India’s Espionage System in Pakistan Proved
Although in the past too, various agents of Indian secret agency RAW were arrested in Pakistan, yet the case of Kulbushan Yadav which has proved the presence of India’s espionage system needs special analysis.
In this regard, on March 24, 2016, Pakistan’s security forces disclosed that they arrested the serving agent of RAW in Balochistan province. During investigation, RAW agent Kulbushan Yadav confessed that during his stay, he contacted various Baloch separatist leaders and insurgents, including Dr Allah Nazar Baloch, to execute the task to damage the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC).
The law enforcement agencies for the last eight months monitored Yadav’s movement and activities and captured him after collecting ample evidence. They also recovered Afghan and Pakistani SIMs as well as maps from his possession. Out of more than 15 Indian consulates in Afghanistan, the majority are located near the Pakistan border and Yadav was also stationed at Kandahar.
On March 25, in a statement, India’s External Affairs Ministry, while admitting the RAW agent, captured by the Pakistani security forces to be Indian citizen, claimed that he was a commander in the Indian Navy, and it has sought consular access to Yadav.
In this respect, Pakistan’s Foreign Office, spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and lodged a strong protest over RAW officer’s arrest…India’s spying activities in Balochistan and Karachi…the spy was linked to separatist elements in Balochistan, as well as involved in acts of sectarian terrorism and terror attacks in Karachi…and Balochistan.”
In this context, while addressing a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rasheed, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said on March 29, 2016, “Kulbushan Yadav’s arrest is a rare case that does not happen very often.” He disclosed that Yadav was an active officer of the Indian Navy prior to his joining RAW. He also served as a scrap dealer and had a jewelry business in Chahbahar, Iran, after he joined RAW in 2013.
A video was also shown during the press conference in which Yadav confessed that he spied for India. Yadav admitted that he was assigned with the task to create unrest in Karachi and Balolchitan by stating, “I supported the individuals who worked to destabilise Pakistan…I promoted the criminal mindset that was there in Balochistan.” Another task assigned to him was to target the Gwadar Port. Yadav also confessed funding Baloch separatists along with other terrorists. He stated that he was arrested by Pakistani authorities while he was heading Iran.
Lt. Gen. Bajwa confirmed the presence of an active espionage of RAW within Pakistan. He elaborated, “Yadav’s mission included conducting of operations in Karachi and Balochistan…to target the Gawadar Port and the CPEC project…the apprehended spy is aware of the funding made regarding the attack carried out on the Mehran Base and that Yadav also tried to form a ‘Tiger force’ in Karachi which aimed towards spreading sectarianism in the city,” adding that “the spy was directly connected with RAW and the Indian authorities.”
During the recent visit of the Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in Pakistan, On March31, this year, Chief of Army Staff. Gen. Raheel Sharif raised the issue of Kulbushan Yadav with him—use of Iranian soil by India’s RAW to stoke instability in Balochistan and Karachi. In this respect, some misunderstanding was created by some media reports which misinterpreted the news by indicating that perhaps, Gen. Raheel has blamed Tehran for RAW activities in Pakistan. However, while denouncing media reports, Minister for Interior Affairs Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan clarified on April 2 that “Iran is not involved in any anti-state activities in Pakistan…all sections of Pakistani society are unanimous in their support for stronger Pak-Iran relations.”
A day after Islamabad formally sent a six-point letter, addressed to Iranian Ambassador in Islamabad, Mehdi Honardoost, asked Tehran to immediately arrest and hand over an individual identified as Rakesh, alias Rizwan, for interrogation; verify activities of Kulbhushan Jadhav along with records of visits to Iran; provide a record of his stay in Iran including cities visited and the duration of these visits; provide a record of people he interacted with and purpose of these interactions; share details of RAW networks on Iranian soil and share any other details related to the matter”. In response, Iranian ambassador called on Interior Minister Nisar to assure his country’s full support in stemming incursion of Indian spies into Pakistani territory, using Iranian soil.
It is notable that in 2012, as part of the exchange of prisoners, Pakistani government released Indian spy, Surjeet Singh who was handed over to the Indian authorities at the Wagah border crossing. He openly admitted that he was in Pakistan to spy when he was arrested in 1982, In this regard, Surjeet Singh said, “I was a RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent. No one bothered about me after I got arrested.” Surjeet told reporters soon after stepping on Indian soil.
Quite opposite to the admission of Surjeet, on June 29, 2012, Indian Home Secretary RK Singh told a news conference in New Delhi, saying, “We do not accept this that Singh was Indian spy…it is completely wrong.” However, it showed Indian illogical approach as New Delhi denied facts in order to conceal the presence of other Indian spies in Pakistan.
While reaching India, Surjeet Singh again admitted before Indian reporters that he sent to Pakistan by RAW for espionage purposes.
And the Pakistan’s Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari had also commuted death sentence of another Indian spy of RAW, Sarabjit Singh into life imprisonment on June 26, 2012.
Surjeet Singh had revealed, “Sarabjit Singh is a terrorist and terrorists are not released.” On the other side, the then Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna who welcomed Surjeet Singh’s release, stated on June 25, 2012, it was now “time for Sarabjit Singh to be freed.” Like Indian home secretary, even external affairs minister was defending the Indian agents. It displayed that Indian high officials are deliberately and officially supporting RAW agents to destabilise Pakistan.
Nevertheless, both Surjeet Singh and Sarabjit Singh were responsible for the string of blasts in Faisalabad, Lahore, and Multan in 1990 in which several innocent people were killed. They were also behind other terror-activities in Pakistan.
On June 28, 2012, BBC reported, in recent years, “several Indians returning from Pakistani jails have admitted to spying for Indian intelligence agency RAW” and some have criticised India’s government for abandoning them.”
It is mentionable that in April 2011, Gopal Das, one of Pakistan’s longest-serving Indian prisoners, was released after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari intervened in his case.
Upon his release, Das admitted that he was an Indian spy. Similarly, Kashmir Singh, sentenced to death in Pakistan in 1973 for spying, was released in March 2008. Afterwards, he also confessed that he was spying for RAW.
The fact of the matter is that admission of the Indian spies, particularly of Kulbushan Yadav clearly prove that Indian RAW has a well-organised espionage system in Pakistan.
In this respect, Indian RAW with the tactical assistance of American CIA and Israeli Mossad have well-established its espionage network in Afghanistan, and besides backing other similar terrorist groups, it has been supporting Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which has claimed responsibility for several terror attacks inside Pakistan, including the recent one at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park (Childen Park) in Lahore on Easter Sunday (March 27, 2016), which killed at least 72 people, including 29 children and injured more than 300 persons. A faction of the TTP, Jamaatul Ahrar claimed responsibility for this ferocious terror attack, saying Christians were their target.
Besides, India’s several secret training camps are also present in Afghanistan from where in the past years, highly trained militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons including motivated suicide bombers were being sent to Pakistan’s various places to conduct target killings, bomb blasts, attacks on civil and military installations, forced abductions and sectarian violence.
With the tactical backing of CIA and Mossad, RAW have also been assisting the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and other separatist outfits and Jundollah (God’s soldiers) which have committed various subversive acts in the province of Balochistan—abductions, and killings of several nationals of China and Iran. The main aims are to separate the province of Balochistan and to fail the CPEC. These agencies are also weakening Pakistan, because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World.
It is of particular attention that in September 2013, India’s media had disclosed that on a defence ministry directive, asking for the creation of covert capability—the military intelligence unit, Technical Services Division (TSD) was set up by the Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh (R), which conducted covert operations in Pakistan. Besides an official of the TSD, in an Indian TV Channel, Gen. VK Singh boldly confessed that during his tenure as only one Minister of Agriculture (Ghulam Hasan Mir) was bribed, and Indian Army provided money to selected leaders in Jammu & Kashmir to crush the militancy (Kashmiri freedom fighters).
In the recent past, Pakistan’s armed forces broke the backbone of the militants by achieving successes against the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb, and particularly cleared the areas of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), while restoring peace in Balochistan and Karachi.
In this connection, even the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its annual report issued on April 2, 2016 pointed out, “A 40 percent decrease in violence in 2015 as compared to 2014. In 2015, 4,612 people died in violence as compared to 7,622 violence-related deaths last year. Anti-state violence dropped below 2008 levels: 706 militant attacks took place, in which 1,325 people including 619 civilians, 348 security forces personnel, 325 militants and 33 pro-government razakars were killed…provinces continued to use expanded legislative authority under the 18th Constitutional Amendment to enact several important laws…the 21st Constitutional Amendment and corresponding amendments to the Army Act 1952 gave military courts jurisdiction to try all persons, including civilians and juveniles, in offences related to terrorism under military tribunals.”
But, through its spy-network in Afghanistan which has coordination with its espionage system in Pakistan, especially RAW is again trying to conduct terror attacks and subversive activities in Pakistan like the past.
Pakistan’s civil and military high officials have repeatedly disclosed that Indian RAW is behind acts of sabotage in Karachi and Balochistan including sectarian violence.
Nonetheless, RAW-based espionage system in Pakistan has undoubtedly been proved after the arrest and confession of Kulbushan Yadav.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations