Saturday, September 5, 2009


Union home minister P. Chidambaram has spelt out the evidence against Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind. The evidence is now in public domain. Based on Ajmal Amir Kasab's confession (made to a judicial magistrate - admissible as evidence in any court of law), Chidambaram gave details of the time Saeed spent with the Mumbai attackers, motivating them, brainwashing them. Chidambaram also spoke of how it was Saeed who gave the terrorists their new name (Abu Mujahid for Kasab) before the attack and the fact that he visited the terrorist training camp on more than one occassion.

Is it not a fact that Saeed was the founder head of the Lashkar e Taiba ? Is it not a fact that LeT has owned up responsibility for several terror attacks not just in Jammu and Kashmir but across the country ? Is it not a fact that LeT became Jamat ut Dawa but Saeed continued to head it ? Join the dots and you get the picture of a terrorist.

Chidambaram says this evidence is sufficient for Pakistan to begin the probe against Saeed. And Chidambaram should know. He is a lawyer himself. So what should the legal course of action be... Step 1: arrest him.
Step 2:Get the Federal Investigative Agency to probe his role.
Step 3: File a chargesheet based on Indian evidence and FIA's own probe
Step 4: Start the trial in an independent court of law.
Legal experts say Saeed is a mastermind and will never be caught with a smoking gun. Arresting a terrorist with a gun and his confession is evidence enough in any civilized country. If even after this Pakistan refuses to act against Saeed, there is no point talking to Pakistan. Several Pakistani politicians have gone on record to say Hafiz Saeed is a respectable man. It is only in Pakistan that a terrorist can be called a respectable man. Then why do Pakistanis see red when they are called the terror epicentre of the world?

Pakistan's former natonal security advisor Mehmud Ali Durrani speaking to reporters after delivering the the first R.K. Mishra lecture on “India and Pakistan - Bridging the Gap”, organised by the Observer Research Foundation said there was zero evidence linking Saeed to the terror attacks.

This coming from a man who lost his job for speaking the truth in Pakistan and admitting Kasab was a Pakistani. It seems he has learnt his lesson and has given up speaking the truth.
Almost 10 months after the 26/11 terror attacks at least one thing is clear - Pakistan is unwilling to act against the terror masterminds.


Let's for once call a spade a spade. Why should we talk to Pakistan on Kashmir. Who is Pakistan and what is Pakistan's locus standi ? It behaves like a rogue state. It is a bully. It is on the verge of being a failed state. It can't handle its own affairs whether it is in the north west frontier province, Balochistan, Sindh or even Punjab. It cannot set its own house in order and it wants to meddle in our affairs. On more than one occassion the Indian Parliament has made it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. And then it tells lies. White lies.

Why should India be afraid if Pakistan raises Kashmir in the international fora. Let it. Let us raise Balochistan, Sindh and NWFP and atrocities by the Pakistan army and their Taliban battalions in these regions. The world now anyway knows the inside story of a collapsing state called Pakistan.


Pakistan's prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani says Pakistan will continue to give moral and diplomatic support to Kashmir. But according to the Indian chief of army staff General Deepak Kapoor Pakistan is giving military support to terrorists - helping them cross into Indian territory and violating the Ceasefire of November 2003. Once again Pakistan appears to be speaking with a forked tongue. Its foreign minister Shah Mehmood Quereshi says Pakistan will take up the Kashmir cause more vigorously. Perhaps what he means is terrorists will be pushed in more vigorously before the passes on the higher reaches of Pir Panjal get snowed in coming winters.

Because one thing is clear Pakistan doesn't care a tuppence for the people of J&K. If it did, tourists would not be attacked and terrorist strikes would not take place in the heart of Srinagar scaring away the handful of tourists brave enough to venture north of Pir Panjal. Kashmir's economy is being sustained by the counter terror apparatus. But for the billions being pumped in by the centre, Kashmir perhaps would be worse than Bihar or Jharkhand.
Every time I go to Kashmir, I see bigger and better built homes, even in the back of beyond areas. Recently a senior army officer told me his division was spending more than two crore rupees a month just on porter and ponies. Taxi business is booming even across Zojila, in Drass and Kargil. Even the people of J&K know there future is far more secure in a stable India than a terror hub Pakistan. Perhaps this is one reason why the army seems to be getting slightly better inputs on terrorist movement than ever before. All this certainly is not music to Pakistan's ears.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says we need to think out of the box. Let's act for once in a decisive manner. Pakistan's namby pamby leadership (to rise in the eyes of its military leadership) try and raise the Kashmir bogey. Let's call their bluff one time. Tell Pakistan we will not talk to them about Kashmir at all. We will only talk about terror or not at all.


What will happen if we refuse to talk to Pakistan ? Tell me the worst case scenario. Let me argue it in another way. What good came of it when we were talking to Pakistan - actually witnessing Pakistan going through the motions of talking to us.Terror attacks continued unabated. So whether we talk or not, Pakistan will continue to export terror to India. It is a part of its state policy. What is the worst that has happened so far ? 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. What can be worse ? Another terror strike ? Multiple terror strikes across multiple cities ? Let us pepare for it. Let us for once not be bulled into talking to Pakistan - come Hillary come Obama. Let us explain to the world with evidence, It is not in our national interest to go through the motions of talking to Pakistan. what do we lose if we do not talk to Pakistan. Nothing! In fact we gain in terms of our mental preparedness. We know there is a hostile neighbour out to mess up our happiness - we are prepared to deal with it. We begin talking to Pakistan and automatically our security forces let down their guard. This time at least they know what a slimy neighbour they are up against.


What have the US and UK done that there have been no terror attacks in their countries post 9/11 (US) 7/7 and 21/7 (UK) attacks. Let us study it very minutely and emulate it. They must have done something right that there has not been another terror attack in their countries for so many years. Of course it is easier for them since they are far-far away from Pakistan and we unfortunately share a border with the terror epicentre of the world. but look at the flip side - they are bearding the Lion in its own den. US forces are attacking Al Qaeda and Taliban inside Afghanistan and on the Pak Afghan border and the British forces are supporting them in combat.

We have rightly refused to be drawn into that conflict but the lesson is you have to kill the enemy in his house and not wait for him to attack you in your backyard. Gather intelligence and pass it on to people who are out there to eliminate the terrorists. India needs to build a cast iron case against the terrorists operating out of Pakistan and then put it in the public domain.


Pakistan's war on India by another means. Security press in Pakistan are printing high denomination Indian currency. Both Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes, including most security features. It seems Pakistan buys the security paper and ink from the same source as India. Adolf Hitler did this to Britain in the second world war. Printed millions of pounds and air dropped them over London and other cities during the war in an effort to destabilize England's economy further during war. Pakistan is doing just the same. Trying to destabilize India's economy. Security paper and ink are never sold to non state actors.

Pakistan is buying far more than its own currency requirements. India should be firm here too. Either change the source of procurement of its currency paper and ink or insist if they do business with India they cannot do business with Pakistan. India has enough clout in the world to ensure we have it our way.


Finally our foreign policy experts need to get off their high horses and start engaging all our other ``non hostile'' neighbours in the right earnest. Pakistan and China we need to beware of but Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka should be spoken to not as `subordinate states' but engaged as `equals' to help us solve our problems. there is no reason why every neighbour of ours should be hostile to us. Our foreign office mandarins need to do some soul searching Why are Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka hostile to us. We have close historic, cultural and social ties with them. what went wrong ? Let us start making ammends. It is never too late. They need us but at this point we need them more. We cannot afford to fight fire on all fronts. We need Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to crack down on anti-India elements on their soil. We benefited so much from Bhutan's initiative against the ULFA.

Imagine if the same happened in Bangladesh. I know it is easier said than done but not impossible. Let us try. We must in the right earnest start to counter Pakistan and China's growing influence in our strategic backyard. That is in our interest.


War on terror cannot be won by empty threats and words alone. India will have to take some hard decisions and follow up tough words with tough actions. But the first step is taking a firm position and then not budging from it - come rain, come shine. Let our leaders do it for once. For us...for India.

No comments:

Post a Comment