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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2555

India’s hysterical response to Mumbai carnage

By Asif Haroon Raja

Within hours of the Mumbai carnage Indian media hype was taken to dizzying altitudes and near-war hysteria was built disregarding all norms of decency and morality. All in unison and in chorus sung the tune that Pakistan had perpetrated the crime and should be guillotined. Pakistan was held responsible for the mayhem without carrying out any investigation or collecting any evidence. They built the entire story on the single terrorist arrested whose name was initially given as Kasab, later changed to Ajmal Amir and now Muhammad Ajmal Amir Iman belonging to Faridkot and was linked to Lashkar-e-Taeba.

It was stated that the ISI had masterminded the whole operation. The charge-sheet was framed on the basis of his statement extracted out of him by the security goons when all his nine comrades had been brutally killed and their faces mutilated beyond recognition. All brimmed with uncontrollable excitement over the so-called breakthrough achieved when not a single place out of ten targets under attack in the port city of Mumbai had been cleared from the terrorists and the gun battle was ensuing with full intensity.

They excitedly claimed that the captured source had disclosed that all the ten terrorists were Pakistanis linked with Lashkar-e-Taiba and had received training in Muzaffarabd and marine training in Mangla, proceeded to Karachi in train and had entered Mumbai via Karachi sea-route. He divulged that planning went on for months. It was alleged that the 450 nautical miles distance between Karachi and Mumbai harbours was covered in two Pakistan’s navy ships and en-route a trawler was hijacked and the final hop was made in Zulu boats that were inflated. The lone hardened militant who was captured divulged all the nitty-gritty details within minutes of his arrest without having been grilled in the torture cell.

A link with Jaish-e-Muhammad/ Lashkar-e-Taiba was also found and linkage with the ISI established. Later on a GPS tracker and a satellite phone were also recovered and the tracker showed return journey mapping to Karachi. Conversation on mobile phone between the base in Karachi and the terrorists were also intercepted and e-mail messages on cell-phone recovered. Any suggestion to consider an internal connection was scoffed at and haughtily rejected since this option was not given in the script. All were raring to jump the gun and decimate Pakistan.

The purpose of media blitz was to whip up emotions of the public to uncontrollable limits and exert maximum pressure on Pakistan asserting that if it did not meet its demands as dictated, India would be left with no option but to wage war or as a minimum carryout aerial strikes on alleged training camps at Muredke. Indian nationalism and anti-Pakistan sentiments were deliberately stoked as a result of which each Indian bayed for Pakistan blood.

Clips showing imaginary Chacha Rehman based in Karachi with a smoking gun in one hand and a mobile phone in the other passing instructions to the Mumbai invaders and also supervising several training camps where militants were being trained were flashed repeatedly which paled the breathtaking Hollywood, Bollywood and Pakistani Punjabi films into insignificance. The Indian media persons proved that they were as good actors and directors as the well-known actors and directors in the Indian film industry who excel in these arts.

In their exuberance to prove Pakistan guilty the planners and the executors of the gory drama overlooked discrepancies and loopholes in the fiction story they manufactured to befool the Indian public and the world. These glaring defects stood out prominently and they now find it exceedingly difficult to defend. Having overblown the threat, they forgot that pitching of ten terrorists against 1200 elite commandoes and army and the gun battle continuing for 60 hours resulting in 200 fatalities and over 300 injured including innocent people, foreigners as well as security forces could prove highly damaging to Indian pride and image. Seven out of tens Jews holed up in the Bhawan were killed by security persons. Majority in India have come to know of existence of Jewish seminary in Mumbai for the first time and are raising eyebrows. The police engaged with the terrorists in the Railway Station were seen on video footage running helter-skelter from the scene in the face of continuous bursts fired from the other side. The Israeli commandoes and South African elite troops had to join the battle and over power the ten assailants.

Saner elements within India and outside are asking certain intriguing questions to solve the riddle. How the band of 10 terrorists managed to sail past the elaborate security apparatus in the sea, on the Mumbai shore and within the city? How the terrorists managed to enter five-star luxury hotels Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident carrying rucksacks filled with arms and ammunition and carried mobile sets? Considering that the terrorists resorted to indiscriminate firing and held the city hostage for 60 hours and kept the security forces at bay implied that they had large reserves of ammunition with them and were supermen. If so, how they managed to stock huge quantity spread over considerable length of time? Why no effort was made to capture alive at least half of terrorists if not more and why the killed assailants were defaced? Why so-called Ajmal was also not killed like others? Why was Ajmal who spoke with Deccani accent not listened to when he said that he belonged to Hyderabad Deccan and why he was pressed that he belonged to Hyderabad in Pakistan and was a Punjabi? Why did the captured terrorist carry incriminating documents such as passport, credit card and SIM card on him? Why should they have carried POF Wah manufactured weapons when Kalashnikovs and Chinese weapons are available in plenty in Pakistan?

The footage of the captured terrorist carrying rucksack was dressed in jeans and shirt and had a wrist band on the pattern of bands worn by RSS members. Two others who also had been captured by cameras but were killed were dressed in pant-shirt and had similar wrist band. All had consumed alcohol in Café Leopold and some carried bottles of liquor in their bags. None gave any resemblance to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants. It is claimed that the entire operation was meticulously planned and executed with ruthless precision. If so, why were they so stupid to leave behind incriminatory items like GPS, satellite phone and risked talking to base HQ on mobile phone? Being ten only, why they opted to attack ten targets and that too well detached from each other and risked piecemeal destruction rather than putting up two to three cohesive fronts? It looked as if the hired terrorists were enticed to undertake the exciting venture and assured that no harm would come to them and would be paid well. Bumping off hired agents after the accomplishment of mission is an old game of spy agencies.

Who killed anti-terror chief and two other police officials no sooner counter operation commenced and that too in the back and in the head? Who benefited the most from the murder of three police officials? It is strange as to why Indian Navy Intelligence did not take appropriate measures when it was forewarned by USA and RAW ten days in advance? They further want to know how the so-called two Pakistani ships and the hijacked trawler sailed past undetected when a huge naval exercise was being conducted under exceptional security arrangements and the entire coastal belt from Sir Creek to Gujarat and Mumbai coast was brimming with military activities?

There were too many glaring discrepancies and contradictions in the story that was put up for the consumption of the world. Shining India has indulged in such cheap and shoddy pranks too often and gotten away with it since the ones who matter have been partners in the crime. Yet there are many countries, organisations and saner element within India and western world and in USA who are wary of Indo-Israel-US machinations. They have not fallen in the trap of Indian propaganda and have good sense to separate truth from falsehood. They also understand the ambitious motives of the axis striving to rule the world on its terms.

Uncalled for belligerence was provocative and sickening but it is to the credit of Pakistani leaders and media that the maddening jibes were absorbed coolly. Sanity prevailed throughout the heightened crisis period and none got provoked to counter the ever increasing antagonism. It was only when Indian hawks persisted with their truculence that one to two media channels decided to launch a small counter stroke which flabbergasted the Indians. The few brave ones were Zaid Hamid, Ahmed Qureshi, Luqman, Shireen Mazari, Lt Gen Hameed Gul, Qazi Hussain, leading PML-N leaders and some others.

While Pakistan leaders are eager to ease tensions and revert to peaceful co-existence policy envisaged in Composite Dialogue, Indian leaders influenced by the hawks within establishment, military and religious cadres are in no mood to reciprocate. They are finding excuses to maximise pressure and put Pakistan in the dock. Karachi riots were triggered to add to the pressure. The Indian air force has been put on high alert and a message was given that it if the nominated accused were not handed over it would target Muredke, HQ of Jamaat-ud Daawa headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, on the pattern of US drone attacks.

US and western media joined hands with India media in maligning Pakistan. A threatening phone call was made from Foreign Office New Delhi on midnight of 26 November on the pattern of Collin Powell midnight call to Musharraf. Since the purpose was not achieved it has now been denied. Barrage of phone calls were made by senior officials in Washington, London, Paris and Italy in particular to heighten pressure on Pakistani leadership and compel it to agree to the demands of India to avoid war. All advised Zardari and Gilani to do as told to do by India to avert war. Pakistan felt relieved when White House issued a statement that Islamabad was not involved in Mumbai carnage. But Condi Rice on her visit to India and Islamabad gave a veiled warning that things could spin out of control if Pakistan did not address Indian concerns promptly. It was surprising to see American, British, Israeli, South African and some other western high officials rush to India and each offered their services and sympathised with Mumbai tragedy. In contrast when Marriott blasts took place, the response was reverse of it. Islamabad was declared a danger zone and UN and UK decided to shift its families outside Pakistan.

Both India and USA named Pakistan rogue non-state actors without any compunction. It has become quite clear that the real purpose of the whole drama is to eliminate specific groups/non-state actors residing inside Pakistan either through surgical strikes by India on the pattern of US drones or taking them into their custody and later on getting Pakistan blamed through them. A list of 20 persons was prepared and handed over to Pakistan. Tiger Memon, Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed figured prominently in the list. While the former two are not residing in Pakistan, no proof has been provided for Hafiz who has long dissociated himself from and militant activity and is leading a peaceful life in Lahore. Muredke is a flourishing town; about 30 km away from Lahore where a religious and educational complex run by Hafiz is located which is open to all visitors and has already been visited by foreigners and journalists. No proof of complicity of other persons mentioned in the list has been furnished. Two persons mentioned are dead. The real objective behind Mumbai carnage is to get the ISI disbanded, which is the first line defence of Pakistan. It acts as eyes and ears of the armed forces and had learnt the double game played by CIA for which it is hounded. The USA will play a major role in getting ISI axed through UN on the basis of fabricated proofs collected from lone prisoner Kasab. Naming of former DG ISIs as terrorists is a step in the same direction. Its disbandment or enfeeblement would make their task of reaching the nuclear assets easier.

Should we not make accountable former RAW chief for fomenting terrorism in former East Pakistan and masterminding its detachment from Pakistan in 1971, present RAW chief for inflaming terrorism in Pakistan killing thousands of Pakistanis, Governors of Indian Held Kashmir from 1989 onwards for massacring over one lac Muslim Kashmiris, Nirendar Modi for slaughtering thousands of Muslims in Gujarat, Lt Col Purohit and Maj Sharma for masterminding Samjhota Express blasts burning to death 48 Pakistanis, Lt Col Jayant Rao Chitale and Lt Gen PN Hoon for training and forming Hindu suicidal squads, BJP for masterminding Mumbai carnage, murder of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails, Hindu right wing extremist parties for stoking hatred against Pakistan and wanting its decimation, Indian State for failing to honour 1948 and 1949 UN Resolutions on Kashmir, Indian State for violating Indus Basin Treaty and constructing dams over rivers flowing into Pakistan and for stealing water from River Chenab, Indian State for working against the spirit of Composite Dialogue Agreement and not making any progress on all the contentious issues, Indian State for accusing Pakistan of terrorism without furnishing any proofs and without carrying out investigations?

Should we not press for BJP, Kar Sevaks, Abhinar Bharat, Shev Sina and Bajrang Dal involved in terrorism to be declared as terrorist organisations? Should India not be pointedly asked to explain as to why it has established 19 consulates in Afghanistan? Should not the proofs of RAW sponsored saboteurs caught by our security forces in Baluchistan, FATA and Swat be fully exposed? Non-state actors in India indulging in acts of terror and in stealing nuclear material are in millions. The UNSC should be reminded to take a serious and immediate note of this lava which poses the biggest threat to world security.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig based in Rawalpindi and a defence and political analyst.

- Asian Tribune -

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