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Duplicity exposed

Duplicity exposed

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: July 1, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/186258/Duplicity-exposed.html

Pakistan thumbs its nose at India

In an unsurprising about-turn, Pakistan's Punjab Province Government has made it clear that it will not be challenging the June 2 Lahore High Court order that saw Lashkar-e-Tayyeba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed walk away a free man. It will be recalled that Saeed was put under house arrest by Pakistani authorities in December last year following the United Nations Security Council resolution proscribing the Jamaat-ud-Dawa'h - a front organisation for the Lashkar which Saeed heads - for having links with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But Saeed was released early last month by the Lahore High Court on the ground of lack of evidence leading to unlawful detention. At the time the Punjab Province Government had expressed its desire to challenge the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. But after weeks of deliberations, the former has decided to let the High Court ruling go unchallenged, not before condescendingly adding a caveat that if India could provide more evidence of Saeed's involvement in terrorist activities, including the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, then it might consider it worthwhile to reopen the case against him. This is absolutely ridiculous. From January this year India has provided as many as three comprehensive dossiers to Pakistan containing detailed information substantiated with corroborative evidence proving that the Mumbai terror plot was hatched in Pakistan, that the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba had planned and executed it, and that top Lashkar leaders, including Saeed, had a substantial role to play in it. In spite of this, Pakistani authorities have done precious little to move against the terrorists. Although under Washington's pressure Islamabad has been acting against the Taliban in Pakistan's tribal areas, there is nothing to suggest that it has taken any concrete steps to dismantle the Lashkar's terror infrastructure. On the contrary, given the 'seriousness' with which Pakistani authorities have handled the 26/11 investigation, it is clear that they have simply been stonewalling and trying to deflect attention.

As far as India is concerned, it was highly optimistic of the Government to expect that Pakistan would actually help in bringing to justice those who were behind the slaughter of 189 innocent civilians in Mumbai. Right from the beginning Islamabad has been uncooperative and it was never its intention to go after the top leadership of the Lashkar. Saeed was put under house arrest - not for the first time - on the basis of the UN proscription and not as part of Pakistan's 'investigation' into the 26/11 attack. That now the Punjab Province Government sees no reason to pursue him is essentially a repetition of what has happened several times before. Therefore, what New Delhi really needs to do is give up on its dream of anti-terror cooperation with Islamabad. It must accept that Pakistan will continue to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Hence, our policy-makers must focus on strengthening security systems so that an attack like Mumbai can never happen again. In this context, it is positive that the Government is moving swiftly to create regional NSG commando hubs in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. One of the main reasons why the 26/11 terrorists were successful in carrying out their dastardly deeds is because our response wasn't fast enough. There was a gargantuan, 12-hour delay in deploying NSG commandos after flying them in from Delhi. Had this been avoided and the response time been faster, many lives could have been saved. With the Mumbai NSG hub inaugurated on Tuesday and the other three to follow on Wednesday, one can only hope that this will be the beginning of a new, stronger security mechanism that will insulate India from terror attacks plotted in Pakistan.

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