Frankly it makes no difference who Pakistan sends to Sharm el Shaikh, Egypt for the NAM summit - its prime minister Yusuf Raza Gillani or president Asif Ali Zardari. Neither their President nor their prime minister wield real power in Pakistan.
The power is actually in the hands of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the chief of the army staff (COAS). Since he cannot be called to Sharm-el-Shiekh - at least not till he does a Musharraf – and makes it acceptable to the world - it makes little difference who mouths his words - Zardari or Gillani.
Either ways India should set its house in order and prevent the next terror attack. After the post 26/11 deep freeze – Yekaterinburg (Russia) was the venue for the thaw. As soon as Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh met Pakistan’s president Zardari this is what he said : ``I am extremely happy to meet you, but my mandate is limited to telling you that the territory of Pakistan must not be allowed to be used for terrorism against India.''
Barely had Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh's aircraft touched down at the Delhi Airport when Pakistan's minister of state for foreign affairs Malik Amad Khan told the Pakistani senate prime minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks were ``unacceptable.''
I wonder what part of this statement, Pakistan finds unacceptable and offensive. And if this is Pakistan's attitude will they actually crack down on terror aimed at India. Having been ``snubbed’’ by Manmohan Singh, Zardari decided to skip the NAM summit. Pakistan’s foreign office in a late evening statement Thursday said prime minister Gilani would be attending the NAM summit and meet the Indian prime minister on the sidelines of the meet.
WHAT INDIA EXPECTS OF PAKISTAN
1. Pakistan will proceed against Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the head of Jamat-ud-Dawa and one of the 26/11 terror attack masterminds.
2. Pakistan will prepare a strong case against Hafiz Saeed and other accused in the 26/11 terror attacks.
3. Pakistan will dismantle the terror infrastructure i.e. take tangible action against Lashkar e Taiba activists, dismantle the training centres and arrest the leaders.
4. Pakistan army will not help terrorists trying to sneak across the line of control - not provide either cover or diversionary fire.
5. Pakistan will proceed against Masood Azhar, the head of Jaish e Mohammad hiding in Pakistan.
STEP 1: ACTION AGAINST HAFIZ SAEED
India has a long list, but sources say, Hafiz Saeed is step 1. Pakistan not only should appeal in the superior court against the Lahore High Court order but make a strong case against Saeed. The Indian intelligence and security forces have a thick dossier on Saeed. Information has been shared with not just Pakistan but several other countries – but no pressure has worked on Pakistan. He remains one of the ``Generals of their terror army.’’
PAK PLAYING WITH WORDS
Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is playing with words when he says the judiciary let off Saeed and judiciary in Pakistan is as independent as judiciary in India. Qureshi is fooling no one but himself. The issue is not judiciary in Pakistan releasing Saeed. The issue is the ``weak case'' presented by the Pakistan government. With the world watching the judiciary will not let off a terrorist like Saeed if the government produces hard evidence against him. Pakistan's attorney general submitted in court the government had evidence against Saeed and JuD's links with Al Qaeda. Yet he was released for want of evidence.
LITMUS TEST FOR PAK IN 4 WEEKS
Pakistan's foreign secretary has a fortnight to ``convince India'' Pakistan is serious about cracking down on terror aimed at India. He meets his Indian counterpart Shiv shankar Menon end June and once India is convinced Pakistan is actually serious and is not just buying time, the two heads of state will meet again on July 15 in Egypt on the sidelines of the NAM meet. The million dollar question here is will Pakistan actually crack down on terror aimed at India.
PAK SEEKS MORE TIME
Zardari sought more time to crack down on terror. This in itself lays bare Pakistan's delaying tactics. When a patient is serious he is rushed to the ICU. More time is not sought for the patient's condition to deteriorate further before taking the patient to hospital. Pakistan once again is only buying time - waiting for international gaze to shift from the ``terror epicentre of the world''.The civil society in Pakistan appears to be putting pressure on their government to crack down on terror. Repeated suicide attacks across the country have exposed the real face of terror. While the people in Pakistan may not differentiate between the so called good terrorists (those who target India) and bad terrorists (those who target Pakistan) the Pakistani security establishment it seems is still not cracking down on the so called good terrorists.The equally important issue here is how effective is Asif Ali Zardari in Pakistan. Will the Pakistan army listen to him and stop training, arming and sending terrorists across the LoC even if he orders them to? The real power in Pakistan is wielded by the army. what is their thinking on the issue of terror aimed at India?
THREE FACES OF TERROR
There are three faces of terror - one in Afghanistan that affects the US the most. The second in the Af-Pak region which is now hurting Pakistan and the third that comes from mainland Pakistan and PoK and is aimed at India. The US war on terror focuses more on the Afghanistan terror and the Af-Pak region. Pakistan under pressure from the US is fighting terror in the Af-Pak region also because it is now killing Pakistan from within. But neither the US nor Pakistan are focusing on the terror that targets India. The US has made the right noises but that is about it. Pakistan on the other hand has not shown sincerity from day one. Whether it is cracking down on the 26/11 perpetrators or admitting international terror financer Dawood Ibrahim lives in Karachi.
In case the leopard is actually changing its spots we will know in less than a fortnight when the two foreign secretaries meet. Keep watching this space.