Why not military mea culpa?
dismissed. Zahoor was ticked off and peremptorily told to "keep his hands off the activities as the ' concerned side' was perfectly capable of monitoring their movements."
Snubbed into silence, Col Javed Zahoor gave up his pursuit. But pampering the scallywags rankled him. "Knowing things so well on the ground, I was convinced that not only will these extremists pose serious security threats to Pakistan, they would bring a bad name to the country. Pakistan would lose friends and allies abroad." So Zahoor continued with his "fragile and even dangerous checks and probes" on these men.
It was during one of these background checks that Col Javed Zahoor stumbled upon something so sensitive that if mishandled, it could blow into his face and destroy his 28-yearold army career. An Arab operative (whose identity remains undisclosed) raised Col Zahoor's suspicions. There was something dodgy about this character that sent red flags up in the spymaster's antennas. But the irony was that the boss of the 'concerned side' in the ISI considered the Arab to be his top man and therefore trusted him blindly as a "valuable asset"!
As the murderous plot unravelled, Col Javed Zahoor succeeded in enlisting the help of one of his subordinates, a major. Together the two spies took the whole episode to its logical conclusion. "Even after the successful unearthing of the plan and arrest of the criminals, the so-called Mujahedeen, one of the top men in the ISI commented ' Zahoor, you embarrassed my person.'
Moving swiftly but silently, Zahoor got answers that he was desperately seeking: who was the target of the attack, where was it to take place and more urgently when was it due.
How Zahoor hacked into the Arab's telephone conversations is another story. We'll leave it for another day. The retired colonel is loath to go into details as it is classified information and too sensitive to discuss. "Anyway I unearthed the whole gang (I have used "I" when I should be using "We" because in any organisation, one does not work individually, but collectively. However, I could not trust any of my subordinates. Many had established links with this unholy lot." The OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) Summit, 1997 in Islamabad was the target of the terrorist attack that the Arab and his fellow militants had been planning for a while.