The Indian security establishment’s assertion that the recent spate of blasts in several cities was “SIMI-executed, ISI-backed” got a major fillip at the Intelligence Bureau-hosted seminar on terrorism on Monday.
Key international delegates spoke out against Pakistan’s intelligence agency for fanning fundamentalism and terror in neighbouring countries. Pakistan, however, was the only nation from which no serving official attended. A retired bureaucrat (a former interior secretary), Tasneem Noorani, was the only Pakistani delegate.
Making it evident that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s presence at Asif Ali Zardari’s swearing-in as Pakistan President had not changed the public perception on terror, co-founder of Afghanistan’s Centre for Research and Policy Studies, Haroun Mir — speaking on the ‘Impact of Terrorism in South Asia and its neighbouring regions’ — openly blamed Pakistan.
“He (Mir) said that Pakistan can hardly be a part of the solution… it is the problem,” said one director general of police who attended the Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on Terrorism. “The gist of what he said was that the ISI had devastated Afghanistan right from the point when it helped create the Taliban and that Afghanistan’s people would continue paying the price for decades to come,” the officer added.
Mir was not the only one who spoke about Pakistan. Leading French expert on South Asia Frederic Grare, who spoke on the subject, also appeared to agree, said an official who attended the seminar. Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who spoke on ‘Insurgency in South East Asia and the Radicalisation of the Youth’, also made several references to how the Muslim youth in the region were being fooled into actively or passively supporting militant activities, the official said, and added: “The fundamentalism of the SIMI and these blasts are after all an are extreme manifestation of the growing radicalisation of the Muslim youth.”
Earlier in the morning, inaugurating the seminar, Home Minister Shivraj Patil said there was a need for “countries not to provide shelter to terrorist” — evidently a clear reference to India’s assertion that Dawood Ibrahim is hiding in Pakistan.