With Amarinder Singh’s Removal, Pakistan Has Scored Big in Punjab

Follow the chain of events: Amarinder Singh was a thorn in the eyes of the ISI. A process was set in motion to remove him and elevate ISI-stooge Sidhu through the Congress High Command. Earlier this year, Pakistan signed a second ceasefire with India to concentrate on Afghanistan. After ensuring the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, the ISI turned its attention to India. And Punjab is high on its hit list.

Opinion

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

Punjab has always been in the crosshair of Pakistan’s ISI especially after the last round of Pakistan-sponsored militancy in Punjab that witnessed a blood-soaked period before subsiding. In recent years, Pakistan’s induction of weapons, narcotics and RDX into Punjab increased exponentially through land and air (drones) from across the international border, interspersed with terrorist attacks. Pumping of arms intensified during the ongoing farmers’ agitation where the presence of Khalistani elements was also suspected. Concurrent to the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, the Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) opened an office in Karachi and the ISI facilitated linking of SFJ with Chinese intelligence for anti-India activities. The ISI-SFJ supplied information on Indian troop movement to Beijing prior to the Chinese aggression in Ladakh last year.

On August 10, 2021, then Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking help to counter Pakistan-backed terror forces amid increased security threat ahead of Independence Day and the Assembly polls; requesting 25 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and anti-drone equipment for BSF to counter Pakistan-backed terrorists. Amarinder had earlier met Shah in December 2020 to apprise him of increased Pakistani drone activity to induct arms, drugs and explosives into Punjab. Speaking to the media after the meeting Amarinder said talks were going on between the Centre and the farmers and there was nothing for him to resolve.

When Imran Khan’s government was to be inaugurated, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu (then Punjab tourism minister) and some Indian cricketers were invited. All but one declined the invite, with Amarinder specifically stating he would not attend when Pakistan was killing our soldiers. But Congress deputed Sidhu as its emissary. At Islamabad, Sidhu beamed, hugging Pakistani Army Chief QJ Bajwa in a tight embrace. He also had no compunction in getting himself photographed with pro-Khalistani separatist Gopal Singh Chawla, who too was invited by Imran. Bajwa whispered something in Sidhu’s ear and the latter on return to India raised the issue of opening the Kartarpur Corridor, which was in limbo because of Pakistan’s proxy war.

Having switched from BJP to Congress, Sidhu had on one occasion paid obeisance to Sonia Gandhi to become her blue-eyed boy by touching her feet in public, which even some of his close friends thought as a blemish on his entire cricketing career. But in India this has become the norm in all political parties, Congress and BJP included; it is a sure shot way to climb up the ladder in double time. It has nothing to do with showing respect to the elders but simply that power does not only corrupt the powerful, but also those seeking power in a hurry. Besides, those in power love being elevated to cult figures by such individuals, especially when it is in public and on camera.

The ISI’s plan was to use the Kartarpur Corridor for upping militancy in Punjab but smuggling of arms and narcotics was not possible because of stringent checks. So, arms, narcotics, and explosives were to be inducted through other routes, including the use of drones

The ISI’s plan was to use the Kartarpur Corridor for upping militancy in Punjab but smuggling of arms and narcotics was not possible through the corridor because of stringent checks. However, movement of unbranded separatists and psychological conditioning certainly was while arms, narcotics, and explosives were to be inducted through other routes, including the use of drones. Simultaneously, Pakistan increased the volume of drugs being pumped into J&K.

On February 29, 2020, DGP J&K said, “Drugs are wreaking havoc on the society. When militancy was about to end in Punjab, Pakistan played with the lives of youth there by sending drugs of all kinds. And today, when you see what has happened there (in Punjab) you would realise that Pakistan has started the same exercise in J&K. You name any drug and that is being sent here. The number of drug abusers is rising every day. The time has come to put a check on the menace. But, we won’t be able to do so unless we block the supply chain and put a dent on the ones dealing in the trade.”

Amarinder Singh was a thorn in the eyes of the ISI. Hence, the process was set in motion to remove him and elevate ISI-stooge Sidhu through the Congress High Command. Sidhu was positioned as the PCC chief in Punjab and began openly denigrating Amarinder. Earlier this year, Pakistan signed a second ceasefire with India to concentrate on Afghanistan. There was no reason for India to sign another ceasefire as the one agreed to in November 2003 had not been cancelled though Pakistan had broken it hundreds of times. All that India needed was to tell Pakistan bluntly to abide by the 2003 ceasefire agreement. However, the bureaucracy advised the second ceasefire for dubious reasons.

After ensuring the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan, the ISI turned its attention to India; conditions were created for Amarinder Singh to resign in disgust. Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy tweeted: “The first new initiative after Pakistan secured Afghanistan with Chinese help is to try to take over Punjab. Using people like Farida Ataullah, TDK was persuaded to remove Amarinder from CM post since he is the obstacle to Pakistan in Punjab. Now Pakis will set fire in Punjab.” Farida Ataullah, a Pakistani national, has reportedly been auctioning rare Indian artifacts via Sothebys and is a close friend of Sonia Gandhi. There has been speculation in the past that the meeting between Sonia Maino and Rajiv Gandhi was not by chance but orchestrated by the CIA.

 It doesn’t need extra intelligence to perceive that the ISI in conjunction with the power-hungry Congress Party and ISI-stooge Sidhu is playing a much bigger game along with China while the US remains nonchalant

The above may or may not be true but the fact remains that certain power hungry politicians in India can best be described as those who would have no hesitation in selling their dead mother’s womb to buy a necklace for the harlot. The fact remains that Mani Shankar Aiyar was sent to Islamabad begging for help to bring Congress back into power at the Centre in India, not to forget the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Congress and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). How Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was poisoned at Tashkent is another issue.

The US has handed over Afghanistan to the Taliban in conjunction with Pakistan by design. The CIA-ISI connection remains strong. A recent report titled ‘Pakistan’s Destabilization Playbook: Khalistani Activism in the US’ by the Hudson Institute highlights the following among other issues:

  • “Unfortunately, the United States government has shown no interest in violence committed by Khalistan activists, even though the Khalistan campaign’s most ardent supporters are located in western countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.”
  • “The activities of Khalistani groups located in North America are important for preventing reoccurrence of the violence orchestrated by the Khalistan movement in the 1980s.”
  • “Importantly, the recent increase in Khalistan-related anti-India activism within the US is occurring as the United States and India are collaborating to confront the rise of China, especially in the Indo-Pacific.”
  • “The Khalistan movement’s history and recent mobilization should serve as a reminder that, unless the threat it poses is somehow preempted, it could expand to a level where action might be too late to prevent large-scale loss of life.”
The recent seizure of Afghanistan-origin narcotics in Gujarat’s Mundra Port, valued at market value of Rs 1.80 lakh crore, is an obvious ISI operation, and certainly not the first. The tip-off in this case, according to a source, was given by the intelligence chief of a friendly country who visited India recently

It doesn’t need extra intelligence to perceive that the ISI in conjunction with the power-hungry Congress Party and ISI-stooge Sidhu is playing a much bigger game along with China while the US remains nonchalant. As per one report, Chinese army officers have been contacting guides and former terrorists in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). We may be in for renewed terrorist violence in Punjab and J&K.

The recent seizure of Afghanistan-origin narcotics in Gujarat’s Mundra Port, valued at market value of Rs 1.80 lakh crore, is an obvious ISI operation, and certainly not the first. The tip-off in this case, according to a source, was given by the intelligence chief of a friendly country who visited India recently. But the same Aashi Trading Company, which is linked to this shipment, had sent a consignment of 25 tonnes to the same port in June this year, which could have also contained narcotics. Obviously a big racket has been going on for some time, and such big narcotics smuggling operations are not possible without the politician-police-bureaucrat nexus; in some cases the big corporations could also be involved. The relationship between narcotics and terrorism needs no elaboration.

Ironically, India’s reactive policy boils down to: “Let them come, we will see or deal with them then”. Instead, India should be going all out to provide every possible support to the Baloch, Sindh and Pashtun independence movements in Pakistan.

-The author is a veteran of the Indian Army. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of Raksha Anirveda.