Pakistan’s response to the Indian dossier on the 26 November terrorist attacks on Mumbai has been awaited for some time now. There has been speculation that Pakistan may dismiss the evidence presented by India. If statements emanating from that country are anything to go by, such fears may prove true.
“Pakistani territory was not used so far as the investigators have made their conclusions,” Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Pakistan’s high commissioner in the UK, said on Friday. Hassan’s statement comes before the report of the Pakistani investigation into the probe has been handed to India. At the same time, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said Hassan isn’t even authorized to comment.
Illustration: Jayachandran / Mint
While it was expected that a Pakistani investigation would be a duplicitous affair, Hassan’s sound bites have pre-empted anything the investigative report may have had to say, robbing it of credibility.
There is nothing surprising in what Hassan and Gilani have said. Their utterances may sound contradictory, but they follow a pattern. First, deny any Pakistani involvement in terrorist attacks. Then say “We’re investigating the matter.” Finally, say the investigation has proved Pakistan’s point. This has happened in the past; can this episode be any different?
Time and again, Gilani has asserted that he won’t allow terrorists to operate in Pakistan. But that’s something even the US finds hard to believe. US President Barack Obama, who’s expected to take a different view of matters in that part of South Asia, has not halted aerial attacks in Pakistani territory. While Obama’s move was nothing new—former US president George Bush had been using military drones to bomb Pakistan-based militants since last summer—it was particularly symbolic as it came just days into his presidency.
When not funding and prodding Islamic extremists outright, the army turns a blind eye to their behaviour. Philosophical discussions about the demarcations of Pakistan sovereignty mean nothing while its chief export, it seems, continues to be terror. Every move by the Americans should be made to restrain Pakistani-sponsored terror.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in her senate confirmation hearings that she intends to separate military aid from non-military aid to Pakistan. She said she intends to triple the latter and “condition” the former on a Pakistani “commitment for the counter-insurgency, counterterrorism missions” .
It is unclear what conditioned military aid actually means. The Pakistani military hasn’t shown serious commitment to counter-terrorism to date. The US, therefore, shouldn’t fund the Pakistani army until it shows earnest commitment to stability in the region.
Pakistan’s response: a foregone conclusion? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org