Imagine this. One of the terrorists from the 9/11 attacks is caught alive, and he reveals that he is from Pakistan where he and the others trained intensively in terror camps. He gives details about his village where he grew up. Then, the FBI finds satellite phones used by his fellow attackers containing detailed records of calls made between the attackers and their native land. Those calls are then transcribed, and chilling details of their conversations are decoded, in which the latter instruct the former to kill in cold blood. In the light of this disturbing and unmistakable evidence, America asks Pakistan to cooperate in bringing the guilty to trial. Pakistan not only refuses, but also makes inflammatory statements that whip the country into war-time hysteria. America, however, continues to amicably try and solve the issue, looking for help in these efforts from friends around the world, all of whom know fully well that the bloody trail leads to Pakistan, but, for some reason or the other, walk on eggshells, skirting the real issue. The perpetrators of terror walk free.
Unimaginable? Not if you’re in India.
This is pretty much what has been happening in India after the Mumbai attacks in November last year. No matter what the evidence or its authenticity, Pakistan has denied it point blank. So far, it has got away with this unacceptable behavior – though, hopefully, not for long.
The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who has shown exemplary restraint in handling Pakistan’s offensive tactics, has decided to take the diplomatic route, not the military one in response. War, he knows, is not the answer, though he is painfully aware of the fact that his way – the diplomatic one – is sure to take more time. His patience, however, is wearing thin, as time ticks by and the Pakistani government keeps up its see-no-evil, hear-no-evil act. In his strongest statement made since the attacks, Dr. Singh, on Tuesday, did not mince words as he said that attacks of this scale, of such sophistication and military precision must have been carried out with the complicity of the some of the official agencies in Pakistan.
This does not come as a surprise to India, or for that matter to the world. Pakistan’s Intelligence agency the ISI is known to have links with terror groups, a fact that even the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency warned of, well before the Mumbai attacks took place.
Almost every time there has been a terror attack in India, a Pakistani connection has surfaced. In July, 2008 the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked by the Taliban, and evidence of Pakistan’s involvement had emerged. At the time Dr. Singh had, despite this evidence, continued with peace efforts with the recently elected civilian government in Pakistan. His efforts, it now seems, were in vain. That’s yet another reason why he has now made his feelings clear on the matter, saying with very little equivocation that Pakistan has utilized terrorism as an instrument of state policy and aided groups who are against India. Predictably, Pakistan has not taken well to Dr. Singh’s remarks and has again accused India of creating tension in the region. And so, the blame game goes on.
Meanwhile top U.S. officials are convinced that the terror situation in Pakistan is cause for concern not only for India, but for the rest of the world as well. U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on Wednesday admitted that Pakistan is going to be a big challenge for the Obama administration and that problems in Afghanistan cannot be solved without solving Pakistan. The problem isn’t limited to one state; it’s regional in scope. It needs a regional solution as Dr. Singh’s efforts underline.
Knowing what we do about the terror nexus – the connections between Pakistan’s state agencies and extremist groups – it is a shame that no serious action has been taken against the country. The squeaky wheel is being allowed to get away, with some token wrist slaps. This dangerous for all of us. What message are the terrorists getting? Surely, they can’t be running scared. They probably can’t believe their luck at having gotten away. This will only encourage more attacks, which are probably being planned as I write this.
It’s only a matter of time.
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