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The Mumbai ‘Anniversary’
The Pakistani chapter in the Mumbai probe is a small part of a larger story that should be investigated with equal vigor. Mumbai should not become limited to settling India’s political scores with Kashmiri groups like LeT.
AHMED QURAISHI | Wednesday | 1 December 2010 | The News International
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—We in Pakistan share the grief of the 166 innocent people killed in the 2008 attacks but do not share the cynicism of the Indian government and the hypocrisy of its few international enthusiasts who are supporting it for ulterior motives.
Those in the Indian ruling elite marking the two-year ‘anniversary’ of the event and their cheerleaders in Washington, like senior Obama administration official Robert Blake, who are exploiting the event to get back at Pakistan are doing a disservice to the memory of the martyrs by ignoring key realities.
The first one is the hypocrisy of the Indian government. Indian film industry’s melodrama should not mix with Indian foreign policy. The Indian government grandstanded and played to newsroom headline-makers by serving a protest message to the top Pakistani diplomat in the Indian capital on the eve of the anniversary. Indian officials were supposedly protesting why Pakistan has not yet convicted individuals named by New Delhi as alleged masterminds of the attacks. The hypocrisy lies in the fact that India’s government is yet to respond to a Pakistani plea to send some of the Indian interrogators who debriefed Ajmal Kassab, the lone surviving attacker, to Pakistan to testify in the Pakistani trial of the alleged suspects. That testimony is important to fill the gaps in the Pakistani probe and provide Pakistani judges a better perspective and conclusive evidence. India won’t cooperate in this but is ready to grandstand.
India’s media won’t question this Indian conduct. Obviously it is reading from the same script and is unanimously focused on Pakistan.
We also have strong indications that India is using the Mumbai tragedy to settle scores with its political opponents in the Kashmir dispute. Lashkar-eTayyeba, or LeT, is yet to be convicted in the Mumbai attacks, if it will ever be depending on evidence. And yet the Indians are single-mindedly obsessed about LeT as payback for the tough time the Kashmiri group has given India in the twenty years since the first Kashmiri uprising in 1989. Bringing Mumbai culprits to book is a noble cause. Using the tragedy to target Kashmiri figures and groups is not. This Indian obsession with LeT comes at the cost of ignoring other equally important parts of the probe into the Mumbai tragedy.
Resolving the Mumbai mystery is more important for us than the Indians. We want to know the full dimension of the conspiracy. The involvement of a few Pakistani names is just one small part of the attack. The real story is outside Pakistan, in several countries whose telecommunication systems were utilized during the attack and where some of the suspects traveled through frequently, raising the possibility that one or more third-country intelligence service knew what was going on. Respected Indian investigating journalists have published articles and at least one book offering evidence that one of several Indian spy agencies knew something before the attacks. The biggest question mark involves a US citizen of Pakistani descent who worked for FBI and CIA at different times and who is cited as the main planner. This American was planted in the close circle around key LeT activists based in Pakistan. Who was meddling between Pakistan and India?
This might be a conspiracy theory but it is no more fantastical than the theory put forth by CIA and several key US officials about ‘intelligence findings’ that allege LeT is ‘getting closer’ to Al Qaeda and is developing ‘international ambitions.’ This ridiculous American conspiracy theory cites some mosque somewhere in the liberated part of Kashmir where the imam called for jihad everywhere and not just in Kashmir. American conspiracy theories about LeT going global are a sign of how closely allied US policy in the region has become with India at the cost of Pakistan’s legitimate interests that our American ally is now brazenly flouting.
Pakistan should resist the US-backed Indian obsession over LeT and instead demand a full probe into the international parts of the Mumbai tragedy. Indians must understand that it is easy to raise tensions and we can do that by marking an annual memorial of 69 innocent Pakistani peace-promoters burned alive on Indian soil in 2007 at the hands of serving Indian military intelligence officers and Hindu terrorists.
Column published by The News International.
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