Dr Girish Bhaskar
The investigation of the November 26th terror attack in Mumbai by the Indian authorities and the FBI has firmly concluded that all the ten terrorists came from Pakistan. Indian security personnel killed nine terrorists and captured one Ajmal Amir Iman. Interrogation of Ajmal has given details of the plan of attack. In a letter written by Ajmal to Pakistani authorities Ajmal claimed that all the ten terrorists came from Pakistan. FBI has come to the same conclusion after detailed interrogation of Ajmal.
Immediately after the Mumbai attack, the Indian foreign minister demanded the extradition of twenty terrorists which India claimed were the leaders of various terror outfits in Pakistan. Pakistan has refused to comply with this demand. Pakistani President Zardari said if any Pakistani is involved in terrorist activities, they will be tried in Pakistan as per its laws. Zardari claimed the terrorists as non state actors and denied any involvement from Pakistan’s military or the spy agency ISI.
Zardari of Pakistan People Party came to power after his wife Benazir Bhutto was murdered by terrorists while campaigning. Popularly known as Mr 10%, for the cut he received on government contracts when he was a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, a former Prime Minister engineered the ouster of President and Army chief, Musharraf. Sharif parted ways with Sardari when he refused to reinstate former Chief Justice Ifthikar Choudhary who was fired for no good reason by Musharraf. Zardari feared for his political future if the tough minded Choudhary returned to head the judiciary.
After the Mumbai attack, the United States government made every effort to prevent a war between India and Pakistan. The region saw the visit of U.S Secretary of State, Deputy Secretary of State, Joint Chief of Staff, Senators John McCain and John Kerry. Their collective mission was to put pressure on Pakistan to co operate fully with India and defuse tension. With America engaged in a war in Afghanistan, it did not want Pakistan to lose focus on the terrorists operating on its border with Afghanistan.
That Ajmal Amir Iman hails from a small village, Faridkot in Okara district of Punjab province of Pakistan was first reported in the British newspaper Observer and later by the Pakistani newspaper Dawn and also on Geo TV. Nawaz Sharif in a TV interview suggested that Ajmal is of Pakistani origin. In spite of all the evidence about his nationality, the official Pakistan claims its database does not contain the name of Ajmal. India has now passed on a letter written by Ajmal to the Pakistani government. In the letter Ajmal stated that all the ten people taking part in the Mumbai attack came from Pakistan. More over the FBI has concluded the involvement of Pakistani military and ISI in the terror operation.
At the height of the international outrage, Pakistani forces arrested heads of Lashkar e Toiba and Jamaat ud Dawa. But they were later released to defuse domestic tension. So far Pakistan has not complied with any of the Indian demands. In press interviews President Zardari seems like a man eager for rapprochement with India. When India demanded that the chief of ISI visit India to take part in the Mumbai investigation, Zardari readily agreed, only to renege faced with resistance from the military and the opposition parties. When India pressured Zardari to bring ISI under the ambit of the interior ministry, he agreed only to rescind it due to the lack of support from the army. In a country where the army has played a vital role in setting domestic and foreign policy, power in the civilian leadership is limited. The Zardari government is weak and ineffective in bringing the culprits to book. This is the vexing problem that India is facing today.
Pakistan is India’s arch enemy. It has tried over the years to destabilize India. Indian leaders do not want a war with Pakistan. Hoping Pakistan will take action against the alleged terrorists is wishful thinking. Its mantra is subterfuge and denial. It denied any involvement in the Kabul Indian embassy killing when evidence proved otherwise. Sooner or later the terror camps in Pakistan have to be dismantled or destroyed. Finally Americans also have realized that Pakistan is a dangerous place. What India fears most by a military strike is destabilization of Pakistan and its effect on India’s internal security. While 85 terror attacks took place in India last year, Pakistan witnessed 2000 terror attacks over eight months. Nawaz Sharif recently called Pakistan a failed state. He stopped short of calling it a terrorist state. It is actually a terrorist state. The sooner the world community recognizes that harsh reality and takes collective steps to address the problem, the better for regional and world peace.