Dear Hafiz Mohammad Saeed,
A few days ago, you exhorted the Pakistan Army to seize the initiative and “teach India a lesson”. You stood at your pulpit, all fire and brimstone, and told the Pakistan Army that Kashmir was burning, and the people would be ready to rise in “revolt against Indian oppression”. It was time, you said.
‘Carpe Diem’ strategies cost you half your country in 1971.
Pakistan’s Army has a habit of punching above its weight. To paraphrase a famous Americanism, they always bring a knife to a gunfight. I doubt your rousing speech gave goose bumps to anyone of consequence. I, however, suspect a rise in cases of peptic ulcers amongst the good generals of Rawalpindi.
There is a thin line between an asset and an embarrassment. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was one such asset, which crossed the line. For you, there are only two ends. One, the Pakistan Army will, under pressure, disown you, leaving you to the proverbial dogs. Two, we will get a “kill order” and the boys from Sarsawa will pay you a visit.
The first option looks improbable. A deep sense of national insecurity, conventional inferiority and consistent military humiliation at India’s hands has forced Pakistan to clutch at straws. You are one such straw, this drawing gasps of horror from the world. Is this, what Pakistan’s last straw looks like?
Option two is more probable.
Sit back comfortably; I am about to explain to you the process leading to your very violent death. You must be attentive. These things are important.
A team of 8 “Special Group” (SG) operatives has gathered at CGO Complex, New Delhi for a mission briefing. A senior representative of RAW (Cabinet Secretariat) briefs the team. He is the mission controller. His code name is CACTUSLILY. The Special Group team leader is codenamed DRAGONFLY.
Today is D minus 7 (7 days before launch of the operation). The operation will be launched on D Day. Exfiltration will be on D Day. The operators have 7 days to rehearse.
0015 hrs: The SG team takes flight in an Illushin IL 76 from Raja Sansi airport, Amritsar. The aircraft climbs to a height of 35,000 feet above sea level. The drop will be ahead of Ajnala in Indian Punjab. After dropping the load in Indian Territory, the IL 76 will take a steep turn to the right and fly back to Delhi. Ajnala (India) is 47 km from Muridke (Pakistan), as the crow flies.
0100 hrs: This is a HAHO jump (High Altitude High Opening). 10-15 seconds after the jump, the SG team deploy their parachutes. They are at a height of 32,000 feet and the outside temperature is -38 degrees. They are now gliding towards the International Border. The Pakistani radar cannot detect their movement, as their signature is negligible.
0110 hrs: The 8 Special Group operatives have now crossed into Pakistani airspace, undetected. They have the capability to glide for 35 kilometers before hitting the ground. DRAGONFLY adjusts his GPS and the rest of the team follows their leader. Height – 17,000 feet above sea level. Temperature is – 17 degrees.
0130 hrs: The SG operatives land at an isolated farmhouse outside Muridke. A local RAW agent, Mohammad Jamal is waiting for them with 2 black Toyota SUVs. The operatives quickly bury their parachutes and take off their jumping gear. They change into black tactical trousers and full sleeve collarless t-shirts. A black & white check keffiyeh is thrown around the neck. Radio frequencies are checked and locked. Watches are synchronized. Weapons check is done.
0145 hrs: DRAGONFLY is carrying an FN F2000 5.56 mm NATO standard issue bullpup assault rifle. In addition, he has a Glock 17 9mm pistol. He is connected to his team via a TCI Liberator 3 Duel Communication Headset. He carries RDX and C4 plastic explosives, with electrical detonators and 4 HE grenades. His team is equipped with a wide array of weaponry. A few operators carry the Israeli Tavor TAR 21. Some prefer to carry the HK 417, a 7.62 mm beast. These are the heavy hitters. An assortment of explosives, claymore mines and grenades make up this happy group. Each operator also carries a PNVD (Passive Night Vision Device).
0155 hrs: The 8 operators get into the two Toyota SUVs and drive off towards Muridke, with Mohammad Jamal guiding them.
0215 hrs: The 2 SUVs quietly enter the Siraj Town area of Muridke. In the next 7 minutes, they are at Faisal Park. Mohammad Jamal signals to DRAGONFLY. 5 minutes to fury. The roads are deserted and dark, except for a few pie dogs. Load shedding ensures that the streets are unlit. Perfect cover.
0225 hrs: The SUVs stop 200 meters behind the Jamaat ud Dawa gates. This is the headquarters of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. This is where Hafiz Mohammad Saeed lives.
0232 hrs: An SG operator scans to confirm intelligence reports. There are 2 guards at the main gate with AK47s. There are 7 other guards inside, each heavily armed.
0237 hrs: The guards are patrolling the gates, 20 meters apart. They are bored. Nothing has happened here in their memory. Without warning, an operator clamps his hand around the mouth of one of the guards, his knee pressing against the guard’s lower back. A Buckmaster knife slits the throat of the guard. The guard thrashes around in agony, blood gushing out of his throat. A few seconds later, the struggle becomes weaker. The guard stops moving. No sound. One down.
0239 hrs: The second guard is standing against the perimeter wall, wanting to ease his bladder. Unknown to him, a bright red laser dot appears at the back of his head. It is an operator with an HK 417, with a mounted silencer and a PNVD. There is a dull spitting sound and the guard’s head is blown off his shoulders. No sound. Two down.
Both bodies are pushed into the nearby drain.
0242 hrs: The team divides into two parts. Team One acts as the assault team and tactically moves to the residential quarters 300 meters to the right. Team Two positions two snipers to cover the exit of the assault team. The other two operators of the covering team start planting explosives and claymores.
0247 hrs: The assault team quickly moves near the residential block, taking care to avoid the moonlight. The loud throbbing of the diesel generator gives cover to the assault team. They slowly move up the stairs.
0249 hrs: The assault team takes a left turn and walks fifty paces. There is an armed guard visible outside a heavy wooden door, dozing on a stool. DRAGONFLY takes out his silenced Glock 17 and shoots the guard in the head. The soft 9 mm bullet enters the guard’s right temple and exits from the left side of the skull, taking away with it a part of the brain. The dead guard slips down from the stool, a pool of blood collecting near his face. Mercy killing. No sound. Three down.
0253 hrs: Soon there will be no element of surprise. It is now time for war. DRAGONFLY makes a hand signal and an operator moves to the heavy wooden main door. He places a C4 charge in 3 places on the heavy wooden door and connects them with a wire. The wire is connected to an electrical detonator, which is embedded into the C4. The other end of the wire is primed to a remote control device. Five, four, three, two, one…. GO. The plunger is pushed. With a sound like a thunderclap, the massive door disintegrates. DRAGONFLY rushes in, the other three operators following closely behind.
0257 hrs: The SG team starts searching the rooms, one by one. The first room has three dazed women. They are tied with plastic cuffs and locked in the room. The second room is empty. The third room has a portly middle-aged man with a long beard, wearing a white salwar-kameez, hiding behind a wooden almirah. “Dragonfly for Cactuslily, we have contact, over”, says DRAGONFLY into the headset. The FN F2000 comes up, the fire selector switch on automatic. A three round burst is fired into the chest of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Amir of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. Hafiz Saeed falls. DRAGONFLY walks up to a bleeding Hafiz and puts two rounds between the eyes. Hafiz Saeed’s head explodes.
0302 hrs: There are screams from below, sounds of confusion interspersed with gunfire. DRAGONFLY bends down, takes out his Buckmaster knife and cuts off Hafiz Saeed’s ear, and puts it in a sanitised plastic pouch. This will help in DNA confirmation later.
0305 hrs: The cover team watches the drama unfold. As the AK47 toting guards’ rush towards the residential block, SG snipers pick them off one by one.
0309 hrs: The assault team and the cover team are now back into their SUVs and driving off, with Mohammad Jamal driving with a peculiar sort of urgency known only to those who are very afraid.
0315 hrs: Police teams enter the Head Quarters of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, five vehicles in all, with 30-armed policemen. The policemen collect near the main gate. At that exact time, an operator in the second SUV presses a button on his mobile phone using a Warid Telecom SIM card. 3 kg of RDX erupts from the ground. 18 policemen are killed immediately. The rest run into trip wires of systematically laid claymore mines; thousands of small steel balls tearing up living human flesh.
0333 hrs: The SG team is outside Muridke town, driving in pitch dark. DRAGONFLY locks his GPS to a grid reference. In 11 minutes, the GPS leads him to an open space in the outskirts of a village. Under the cover of a green hessian cloth is a Bell 429 helicopter. DRAGONFLY shakes Mohammad Jamal’s hand and starts the helicopter. The other operators load up. The SUVs are booby-trapped. As the rotors pick up speed, Mohammad Jamal runs to a shed and wheels out a rickety old motorcycle. He kick starts the bike and is soon lost in the dark and the dust.
0341 hrs: The Bell 429 takes off, soon reaching its maximum speed of 150 knots. DRAGONFLY takes care to fly it at 300 feet above the ground, to avoid radar. Radio contact is made with BSF to inform them of the exfiltration operation.
0359 hrs: SG operators enter Indian airspace.
Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, this is just one of the hundred ways we could kill you. The day is not far when the phone will ring and the voice at the other end of the line will tell us “Your mission has approval”.
When you were a young, naughty child and would not sleep, your mother would scare you by saying that a devil would come and eat you if you did not behave. Remember, you used to be so afraid!!! Look at this picture carefully and try to remember those stories. This is a soldier of the Indian Army Special Forces.
He is the man your mother warned you about.