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US experts see foreign hand involvement too obvious in Quetta terror attack (Sunday, 06 July, 2003)
From Sandra Johnson
Special to The Daily Mail

WASHINGTON DC—While Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf was receiving extraordinary praise from US and Europe on behalf of his nation for making extraordinary contributions to the global war on terror, some outside Pakistan, a comprehensive conspiracy was being hatched to keep his Islamic Republic in quicksand of religious terror and the master plan in this regard, it appears, was executed on Friday when some 44 people belonging to Shiite sect were brutally murdered by apparently, religious extremists in a suicide attack.

Anti terror experts and international relations analysts here at the US are of the firm opinion that the Quetta terror attack is not a routing act of religious extremists but has in fact got very deep root of international conspiracies. Commenting on the Quetta attack, John Davison, a former FBI official and a seasoned counter terror expert said that Quetta, Pakistan's provincial metropolis of the South-West province of Baluchistan is in grip of religious terrorism for the past few weeks, with one particular sect being the target of the terrorists. He further said that the province of Baluchistan is the border province of Pakistan, with Iran (a Shiite majority country) and Afghanistan (a Sunni majority country) on the other side of the borders. He asserted that selecting Quetta for the purpose of religious terrorism against Shiite Muslims has some reasonable significance, keeping in view the Shiite majority in the neighboring country of Iran." Well! As far as my memory is concerned, this province has been selected for religious terrorism for the first time and that too at a stage when Delhi is strengthening ties with Tehran, in bid to isolate Islamabad in the region" expressed Davison. In his firm opinion, the Quetta incident was aimed at achieving two goals ie (a) To organize Shiite uprisings in Baluchistan and Iran (b) To convey it to the global community that Islamabad has failed in controlling religious extremism. He was of the view that if that there was strong possibility of infiltration of attackers from the other adjoining country of Afghanistan, which has now become a thoroughfare for the Indians.

Martin Woodward, a leading economist was how ever of the opinion that the Quetta terror attack was aimed at sabotaging the flow of foreign investment into Pakistan. Describing the incident as a proactive step of Pakistan's enemies to prevent any large scale foreign investment into this country in the wake of religious terrorism which is otherwise very much on the cards after Musharraf's successful maneuvering for the purpose during his four nation visit. He was of the view that Pakistan's swiftly stabling economy was a mater of prime concern for its enemies.

Ricky Brown, a former CIA field officer and a credible International Relations analyst, ruling out any internal hand in Quetta terror attack and said that as per his calculations, Pakistani authorities had comprehensively controlled the domestic religious extremism and the Friday incident was an act of foreign elements. Without mentioning any name, he said that a country, which is facing the religious terrorism for the first time in the history and is engaged in a proxy ethnic war with another Islamic country, can be behind this incident as they are also desirous of shifting the religious extremism to any other country, may it be Pakistan even. He, however, did not rule out the possibility of the Indian agencies being behind this incident and said that they too have a very strong history of airing sectarian clashes in Pakistan and can strike through scattered Taliban elements, present in different parts of

Afghanistan. "The Indians intelligence officials can also motivate Taliban operatives to strike against Pakistan by exploiting their anti Pakistan feelings which were generated after Pakistan's alliance in the global war on terror" he opined. He also attached a great importance to Baluchistan being the target of such hi-profile religious terrorism in the backdrop of the revised strategy of Delhi to strengthen ties with Tehran, Kabul and Beijing, aiming at isolating Pakistan in the region.

Meanwhile the FBI and the CIA has also started investigating the matter separately and independently and are likely to submit their final report to Washington and Langley respectively within a week's time. The two agencies, according to reliable sources, in their preliminary investigations have ruled out chances of any domestic extremism in the Quetta incident and are focusing on rather broader angels of the incidents.

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