February 26, 2007Security

Rogues, fringes and other ISI flavours

But they all taste the same

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The plan and the devices were too sophisticated for the militants, writes Outlooks Saikat Datta. The new enemy is, in fact, the rogue ISI, elements of which were operating beyond their official brief”. Fringe’ ISI officers are the emerging threat”. Only with such rationalisation can those wedded to India’s current engagement of Gen Musharraf even attempt to explain the proliferation of terrorist attacks across India.

The question that needs to be asked is how does one know which of the factions is the rogue’ or the fringe’? A rogue faction implies a section of the ISI carrying out operations against official orders. But Gen Musharraf himself has gone on record several times insisting that the ISI is disciplined force and is entirely under his control. If he is right, then surely, the attack on the Delhi-Attari Express could not have taken place without his knowledge and approval. If he is wrong and he’s not as much in control as he claims to be, then well, India is talking to the wrong man. [Related Link: See Maverick’s take]

A fringe” faction, on the other hand, implies that the rogues in the ISI (no pun intended) are a small minority. Again, on what basis does anyone conclude this? It is quite possible, and even likely, that those in favour of calling a halt to the proxy war against India are the fringe, while the bulk of the organisation is dedicated to pursuing its age-old strategy against India. Bureaucratic organisations cannot overturn their processes so fast, not least when these processes are a source of substantial economic and political power. And how rogue or fringe could the perpetrators have been when Pakistan airlifted all its citizens before they could testify/be interrogated by Indian investigators?

All the talk about mythical rogues and fringes obfuscates the real issue—that Gen Musharraf must be held accountable if Pakistani involvement in the terrorist attacks is established. Casting Musharraf as a man genuinely interested in peace for its own sake is naive or delusional. The only thing that he is interested in is his own survival. The United States is finally beginning to make his survival contingent on his delivering the goods. India should do no less.

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