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Monday, December 22, 2008

India or Pakistan’s 9/11?
Prof Farakh A Khan

Gen David Petraeus recently said that Mumbai attack was not an Indian 9/11 but 9/11 of Pakistan. On the other hand the world is confused as to who these 10 terrorists were and how could they strike at the heart of Indian economic giant taking 60 hours of hard fighting and loss of 178 innocent lives. Nevertheless the Indian government and United Nations were convinced that banned Pakistani organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba (2002) and its new name Jamaatul Dawa was the culprit. These diplomatic moves by India diplomatically isolated Pakistan into a corner. The leaders of America and Britain parroted the Indian policy. We do not need to go into the blame game or political mileage at this stage when tempers in India are at its height. The Mumbai attack brings out some important observations, which need to be shared.Terrorism by individuals, groups, and the state has been used since the dawn of time. In the post WW II era terrorism as strategy has grown all over the world. Over the last two decades it has assumed deadly proportions. One reason is use of modern arms and ammunition. Technology stepped in by providing GPS systems, cell phones, and computers to the terrorists. If there is a determined group then suicide attack carried by an individual or in vehicle packed with modern explosives can be devastating. We saw the carnage in Marriot Hotel bombing with a trash truck loaded with explosives. The Mumbai suicide attack was different. There was some similarity with American kid going berserk in an educational institution killing people at random. However Mumbai attack was well planned carried out by people willing to die. Copycat attacks in future cannot be ruled out. I believe that world is going to be a much more dangerous place where perceived or actually marginalisation of groups would lead to ghastly terrorism. I asked many of my educated friends as to who was responsible for the Mumbai attack. Overwhelming percentage was convinced that it was carried out by agencies of America, Israel and India! On the other hand every one condemned the attack. When told that there are reports that the attackers were from Punjab the answer was that it was an Indian lie. They were in a state of complete denial. But suppose the Indians are correct in identifying the origin of the terrorists then Pakistan is facing a new challenge. Gordon Brown has already said that 2/3rd of terrorism in UK has origin in Pakistan by which he meant Fata. Now allegedly a new threat has emerged from Punjab.A word about UN banned Jamaatul Dawa. I do not know about their terrorist involvement and training camps but had a glimpse into their social welfare activities. Following 2005 quake in Azad Kashmir my daughter, a doctor working in US, volunteered to work in an American hospital in Muzaffarabad. The American run hospital was receiving 250 patients daily. On the other hand Jamaatul Dawa run hospital in the same city was treating 1000 patients daily. It was amusing to see other jihadi organisations also running hospitals and working in remote villages helping the people located next door to the American facility. The Americans did object to these organisations operating freely in the disaster area but it seems that these difficult times required unusual measures. Jamaatul Dawa and similar organisations run madrassas all over Pakistan majority of who do not indulge in jihadi activities. The well to do madrassas have combined modern subject with free use of computers. Like the pre British madrassas they are sponsored by the society. They provide an alternative from of education where the state schooling system has collapsed many years ago. Pakistan has handed over its social welfare authority to the religious organisations and other NGOs. Pakistan government needs to deffentiate jihadi organisations from religious welfare organisations. The extremists in any from are dangerous to Pakistan and it is the states duty to eliminate them.I know little about the terrorist activates in India in the past but a detailed article by Arundhati Roy ‘Mumbai was not our 9/11’ in the Guardian (December 12, 2008) gives details of Indian face of terror and its mishandling of subsequent investigations is mindboggling. Pakistan has its own terrorism record, which is second to none including assassination of our prime leader. Both countries are very poor in this field and shall remain so.No one has so far given a clear strategy to suppress terrorism. Nor has any one shown the mechanism to deflate terror activates. The UK government has managed to put the lid on the Irish problem after more than 70 years of bloodshed. The Maoists guerrillas in Nepal have now been taken in the political system and are now the ruling party. It is quite apparent that the American strategy of use of Daisy Cutters to destroy an ideology has not only failed but also fuelled more terrorism. What made US to choose military action against perceived threat in Afghanistan? It was sheer arrogance of power. I am afraid India is now in the same mode as far as Pakistan is concerned and feels as the South Asian bully. Others claim that a Hindu empire should be created. I have no idea if the people of India support their government but neither did the American public in case of Iraq war of 2003.There are bizarre reports on the Internet and the newspapers that something terrible is going to happen to Pakistan. It is claimed that the Indians were prepared for air strikes in Pakistan (‘India was ready for air strike’. Many predict that Pakistan would be carved up into small states. In case this outlandish act happens many other states would be destabilised including India. India is still the third world super power and is no position to wage even a limited incursion into Pakistan. Then there is the ‘bum’ (bomb) on both sides of the border, which is not the best thing for South Asia or the world.Finally there is the issue of Islam. After 9/11 Muslims have been put in the dock all over the world. India has taken a queue from US and has been discriminating against its own Muslim population reducing them to a caste of untouchables. It is interesting that at Partition the Muslim population of South Asia was split into two. This was the prime objection of Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad against partition. By 1971 the South Asian Muslims were split into three. Now the depleted Muslim population of India are facing the brunt of Indian rage.The Indians and now America and Britain see the Pakistan army and especially its intelligence arm ISI as the main culprit in Mumbai carnage. Many have particularly targeted the ISI (ISI must be under govt control: Kerry. The popularity graph of the army and particularly ISI in Pakistan had sunk to its lowest ebb during Musharraf days. They frequently muddled in politics, started the unpopular war in Fata and people were disappeared. Recent finger pointing has only brought back public sympathy for the army. In case Pakistan is attacked the sympathy for the jihadi organisations shall only increase. War between India and Pakistan shall only damage democratic liberal forces in Pakistan and create a new major trouble spot in South Asia.

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