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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2961

Will it or will it not?

By Sarla Handoo - Syndicate Features

So finally the Center has come out with a clarification about the proposed ‘Joint Mechanism’ with Pakistan to deal with terrorism. It says, "The Group is mandated to deal with all forms of terrorism." And "there is no doubt in our minds as to what constitutes terrorism."

If that is the case, it should clear the air in Pakistan as well, which has been coming out with official statements that the mechanism does not cover the lists of terrorists India has provided to it. Though the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had said earlier also that the deal is off if Pakistan does not curb terror, an explicit official statement by India should clear all doubts, and thus, pave the way for the ‘Mechanism’ to come into being. And become an effective tool in fighting terrorism.

But will it? And if yes, will it be of any purpose? Or will it only turn out to be a still born child? The indications so far tend to be pessimistic.

New Delhi has been worried about the Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India. Over the years, it has assumed proportions that have been a serious cause of concern. And even as General Musharraf is not tired of talking about the fight against terrorism, people in Jammu and Kashmir have hardly seen any respite from violence.

But now another dimension has been added to it- Musharraf’s Memoirs "In the Line of fire." The way the General has come out with blatant lies about the Kargil war, India’s’ nuclear explosion, the failure of Agra Summit, and a host of other issues certainly do not help creating an atmosphere conducive to promote dialogue. In fact, the amount of scorn that is being poured on General Musharraf for his blatant lies can derail the whole dialogue process.

Who in the world can believe that India was planning to launch an attack on Pakistan, which caused the Kargil war? Or, that it was a victory for Pakistan Army? That both he and Vajpayee were insulted in Agra which led to the failure of Agra Summit! Or still worse that Indian nuclear bomb was a copycat of the Pakistani bomb.

It is not a layman speaking but an in-office President of Pakistan who is not supposed to lie. True, the book was written before the Havana meeting took place. But the timing of its release was still in General Musharraf’s hands.

Dr. Manmohan Singh too has been facing a lot of criticism from not only the opposition but also the intellectuals and foreign affairs watchers on the joint mechanism issue. By giving Pakistan a clean chit and describing it as a victim of terrorism, it has wiped out all that differentiates India from Pakistan. It has allowed Pakistan to get off the hook. And that is where Pakistan’s diplomatic victory lies.

There is enough to prove Pak link with terrorist activities not only in Kashmir and rest of India but the world as well. The conviction of five terrorists by a TADA court in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case in the latest in the series. This is the first time that a court has recorded that the accused were trained in a neighbouring country to spread terror in India. It has also been proved in the court that Shahnawaz Abdul Qadar Qureshi, who has also been convicted, too got terror training from Pakistan.

Links between ULFA in Assam and Pakistan’s ISI too have been established. That is what the Minister of state for Home Mr. S. Regupathy told Parliament in July this year. A lot has been said about the terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir has been going on day in and day out. A clean chit in this atmosphere would naturally provoke criticism.

The way Pakistan has been arresting, releasing, re-arresting and re- releasing Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, founder of Lashkar –e-Toiba, is a clear reflection of how non-seriously Pakistan is dealing with terrorism. All major Al Qaeda terror heads like Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, Abu Zubaidah and Ramzi-bin-Al- Shib, have all been captured in Islamabad.

Even a super power like the US is unable to handle Pakistan effectively. Bush administration is facing a serious question how to deal with a tempestuous client.

Internally, there needs to be better cohesion between different functionaries of the Indian government. A glaring case in point is the statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that there has been a decline in the infiltration into Kashmir. In contrast, state Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has been saying that it has increased.

On the issue of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir the Prime Minister believes that the issue can be discussed. But the Chief Minister has said the state is already enjoying self-rule and autonomy. Such contradictions only create confusion about the Delhi’s policy.

Surely terror must not stall the dialogue process. It will be in no ones interest. But that needs sincerity on both sides. At the end of the day India will have to call Pakistan’s bluff. Will that ever happen?

- Syndicate Features -

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