Mumbai: another tragedy

Three blasts rocked Mumbai city on Wednesday evening at 6:54 pm, 6:55 pm and 7:05 pm. More than 20 people lost their lives while another 141 were injured. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were used in the terror attacks but so far no one has claimed responsibility. Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram said the blasts were “not a failure of intelligence agencies...whoever has perpetrated the attacks has worked in a very clandestine manner”. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan appealed to the people of Mumbai to remain calm. President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani condemned the attacks and expressed their deepest sympathies with the victims of the tragedy. The attacks showed that terrorism is a phenomenon that is not just confined to Pakistan and Afghanistan anymore; the region may well be passing into the grip of terrorism. So far, the Indian authorities have not blamed Pakistan. Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry U K Bansal said that as of now, there was no indication of a link from across the border but “all angles were being probed”. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna informed the media that there is no change in the scheduled talks between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will also visit India as per schedule. The level of maturity and restraint shown by the Indian government and its media gives us hope that peace in the region is not a far off dream.

Peace between India and Pakistan is something desired by most people on both sides of the border but the tensions between the two states are such that it has remained elusive so far. Whenever things between the two neighbours start to normalise, spoilers try to sabotage the process. Examples like the Kargil misadventure or 26/11 are no secret. While we condemn cross-border terrorist attacks in the strongest possible words, there is no denying that indigenous terror groups may be surfacing within India now. The composition of the mosaic that is India is quite complex – far more than Pakistan and Bangladesh – and requires the Indian state to rise above the appearance of partisanship. Incidents like the demolition of the Babri Mosque by the saffron brigade, communal riots in Mumbai, the pogrom in Gujarat have led to a perceived notion of injustice within a section of Muslims in India. It is not our purview to be advising the Indian government on how to deal with these sentiments but there is undeniably a growing peril for India itself.

Pakistan may have condemned these Mumbai attacks but it is naturally concerned that it may be dragged into this willy-nilly given past suspicions and the track record. Just as US President Obama has offered all possible help to India, Pakistan would be well served if it offers to do the same. Given what happened less than three years ago on November 26 in Mumbai, fingers of suspicion pointed at Pakistan by BJP leader L K Advani came as no surprise. “Some say that Indian Mujahideen is behind the attacks. Even if it is Indian Mujahideen, they get their sustenance from Pakistan,” said Mr Advani. What it shows is that Pakistan’s policy of nurturing jihadist groups and using its terrorist proxies in the region has damaged Pakistan’s image, status and position in the world. There is little credibility left for Pakistan and the world increasingly treats us as a pariah state. Pakistan has itself been a victim of terrorism because of pursuing these disastrous policies. We would be better served if our policies were aligned with the region and the rest of the world. The need of the hour is to seek peaceful relations with our neighbours, especially India.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

Comments

jayeshji said…
Do Hindus have any rites in pak u have 52 Islamic states Hindus need only one

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