It's a sham


The release by the Lahore high court of Hafiz Saeed, who heads the Jamat-ud-Dawa, a front organisation of the Laskar-e-Toiba, which planned and executed last year's Mumbai terror attacks, again confirms the duplicity of Pakistan in dealing with terrorism directed against India. The Pakistan government’s argument that it was a judicial decision over which it had little control is not convincing. It did not present a strong case against Saeed, though there is overwhelming evidence of his involvement in the 26/11 attack and in other anti-India activities. It left technical loopholes in the detention procedure, which in retrospect can be considered only deliberate. Saeed has benefitted from shoddy prosecution in the past also and this shows the clear pattern in Pakistan’s response to India’s concerns over anti-India activities emanating from its territory. Islamabad goes through the motions of action when there is pressure on it to act and later goes back on whatever it has done.

Banned organisations continue to thrive under different names and their leaders persist with their jihadist tirade and activities. Though Pakistan’s admission of involvement of its citizens in the 26/11 attack was a step forward, it seems to be only a ploy without substance as it is unwilling to take any follow-up action. The trial of others responsible for the attack has not moved forward. The repeated demands for more evidence and clarifications from India also show an obstructionist and dilatory attitude rather than a genuine desire to prosecute the guilty. The US has acquiesced in the Pakistani attitude by making only a weak response to the release of Saeed. It has said, as Pakistan has, that it is an internal matter of Pakistan. Would it consider the Taliban activities an internal matter of Pakistan? Now that Pakistan has started taking on the Taliban, the US has gone cold on other terrorist groups, which do not pose a direct threat to its interests. But experience shows that terrorism cannot be divided, and no peace is possible unless all its varieties are rooted out. India’s concern and protest have been rejected by Pakistan and it has also harped again on the Kashmir issue. New Delhi has planned to mobilise international opinion again on the issue of Saeed’s release but it is doubtful whether it will get the same response as it did in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. The resumption of the peace process with Pakistan will have to wait for sure signs of Islamabad showing sensitivity to India’s concerns and acting on them.  

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