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Four Years, Two Attacks, One Story

Four Years, Two Attacks, One Story

Author: B Shantanu
Publication: iVarta.com
Date: December 22, 2005
URL: http://www.ivarta.com/columns/OL_051222.htm

Views expressed here are author's own and not of this website. Full disclaimer is at the bottom.

See if you can spot anything unusual about these two newspaper reports:

"The two groups specifically held responsible by New Delhi were Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e- Mohammed. Pakistan vigorously denied the charges and condemned the attack. It called for evidence of Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed`s involvement to be made public and said that, if such evidence were provided, it would take action. It also offered to participate in a joint inquiry with the Indians."[1]

"Pakistan is prepared for joint impartial inquiry into the attack….If any evidence is found in the inquiry about the involvement of any individual or group from Pakistan's soil, Pakistan will initiate action in its light", Pakistan's defence spokesman, Maj-Gen Rashid Qureshi told the BBC here yesterday. [2]

"President General Pervez Musharraf while condemning the …blasts has categorically noted "neither Pakistan is involved in the …blasts nor supports militancy or terrorism but is ready to cooperate with India in investigating the tragic incident…

President Musharraf also offered that Pakistan is ready to cooperate (with) India in investigating the…explosions." [3]

"Pakistan fully condoles the Government of India as well as with the families of the victims of the dastardly terrorist attack and extends unequivocal support in any investigation," Musharraf told media persons at the Army House. [4]

Notice anything unusual?

The first excerpt is from news reports written in Dec '01 following the attack on Parliament.

The second is datelined Nov '05 - almost exactly 4 years after the first one - from new stories reporting the blasts in New Delhi.

Just two days after the brazen attempt by Pakistan to distance itself from the blasts ("No evidence on Delhi blasts: Pak" [5], Commissioner of Police, Dr K K Paul said that "Lashkar-e-Tayiba was behind the blasts.

Addressing a crowded press conference in New Delhi Paul said, "Lashkar-e-Tayiba was behind the blasts. Tariq came to Delhi on 4th of October and went back to Srinagar on 6th of October. And thereafter the conspiracy was hatched to engineer bomb blasts. The other two behind the blasts are Abu Alqama and Abu Hafiza respectively who are acting as Lashkar chiefs in Srinagar and Jammu respectively. Two of the suspects are residents of Jammu and Kashmir and the other two are foreign nationals…" he said. [6]

I thought we had heard this before.

Here's Commissioner of Police, Ajay Raj Sharma quoted in The Tribune datelined December 16, 2001 [7] "The December 13 terrorist attack on Parliament House was carried out by five Pakistanis whose objective appeared to be to get inside the Parliament and kill as many politicians as possible, and the entire operation was under the guidance of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). Police Commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma said the entire operation was carried out by the militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad with the help of another militant outfit Lakshar-e-Toiba."

The "official" reaction from PM Manmohan Singh (after the Delhi blasts) was that he "continued to be disturbed and dismayed at indications of external linkages of terrorist groups with the 29 October bombing". [8]

Four years ago, a supposedly hard-line government in Delhi said this after the attack on Parliament: "The punishment will be as big as the crime," Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was quoted as saying by his party`s spokesman V. K. Malhotra before the parliament session. "It is an attack on our country and we will decide the punishment." Strong words but no resolve. Lest we forget, it was the Vajpayee government that initiated the peace process with Pakistan, Kargil notwithstanding. [9]

The Congress of course, did one better. The day after the blasts in Delhi (29th Oct), the Congress-led government announced an agreement with Pakistan to open several border-crossings on LOC [10] - in theory to facilitate relief efforts for the earthquake victims - in practice to make it a little bit easier for ISI to push jihadists across the border before the winter snow makes any further movement impossible.

And so it will continue.

There may be yet another terrorist attack. Pakistan will once again condemn it and even offer assistance in investigation.

There will be a strong "official" reaction.

A few weeks later, the police will unearth evidence that Pakistan was indeed behind the attack - and things will move on.

Nothing will change…and a few years later, we may read the same story again - the PM may be different, the Police Commissioner will change, the editors may change - but the story will not.

Four years, two attacks…but one story.
I despair and wonder whether there is any hope?

1] http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2001/566/war4.htm
2] http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011217/main1.htm
3] http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.php?id=124219
4] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1281198.cms
5] http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=81831)
6] http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/nov/13dblast1.htm
7] http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011217/main1.htm
8] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4393532.stm
9] http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/december01/india_12-18.html
10] http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/29/world/main994789.shtml

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