Higher Tension

Terror, terror and more terror – if it’s not an attack, it’s the
fear of one that has crippled normal life in India. It’s extremely
angering, and tiring.

The latest is a warning of a 9/11 type of attack. Terrorists are
believed to be plotting hijackings similar to what was done in the U.S.
You can imagine what the airports in India must be like right now.
Travel, needless to say, has turned into a nightmare.

Also, hard as it is for civilians, the Indian police has its hands
full too. On the one hand, there’s the fear of another attack, and on
the other, the hard task of piecing together the puzzle of the Mumbai
killings. In all the evidence gathered so far, and there is a lot, one
thing consistently stands out – a Pakistani link; no matter what the
trail, it finally leads to Pakistan.

It’s a complicated problem, since terrorism, especially in Pakistan
has various, interconnected layers. It is particularly difficult to
parse out the nexus between the terrorists, the intelligence and the
army. The Laskhar-e-Toiba, or the LeT, is one of the most active
militant groups based in Pakistan; it’s believed to have many splinter
groups operating under different names, with one common aim – to kill
and create terror in India. Most Indians, of course, believe,
especially right now, that the state shares this aim and is fully
aware, if not involved, in the attacks against India.

This feeling is not without reason. India says it now has proof that
the Pakistani Intelligence agency, the ISI, was involved in the recent
attacks, something that could not possibly have happened, say experts,
without the complicity of, at least, the top brass in the army. In
addition, ISI’s link with militants, especially the Al Qaeda, is pretty
much an open secret. India, like the rest of the world, wonders how
Pakistan can brazenly deny what’s so clear to outside observers. The
Chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has said
the U.S. had enough evidence that reveals such a link.

Pakistan’s steadfast denial – the most recent statements from
President Asif Ali Zardari, on Larry King Live calling the men who
attacked Mumbai “stateless actors” – is particularly galling. It is
more than evident that the country is home to a deadly mix of
militants, terrorists and extremists and that they thrive openly. So,
even if one is to believe that the state is not directly involved, it
is a bit much to expect the world to believe that “stateless actors”
are causing all this carnage and that the government is in no way
responsible for their actions. After all, the only terrorist to be
caught alive in the Mumbai, 21-year- old Azam Amir Kasav, a resident of
Pakistan, revealed that he, along with the others, had trained
intensively at the LeT base in Pakistan, and that he had been
personally briefed about the targets by Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of
the top honchos of the LeT.

One may be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the new
civilian government in Pakistan, or even understand that they are faced
with a real problem – of weeding out the extremists and detangling the
nexus between its security agencies and the militants – but only if
their intent appears real. Blankly denying any links is not going to
help its cause.

What would help, for starters, is if Zardari actually handed over
those on India’s most wanted list; this, in itself, would allay a lot
of fears and suspicions. If Pakistan truly is, as it claims, keen on
helping India fight terror, it could take a solid first step in that
direction with this one act.

Copyright © 2007, SteelWill, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Spot
On is a trademark of SteelWill, Inc.

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