Malik M Ashraf
The arrest of Kul Bhushan Yadav, a serving officer of the Indian Navy who was running a spy network from Chahbahar Iran with a mandate to sponsor and assist in acts of sabotage and terrorism within Pakistan, particularly fomenting insurgency in Balochistan designed to damage infrastructure and thwarting CPEC, is an unprecedented success of our intelligence agencies. Though in the past also RAW agents have been captured but none of them belonged to the Indian armed forces with such a high rank. He was arrested in Balochistan when he crossed over to Pakistan from Iran.
The purpose of this particular visit to Pakistan was, as disclosed by him in his confessional statement, to discuss the execution of plans to attack Gawadar port, a five star hotel in Gawadar where Chinese engineers were staying and other infrastructure related to CPEC. He also disclosed that about 500 Indian trained terrorists posing as Muslims have entered in Pakistan and are involved in promoting terrorism, religious conflicts, arousing anti-army sentiments and other anti-national activities.
According to Kul Bhushan Gawadar port was special target of his mission for which Baloch separatists had been trained in Mumbai to use speed boats in terrorist attacks, a number of which have been provided to them. According to him he was involved in the execution of a number of terrorist activities in Pakistan including Mehran base attack in Karachi, bomb blast in Gawadar, murder of SSP Aslam Chaudhry and raising of Tiger Force of Baloch nationalists.
It is understood that as a result of information provided by Bhushan 13 more agents of RAW have been arrested who are under investigation. The revelations made by Bhushan are a clear cut and an irrefutable evidence of state terrorism practiced by India. The interesting thing about the episode is that unlike in the past India has not totally denied or disowned the identity of the agent and admitted that he was a retired officer of the Indian Army. It has also demanded counselor access to the spy.
Pakistan has done well by sounding the world capitals about the arrest of the RAW agent in Balochistan and by telecasting his confessional statement which was watched around the world. A formal and strong protest has also been lodged with India. Like in the past, government is also contemplating to take up the issue with UN. The arrest of the RAW agent and the disclosures made by him are likely to have an adverse impact on the process of ongoing rapprochement between India and Pakistan, unless the former accepts the reality and abandons the policy of sponsoring terrorism and insurgencies within Pakistan.
Reportedly, the government of Pakistan has also formally sought Iranian assistance in investigating interference of RAW in Pakistan using the Iranian soil, gathering more information about activities of Kul Bhushan while residing at Chahbahar and how he was able to operate the network from there besides making frequent visits to Pakistan. It is a legitimate request to a friendly country like Iran. Reportedly the Iranian ambassador in Pakistan in his meeting with interior minister has assured that Pakistan’s apprehensions in this regard would be addressed. This positive response is appreciable. Nevertheless in the wake of Bhushan’s connection to Chahbahar and the revelations made by him, some sections of the Pakistani media, due to their over-enthusiasm and interest in the episode, made certain remarks about Iran which did not go well with the Iranian government and the Iranian embassy in Islamabad through a press release termed the media reports as ‘unbecoming content’. The press release further said “Iran during seven decades since independence of Pakistan has always proved itself as a confident partner and neighbour and the western borders of Pakistan have never been threatened. Iran considers its borders with Pakistan as borders of peace and friendship and as Dr Rouhani said in his press conference security of Iran is security of Pakistan and security of Pakistan is security of Iran.”
The interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan while talking to the media rightly urged it to refrain from ‘kite flying’ and portraying Iran as a facilitator or deliberately neglecting RAW’s activities. He strongly ruled out the possibility of Iran doing anything inimical to the interests of Pakistan saying Iran had stood by Pakistan in difficult times. Rouhani’s visit to Pakistan has ended on a very positive note and could act as a catalyst in exploiting the opportunities that have emerged in the wake of lifting of sanctions on Iran by the UN, Pakistan’s neutrality in Saudi-Iranian conflict and help in defusing the tensions between them.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.