Days after the United Jihad Council claimed responsibility for the three-day terrorist attack on Pathankot air force base that began on 1 January, details emerged about the identity of the gunmen’s handlers: Jaish-e-Mohammad founder Maulana Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, Ashfaq Ahmed and Kashim Jaan.
And now, an audio clip — featuring a monologue — has popped up on JeM websites, reportedly celebrating the Pathankot attack and mocking India.
The clip, uploaded to alqalamonline.com, features ‘startling disclosures’ about how the attack was executed, reports The Times of India and states that the 13-minute address by JeM was transcribed by a magazine in Bahawalpur, Azhar’s hometown.
After proudly proclaiming that, “Indians who kill unarmed Muslims in Kashmir are now dragging their own dead”, the speaker in the clip proceeds to suggest that, “The big nation is now crying and accusing others like a coward”.
Repeatedly referring to the attack as some sort of ‘miracle’, the speaker lauds the attackers who managed "in this cold for 48 hours without sleep and food" to fight “tanks and helicopters and kept killing Indian forces”.
And after praising the attackers, it was time to play possum.
“Why do Pakistan's leaders bow before India's allegations? Why do they shame us?” asks the voice. DNA reports that the clip also mocks India’s apparent confusion at the total number of attackers: “First, they said there were six mujahideen, then they said five, then four. Such a big country is in tears. They are pointing an accusing finger like cowards”.
Amidst all this, an editorial piece in Pakistani daily Dawn points out that while the Pathankot attack may indeed have temporarily derailed the wave of goodwill for India-Pakistan relations in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lahore visit on Christmas day, saner heads must prevail. "Islamabad should avoid dealing with the Pathankot affair the way it responded to the Mumbai attacks," writes IA Rehman in the editorial.
He goes on to mention the age-old 'excuse' that terrorists who attack India are also out to attack Pakistan. He appeals to Islamabad to realise that "(if) some non-state actors in Pakistan can seriously threaten India and thus precipitate an India-Pakistan clash, then they can also find some other ways to undermine the Pakistani state... (and threaten) the integrity of Pakistan itself."
With foreign secretary-level talks set to take place on 15 January, we hope that the powers-that-be on either side pay more heed to Rehman than the mocking words of Jaish-e-Mohammad.