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India will neither forgive nor forget the terror mayhem of 26/11

India will neither forgive nor forget the terror mayhem of 26/11

The twelfth anniversary of the 26/11 terror mayhem in Mumbai on Thursday has a grim message for Islamabad—India will neither forgive nor forget, and at some point, befittingly retaliate, against the state sponsored mass murders of its compatriots and others, hatched in a control room in Karachi.

What does India expect from Pakistan?
Quite simply, Pakistan must complete the investigation and bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strike. For its own good and to avoid pain as well serious national humiliation in the future, the military-feudal oligarchy that embeds the Pakistani deep state must change its sick, and eventually counterproductive mentality of shielding the kingpins of the vicious attacks in the maximum city.

In December 2008, Pakistani did arrest seven people including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the operational commander of the deep-state asset Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Hafiz Saeed, the founder of LeT, which mutated into Jamaat ud Dawa (JuD), is another prime suspect.

Lakhvi, along with six others were charged with planning, financing and supporting Mumbai attacks were on trial behind closed doors. But the next eight years, have seen the use of all possible tools, including intimidation, obfuscation, deception and worse to seal the miscarriage of justice. The eyewash of a mock trial could not have been more glaring.

Lakhvi, in fact, fathered a child while in jail. The judge has been changed nine times, while the prosecutor was assassinated in mysterious circumstances. Unsurprisingly, the fake trial in a Pakistani anti-terror court is nowhere near conclusion, disregarding with impunity an April 15 order from the Islamabad high court that legal proceeding should conclude within two months!!

Contrary to the deep-state’s specious argument, there has been no lack of evidence to put the perpetrators behind bars. The myth of paucity of proof that can stand scrutiny in the courtroom has, in fact, been exploded by Pakistan’s own former Federal Investigation Agency chief Tariq Khosa. In a seminal article that appeared in the Dawn newspaper, Khosa thumb nailed some of the key finding by Pakistani investigators. First, he points out Ajmal Kasab, one of the attackers, who was nabbed by Indian authorities in Mumbai and subsequently hanged, was a Pakistani national, whose place of residence and initial schooling as well as his joining a banned militant organisation was established by the investigators. Second, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were imparted training near Thatta, Sindh and launched by sea from there. The training camp was identified and secured by the investigators. The casings of the explosive devices used in Mumbai were recovered from this training camp and duly matched. Third, the fishing trawler used by the terrorists for hijacking an Indian trawler in which they sailed to Mumbai, was brought back to harbour, then painted and concealed. It was recovered by the investigators and connected to the accused. Fourth, the engine of the dinghy abandoned by the terrorists near Mumbai harbour contained a patent number through which the investigators traced its import from Japan to Lahore and then to a Karachi sports shop from where an LeT-linked militant purchased it along with the dinghy. The money trail was followed and linked to the accused who was arrested. Fifth, the ops room in Karachi, from where the operation was directed, was also identified and secured by the investigators. The communications through Voice over Internet Protocol were unearthed. Sixth, the alleged commander and his deputies were identified and arrested. Seventh, a couple of foreign-based financiers and facilitators were arrested and brought to face trial.

However, the Pakistani authorities have deliberated sidestepped the clincher-the matching of voice samples of the handlers in the Karachi cell, provided by India, with that of the prime suspects. Writes Khosa: “After an exchange of multiple investigation dossiers with the Indian police authorities, the trial court was requested to give approval to obtain voice samples of the alleged commander and his deputies for comparison with the recorded voices. The court ruled that the consent of the accused should be obtained. Obviously, the suspects refused. Then a plea was submitted before the sessions court to authorise the investigators to take the voice samples despite the lack of consent.” It is not rocket science to conclude that in order to shield the terrorists, the Pakistani deep state will go all out to prevent the matching of the voice samples that will go a long way to complete prosecution.

Apart from the trial, former Pakistani Prime Minister has admitted that the 26/11 conspiracy was hatched inside Pakistan. His then Interior minister Rehman Malik amplified Sharif’s statement by providing graphic details of the plot.

In India, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, points out that voluminous documentary evidence not only about Kasab but also about David Coleman Headley and his links with LeT and Pakistani spy agency ISI.

In 2012, India also arrested terror kingpin Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jindal who was involved in managing LeT control room in Karachi and guiding 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai. Jindal is in jail and facing trial.
With more than a decade gone by since the attack, India’s patience with Pakistan has finally run out to deliver justice to the families of 166 victims from 15 countries across the globe. After 12 years, the perception and appreciation of the crime in New Delhi has significantly mutated. The deep state in Pakistan should therefore not be surprised if India activates Plan-B, at a time of its choosing, to achieve its goals.

Hopefully Islamabad would have learnt from recent examples of the Modi-administration’s resolve to accomplish India’s core interests. Afterall the terrorist attack Uri military camp attack by Pak sponsored terrorists was met with clinical surgical strikes inside Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). This was followed by an air raid on a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fount in Balakot deep inside Pakistani mainland, following the February 2019 Pulwama strike. More recently the suicide bombers from the UN proscribed Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit, aiming to disrupt the Kashmir district elections, were eliminated at the Nagrota toll plaza. These are glaring pointers for Islamabad that it must urgently begin the countdown for docking perpetrators of 26/11 attack, to avoid serious damage to its core interests, and turn a new leaf with India..