Mumbai Carnage (29-11-2008)

Globalised terrorists have re-surfaced in Mumbai killing over 160 people and injuring over 340 till the time this column is being written. Such attacks whether they are at Marriott in Islamabad or the on-going battle in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan or in Mumbai — the financial and commercial hub of India – are equally abhorrent.


Pakistan government was quick to condemn the terrorists attack on the nerve center of India and offer help. The Indian government in its knee-jerk reaction pointed fingers towards Pakistan implying the terrorists have links across the border. Whether the terrorists’ foot-steps can be traced back to Pakistan or not in the course of investigation, one thing is clear that these death merchants want to sabotage the peace process between the two countries. Whenever there is some positive development the terrorist strike back to derail the process. Even this attack came at the heels of the recently concluded meeting between the representatives of the two governments in which it was agreed to co-operate against terrorism.


The good thing is that there are many people on both sides of the border who understand that the terrorist organisations are now actually targeting the peace process. Both governments also realise this but are often found bogging down under the political pressure of the hardliners. The Indian government should realize that there are three types of people in the terrorist organisations in Pakistan: One, the leaders of Jihadi organisations who are benefited by the war economy and hence want tense relations between the two countries; two, the rank and file of Jihadi organisations who have been brainwashed to believe that it is their religious duty; and three, the underworld which thrives on such conflicts.


Another problem is the serious trust deficit between the two countries. The Indians believe that behind every trouble they have there is an ISI hand, while Pakistanis see RAW’s backing of trouble makers in their country. Now the most difficult issue is how to first sift the reality from a bag full of myths. Our problem is that even the Afghanistan and American governments are blaming us of covertly supporting these Jihadi organisations, which are considered terrorist outfits by the world. In this backdrop the decision of the government that intelligence should be shared between the two countries and some top ISI officials visit to India in this regard is a right move. Such moves will help in building the shattered trust and confidence between the two countries.


The strong sentimental reaction in the name of inflated perception about sovereignty of the country does not sync with the reality. The truth is that there are dozens of terrorist organisations in the country, who claim they are operating in India and Afghanistan. The truth is that they had enjoyed the establishment’s patronage for many years. The truth is that after 9/11 the establishment has been trying to reign-in these organisations. They may not be having government support at present but they have not dissolved themselves. Most of them are now self-propelled and consider the government as renegades. It is because of this that we hear statement by the leaders of the Tehrik-e-Taliban that they have PPP and ANP leaders on their hit list. The Indians should also take note of this that now terrorists are poised in battle against both the government, so we need to fight it out together. And stop blaming each other.


Similarly, the people have to understand that as long we do not prove it to the world that we respect the sovereignty of our neighbours by stopping cross-border infiltration of the terrorist in Afghanistan and India. As long we don’t abide by the crucial clause of International Law and the recently passed resolution of the parliament that says that we will not allow use of our territory against any other country, we would be fools to expect that the world will honour our sovereignty. Respect of ones rights is earned by respecting the same rights of others.


Trust deficit about Pakistan has a history of decades based on the stupid policy of harbouring terrorists for achieving national security objectives. This deficit cannot be bridged overnight. Apparently, the government has started moving away from this adventurism, but not without resistance. There are many within and outside the establishment who have a vested interest to ignore the changed geo-political conditions. I am not surprised that the hawks are trying hard to sabotage the peace process between Pakistan and India. I am surprised at the naivety of those who talk about protecting Pakistan’s sovereignty without historical and legal perspective. (  Blog: )



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