As the diplomatic relations between India and Canada are poised to a record low, Indian intelligence agencies dug out several stunning revelations that accentuated how Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has been orchestrating anti-India activities in Canada and other countries. According to India TV sources, ISI piloted the murder of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in July this year-- a murder that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claimed to have links with Indian agents.
Although India outrightly rejected the allegations and dubbed the claims "baseless" and politically motivated. But India TV sources claimed Islamabad did this "deliberately" in order to poison the already strained relations between New Delhi and Ottawa.
Why did ISI orchestrate Nijjar's killing?
The sources claimed that ISI, with the help of the Khalistani group in Canada, has been operating multiple drug nexus in Punjab-- which is considered the main source of funding for orchestrating anti-India activities on foreign soil.
It claimed that ISI asked to support the new gangsters, which he declined. Besides, Nijjar's reluctance led to a major loss in income. This prompted the so-called Pakistan intelligence agency to plot the murder of the Indian-origin man.
With the killing of Nijjar, sources said ISI are now in full swing to get a replacement for the slain Khalistani terrorist.
How does ISI operate a deep-rooted nexus in India?
If sources are to be believed, the Pakistani intelligence agency and Islamic and militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have been jointly running multiple drug cartels in the bordering state, Punjab. Besides, ISI, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI)-- which is among the oldest and most organised Khalistan terrorist groups-- has been involved in anti-terror activities on foreign lands.
According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal-- a public interest or advocacy organisation-- BKI remain a handful of terrorist outfits chiefly supported by Pakistan and some non-resident Indian Sikh groups who continue to propagate the ideology of Khalistan even though the terrorist-secessionist movement for Khalistan was comprehensively defeated in 1993.
In fact, the National Investigating Agency (NIA), in a recent chargesheet filed against several gangsters in Punjab, which has been accessed by India TV, mentioned BKI and its links with another terror organisation, Indian Mujahideen.
Dawood Ibrahim is also linked with the recent developments in Canada
The NIA chargesheet also claimed that BKI has links with Dawood Ibrahim-- an Indian terrorist from Dongri, Mumbai, who has always remained on the wanted list of Indian security as well as intelligence agencies.
He reportedly heads the Indian organised crime syndicate D-Company, which he founded in Mumbai in the 1970s.
The chargesheet underlined that BKI has been operating different drug cartels of Dawood outside Punjab. The group is mainly active in Mumbai and adjoining regions.
"In 2002, one Pak-based Iqbal Bunty, close to BKI's operative Lakhbir Singh, had taken Abdul Karim Tunda to Dawood Ibrahim's house in Karachi, Pakistan where they planned to carry out terror activities in India," according to the NIA chargesheet.
Besides, the NIA chargesheet names Sukhdev Singh Babbar and Talwinder Singh Parmar, who were the founding members of BKI, which was initially established in Canada in 1981 under the leadership of Parmar.
Besides ISI and Indian Mujahideen, a three-decade-old group, BKI is also involved
As per the Indian intelligence agency, BKI militants have a presence outside of India in Pakistan, North America, Europe, and Scandinavia. Specifically, BKI at present is active in the US, Canada, the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, and Switzerland. It said BKI continues its operations from Pakistan with the support of ISI.
The Indian intel agency claimed that the BKI receives funds and support from its supporters and the Sikh community, which are largely located in Europe, and North America-- besides receiving funds from drug syndicates in Punjab. Historically, to get the financial and meeting support needed for operating terror activities, BKI has used in-person meetings, public rallies and fundraising events.
"The Babbars organised and featured in Sikh rallies and fundraiser events across Canada to channel financial support to BKI from overseas Sikh communities," according to the charge sheet. The NIA said all the above-mentioned groups either report directly to top ISI officials or via its agents.
Why has ISI shifted its attention from Jammu and Kashmir to other nations?
Ever since India abrogated Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir which provides special status to the valley, it has been observed that Pakistan's intelligence agency has shifted its focus from Kashmir to foreign lands. However, the agenda remains the same-- to destabilise India.
Although official data revealed, the Jammu region has witnessed an increase in terror activities with certain security indicators, including recruitment of terrorists, showing an upward trend over the past nearly four years, ISI failed to conduct any major operation in the valley or any other parts of the country.
According to the official data, eight grenades and 13 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks were recorded in the Jammu region after the abrogation of Article 370. Four grenades and seven IED attacks were recorded from October 27, 2015, to August 4, 2019, news agency PTI reported in August 2023.
However, there has been an appreciable decline in the casualties of civilians and security forces in the terror attacks in the past nearly four years. Against 11 civilian killings from October 27, 2015, to August 4, 2019, there was a 63 per cent decrease with seven civilian killings reported post the abrogation of Article 370.
Amid the tight security in the valley, Pakistan has been using foreign lands such as Canada, the UK and Australia to fund anti-India activities.
(With inputs from Abhay Prashar)