Pakistan must deliver justice on 26/11, warn India and US
India and the United States built pressure on Pakistan on Monday to act against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the opposition Congress party of politicising issues of national security on the 10th anniversary of the carnage that killed 166 people, including 28 foreigners.
As India mourned those killed 10 years ago and celebrated the courage of the security personnel who fought the terrorists in Mumbai, Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government called on Pakistan to give up its “double standards” and bring the perpetrators to justice.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, too, urged Pakistan to act against those responsible for the attacks. The US also offered a new reward of $5 million for information on any individual responsible for the terrorist assault on India’s financial hub.
A strongly worded statement from the foreign ministry said the “planners of 26/11 still roam the streets of Pakistan with impunity” and noted the attacks were “planned, executed and launched from Pakistan territory”.
The statement also referred to former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif’s remarks during an interview earlier this year acknowledging that the “terrorists were sent from Pakistan’s soil”.
At election rallies in Rajasthan, Modi said the Congress used the 26/11 attacks for political gains, adding that the party was in power both at the Centre and in Maharashtra when the Pakistani terrorists, armed with assault rifles and hand grenades, laid a three-day siege to the city beginning November 26.
“Back then they (the ruling side) used to say: it is a war Pakistan has waged against India...and the issue of terrorism should not be politicised,” Modi said in Bhilwara. “The incident shook the world, and Congress was using that to play a game of winning elections.”
His remarks drew sharp reactions from the Congress, which condemned and rejected “the utter falsehood”.
Modi alleged that the same Congress, which once preached the message of patriotism, questioned India’s surgical strikes on Pakistani soil during NDA’s?rule and asked for video evidence. “Does a solider go to the battlefield with a camera?” Modi asked.
In September 2016, the Indian Army announced that it attacked terrorists’ camps along the Line of Control using ground forces and inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists in retaliation of a deadly attack on a military base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri in on September 18 that year.
Later in the day, the Congress launched a spirited counter-attack on the Prime Minister at a time when India’s politics was heating up during the ongoing campaign for elections to five states and ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“The truth is, the Modi government has compromised our national security and in the last four-and-a-half years. Lack of political action and policy has led to a disquiet border and an alarming internal security situation,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a statement.
“Today in a public rally in Bhilwara, Rajasthan, PM Modi turned history on its head and said that he never played politics on national security,” he added, alleging that the Prime Minister and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) always used the “blood and sacrifice of our jawans as a vote garnering tool”.
Senior Congress leader and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said, “Our dear citizens were lost due to acts of grave terror. I can only hope that saner elements will prevail in India and Pakistan.” Terror, he said, achieves no purpose.
At his rallies on Monday, Modi also said India will never forget the 26/11 (November 26, 2008) attacks or its perpetrators. “We are looking for an opportunity... the law will take its own course, I assure the people of the country.”
India welcomed the US statement asking Pakistan to uphold its UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against terrorists responsible for the Mumbai attacks.
Pompeo, in a statement, expressed solidarity with India and said the “barbarity of 26/11 shocked the entire world”. He noted that six American citizens were among the dead.
“It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after 10 years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have not been convicted for their involvement,” he said.
Pompeo said the state department’s Rewards for Justice programme was offering a new reward of $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual involved in planning or facilitating the attacks. This is the third such bounty offered by the US after the state department announced rewards of $10 million for LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) founder Hafiz Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, a senior leader of the terror group.
The Trump administration has suspended $1.66 billion in security aid to Pakistan for not taking decisive action against terrorists operating from its soil and spearheaded a move that put Pakistan on the watch list of the Financial Action Task Force.
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