A decade after 26/11

LeT founder Saeed is still a toast of Pakistani military while Ministers in Imran Khan cabinet have no qualms in sharing the stage with him

AuthorPublished: 29th Nov 2018  12:03 amUpdated: 28th Nov 2018  6:08 pm

Ten years after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack, which left 166 Indians, Americans and Israelis dead and over 300 injured, the key question to be asked is whether India has been able to neutralise Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no. The planners of 26/11 still roam the streets of Pakistan with impunity. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself had admitted that the attacks were planned and launched from Pakistani territory. India has not been able to effectively address the threat posed by these groups as Hafeez Saeed, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim continue to be poster boys in Pakistan, enjoying official patronage. This is despite the fact that LeT runs eight terrorist training camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The global terrorist group, with ties to Al-Qaeda, has morphed into a mainstream political party in Pakistan. There is not even a shred of evidence on the ground to suggest that Islamabad is serious about reining in the anti-India terror outfits. The trial of the accused in a Pakistani anti-terror court is nowhere near conclusion, despite an order from the Islamabad high court in April 2015 that it should be wound up in two months. It has been turned into a sham. After initially denying the involvement of any of its nationals in the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan’s security forces rounded up seven suspects when India and western nations, especially the United States and the United Kingdom, provided evidence of the involvement of LeT.

The trial began in Pakistan in 2009 but the first charge-sheet filed by the Federal Investigation Agency in November of that year made no mention of the alleged role of LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, even though there was considerable evidence that he had been in contact with the attackers, including Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist who was captured alive in Mumbai. The trial is bogged down by inexplicable delays and frequent changing of judges. In May 2013, Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, a criminal lawyer who pursued the prosecution of the 26/11 accused, was assassinated in Islamabad. It is well known in security circles that LeT runs an industrial scale jihadist factory with more than 20 launching pads along India’s 814-kilometre Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. Saeed, the mastermind of the terror attacks, is still a toast of Pakistani military commanders while Ministers in the Imran Khan cabinet have no qualms in sharing the stage with him. It is time Pakistan was held accountable for its diabolic actions. It must dismantle the terror factories and stop exporting terror to pave the way for resumption of bilateral talks with India.