Offense is the best defense. That’s the simple attitude that Pakistan seems to have adopted in the month since 26/11 – as the Mumbai attacks have come to be called (India follows the European dating system: day, then month for Nov. 26).
Each time Pakistanis are faced with uncomfortable questions about the toxic terror nexus on its soil, it either denies the allegations, especially if they are made by India, or, it points a finger at the accuser, the oldest of time-delaying-attention-diverting tactics.
Facts don’t seem to matter, not when they point to Pakistan’s involvement in events unpalatable. But the facts exist.
Fact: The only terrorist to be caught alive from the 26/11 attacks, Ajmal Aamir Qasab, has long revealed that he is from Pakistan, something that his father has also confirmed. But Pakistan, with its closed if-I-can’t-see-you-you-can’t-see-me attitude has disowned Qasab, denying that he is a Pakistani national. No matter that officials from the FBI, who have been in Mumbai since the attacks, interrogated Qasab in which he not only revealed details about where he grew up, but also his journey from life as a petty thief in the streets of Karachi, to the terror training camps of Lashkar-e-Taeba (LeT). Desperate for a lawyer, Qasab has twice attempted to seek help from the Pakistani High Commission, revealing in his first letter that he and the other Mumbai attackers killed in the encounter were Pakistani nationals. His pleas, however, have been in vain, as Pakistan continues to disown Qasab, stating that there is no record of him in its national database.
Fact: Both the Indian officials as well as the FBI have, after examining call records of the satellite and mobile phones used by the terrorists, confirmed a Pakistani connection. The terrorists were apparently in touch with their mentors from Pakistan while they were on their way to Mumbai and while they were carrying out the attacks. John Michel McConnell, director of U.S. National Intelligence, has confirmed that one of the numbers retrieved from the satellite phones belonged to Abu Al Qama, a well known LeT terrorist; while the terrorists were slaughtering innocent people in the Mumbai hotels, some of them Americans, they were on the phone with the headquarters. In one instance, they lined up the hostages against a wall and asked someone on the phone whether they should shoot them; the voice is known to have said, in Urdu: “blow them up”.
India’s patience is now running thin; it is now keen on seeing some serious action on Pakistan’s part to control the terror groups and raiding camps and making few arrests is unfortunately not going to be enough this time. This year been a terrible one for India and while it’s coming to an end, the same cannot be said of terror threats. More attacks, say intelligence sources, could come from anywhere and certain areas are on high alert. Goa – an extremely popular Christmas-time destination for tourists – has banned beach parties this festive season, after receiving information that it could be a target.
Tensions between India and Pakistan are on a high and both the countries have prepared their forces for any eventuality. The Pakistani Air Force, in a show of its preparedness has been test flying its fighter jets over its cities. India too is prepared, though it has maintained that war is not the answer to fighting terror. The Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has rightly urged Pakistan to stop talking war and concentrate on the real issue – fighting and defeating terrorism on its soil.
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