The story goes back to the year 2008 when the Taliban insurgency (in Pakistan) had reached its height since the 2001 Afghanistan war. US Senator John Kerry and US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson had to rush to Islamabad to see Mahmud Ali Durrani, the then Pakistan’s Ambassador to US and NSA, to discuss the evident threat that was growing.
Earlier, the US forces, combined with the Northern Alliances, were almost successful in defeating the Afghan Taliban but they failed to contain them within the Afghan borders, that later turned into a big predicament for Pakistan’s military, and as a result many terrorists fled deep within its borders.
Pakistani forces incapability and complete failure to drive out terrorists led to two things.
One was the massive increase in the US trust deficit towards Pakistan. Added to that when later Osama was captured from Durrani’s hometown Abbottabad. In their eyes, they were either “incompetent” or “complacent” towards such insurgencies (we will leave the trust story here itself) and second, more appalling from India’s perspective, was that many smaller terror outfits, most of which were already operating from within the Pakistan, joined hands with Taliban’s resources to plan their attacks on India. One of them was Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The unequivocal revelation that Durrani has made regarding Mumbai attacks on Monday at the 19th Asian Security Conference stating it as a ‘classic example of cross border terrorism’ is not new.
However, it does add a more legitimate voice to what India has been asserting all along, especially as part of the new government’s policy to globally isolating Pak in terror matters.
New Delhi has never maintained a stronger view than now about Pakistan’s role as a major terror exporter to the world and its democratic institutions (that’s almost becoming a farce) complete inability to isolate state’s and Pak Military’s involvement and orchestration of terror acts of such scale as 26/11.
India has been firm in its stand that LeT was behind the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, an admittance made by Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani citizen, the then lone survivor of the attack and David Headley, LeT operative who also confessed that the scouting for target sites was prepared by an ISI handler Major Iqbal before a Chicago federal court.
We have been demanding action against LeTs co-founder Hafeez Saeed – who had joined hands with the Taliban to carry out the dastardly attack in which 164 people were killed and at least 308 other wounded. NIA’s charge sheet filed in 11.11.2009 for the same is full of such names that operate from Pakistan’s soil under shadow-protection of Pakistan’s Military.
Durrani as a person, however condescending in directly admitting Pakistan’s ISI or government’s role in the attack, is still much better off than many former and current NSA and Pakistan government’s spokesperson when it comes to speaking the fact, a habit that lost him his NSA role in 2008 post the attack. He was no doubt involved in a number of peace talks with India too and he understands that the current situation in Pakistan is that of an urgent control within its own borders and not to lay their sight on any war possibility with India. However, a doomed Pakistan’s foreign policy towards India, (Afghanistan and Iran) is presumably blind towards such a dangerous immediacy.
“It is in our interest to have stability in our relations with India” Durrani quoted in an Interview with Herald recently.
Durrani’s credibility and his exposition of the facts rather than any religion-based narrative towards terrorism have been clear since he took the office in 2006. Sadly, it could not do any benefit to either Pakistan or India. When nearly all civil Institutions of Pakistan have drastically failed, in such circumstances, it is inevitable for the military or the non-civil institutions, including those with despicable motives, to become the policy cul de sac and assume a greater dictatorial control. In such an event, neighbors too must build a strong defense to guard themselves. Had the UPA government too been proactive towards such threats, India would not have mourned for four days and continue to carry the scars of the Mumbai attack.
When the unfortunate night of 26/11 happened, I was in college doing my graduation. We heard something on the news about the attack and immediately our thoughts were with those people facing their life’s extreme unfortunate until the fire from the other side doused completely. In the face of such an unexpected ordeal, the valor that security forces and ATS lead by Ashoka Chakra Hemant Karkare showed was exemplary. Enough ground evidence, since then, has long been gathered to prove India’s case. Only trial and justice remains. For the last eight years, we have been mourning the date just as much as we await some sense to prevail on the other side of the border.