Friday, February 24, 2017
NEW DELHI: Is India’s defense strong enough to counter terrorist attacks? With the history of Pathankot terror attacks still in our recent memory, it reveals how our systems lack robustness, automatic anti-terrorist measures and safety pre-requisites. On the one hand, when we are still scared about the growth of ISIS in the Indian sub-continent, the comments of JuD chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed warning India of more terror attacks is worrisome.
The Ministry of External Affairs has meekly protested against the remarks. “Hafiz Saeed is an internationally designated terrorist; it is for Pakistan to put a stop to his activities,” the ministry of external affairs said. “It should be a matter of great concern to everyone that people like Hafiz Saeed continue to enjoy freedom to indulge in their activities.”
India has blamed Pakistani terrorists for the Pathankot attack, submitted evidence to prove that the six men who opened fire at the base came from across the border, and demanded action against the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed, who plotted the assault. Till that happens, Delhi has indicated, it will not reschedule talks between the Foreign Secretaries of both countries that were derailed after the air force base was targeted.
Pakistan has said it needs more evidence from Delhi to prove its citizens were involved in the Pathankot attack; Delhi has said “no mutually convenient date” has been found for the suspended talks. The Saeed speech exacerbates the tension considerably
The Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) group chief alleged that Indian troops were committing “genocide” on Kashmiris and added “don't they have a right to carry out Pathankot-style attacks for their defence?”
Saeed, in the rally, also lauded Kashmiri terrorist leader Syed Salahuddin, who heads the United Jihad Council (UJC) that had claimed responsibility for the January 2 terror attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot.
Meanwhile, ‘Dawa Productions’ has created a controversial video titled ‘Kashmir Banay Ga Pakistan’ (Kashmir will become part of Pakistan) ahead of the so-called ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ (February 05). The video features Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Asiya Andrabi and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed along with Pakistan’s army chief Raheel Sharif. The video also had an Urdu caption which said ‘Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan.’
Asserting that it was “up to Pakistan to rein in Saeed”, Vikas Swarup also noted that Pakistan had imposed a ban last year on the media coverage of militant groups like the JuD and LeT but contrary to that ban, the electronic media was showing Saeed’s speeches.
Asked about the status of Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks, Swarup continued to maintain that no “mutually convenient” date has been agreed upon between the two countries.
National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan as well as the Foreign Secretaries are in touch with each other, he said, adding while the NSAs have been discussing the Pathankot terror attack investigation by Pakistan government, the two foreign secretaries are in touch on the dates issue.
Asked about the progress on Pathankot probe by Pakistan and if that country has sought any fresh evidence, the Spokesperson did not give a direct answer and said the government was also looking at what action was being taken to bring the perpetrators of Pathankot attack to justice.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that most terror attacks in India originate in Pakistan and urged Islamabad to “show sincerity” in its efforts to crackdown on terrorism.
The UN declared JuD a terror organisation and also individually designated Saeed as a terrorist in December 2008. The US has already put a USD 10 million bounty on his head. But he still roams freely in Pakistan, our neighbor country which has not done much investigation after the Pathankot attacks.
(The writer is a doctoral student at JNU, New Delhi)