Assess Pakistan’s Sincerity to end cross-border Terror
Published earlier in ‘The New Indian Express’.
It is unfortunate that the solemnity of events marking the 10th anniversary of the barbarous terrorist attack on Mumbai, by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) was negated, by the hype and drama surrounding Indian participation in the opening of the Sikh holy shrine in Kartarpur. The Israelis sought out and arrested, or eliminated those German Nazis responsible for the holocaust of Jews during World War II. Even those Nazi War Criminals living in countries as far off as Argentina were sought out, eliminated, or brought to justice. Those responsible for, or involved in, the Mumbai massacres of March 12, 1993 and November 26, 2008, ranging from Dawood Ibrahim to Lashkar military commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, live comfortably in Pakistan.
Imran Khan, like other Pakistani leaders, has resorted to the usual Pakistani excuses, citing absence of evidence and “lack of cooperation” by India as being responsible for their inability to prosecute the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. But former chief of Pakistan’s Federal Investigative Agency Tariq Khosa exposed such ploys in an article in the Dawn newspaper in 2015. He was, however, later compelled to retract. Khosa acknowledged that the Commander and Deputy Commander of the 26/11 terrorists were traced and arrested. He averred that the investigations led to the FIA obtaining detailed evidence about the import and transportation from Japan to Lahore, of the fishing trawler used by the terrorists.
The money trails were followed and linked to an accused in Pakistan, who was arrested. A couple of foreign-based financiers were also brought to trial. The room in Karachi from which the operation was commanded and controlled was located and the communications equipment used retrieved.
The sheer brazenness of Pakistani denials of involvement was also evident from evidence available in the trial in Chicago of two persons of Pakistani origin, David Coleman Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani) and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. They received long prison terms and the trial proceedings reveal the extent of Pakistani involvement in the planning and execution of the 26/11 strike. The so-called ‘trial’ of Lakhvi was a farce. The then ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha periodically visited Lakhvi in jail. His wife was allowed freely to meet him and their new baby was born while Lakhvi was in jail. Lakhvi is now a free man and continues his role in the LeT.
Every time a new ruler emerges in Pakistan, his “friends” in India issue loud calls about why we should immediately enter into a serious dialogue with the new messiah, because of the goodwill towards India that he claims he has. Imran Khan is no exception. People seem to forget that Imran, popularly known as ‘Taliban Khan’, has been elected to office, thanks to the support of the powerful army. Under international economic pressure, the army is now trying to persuade the world that it oozes goodwill for India. We should interact with the military and civilian establishment in Pakistan to first assess how sincere they are in eliminating cross-border terrorism. Imran has realistically recognised that any formal dialogue can commence only after General Elections in India in 2019.
Ambassador G Parthasarathy is a former diplomat and a prolific commentator on Geopolitics. He is a Trustee of TPF. The views expressed are the author’s own,