Today in New Delhi, India
Jul 19, 2019-Friday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

Pakistan must be held accountable for its actions

While India under PM Modi has made it a policy not to talk to Islamabad till it dismantles the existing terror network, it is time that countries which are victims of Pakistan’s terror franchise form a coalition to combat this menace

analysis Updated: Nov 26, 2018 12:23 IST
26/11,Mumbai attacks
A rescue operation during the Mumbai terror attack, November 28, 2008. Fact is that 26/11 masterminds and handlers, including those from Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, are still at large, plotting more terror conspiracies against India(Hindustan Times)

In the run-up to the 2014 general elections, Ajit Doval, who would go on to become candidate Narendra Modi’s National Security Advisor after the latter was elected — Doval was then at a think-tank the Vivekananda International Foundation — wrote a 25-page document called “National Security Vision” that talked about comprehensive national will and framed a strategy called “defensive offence” to prevent Pakistan-based terrorist groups from targeting India.

Stating that the threat of terrorism emanated mostly from Pakistan, the document recalled the savagery of the 26/11 Mumbai massacre which left 166 Indians, Americans and Israelis dead and around304seriously injured as 10 Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) fidayeen, or suicide attackers, mowed downinnocents in Mumbai’s Fort area in 2008. Ten years later, the answer to the question of whether India has been able to neutralise the Pakistan-based LeT or Jaish-e-Mohammed threat is a straightforward no with the 2016 Uri and Pathankot terror strikes virtually forcing the Modi government to go to war against Islamabad.

There is no denying that the terror threat has greatly diminished during the Modi regime, considering no less than 1,000 innocents lost their lives from 2005-2014 in at least 25 major strikes outside Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast. But it is also a fact that the Indian state has not been able to effectively address the threat posed by these groups with Hafeez Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim continuing to be poster boys in Pakistan.

Despite the fact that LeT runs eight terrorist training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), the global terrorist group, with ties to Al Qaeda and with the goal of an Islamic Caliphate, has morphed into a mainstream political party in Pakistan — despite international condemnation and possible black-listing by the Financial Action Task Force.

The LeT today is a Pakistani brand with global labels such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Muslim Milli League, Tehreek-e-Azaadi Jammu and Kashmir (TAJK), Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF) and Al Muhammadia Students (AMS). It still runs terror training courses with degrees by the name of basic Daura-e-Aam, weaponised Daura-e-Khaas and advanced Daura-e-Lashkar for global terror recruits.

So far in 2018, Indian security forces have killed at least 24 terrorists affiliated to LeT outfits.The group runs an industrial scale jihadist factory with no less than 20 launching pads along India’s 814-kilometre Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. After the 2016 Uri attack, National Investigating Agency (NIA) sleuths discovered that LeT issues standardised shoes, water bottles, GPS and weapons to all its cadre as if it were functioning as a division of the Pakistani Army.

The LeT was declared a proscribed terrorist organisation by the US (2001), the UK (2001), India (2002), Pakistan (2002), Australia (2002), and its leaders Saeed, 26/11 mastermind, Zaki Lakhvi, Haji Mohammed Ashraf and Mahmoud Bahaziq declared global terrorists after the Mumbai attacks. Saeed carries a $10 million US bounty on his head since April 2012. On April 3, the US named Milli Muslim League and TAJK as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) with MML’s leader, Saifullah Khalid, being designated a global terrorist.

Despite all these honorifics, Saeed is a toast of Pakistani military commanders. Ministers of the present Imran Khan regime have no qualms in sharing the stage with him. The 26/11 masterminds and handlers, including those from Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, are still at large, plotting more terror conspiracies against India. Islamabad could not produce any evidence against Saeed and the court set him free. Zaki had the run of Adiala jail and had a son when he was presumably lodged there. Sajid Mir, the man who asked the 26/11 gunmen to shoot the Nariman House victim in the head after negotiations failed with Israel, lives near Islamabad. And combat trainer, Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, for all you know, is now creating Indian Mujahideen 2.0 as part of the Karachi project.

While India under PM Modi has made it a policy not to talk to Islamabad till it dismantles the existing terror network, it is time that countries which are victims of Pakistan’s terror franchise form a coalition to combat this menace.Islamabad must be made accountable or else Afghanistan will never stabilise and the rest of the world, apart from China, will stay on the razor’s edge waiting for the next big attack. Pakistan has long indulged in nuclear blackmail. It is time that Islamabad and Rawalpindi GHQ are made accountable. It is said that after 26/11 attacks, the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, called each of his three military chiefs separately to ask about the possibility of a military response against Pakistan. There was no direct response. Modi will not be that patient.

shishir.gupta@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 26, 2018 12:22 IST