Terrorists walking out of Courts free and laughing is a scene by no means rare in Pakistan. The release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the terrorist attack on Mumbai that started on November 26, 2008, lasted 59 hours and left 166 persons dead, should, therefore, surprise no one. Those familiar with Pakistan’s realities, should have known from the beginning that Lakhvi’s release had been scripted into the drama planned by Pakistan’s Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s super state-cum dirty tricks arm, and implemented by terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, the Hizbul Mujahideen and so on, it has spawned. The arrests, trials and detentions of the 26/11 accused one witnessed earlier, were clearly a part of a carefully choreographed effort to create the impression that Pakistan was serious about combating terrorism.
Since Pakistan’s attempted justifications of the disgracefully slow progress of the case against Lakhvi and six others involved in the terror attack – Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younus Anjum – have repeatedly proved hollow, these merit only cursory attention. To cite just the principal example, its contention that India has provided only information and not evidence, is laughable. This country could only provide evidence available here in the form of message intercepts which identify the culprits by their voices and the confession of Ajmal Amir Kasab who gave details of the conspiracy and the names of some of them behind it. It has supplied these meticulously. Inter-Services Intelligence personnel hatched the conspiracy in Pakistan, a fact corroborated by the Pakistan-born American terrorist, David Coleman Headley, who’s scouting around for targets in Mumbai, played an important role in the attack.
Further corroboration has been provided by Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari aka Abu Hamza and Abu Jundal, an Indian national who had fled to Pakistan, and joined the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba. He is now in custody in India following deportation from Saudi Arabia in June 2012. Hence, the bulk of the evidence had to be available in Pakistan. What has happened to it? The answer became clear when, while granting Lakhvi’s bail plea, judge Anwar-ul-Haq of the Lahore High Court, criticised Pakistan’s Government for failing to provide “sensitive” information about the accused.
This, as well as the luxurious life that Lakhvi and the six others enjoyed in prison, makes it clear that Pakistan’s Government had sabotaged the prosecution to ensure his release on bail, which, in turn, puts all of Islamabad’s action relating to the trial of the 26/11 accused in perspective. It also makes clear that none of the culprits can ever be punished. For one thing, thanks to the Islamisation of Pakistan’s society and Army during the dictatorship of General-turned-President Zia-ul-Haq, the ISI and the country’s Army are split down the line on the issue of terrorism and Islamist fundamentalism. This is one reason why Pakistan’s effort to combat the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is not going anywhere.
Besides, the LeT, perhaps the ISI’s most favourite progeny, is supplementing, through propaganda, Pakistan’s military campaign against the TTP and allied elements in North and South Waziristan. This has been cited as the reason why any action against Lakhvi and others is out of the question since it will alienate the LeT, which neither the Army nor the civilian Government can afford to do. This may be true up to a point. The most important reason is that the Army and the ISI, of which the LeT and allied bodies are strategic assets, do not want to take action. Nor do Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab, who have excellent ties with Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa’h, the parent organisation of the LeT, and have been helping him with Government funds. Under the latter as Chief Minister, Pakistan’s Punjab provincial Government provided more than Rs8.2 crore in 2009-2010 for the administration of JuD facilities.
In fiscal 2010-2011, Chief Minister Sharif, using his discretionary powers, allocated Rs7.98 crore for six organisations at Markaz-e-Tayyeba, the JuD’s largest centre, and a special grant-in-aid of Rs30 lakh for the JuD’s Al-Dawa school system. Pakistan’s Punjab’s provincial Government’s Budget for 2013-2014 allocated Rs35 crore to the Markaz-e-Tayyeba for setting up a ‘knowledge Park’ and Rs6.1 crore to the Jamaat-ud-Dawa’h.
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