Guest post by RAZA RUMI
As a Pakistani it is difficult for me to talk about the ghastly attacks on Mumbai three years ago and the response of its vibrant citizens. This is not simply due to the nationality of Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. What happened in Mumbai was a sad reminder of how easy it has become for a handful of militants to wreak havoc, to hold an entire city hostage and undermine humanity. A vast majority of Pakistanis felt the pain and condemned the Mumbai attacks; targeting innocent civilians is heinous and unacceptable.
The Mumbai attacks changed the atmosphere created by President Asif Ali Zardari’s unprecedented offers of peace and cooperation. A few weeks before the carnage in Mumbai, Mr Zardari made historic remarks in a conclave organised by an Indian newspaper, which represented a consensus within Pakistan’s political class: “I do not feel threatened by India and India should not feel threatened from us… today we have a Parliament which is already pre-agreed upon a friendly relationship with India. In spite of our disputes, we have a great future together.” Mr Zardari also declared that Pakistan will not be the first country to use its nuclear weapons, thus altering a carefully constructed Pakistani nuclear doctrine of first-use. Continue reading Three Years After 26/11: Raza Rumi
Guest post by DILIP D’SOUZA
The anniversary began, for me, with a phone call. Someone I haven’t heard from in some years, mother of a soldier who died fighting for India in Kashmir. Her voice faltered several times during our conversation, and I could hear her tears. “Look at the tamasha,” she said, “over remembering the people who died on November 26 2008. Yet do we remember my son? Do we remember so many others” — and here she named several soldiers — “who died facing bullets on our border? Really do we remember people who died for no reason?”
“If we have a remembrance for one,” she said, “I want it for all. I want it for everyone who dies like this. Otherwise we wonder, what did our sons die for?” Continue reading Memories of another time: Dilip D’Souza
Have you had a chance to browse through the latest media interaction of the US ambassador to India, a gentleman called Mr Timothy Roemer? (US wants Headley to be brought to justice: Roemer, February 18, 2010 17:53 IST, rediff.com ) And could anyone decipher that it was a response to the growing clamour in a section of the media about seeking access to American terror suspect Headley whose name has surfaced in the light of his links with the 26/11 plot and who is at present lodged in the US jail. There were also reports about Headley’s visit to India in March 2009 and his survey of the Osho Ashram, Chabad House as well as the German Bakery in Pune, which became a site of the bomb explosion in second week of February 2010. Continue reading The Headley Trail
This guest post has been sent to us by RAVEENA HANSA
On 5 January 2009, the Indian government handed a 69-page dossier of material stemming from the ongoing investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attacks of 26-29 November 2008 to the Pakistani government. This was subsequently made accessible to the public, so it is possible for us to examine it.
The most striking point about the dossier is its vague and unprofessional character. Enormous reliance is placed on the interrogation of the captured terrorist, Mohammed Amir Kasab, despite the fact that there is an abundance of other evidence – eyewitness accounts, CCTV and TV footage, forensic evidence, etc. – which could have been called upon to establish when, where, and what exactly happened during the attacks. This gives rise to the suspicion that the interrogation is being used as a substitute for real investigation because it can be influenced by intimidation or torture, whereas other sources of evidence cannot be influenced in the same way.
Continue reading India’s Terror Dossier. Further Evidence of a Conspiracy: Raveena Hansa
Guest post by ANUJ BHUWANIA
Recently the clamour for a draconian terror bill came to fruition with rare alacrity. The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Bill was introduced and passed within two days by both houses of Parliament – quite a contrast to, say, the Women’s Reservation Bill, gathering dust now for more than a decade. Coming from a government that repealed POTA soon after it assumed power, the Bill unimaginatively mimics POTA almost entirely, revealing that little has been learnt from the recent history of TADA and POTA and the problems leading to their removal. While such statutes giving extraordinary powers to the police are introduced to cater to ‘exceptional’ situations, they can easily be deployed in ‘ordinary cases’ and indeed routinely are. The bleeding of one category into the other is inevitable, when the police alone decide which is which.
Continue reading UAPA: Legalising the police state
Alas, the video has been removed fromYouTube.
Strategically speaking, that is. It is important to think this question through.
For one, there’s hardly anybody disputing that the Lashkar-e-Tayebba was behind the attack. Pakistan wants evidence, but doesn’t deny the LeT could be it.
Parvez Hoodbhoy says in an interview:
LeT, one of the largest militant groups in Pakistan, was established over 15 years ago. It was supported by the Pakistani military and the ISI because it focussed upon fighting Indian rule in Muslim Kashmir. Today it is one of the very few extremist groups left that do not attack the military and the ISI; Continue reading Looking Kabul, talking Rawalpindi?
Arundhati Roy wants you to choose:
There is a fierce, unforgiving fault-line that runs through the contemporary discourse on terrorism. On one side (let’s call it Side A) are those who see terrorism, especially “Islamist” terrorism, as a hateful, insane scourge that spins on its own axis, in its own orbit and has nothing to do with the world around it, nothing to do with history, geography or economics. Therefore, Side A says, to try and place it in a political context, or even try to understand it, amounts to justifying it and is a crime in itself.
Side B believes that though nothing can ever excuse or justify terrorism, it exists in a particular time, place and political context, and to refuse to see that will only aggravate the problem and put more and more people in harm’s way. Which is a crime in itself. [The Guardian, Saturday, 13 December 2008]