October 2001 News

ISI launches new offensive, swaps pen for sword

5 October 2001
The Indian Express

New Delhi: ''Target Pen'' is a new offensive launched by Pakistan''s ISI in Jammu and Kashmir under which mercenaries have been ''instructed'' to influence or persuade the media in the Valley ''to plant stories against the state government''. According to official sources, about Monday''s suicide attack on the state Assembly, which left as many as 38 dead, ISI asked militants to persuade the vernacular press to ''shift the blame on the government agencies''. The sources said there were enough wireless intercepts that Pakistan''s ISI had asked the militants to plant stories that the ''entire action is a drama enacted by the agencies of the government to malign Pakistan as also to ensure that Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) are banned by the Western world''. The sources said that some over-ground sympathisers of these militants had even approached the local media but failed to muster any ''great amount'' of support from them as everyone was witness to the disaster and the tactics adopted were similar to those in previous suicide attacks. JeM, which claimed the responsibility for the attack immediately after the incident, back tracked from its version following widespread criticism and condemnation in the Valley. Faced with worldwide condemnation of the attack at the state Assembly in Srinagar, ISI appeared to have chided the terrorist group, JeM, for admitting the responsibility for the attack, the sources said. The group had even released the name of the militant, who drove the vehicle into the security forces bunker located outside the state Assembly. However, faced with a piquant situation and an apparent dressing down from its masters in Pakistan, a JeM spokesman denied its involvement 24 hours after the attack. The sources said enough indications were coming in through intercepts and interrogation of militants that ''certain batches within these groups'' were defying the orders from ISI and carrying out suicide attacks in Kashmir. Pakistan government cannot afford any such incidents in the Valley following increased international vigilance. The sources termed the statement of JeM spokesman as ''damage control exercise as the valley people were very much disturbed over the action, which left so many people dead and seriously injured.''


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