Message from Khosa's revelations

The revelations of former director general of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Tariq Khosa, about the role of Pakistani nationals in the planning and execution of the Mumbai 26/11 attack are not new. Pakistan government has officially acknowledged them in the past. A former national security adviser of the country, Mahmud Durrani, had stated in public that Ajmal Kasab, the surviving terrorist who was hanged in India, was a Pakistani national. The investigations that Khosa’s FIA made were thorough and succeeded in identifying the attackers and those behind them and in ferreting out detailed information about the attack. Even these findings had been made public. It is on the basis of this investigation that a case was registered and some people were put on trial in that country. But while the investigation was on track, the trial has got delayed and even derailed, and Pakistan cannot disown responsibility for that. It must also be noted that Khosa has not mentioned that the Pakistani state was involved in the attack.

What is new is the assertion from someone who held as high a position as Khosa that Pakistan “has to deal with the Mumbai mayhem, planned and launched from its soil. This requires facing the truth and admitting mistakes”. Khosa’s words are a reminder to Pakistan that it has failed in this. The timing of the revelation, made in a newspaper article, is important. It is just a fortnight before the national security advisors of the two countries are to meet, reviving a long-suspended bilateral engagement. Khosa would have written the article for a purpose and it would certainly have been with the knowledge and concurrence of high authority in Pakistan. There could be a message in it to be taken and understood within Pakistan and there could be a message for India too. There are sections within Pakistan which do not want better relations with India and do not even want talks for that end. In the run-up to the talks, the boundary has hotted up and incidents which are modelled on 26/11 have taken place. By some coincidence, one suspected terrorist from Pakistan has also been caught alive. Khosa’s advice to face the truth is therefore important, because talks cannot make any headway without that.

Khosa says India also has much to explain and account for, like its alleged interference in Pakistan and laxity in the prosecution of the Samjhauta Express blast case. While it is clear that Pakistan has to do more to prove its commitment to peace and normalisation of relations, India will have to address Pakistan’s charges and grievances more constructively.

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