The US pressured India into not retaliating against Pakistan after the attempted attack on the Indian Parliament by Pakistani terrorists on December 13, 2001, and promised that Pakistan would be made to dismantle the anti-Indian terrorist infrastructure in its territory. In response to the US pressure, India exercised moderation and did not exercise its right to retaliate. The promises made to India were never kept. The anti-Indian terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory continued to grow without the West taking any action against Pakistan.
The result: the savage attack of November 26–29, 2008. The US and the other Western countries conducted themselves in exactly the same way as they did in 2001 — expressions of outrage over the terrorist strike, pretense of solidarity with India, but at the same time ill-concealed attempts to protect Pakistan and its military-intelligence complex from the consequences of their continuing to sponsor terrorism against India in Indian territory.
The US pressured India into not retaliating against Pakistan after the attempted attack on the Indian Parliament by Pakistani terrorists on December 13, 2001, and promised that Pakistan would be made to dismantle the anti-Indian terrorist infrastructure in its territory.
Pakistan’s behavior — whether it is ruled by elected political or military rulers — has not changed one iota since it started using terrorism against India in 1981. It would organize an act of terrorism and to pre-empt a possible Indian retaliation would project itself as the victim-State threatened by India and manipulate Western policy-makers into rationalizing its use of terrorism against India and pressuring India not to retaliate against Pakistan.
One thought and hoped that the West would act more firmly against Pakistan this time than it had done in the past because of the fact that the LeT terrorists, who attacked Mumbai, killed six Israelis and 19 other foreigners. These hopes were belied.
Instead of stepping up pressure on Pakistan to dismantle the LeT’s terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory and arrest and hand over to India those involved in the orchestration of the terrorist strike in Mumbai, pressure was stepped up on India not to retaliate against Pakistan — not even politically. Instead of calling Pakistan to account for the outrage, attempts were made to mollify it by accepting the various conditions sought to be imposed by it, one of the conditions being that it would, if India produced evidence, prosecute the terrorists in its own courts and would not hand them over to India.
This was the fifth time Pakistan had defied international pressure to hand over criminal suspects for investigation and prosecution. The first was Omar Sheikh, one of the principal accused in the case relating to the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, at Karachi in January–February, 2002. It got him tried and sentenced to death by one of its courts. The hearing on his appeal has been adjourned by the anti-terrorism court over a hundred times. In the meanwhile, reports from Pakistan said that he had been given all the facilities such as mobile phones, etc that he asked for and that with these he was once again active from jail in guiding the pro-Al Qaeda jihadi terrorist organizations like the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
Pakistans behavior “” whether it is ruled by elected political or military rulers “” has not changed one iota since it started using terrorism against India in 1981.
The second was Dawood Ibrahim, the Indian mafia leader, who is the principal accused in the case relating to the serial explosions in Mumbai in March, 1993. He was designated by the US Department of Treasury as an international terrorist in October, 2003, because of his links with Al Qaeda and the LeT. Pakistan has avoided handing him over either to India or the US. He continues to live under an assumed name as a Pakistani national at Karachi. Even though sections of the Pakistani media have been periodically reporting about his presence and activities at Karachi, Pakistan continues to deny his presence in Pakistani territory.
The third was AQ Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist, found guilty of clandestinely transferring military nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya. Both the previous Government headed by Pervez Musharraf and the present Government headed by Asif Ali Zardari have consistently opposed demands that an international team of experts should be allowed to interrogate him outside Pakistan.
The fourth was Rashid Rauf, a British citizen of Mirpuri (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) origin, who was arrested by the Pakistani authorities in August, 2006, on suspicion of his involvement in a plot discovered by the London Police to blow up a number of US-bound planes originating from British airports. He was the brother-in-law of Maulana Masood Azhar, the Amir of the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
This was the fifth time Pakistan had defied international pressure to hand over criminal suspects for investigation and prosecution.
The Pakistani authorities repeatedly evaded action on a British request to hand him over so that they could interrogate him not only in connection with the alleged plot to blow up planes, but also in connection with the alleged murder of one of his relatives in Birmingham before he fled to Pakistan. He escaped from police custody under mysterious circumstances in December, 2007, and reportedly died in a missile strike by a US Predator (pilotless) plane on a suspected Al Qaeda- hide-out in North Waziristan on November 15, 2008.
The leaders of the LeT wanted by India in connection with the Mumbai attack constitute the fifth instance.
Pakistan’s reluctance to hand over Omar Sheikh was due to the long history of contacts between him and the ISI and between him and Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani authorities wanted to prevent US interrogators from finding out about these contacts. Fears that Dawood Ibrahim’s long history of contacts with the ISI, his contacts with Al Qaeda and the LeT and his role in helping AQ Khan in clandestinely transporting nuclear material to North Korea, Iran and Libya and North Korean missiles to Pakistan might come to the notice of the US during any interrogation have stood in the way of Pakistan handing him over either to India or the US.
In the case of AQ Khan, fears that he might reveal the role of the political and military rulers in his clandestine proliferation activities are behind Pakistan’s refusal to permit any independent interrogation of him. When the restrictions on his house arrest were relaxed after the elections of March 2008, he allegedly told some foreign journalists that Musharraf was totally in the picture about his nuclear and missile dealings with North Korea. The Government strongly denied these allegations and re-imposed the restrictions on him.
The fourth was Rashid Rauf, a British citizen of Mirpuri (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) origin, who was arrested by the Pakistani authorities in August, 2006, on suspicion of his involvement in a plot discovered by the London Police to blow up a number of US-bound planes originating from British airports.
In the case of Rashid Rauf, it was alleged by many in Pakistan that he was aware of the contacts of the JeM with the ISI and of the identities of the elements in Pakistan which trained the suicide bombers, who carried out the London blasts of July 2005. The LeT’s close links with the ISI on the one side and with Al Qaeda on the other were believed to be behind the refusal to hand over the masterminds behind the Mumbai attack to the Indian authorities. If the US, through independent sources, collected more irrefutable evidence and maintained the pressure on Pakistan, the most Pakistan might do is to hold a proforma trial against the LeT operatives, get them jailed and allow them to guide the LeT activities from jail in the same manner as Omar Sheikh has been guiding the activities of the JeM from jail.
If the US is really concerned over the refusal of Pakistan to act against the LeT’s terrorist infrastructure and operatives, it could declare Pakistan as a state-sponsor of terrorism and stop all military and economic assistance to it. However, it is unlikely to take this step due to fears that this might affect even the limited co-operation which Pakistan has been extending to the US in targeting Al Qaeda and Taliban sanctuaries.