Tariq Khosa, a former director general of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency, has done Pakistan’s polity and India-Pakistan relations a great service by calling on Islamabad to ensure that the perpetrators and masterminds of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks are brought to justice.
India and Pakistan argue about many things, including ceasefire violations, infiltrations and a spike in terrorist activity. Mumbai 26/11 has receded as a concern from Pakistan’s vantage; in fact, Islamabad urges India to move past the attacks, partly driven by a sense that the latter was one attack as compared to the hundreds Pakistan has endured. Mr Khosa has put paid to such reasoning.
Through a column in the Dawn, Mr Khosa underscores that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks are still a big issue for India, without which no bilateral progress can be made. As a central figure in the Pakistan establishment not long ago, he decisively undermines all narratives in Pakistan that obfuscate responsibility for the attacks.
In a clear reconstruction of the event, its investigation and its legal aftermath that makes for compulsive reading, Mr Khosa establishes to Pakistani audiences that the attacks were indeed masterminded from Pakistan. He writes that ‘Pakistan has to deal with the Mumbai mayhem, planned and launched from its soil. This requires facing the truth and admitting mistakes.'
This is by no means an easy thing to do for a Pakistani insider since Mahmud Ali Durrani was sacked as national security adviser in 2009 for admitting that Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani national.
Mr Khosa also reckons that the two sides should candidly admit their mistakes and spell out their concerns at the forthcoming NSA talks, including those about the Samjhauta train bombing and India’s alleged covert activities in Pakistan. He recognises the stalled legal process in Pakistan over the voice samples of LeT’s Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and explains that while India could nab Kasab and obtain his confession to close the trial, ‘proving conspiracy in a different jurisdiction is more complex and requires a far superior quality of evidence’.
He suggests that legal experts from both sides need to discuss this together rather than point fingers at each other. Mr Khosa has given both sides plenty to think about.