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India needs whole truth from Pak

India needs whole truth from Pak

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Asian Age
Date: February 14, 2009

Pakistan's official response to the Indian dossier, delivered to India's high commissioner in Islamabad on Thursday, confirms that India wasn't crying wolf after the Mumbai terrorist attack. The verification by Islamabad of the material supplied by this country reinforces every concern harboured here that the outrage was the outcome of an extensive conspiracy planned and executed by Pakistani nationals from Pakistani soil. This flies in the face of every effort at prevarication and deflection made by Islamabad earlier, including the extraordinary assertion that Ajmal Amir Kasab, the terrorist who was taken live, was not a Pakistani national. However, it is not a mea culpa moment for Islamabad, and probably that will never come. It will likely take a strike in a major Western capital, once again traceable to Pakistan, for the key world powers to nudge Islamabad to assume official responsibility. Until then Pakistan is expected to continue ducking behind the smoke screen of "non-state actors" committing terrorist acts, when it is acknowledged all round that such groups of actors are the creatures of Islamabad's security establishment. The Pakistan view on the Mumbai attack, which for India is a game-changer, is that the attack was only "partly" planned in Pakistan. This appears to be a slick way to get out of assuming full responsibility. While FIRs have been filed in Islamabad with a special court, the case can be stretched out on the plea that no final view can be sustainable until all strings of the conspiracy, gathered from different countries, can be woven together to show up the pattern in its entirety. Whatever Islamabad's little tricks and larger stratagem, Pakistan's response does constitute a little step forward. It has been suggested that this is the consequence of unbearable pressure brought on by the international community, including the threat of a financial squeeze, and India. That is indeed the likely explanation for Islamabad's volte face from its earlier disavowals in the Mumbai matter. It would have been impolitic for New Delhi not to accept Pakistan's first hesitant step at face value. Hence, it has been officially described here as a "positive development". It is of no particular relevance that it is the first time Pakistan has accepted that terrorism against India has been organised from its territory. There are ways to fudge that on a subsequent occasion if the need arises for Islamabad. The case of the freeing of the disgraced nuclear scientist Mr A.Q. Khan is an example of what devious minds are capable of. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. How India-Pakistan relations will move from here should really depend on the sincerity with which Islamabad approaches the Mumbai case now on, and the verifiable steps it takes to dismantle the infrastructure of terror consciously established on its soil by the powers-that-be. If the latter is not ensured, another attack could well be the order of the day even while Islamabad technically vows cooperation to bring the Mumbai terrorist episode to a satisfactory close. From what the external affairs minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, has indicated in Parliament, the composite dialogue process with Pakistan will continue to remain suspended while people-level exchanges will not be disrupted. This is a pragmatic interim position. It is a pity that the people of Pakistan have had to suffer so much humiliation on account of the little deceptions practised by their official establishment.


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