Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A case of unchecked terrorists - By Ishtiaq Ahmed

view: A case of unchecked terrorists —Ishtiaq Ahmed
Daily Times, December 22, 2009.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has ruled out the presence of any US terrorists in Pakistan. “There is no presence of Blackwater in Pakistan...Unfortunately, all the terrorists in the country are Pakistani nationals.” He further informed that so far 74 terrorists had been apprehended (Daily Times, December 11, 2009). Now, if there is no US terrorist in Pakistan and all the terrorists in the country are Pakistani nationals, it does not mean that there is no Blackwater presence in Pakistan. I am not sure if the honourable minister was quoted fully and properly.

However, the reference to Blackwater is a bit of a diversion from the real object of writing this essay. For several months now Mr Malik had been insisting on his having conclusive and incontrovertible proof of Indian involvement in terrorism as well as secessionism in Balochistan. He challenged India’s Defence Minister, AK Antony, to come to Pakistan to see for himself the evidence he had. Mr Antony ignored his standing invitation and rejected his accusations. Apparently the proof was sent by the Interior Ministry to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry. Initially the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed his doubts about the material he had received. He presented his position with diplomatic finesse: “The possibility that there are elements who want to destabilise the country cannot be ruled out. But information received by us in this regard is insufficient. We need more information and material to plausibly argue our case” (Daily Times, December 10, 2009). A few days later, Mr Qureshi changed his position and said that there was solid proof linking India to terrorism in Pakistan (Daily Times, December 14, 2009).

To concerned observers and analysts, such vacillation does not convey the impression that the Pakistan government has a coherent stand on this matter. In sharp contrast, soon after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, India quickly produced Ajmal Kasab on television and showed footage of the attack in Mumbai. His family was also seen on television screens and his father owned his son. Some such dramatic steps are needed if the accusations against India are to be considered serious. It makes me wonder if the problem with the evidence, if not wholly but significantly, is its controversial nature; in other words, is it a case of unchecked terrorists?
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