Date: 30 Dec 2007


Monster she created came back to take her life
Pradeep Thakur- 29 Dec 2007
Times of India

NEW DELHI: It was the year 1996. Benazir Bhutto as
prime minister of Pakistan had asked Pervez Musharraf,
then her Director General of Military Operations, to
rehabilitate Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in
Jalalabad from Sudan. 

Bin Laden, who had shifted base to the African country
after the Afghan war, had been thrown out by Khartoum
after intense American pressure. Musharraf brought the
Al-Qaida mastermind to Jalalabad, a city in eastern
Afghanistan, and rehabilitated him. 

That, a decade later, Al-Qaida should claim
responsibility for Bhutto’s assassination marks not
just a cruel irony, it also underlines once again the
risk of Frankenstein’s monster turning upon the

Bhutto’s return to Pakistan this year may have been
marked with her claim to wipe out terrorism, but the
fact remains that it was her interior minister, Major
General (retd) Naseerullah Babar, who played a key
role in raising the Taliban and consolidating Al-Qaida
in Afghanistan. 

The reason: a desire to secure strategic depth by
controlling Pakistan’s western border, and to have a
say in future Afghanistan affairs. 

The present day terrorism in India, and now turning on
Pakistan, can, to an important extent, be traced to
that fateful decision taken by the Bhutto government. 

Taliban soon became host to a menacing jihadi
conglomerate — the Qaida-led International Islamic
Front (IIF) — the components of which included
anti-India gangs like Lashkar-e-Toiba,
Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which later became
Jaish-e-Mohhamed, HuJI and others. 

The objective of the group was to establish Sharia
rule in this important region of Asia, and it was
determined to go to any length, even acquire weapons
of mass destruction, to realise it. 

After the collapse of Taliban post-9/11, this terror
infrastructure led by bin Laden moved to Pakistan, and
has added to the radicalisation which has claimed so
many innocent lives, including that of the former
prime minister. 

A look at the history of militancy in the subcontinent
also brings out the fact that Islamic fundamentalism
is a direct result of the efforts of hardline Sunni
groups to subdue Shias, Ahmadias and others. 

Fundamentalist Sunni outfits like Sipah-e-Sahaba
Pakistan (SSP), which went after Shias, enjoyed the
patronage of influential sections of the Pakistan

There was an overlap of objectives, of course. Former
Pakistan president General Zia-ul-Haq, follower of
Deobandi sect of Sunnis, set up SSP in 1979 to not
only counter the Shias but marginalised pro-democracy
forces seeking an end of his brutal military regime. 

Some of the radical elements of the SSP parted ways
and formed Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in 1996. LeJ, which
is suspected to have carried out the attack on Bhutto
at the behest of Al-Qaida, is nothing but the armed
wing of SSP like Jaish-e-Mohamed and HuJI which had
also branched out of SSP. 

The connections of all jihadi groups with each other
are obvious whether they are fighting in Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Iraq or India.

Bhutto-mania @