Mumbai attacks


The Indians have enough reason to be angry. The Mumbai attacks were one of the most coordinated and protracted terror attacks of recent times. It has become what to measure other attacks by; today, when intelligence operatives speak of similar threats to a city, as they are about London at the moment, they refer to the prospect as Mumbai style attacks. This would not be lost out on the perpetrators of the said carnage. Spectacle and symbolism was all that they sought and that is what they got. The swanky districts of one of the largest cities in the world held hostage, with 166 innocent people killed at the end of the ordeal would have achieved what was desired.

If it was an example of the ugliness and depravity of the non-state actors (allegedly with collusion from certain quarters within the state machinery), it was also, perhaps, one of the Pakistani elected governments finest hours. It knew the position it was in and went against the feeling of the mainstream Pakistani media, which in its usual mode of denial, was spurring it on to a hawkish position and was perpetuating many conspiracy theories, the most outlandish being that the attacks were a hoax carried out by Indians to build up pressure on Pakistan. The government not only rubbished these but expressed sympathy with the victims and extended cooperation. Two years on, however, the Indian government is protesting about a lack of tangible progress. It is clear that the Indians want an arrest of the top leadership of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is a front for the now-banned Lashkar-e-Toiba. The Pakistani government insists that it has to operate within the framework of the law and doesnt have enough on the leader of the party to implicate him. But a trial of others mentioned in a dossier sent by the Indians is underway, most notably that of LeT bigwig Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi.

The Pakistani political government has to navigate through the dragons teeth of extremist groups and the interests of the establishment to move towards its own declared position: the eradication of all safe havens for terror groups. The government in India must realize that though it has to put up something for its electorate to consume, excessive pressure on Pakistans elected government would be immensely counter-productive. Despite the terrible attacks in Mumbai, the war against terror is more a struggle for survival for Pakistan than it can ever be for India.