Osama Must Die

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Mukul DevaMukul Deva’s ‘Lashkar’ series has many incidences which have later coincidentally appeared in real life. One such uncanny description is how ‘Osama is taken by US forces’ which is part of ‘Salim Must Die’, the book two of the series.

Now that the series is reading more and more like non-fiction, we asked Mukul Deva to give us his views of recent dramatic events and how they are reflected in his books.

CBF: Seriously how did you come up with the idea of the Americans kidnapping Osama? After all, at one level it does constitute an international crime?

Mukul Deva: Simply because there is no other way the Americans would ever have gotten their hands on him – after all he was being sheltered by the Pakistani ISI (at the very least, if not their government). No matter what they may say officially today but time will bring out this truth without fail. There is NO WAY that a man as easily identifiable as Osama (touted by the BBC as the most recognizable face of the decade) could have remained hidden in any country without state support. Also, this ‘rogue element’ of ISI does not wash with me – just walk down the past 25-30 years and it is easy to see that the entire agency has gone rogue and is following its own specific agenda.

Even if you see, in Lashkar Page 37, paras 3 and 4, I had written that Osama is in a safe house on the edge of a military establishment – I quote – The Americans had little clue that the man they were spending millions of dollars in trying to catch was safe and sound right under their very noses. On any given day Salim could stroll down to the safe house the ISI had placed him in and have tea with him.

You see, there is no place else that Osama could have gone – it had to be Pakistan. And he could NOT have done that without the establishment knowing. In fact they were milking his presence and getting paid billions while the Americans hunted for him.

Does it constitute an international crime? Not from where I am standing. A man has killed thousands through acts of terror and is being hidden by a Rogue State – what option does any country have but to do what the Americans did? I wish India had the political will to take out people like Dawood, Hafiz, Ilyas Kashmiri and the like.

CBF: Why did you not refer to him by name, keeping to the description ‘the world’s most wanted man’?

Mukul Deva: For the same reason that I did not mention any of the other, very easily identifiable, political leaders and figures by their names. These books were after all FICTION…:) But I did ensure that every reader would know who I am talking about.

In the same way as you will see that the helicopter used by the American SEALS (the SH-60) was described by me in the book, but I had referred to it as the SeaHawk (one of the SH-60 variants).

CBF: Were you surprised at the magnitude of what the Americans finally did – 80 commandos raiding the compound and then gunning down an unarmed man? Do think that’s the way the war against terror is going, a no holds barred combat that is redefining the rules of the game?

Mukul Deva: Not at all. That is the only way they could have done it logically. They would have had no definite idea of the kind of resistance they would meet and hence would prepare for the worst and carry as many men as covertly possible. Also these 80 men may have been required to fight their way out in case things went wrong and the Pakistanis decided to defend Osama.

I don’t think ‘gunning down an unarmed man’ is quite the way I would put it. He was a proven mass murderer and they had to get him – dead or alive – justice had to be delivered. I do believe that they did the right thing in the circumstances. Once men are in combat its very hard to tell which action is hostile and which is not, hence one tends to shoot first and ask questions later.

I certainly hope that this raid sends out a message to all rogue states and the terrorists – that – they can run, but they cannot hide… And they will pay for their crimes. Till the terrorists start living in terror they will sit in comfort and plan to strike us at will.

CBF: Why do you think the Pakistanis kept quiet about Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad? Or would you put it down to the internal divisions that exist in Pakistani politics which you emphasize on in your books, one hand not letting the other know what is going on?

Mukul Deva: Like I said above in answer to the first question, the Pakistanis did not keep quiet, they were deliberately hiding him and milking him to get billions of dollars from the Americans. Osama is not the only terrorist they have been hiding. Where do you think Mullah Omar, Ilyas Kashmiri, Dawood, Hafiz and the others are?

Tanzeem (Paperback) by Mukul Deva, book reviewTo me it is obvious that there is only ONE SEAT of power in Pakistan and that is occupied by a man in uniform. Under him, the ISI is working on an agenda all its own and the politicians just toe the line they are told to.

I am also sure that as the Americans go through the data they are almost certain to have taken out of the compound, they will find enough hard evidence of more such safe houses that Osama would have stayed in and details of the ISI and Pakistani Army officers he would have been in touch with. Of course the Americans may chose not to make this public in a hurry, but you can rest assured that the others in hiding in Pakistan would be scrambling to change locations and burrow down deeper – since their whereabouts also would now be under threat – since no one will be sure what info the Americans have managed to get their hands on from Osama’s hideout.

If I have my research and logic right we will see some more key leaders being taken out in the near future OR totally vanish from the scene as they go underground and allow their rank and file to take the hit.

CBF: In the novels after Salim Must Die the death of the world’s most wanted man hasn’t affected the terror structure that you outline. What does your research have to say about the likelihood of a Tanzeem type follow up taking place?

Mukul Deva: And it will not change the aims of Terror Central. Its a multi-headed hydra and will keep adapting to the changing threat. Also the events outlined by me in BLOWBACK and TANZEEM are already happening. Do note that the LeT is already jostling to take on a leadership role in the jihad and will (with help from its ISI masters) take the smaller groups under its umbrella to enhance its clout and operational capability.

Not far in the future you will see a lot of the remaining events unfold in the manner described in TANZEEM.

Once again, must stress that this is logically the way events would flow UNLESS something really really drastic is done to change things in Pakistan – since that is the epicentre of the global jhad. If things are not taken in hand VERY soon, the Pakistani nukes will fall into the hands of the terror groups.

I don’t think I am crying wolf when I say that the ISI is no different from the LeT or Jaish. These groups are merely the expedient arms of the ISI.

Thanks to Anjana Basu and Mukul Deva for making this interview for Curious Book Fans.

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by Mukul Deva

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Written by Anjana Basu