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Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism, stupid!

Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism, stupid!

Author: B R Haran
Publication: Vijayvaani.com
Date: Jun 8, 2009
URL: http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=623

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the Chief of the terrorist organization Jamaat-ud-Dawah, who was also the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attack and against whose involvement the Indian government had given Pakistan incontrovertible evidences and proofs, was set free by the Lahore High Court last Tuesday, after nearly six months of house arrest. The High Court felt that there was no concrete evidence to extend his detention and hence ordered for his immediate release.

In the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, India had demanded the extradition of Hafiz and also former ISI chief, apart from asking Pakistan to crackdown on JuD (LeT). The US for its part gave an ultimatum of 48 hrs to Pakistan government to raid the JuD HQs and arrest the culprits. Even while yielding to the pressure, Pakistan played a silly game of telling the world that President Zardari received a threatening call from Pranab Mukherjee, which later turned out to be a hoax, and attempted to ready its Armed Forces.

As India quickly pointed out that Pakistan was trying to divert the world's attention from its involvement in Mumbai attack, one of its nuclear scientists, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, audaciously threatened India through a selective media leak, saying Pakistan had the capacity to nuke all cities in India and that it could be done within ten minutes as their missile systems were kept ready for any eventuality.

The US and the European Union, in support of India, strongly criticized Pakistan for aiding, abetting and promoting terror. The US even talked of imposing sanctions on Pakistani officials like former ISI chief Hamid Gul and others, who have had links with LeT, Taliban and Al Qaida. It is reliably learnt that some former ISI and Army officers have been helping all three terror outfits in their operations in Afghanistan, Kashmir and elsewhere. But finally US' tantrums turned out to be tokenism and mere "lip service."

Though the UN declared a ban on Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the US and UK simply asked Pakistan to cooperate with India in its investigation in order to bring the culprits to book. Since then, Pakistan has been defiant to the core, putting its foot down and influencing the world community to accept its stand. In contrast, India has been literally begging for support, refusing to realise that whether it is US or UK or China, each would act only in its interests.

Despite being a victim of terror for years, India doesn't seem to have learnt its lessons properly. Instead of teaching lessons to Pakistan, it attempted to convince US and other nations seeking their cooperation to pin down Pakistan. Ironically those very same nations have been helping Pakistan, to achieve their self interests! In January 2009, Home Minister Chidambaram went to US with a huge dossier on Pakistan, and the UPA government also held discussions with the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister, who visited India then. The end result was a big ZERO; Pakistan won the so-called diplomatic war! Its friendly relations with China and UK continued; it got more aid from US.

At this juncture, it would be pertinent to remind ourselves the first warning issued by US President Obama to Pakistan immediately after taking charge: "the $ 11 million dollar aid given by Bush administration was not for military upgradation, but a 'conditional' one for fighting against terror and Pakistan's performance against terror would be monitored." It was reliably learnt then that the American establishment had short-listed 20 senior level officers of the ISI and the Pakistan Army, who have been aiding and abetting the terror outfits for years. Incidentally, though India's list was bigger, all names were present in the US list figured in India's list as well!

Meanwhile, though Pakistan accepted the validity of the first 'dossier' given by India and constituted a three member committee to probe the Mumbai terror attack with a commitment to try those involved, nothing constructive came out of it; US too lived neither up to its commitment nor to India's expectations. In fact, after Pakistan's offensive against the Taliban, US immediately disbursed $110 million in the name of welfare aid for the displaced people.

Even now, after the release of Hafiz Saeed, Washington pretended to be unhappy and President Obama's special representative Richard Holbrooke stated that US was "disturbed" by the news! But, soon afterwards Holbrooke changed his stance and termed the release as "Pakistan's internal matter"! Assistant Secretary of State Philip J Crowley also made it clear that US wanted to make sure Pakistan was acting aggressively against extremist elements (read Taliban) and added that US was involved in intensive dialogue with Pakistan on its military needs. Even as he was talking about US' readiness to help Pakistan enhance its military capabilities, Obama's administration is believed to have decided to grant another $200 million to Pakistan following the anti-Taliban operations.

Immediately after his release, Hafiz Saeed condemned Pakistan Army's offensive against the Taliban and avowed that his terror activities against India would continue, particularly in Kashmir. As if this was not enough and knowing India would be outraged, Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani came out with a damning statement asking "Indian occupying forces" to stop repression and human rights abuses in Kashmir, and offering "political, moral and diplomatic" support to the people of Kashmir to exercise their right to self-determination.

Gilani had the audacity to ask India to create a conducive atmosphere for a final settlement to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. India once again exposed its weakness, with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna saying: "Kashmir was part of the composite dialogue which we had initiated with Pakistan, and the responsibility of creating conducive climate rested with Pakistan." It is unfortunate India didn't have the guts to question Gilani on his outrageous statements, which have the intention of not only diverting India's attention from the release of Hafiz, but also attempting to spite India.

As the Congress-led UPA government has a childish habit of looking up to the US for making each and every move vis-à-vis Pakistan, we can rest assured it would do the same now. History has shown that US always safeguarded its own interests by helping Pakistan while restraining India and forcing it to engage in dialogue with Islamabad. Even in the present circumstances, especially with regard to the 26/11 Mumbai attack, US has not been sincere in backing India, and Barack Obama has surpassed his predecessor George Bush. Bush at least refrained from interfering in India's Kashmir policy, but Obama seems to be having a 'special' agenda, as evidenced by the wrong signals emanating from his side. Pressure is likely to be more on India to give more concessions to Pakistan and start the so-called peace talks early.

Meanwhile, credible inputs have come from intelligence agencies that the LeT and JeM are planning major strikes across India, including Kashmir and South Indian cities. It is reported that groups of Jihadis (25 terrorists in each group) have been ordered to infiltrate the borders and strike at the earliest. If Pakistan showed audacity in perpetrating terror against India, India exposed naivety in identifying the terrorists as 'non-state' actors, as if 'state actors' (Pakistan government) were not involved. India didn't even have the brains to understand that non-state actors could not act without the knowledge and support of state actors!

Immediately after the release of Hafiz Saeed, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna doubted Pakistan's "seriousness" in fighting terror, and Home Minister P Chidambaram questioned its "commitment" to investigate the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack. OK, but what about the 'seriousness' and 'commitment' of the UPA government? What is the response of the Prime Minister to the release of Hafiz and the statement of his Pakistani counterpart?

"Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism, stupid!"

- The writer is a senior journalist, and lives in Chennai


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