Why not mil­i­tary mea culpa?

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

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.

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