The Indian media has predictably lapped up the remarks made by former Pakistani National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were carried out by a Pakistan-based terrorist group. He also said that the amir of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed has no utility and Pakistan should act against him.
Durrani’s remarks came during the Asian Security Conference, an annual flagship conference of the Indian Ministry of Defence funded think tank, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Therefore, these remarks make for a good sound bite and a headline. But given our persistent obsession with such statements, there is a danger that if overplayed Pakistan may use these remarks to showcase to the world that, in fact, Islamabad should be rewarded for addressing India’s concerns on "cross-border terrorism".
And nothing could be farther from the truth.
In reality, Durrani’s remarks on the 2008 attacks or the Hafiz Saeed issue don't change anything for India on the ground: the 42 terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir continue to work with terrorists, plotting the next attack against India. Pakistan's attempts to stir a hornet's nest in the Kashmir Valley continue too. While Hafiz Saeed may have been put under a "house arrest", his operational commanders including the elusive Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and LeT’s front organisations carry on their activities as business as usual. Nothing has changed and nothing is unlikely to change given Pakistani Army's obsession to address India’s "conventional superiority".
It is pertinent to note that Durrani was sacked from his post after he acknowledged Ajmal Kasab's — one of the Mumbai attackers — Pakistani nationality. But having said that Durrani's current remarks were like "preaching to the converted".
While our media has lapped up his remarks and sort of asked him leading questions on Hafiz Saeed, no one actually asked him the other lie that he continues to peddle: that Pakistani government had no role to play in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. And that is the crux of the issue. Pakistan has time and again sought to escape international scrutiny by putting forward the lie of "non-state actors" indulging in anti-India activities with no involvement of the Pakistani state. If one looks at Pakistan's record, it becomes clear that Pakistan has been actively promoting only non-state actors to commit acts of terror in India and elsewhere against Indian interests.
Durrani has overlooked a key issue about the Mumbai attacks while saying something which was already a public secret. India can overlook this aspect but at its own peril.
Updated Date: Mar 06, 2017 20:35 PM