Original Articles

Did Hamid Mir have a conversation with the TTP? – by Ayesha Siddiqa

Source: Diary of a Politically Incorrect Vagabond


The man in the tape is Hamid Mir beyond doubt. The voice and style of conversation is his. I have had conversations with him on several occasions and he breaks stories in this very style. The conversation should not surprise people as Hamid Mir has old links with the Islamiscts and the intelligence agencies. The conversation basically signifies the presence of multiple groups within the intelligence agencies.

There are, at least, three ideological groups within the agencies: (a) the Islamiscsts, (b) the pro-West, and (c) pro-China. These groups exert influence and lobby for their perspective. This means that the flow of information to the top brass is conditioned by the ideological bias of the groups. The information-intelligence is then measured against the policy perspective of the top leadership of the army. Thus, Hamid Mir is not the only journalist working for the agencies. There are others as well.

The case in point pertains to that of a female journalist who is dealt with by the external security wing of the ISI. Each ISI division has its own set of journalists. This lady was eventually encouraged by the agencies and the army chief to build familial links with Indian politician through marriage. Her marriage with a famous Indian political figure was made in the GHQ.

But going back to Hamid Mir, his conversation reflects the bias of Pakistan’s establishment. There is nothing which he says that is annoying by the establishment’s standards. The state has a bias against its minorities which reflects in the conversation.

Lets not forget that the Hamid Mir conversation is just the end result of years of Jamaat’s infiltration in the establishment. It were during the Zia years (1977-81) that more than 800 changes were made in the text books by a board that pre-dominantly represented the Jamaat. Today, the establishment is essentially Islamisct. The dealings with the US or even China reflect the military’s utilitarian approach. It will happily use any of these states to build itself. Most countries behave this way. The name of the game is realpolitik which focuses on power of the state rther than power of the people. The Pakistani state had begun to steer towards Islamism at a very early stage after its creation. Naturally, the ideology rubbed on different elements in the society as well. This is what we can see in Hamid Mir’s conversation.

Khalid Khwaja was always with the ISI. He may have been steered by the pro-West elements within the ISI to negotiate some deals with the TTP. There are also rumors that during one of his previous visits, he was suspected of planting an intelligent devise for the US to locate one of the TTP leaders. The discussion of his involvement in misleading Maulana Abdul Aziz does not make sense because Abdul Aziz led his funeral prayers. There is something that doesn’t make sense in the story. Whats more important to remember are that the jihadis (aka Pakistani Taliban) are well-entrenched in Pakistan’s intelligence system and even its establishment. No wonder, Pakistan’s courts have been acquitting jihadis like Lashkare Jhangavi’s Malik Ishaq.

Recently, the courts acquitted those accused of involvement in the Marriott bombing case and the suicide attack against Lt. general Mushtaq Baig. These decisions could have been changed if the agencies were willing to sort out the jihadis. The segment within the agencies which supports jihad and jihadis has now strengthened. The army and its intelligence agencies now have a dependence on these jihadis. The questions which many ask is that why get their men killed. This is nothing new. There was similar friction in the case of the Algerian military and the Islamiscts. The reason that this particular battle in Pakistan is contained to a few people is because of the influence of the Islamiscts on the army.

(see: http://thenews.jang.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=28677
and http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/16-court+acquits+nine+terror+suspects-hs-05)

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  • Ayesha suggests that the leaked tape episode basically signifies the presence of multiple groups within the intelligence agencies.

    This is consistent with what Gibran Peshimam tweeted:

    Hamid Mir-Khalid Khwaja issue a proxy war b/w ISI-MI. MI has ISI’s guy KK knocked off; ISI produces damning tape of MI’s guy. Interesting.

  • Assumptions based on personal perceptions are typical of this conspiracy theorist, and reflects in most of her writings. She is a good political fiction writer. She influences and stirs the wild imaginations of the readers quite well.

  • @Unaiza Fatima You are wrong, Unaiza. Ayesha is one of the most highly educated and most critical writers in today’s Pakistan. Instead of criticising Ayesha’s person, you are supposed to discuss the content of the article.

  • I agree with Unaiza. How does Ayesha that there are three factions in the “agencies.” Even if she does, what does that term mean? Are these factions within agencies or across agencies? Why cant she name the ISI and the MI, and why create ambiguity? Is the IB part of this, I doubt it. In any case, if there are opposing factions, why do we not see as many pro-American journalists in the electronic media? And she tells us that even the judiciary is in on the “jihadis.” Is it really? or is it mere speculation. I do not know and in the absence of any solid evidence, it is hard to form a judgment.