26/11: still waiting for closure

On November 26, 2008, Mumbai saw a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in the city. India accused Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks, which led to a complete breakdown of the Indo-Pak peace process for a long period. Tensions were so high in both countries that there was an imminent threat of war. Our government denied Pakistan’s involvement at first but later admitted that ‘non-state actors’ were involved. It was only after Pakistan assured India of full support in nailing the 26/11 culprits that the peace process began again, albeit haltingly. India has sent Pakistan a number of dossiers on the Mumbai attacks but nothing substantial has come of it so far. Thus, on the second anniversary of these deadly attacks, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram reminded Pakistan of its promises. He said, “Our neighbour Pakistan made many promises to us that they will bring to justice the masterminds, controllers and handlers of the 26/11 tragedy. They have not done so, so far.”

Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani citizen, was the only terrorist who survived and is now in India’s custody. Kasab revealed that the Pakistan-based banned terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) was behind the attacks. However, LeT’s chief, Hafiz Saeed, was allowed to go scot-free by our courts after the prosecution was unable to present any solid evidence against him. Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi, another LeT member, is also accused of masterminding 26/11 and is in custody. In recent months, more evidence has come out of the possible involvement of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, especially after the arrest of David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American. Pakistan has denied that our security establishment was involved in any manner but whether the intelligence agencies are coming clean on this or not cannot be said.

With the present structure and state of the judicial system and the inadequacies in our anti-terrorism laws, many terrorists are roaming free on our soil. Pakistan must understand that the LeT is not just a threat to India or the outside world but is potentially equally dangerous for us too. As US terrorism expert Bruce Riedel told Spiegel Online, a victory by the Afghan Taliban would have enormous reverberations in Pakistan as well. There is no doubt that the jihadist network would grow stronger if we continue to support the Afghan Taliban and these so-called ‘strategic assets’ could tomorrow turn on Pakistan as the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has done. We must acknowledge that the policy of fighting proxy wars, supporting terror networks and exporting jihad has run its course. Our state itself is now under threat. It is time to dismantle the terror networks so that we can live in peace and harmony within and without.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


Anil said…
We all dread repeat of 26/11 and what it may lead to..people of India and Pakistan need to galvanise to prevent it..they have equal stake in it for peace..therefore sane voices on either side must take centre stage..talk of bravado is foolish..much of the distrust and hate between the two countries has no basis in facts ..but there is no saying where provocation may lead us
Brijesh said…
Loved your thought on this. I guess majority of people on both sides understand that this needs to end to either country to start addressing more important issues like development & inclusive growth. There are divisive forces on both sides that'll continue to stall peace. Only if the general sane consensus could draw more actionable & visible results.

Very Well written i must say.

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