Lashkar-e-Taiba Strikes Back?
The News, March 04, 2009
News Analysis By Amir Mir
LAHORE: While many in Pakistan have already pointed the finger of suspicion at India for masterminding the 3/3 terrorist attacks in Lahore, there were those in the country’s security establishment who suspect the possible involvement of some Jihadi elements from the Punjab in the bloody assault, which clearly has the hallmark of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
Tuesday’s terror attack is one of the worst strikes on the world of sports since the assault on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Although, there wasn’t any official statement from Islamabad blaming India, Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told newsmen in Islamabad he could not rule out a “foreign hand” behind the carnage.
The Foreign Office spokesman in Islamabad refrained from directly blaming India while condemning the attack, saying the assault was perpetrated by the enemies of the Pak-Sri Lankan friendship. However, many of the Pakistani hawks, like the former ISI chief Gen (retd) Hameed Gul, were quick to blame the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) for staging a tit-for-tat attack to avenge the Mumbai assault, saying India wanted Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state.
However, there were those in the country’s security establishment who describe the attack as a well thought-out plan orchestrated by the Punjabi militants, who had been furious over some recent actions taken by the government in the aftermath of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, especially the arrest of several leading Jihadi leaders who were set to face a court trial. These elements believe the double-edged blood-spattered attack was aimed at damaging the credibility of the government for such a grave security failure, besides releasing the rising pressure that had mounted over the Jihadi elements in Pakistan after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Sources in the security establishment added the Jihadis might be thinking that the 3/3 attacks would force India to go on the back foot, as had been the case with Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks and the ensuing allegations of a Pakistani hand.
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