’ policy remained unnoticed by the world community. It appears that India told world leaders “You better stay mum like you stayed at Mossad or CIA assassinations or renditions”. India’s argument is that if the USA and Israel could act as judge, jury and executioner, “why can’t I?”

Like Mossad and the CIA, India, too, gets its targets whetted by a conglomerate of hit men, psychologists, and other technical experts. India collected a wealth of information from the CIA’s and Mossad’s modus operandi and tactics.

It baffles one’s imagination how India managed to plant bombs in seminaries in Pakistan, or kill “targets” in congested Pakistani cities. Like Mossad, India also has specializsed in use of drugs and poisons to “eliminate” targets.

It is now common to dub one’s adversary a ‘terrorist’. Doing so foreclose the possibility of political negotiation, and gives the powerful definer the right to eliminate the ‘terrorist’

Those killed in India’s covert operations include:

(a)     Hardeep Singh Nijjar. He was killed near a gurudwara in Surrey, Canada, by two unknown assailants in June 2023.

(b)     Rayaz Ahmed alias Abu Qasim. Shot dead in a mosque in Azad Kashmir in September 2023.

(c)     Bashir Ahmed Peer of Hizbul Mujahideen. Shot dead at point-blank range in Rawalpindi in February 2023.

(d)     Al Badr commander Syed Khalid Raza. Killed by a single shot in the head in Karachi in February 2023.

(e)     Khalistani extremist Avtar Singh Khanda. He was poisoned and died from “unknown causes” at a Birmingham hospital in June 2023.

(f)     Aijaz Ahmad Ahangar. Killed in Afghanistan’s Kunar province in February 2023.

(g)     Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Mistry Zahoor Ibrahim (one of the IC-814 hijackers). Shot dead in Karachi in March 2022.

(h)     Khalistan Commando Force’s Paramjit Singh Panjwar. Shot dead in Lahore by two gunmen in May 2023.

(i)      Lal Mohammed. India portrayed him as an ISI operative who pushed fake currency into India. He was chased and shot dead on the outskirts of Kathmandu (Nepal) last year.

(j)      Khalistani activist Harwinder Rinda. He too mysteriously died in a Lahore hospital in November 2022.

(k)     A day later, Khalistani activist and Rinda’s aide, Happy Sanghera, was killed in Italy.

(l)      Khalistani activist Kulwinderjit Singh Khanpuria. He was abducted from Bangkok, but his arrest was shown to have been made in Delhi (rendition).

(m)    In June 2021, a powerful blast rocks Hafiz Saeed’s abode. Earlier, his companion Talha Saeed was injured in a blast in Lahore. Maulana Masood Azhar. In 2019, India managed to plant a bomb at his seminary at Peshawar. It is speculated that he happened to escape unhurt.

India was emboldened to follow the Mossad and CIA line as the world ignored them.

A cursory view of Mossad’s assassinations: Killing Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, Abu Hamza Rabia,  Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Abu Laith al-Libi, Imad Mughniya, Abu Khabab al-Masri, Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim, Abu Zubair al-Masri, Abdullah Said al Libi, Salah Mustafa, Ghassan Kanafani, Abdel Wael Zwaiter, Mahmoud Hamshari, Kamal Adwan, Kamal Nasser, Sayeret Matkal, Wadie Haddad, Yehia El-Mashad (Egyptian nuclear scientist) , José Alberto Albano do Amarante (a Brazilian Air Force lieutenant colonel), Said S. Bedair (Egyptian scientist), Gerald Bull (Canadian engineer), Yahya Ayyash , Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam (architect of the Iranian missile system), Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan (Iranian nuclear scientist), among others.

Assassinations by the CIA include: Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi (linked to the USS Cole bombing), Haitham al-Yemeni, Abu Hamza Rabia,Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Abu Laith al-Libi, Imad Mughniya (C.I.A.-Mossad operation), Abu Khabab al-Masri, Abu Haris, Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim, Abu Zubair al-Masri, Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam.  Sheikh Ahmed and Salim Swedan (1998 United States embassy bombings), Baitullah Mehsud, Qari Mohammad Zarif (Fada’iyan-e Islam), Hamza al-Jufi (Jundallah), Abu Yahya al-Libi, Hamza bin Laden, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and others.

“Terrorism” (violence plus political agenda) is a ploy to gain publicity (Verinder Grover, Encyclopaedia Of International Terrorism). “Terrorists” are so designated under the United Nations’ resolutions 1267 and 1373. The US was the power behind these resolutions.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg (2008) observed that “arbitrary procedures for terrorist black-listing must now be changed”. There is no universal definition of terrorism. Ihekwoaba D. Onwudiwe, in The Globalization of Terrorism, within World Systems theory, thinks terrorism is a world-wide phenomenon. He links the terrorism with global inequality.

Both India and the US appear to consider Hafiz Mohammad Saeed the mastermind of Mumbai attacks. Yet, a host of critics consider Mumbai trials lacked transparency. According to principles of penology, an offence has to be first defined before it is made punishable. In the absence of a global, universally acceptable definition of the word ‘terrorism’, any figment of imagination could be stretched to mean terrorism.

Unless ‘terrorism is defined, it will not be possible to distinguish it from a freedom movement, protest, guerrilla warfare, subversion, criminal violence, para-militarism, communal violence or banditry. A nation cannot be punished for individual acts of terrorism, according to principles of natural justice and penology.

In the historical context, the term meant different things to different individuals and communities. The oldest ‘terrorists’ were holy warriors who killed civilians. Recent examples of religious terrorists are Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese), Rabbi Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir (Jews).

The Jewish-controlled media describes Hezbollah and Hamas as ‘religious terrorists’. In the first century A.D Palestine, the Jews publicly slit the Romans’ throats, in the seventh century India, the thugs strangulated gullible passersby to please the Hindu Devi Kali, and the 19th century adherents of Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will) in Russia mercilessly killed their pro-Tsar rivals. Most historians believe that the term ‘terrorism’ received international publicity during the French reign of terror in 1793-94.

It is now common to dub one’s adversary a ‘terrorist’. Doing so foreclose the possibility of political negotiation, and gives the powerful definer the right to eliminate the ‘terrorist’.

Amjed Jaaved
Amjed Jaaved
The writer is a freelance journalist, has served in the Pakistan government for 39 years and holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. He can be reached at [email protected]


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