Monday, July 31, 2006

The Inside Voice

Even as Pakistan is in a denial mode over its support to cross-border terrorism, voices from within that country are holding Islamabad and the ISI responsible for the July 11 bomb attacks in Mumbai.

"Pakistan's motive for commiting this crime against humanity is evident -- to destabilise India," the government-in-exile of Balochistan said in a statement on the terrorist attacks.

"The government of Balochistan (in exile) condemns the Pakistani spy agency, ISI, for the terrorist attacks in India," said the statement issued by its general secretary Mir Azaad Khan Baloch.

Another group, the Baloch Action Committee, said Pakistan may have "instigated, inspired and supported" the terrorists who carried out the train blasts in Mumbai that killed 200 people and injured over 700.

It said that "acts of terrorism are controlled and monitored by ISI" and it would be "exceedingly difficult for the Indian people and government to carry forward what may be called as normalisation (and) peace process."

The statements went against Pakistan's insistence that terrorist acts in India had no link to that country.

New Delhi has been providing evidence of cross-border connections and only three days ago asked Islamabad to hand over Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim besides arresting LeT chief Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed to demonstrate its commitment to prevent terrorism aimed against India.

Baloch pointed out that there was no claim of responsibility for the well-coordinated terrorist attack, which was "a common tactic employed by Pakistani-supported Kashmiri militants".

Baloch also insisted that Islamabad got Indian engineer K Suryanarayana killed in Afghanistan by "Pakistan- supported Taliban" in May. This, he said, was done in retaliation for New Delhi's condemnation of Islamabad's use of armed forces to "suppress the ethnic Baloch in Pakistan- occupied Balochistan".

Suryanarayana, working on a telecom project, was abducted and killed by Taliban in south Afghanistan.

Baloch has sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, expressing his condolences at the deaths caused by the Mumbai terrorist attacks and offered to help India in apprehending those behind them.

"We Balochis regret that our Indian brothers have fallen in the trap of false assurances delivered by Pakistan," said the Baloch Action Committee.

-Courtsey Outlook India

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Peace Process in Pieces

The Peace Process between India and Pakistan which began it's journey in January 2004 is still where it was then. Nothing worthwhile mentioning has actually taken place between the two governments.

The Peaces Process has two aspects to it - one is the people to people relations and other is the relations at the levels of the governments of respective states. In the past two and a half years we have certainly improved people to people contacts but it is important to understand that nothing can go well between India and Pakistan unless the governmental relations improve.

Pakistan has for long been holding any measure between the two governments at ransom to the solution of the so called core issues. So we had the issues of trade relations, transit to Afghanistan, conferring of MFN status on India, the SAFTA, and the list is countless. Raise an issue and Pakistan will say "Oh we'll talk about it later, let's go further with the core issue."

The core issue it must be understood are not going to be resolved in a year or two. So should we believe that until that happens we will not be able to talk over other issues. In fact the whole Peace Process had its beginnings on the word given by the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf that Pakistani soil would not be allowed to be used for furthering acts of terrorism in India in any form. And if anyone wants any proof over the sanctity of those words then we have examples to cite like Diwali blasts in Delhi, Coimbatore blasts, Varanasi, Ayodhya and now finally Mumbai.

It is surprising that just like India's policies on Economic Planning, the so called Peace Process seems to have achieved only beautiful text work and really no ground work! Diplomats from both countries meet regularly and present beautifully drafted communiqué, but the blasts that follows are just the opposite. So it's time we take a stock of where this Peace Process is going, or is it really going anywhere at all?

Friday, July 14, 2006


After the blasts the only thing that came to the rescue of people were the people themselves. The resilience and courage with which the Mumbaikars turned down yet another disaster is worth appreciating. If in 2005 it was overcoming a natural disaster, 2006 demanded a man-made tragedy to be overcome. It didn't make much of a difference to the brave citizens of this city as far as their duty towards their fellow citizens was concerned.

This was a classic example of how things can be set in order if every citizen tries to abide by his/her own fundamental duties towards the State and fellow citizens. While talking about fundamental duties one recalls that there are together with it certain fundamental rights that the Constitution confers on all the citizens which are to be protected by the govt in power. One of the most vital fundamental rights is the Right to Live which is guaranteed under article-21 of the Indian Constitution. So while many citizens were busy fulfilling their duties, the State miserably failed in fulfilling some of its most vital duties which includes protecting the life of the citizens.

The govt praised the Mumbaikars for the great sacrifices they made for the nation. But were these sacrifices really voluntary? People did not die because they wanted to, they died because the govt failed to check the terror. The real problem is that even after so many such violent acts the govt has not taken any significant step to see that next time such a thing is prevented. Mulayam Singh Yadav the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has openly come out in defence of Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI), whereas for the past few years it has been confirmed that this organisation is being used time and again by the Lashkar-e-Taiba to outsource its terror activities in India.

So these sacrifices won't go waste, we have politicians who'll make full utilization of it so that we get more and more opportunities to make many more such sacrifices and hence the cycle goes on...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Pakistan's Reactions.

The Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri initially linked the Bombay blasts on July 11,2006 with the lack of real progress in finding a solution to the Kashmir problem. After 0bjections to such a statement raised by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, the Pakistani authorities said that Kasuri was misquoted by Reuters.

Now Pakistan tried to clarify to the international media that everytime a blast happens in India and fingers are pointed at Pakistan. They objected to this fingerpointing(towards Pakistan) by India. What does Pakistan expect India to do? The whole world has agreed that Pakistan is a hot bed of terrorism. The United States has confirmed the existence of terrorist camps in Pakistan. So who is to be blamed for attacks on such a large scale? The amount of expertise in handling such sensitive explosives, the procurement of these explosives and the ability to conduct such coordinated blasts makes it amply clear that only a very well organised terrorist group could have done that. The intelligence agencies have no doubts that either the Lashkar-e-Taiba or the Jaish-e-Mohammed are behind these blasts, and more probable seems to be the Lashkar. Still India has not blamed any organisation for the blasts before getting conclusive evidence and even the SIMI(Students Islamic Movement of India) is under scanner.

India just asked Pakistan to shut-down the terrorist camps. Even that reaction was too much for the Pakistani Foreign Office to take. Pakistan better see to the reactions of Israel recently on Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon. This was the mildest possible way in which India could have raised it's concerns. But even this won't be aggreable to Pakistan. How long can this go on?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Bombay Blasts

"Seven bombs hit Bombay's commuter rail network during rush hour Tuesday evening, killing as many as 100 people and wounding 250 in what authorities called a well-coordinated attack."

Yet another attack. These blasts followed the morning blasts in Srinagar. The Home Minister said the incidents were unfortunate. Pakistan president offered condolences over the loss of life. Congress President Sonia Gandhi will visit the site together with the Home Minister. And wow is that all!

More than a hundred people die and what the govt has to offer is condolences. It's difficult to understand how big is the magnitude of a tragedy supposed to be to qualify for centre's action against it? It just reminds one of the incidents preceding 2001. First it was the IC-814 hijack, then attacks in J&K and finally only when the parliament was attacked did the govt think it appropriate to send a strong signal to Pakistan.

Of course the Bombay bomb blasts are a nothing as compared to the 13th December attack on parliament, so if we're hoping for some stern actions on part of New Delhi, then we are certainly mistakened. Come on those who perished were just "normal" citizens and not high profile people. And yes of course doesn't the Congress party have other important works like the upcoming elections in UP to oversee? Oh yes, it's better for them to plan the election strategy rather than trying to resolve this bomb blast mystery. Anyways it wasn't Rahul Gandhi who was on board those trains, so it doesn't make much of a difference.

The year 2006 has witnessed increased terrorist activities. The infiltration levels this year have been higher than the previous few years and the attempts now are desperate. They have started attacking the innocent tourists now. So there is clear cut overhaul of strategy on the part of the terrorist organisations. It's high time we alter our strategy to tackle the menace of cross-border terrorism now.

Yes there is an ongoing peace process with Pakistan. But it's only the Indian blood that is sacrificing itself to carry this peace process go forward. It's high time we act proactively to see that no more Indian blood is shed over this so called peace process. Because if this is the cost at which peace is to be bought, it's certainly a bad bargain.

It's important to understand that India should now take steps on its own to tackle this menace of terrorism. Pakistan is either unwilling or unable to check the activities in PoK. So now it's our time to clean up things in PoK as it is bothering us more than anyone else. Hope the govt wakes up to the reality and takes some bold actions beyond the obvious political rhetoric.