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Bangla mastermind theory has no takers

Bangla mastermind theory has no takers

Author: Editorial
Publication: Free Press Journal
Date: February 7, 2009

The Pakistan government is evidently trying to shield its intelligence outfit the ISI and the 'non-state actors' like the Lashkar-e-Taiba from responsibility for the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks that claimed 180 lives. The attempt by the Federal Investigation Agency to pin the blame for the ghastly attacks on a banned militant group in Bangladesh, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen-al Islami, is utterly clumsy and hastily crafted. While this claim has been made in a report carried by the `Dawn' and was earlier hinted at by the Pakistani High Commissioner to UK, it is clear that the government is spreading disinformation with ulterior motives rather than sending a formal response to the Indian government on the dossier the latter had sent on the terror attacks. It is not as though subversive groups are not operating from Bangladesh soil. But the principal perpetrators were from Pakistan and no amount of attempts at whitewash can obscure that truth.

Indeed, the whole motivation is to confuse the world on the issue and thereby get the benefit of doubt on the involvement of state actors in the reprehensible terror attacks. It is a bid to ascribe the horrendous crime to an international terror network of Islamic fundamentalists whose spread extends from South Asia to the Middle East. The report in `Dawn', which is apparently a deliberate leak says that there is a strong possibility that one of the attackers was a Bangladesh national and that some of the planning for the attack may have been done in Dubai. As for the issue of local Indian support, there is seemingly some merit in the charge that Indian investigators are `shying away' from exploring local involvement. It is difficult to deny that it would have been `impossible' to execute the attack of such magnitude and sophistication without some degree of involvement of collaborators in India. Initially, when the terror strikes occurred, there had been media reports of local involvement but, for reasons best known to the authorities, local actors have either been allowed to get away of their involvement has been kept a closely guarded secret.

From the impressive array of evidence adduced by India and the groundwork done by the American FBI, it is amply clear that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba planned and carried out the attacks. By changing the name of the banned terror outfit, its leaders sought to camouflage the LeT involvement but the overwhelming evidence available nails the Pakistani lie. The telephone transcripts of the Urdu conversations between the Mumbai attackers and their handlers on devices which sent signals out from Pakistan reflect that the epicenter was Pakistan. Also, it is not clear how a Bangladesh-based outfit hired Pakistanis to carry out the attacks if the version of the FIA is to be believed. It is time the Pakistan government stops looking for alibis and scapegoats for the Mumbai terror attacks. If it is to carry conviction, it must accept the truth and take honest action against those who perpetrated the terrible attacks. There is little point in beating around the bush. But so weak is the Pakistan government in the face of the overbearing attitude of the army that it finds it well nigh impossible to speak the truth.

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