Sunday, May 9, 2010


Hours after 30-year-old Faizal Shahzad, son of a retired air vice marshal of the Pakistan Air Force, was arrested in the US, Pakistani authorities swung into action. Faizal's father-in-law and a friend were among the seven 'suspects' detained for questioning. Faizal's uncle retired as a major general in the frontier corps of the all powerful Pakistan army.

Contrast Pakistan's response to the failed terror attack at New York's Times Square with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

India caught Ajmal Amir Kasab with a smoking gun. He confessed he was a Pakistani, named his parents, village, Lashkar-e-Tayeba trainers and Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. Pakistan went into a denial mode. And to a large extent remains in denial even today.

But from Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik to foot-in-the-mouth Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pakistan's ambassador to the US Hussein Haqqani, everybody is bending over backwards to assure the US that strictest possible action will be taken against the plotters of the Times Square attack.


There is a lesson here for India's Pakistan policy planners. In the US, national security and national interest are supreme. From President Barack Obama downwards, the focus is on ensuring safety of US citizens. They are answerable for every failure.

In India despite the loss of 166 precious lives, despite knowing that state actors were involved in plotting mayhem in India, despite knowing that the jihad factories are still churning out more Kasabs, the prime minister extends his hand of friendship.

Ujjwal Nikam, the special public prosecutor in the court of special judge M.L. Tahaliyani described Kasab as a snake, a demon and a killing machine. Kasab is just a product of the jihad factory where other snakes, demons and killing machines are being prepared. What is the prime minister doing to ensure that factory is shut down?

What is Shiv Shankar Menon, the national security advisor spearheading the 'talk to Pakistan initiative' doing to ensure that the CEO of the terror factory - Hafiz Saeed - is arrested and prosecuted?

Meeting of hands does not mean anything...hearts should meet. That is not possible when one heart is so full of poison. Unless India sticks to its stand of no further movement on any issue till the terror factories are shut down and its CEO, staff and products are locked up, Pakistan will continue to bite that extended hand of friendship with impunity.

Why should Pakistan crack down on the jihad factory aimed at India? It has India back on the negotiating table without even paying lip service to cracking down on terror. The US has the power to ostracize Pakistan. The US has the power to inflict costs on Pakistan. India lacks that power.

Questions are being asked in the US if the country was getting its money's worth from Pakistan. A country living on US dole, plotting to launch more terror attacks across the US. In the US, its intelligence agencies too are in the line of fire - why was Faizal not on the terror radar and more importantly how did he manage to board the aircraft to the UAE despite being on the no-fly list? Taxpayers in the US are demanding answers.


In India losing the life of a dozen people every month to terrorists in J&K or even across the country is considered "acceptable". So the loss of a young army captain and a jawan in Bandipora on May 5 is a part of 'acceptable' damage. That is really sad commentary on the state of the nation.

In India questioning the motives of the prime minister or his NSA are considered anti-national. With the Opposition in a perpetual state of disarray, the government is able to get away with murder.

Let India learn a few lessons from the US. They interact directly with the Pakistan army - the real wielders of power in the country. We in India keep harping on talking to civilians who have to get back to the army to take their orders.

The main focus of the prime minister and his NSA should be to take the Opposition into confidence and carve out a clear Pakistan policy. Let India have a national policy on Pakistan. Come rain, some shine India will not deviate from that policy. That let be a rational policy keeping India's national interest in mind.

If the government of the day in its wisdom has decided to talk to Pakistan, let the ground rules be settled. Terror and talks do not go together. Let our intelligence agencies be held accountable. Get credible evidence of the terror factories, hand them over to Pakistan. See if the jihad factories are shut down and those spreading terror in India put behind bars.

If that does not happen, talking for the sake of talking will never make Indians safe. Let us learn from the US - national security above all. The world will listen.

1 comment:

  1. We need 'action' on political, economic and military front. Just talking is no good has Pakis have their ears muffed!

    Pak-US deals are full of compromises and more of 'lump it' scenarios. India can do very little due to lack of WILL.