Angry Poland accuses Pak of fostering terrorism

15 02 2009

Poland has joined the ranks of countries accusing Pakistan of inaction, if not outright complicity in terrorist activity, following

the beheading last week of a Polish national by the Pakistani Taliban.

In a furious response that has stunned the international diplomatic community, Polish justice minister Andrzej Czuma on Monday blamed Pakistan’s ”apathy” in tackling terrorism for the killing of a Polish geologist who was kidnapped by the Pakistani Taliban from Attock town in Punjab.

“The structure of the Pakistani government is behind this apathy. The Pakistani authorities encourage these bandits,” Czuma told a Polish news agency, even as the horrific killing recalled the similar beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

The minister’s outburst stunned his own colleagues in the diplomatic circuit who are a little more circumspect in public about Pakistan’s reputation as a haven of terrorism. ”It was unnecessary honesty, it sent shivers down my spine when I heard Minister Czuma speaking,” Pawe? Gra?, a member of the Polish parliament’s Special Services Committee and Czuma’s party colleague told the Polish media.

However, so great is the outrage in Warsaw over the brutal killing that the Poland’s Senate speaker has called off a visit by his Pakistani counterpart this week.

Speaker Bogdan Borusewicz said Tuesday his decision is not an unfriendly gesture toward Pakistan but was made after taking into consideration ”the situation in which our countryman was murdered.” Other European countries also expressed revulsion at yet another beheading in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, according to reports in the Polish media, the State Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow, formally investigating the incident, would like to secure the original tapes containing a seven-minute film showing the Pole’s execution. For now, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, it has only received a digital copy.

“We don’t want a digital copy because it may have been tinkered with,” said Prosecutor Marek We?na at the Organised Crime Bureau, State Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow. He said the persons who had taken part in the negotiations would be asked to testify. It is also possible a Polish prosecutor will go to Pakistan to secure potential evidence there.

The Polish case offers Pakistan yet another opportunity to prove its bona fides in the war on terror amid continuing questions in the international community about its seriousness. Whether it is the Mumbai carnage or the London subway blasts or the beheading of Pearl and now of Piotr Stanczack, Pakistan has not distinguished itself with its dodgy investigations seemingly aimed more at protecting the perpetrators rather than bring them to justice.

Many of the accused in such incidents, including Omar Saeed Sheikh, Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Yusuf Muzammil, and Zarrar Khan are reported to be ISI assets who live under the intelligence agency’s protection, while Pakistan’s civilian dispensation drums up red herrings while privately pleading it is not fully in control of the agency or that it has been infiltrated by rogue elements.

With its constant denials, fudging and prevarication, Pakistan’s government has laid itself open that it is complicit in such acts of terrorism. There is immense distrust among the U.S and its allies about Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and how far it is in cahoots with the jihadis it fostered for long.

Source:The Times Of India

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Who’s winning?

15 02 2009
Source: Timesofindia


15 Feb 2009, 0036 hrs IST, Shobhan Saxena , TNN

When you are locked in a war of nerves with an old adversary, you can’t wait for him to blink. But that’s what seems to have happened. All of a

Who's winning?

Who’s winning?

sudden, Pakistan looks like a changed entity — not plotting and scheming against India, but cooperating in the war on terror by hunting down the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan’s generals are unusually quiet; the politicians are saying the right things and there is not even a murmur of media protest about “giving in to pressure from India”. Islamabad’s tough knees would appear to have buckled under India-led international pressure. The world community, led by the US, is patting Pakistan on the back for this “positive development”.

So far, so good. But security experts and international analysts are asking a further pertinent question: Is there really a change of heart in Islamabad? Or is this just a break in its old diplomatic games with India?

First things first. Something extraordinary happened on Thursday, when Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s advisor on interior affairs, Rehman Malik, made a series of important statements in full view of the world’s press, accepting the role of some Pakistanis in the Mumbai carnage and promising tough action. The same day Pakistan’s foreign secretary gave a list of 30 questions to India’s high commissioner. The future of Pakistan’s investigation into the matter now lies in India’s answers to these questions. It could be a trap for India.

“We made a mistake by focusing too much on Mumbai, forgetting that it was one of the hundreds of terrorist attacks on India in the past few decades. Now, Pakistan says it has caught six guys for the Mumbai attack and what do we do?” asks Ajai Sahni, executive director of Delhi’s Institute for Conflict Management. “It has been a miscalculation in our diplomacy because even if Pakistan hangs these six men, the larger issue of terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Al Badr operating from its soil remains unaddressed. And what about the involvement of the ISI and army?”

Calling Pakistan a “minimal satisfier”, Sahni says it’s a ploy. “They have been handing over to the US some of the peripheral terror elements since 9/11 and yet they have been supporting the groups fighting the international forces in Afghanistan. So, if we think that by arresting six people, Pakistan has changed its course on terrorism, we will be deluding ourselves because the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan remains intact and its supporters in the government are still active,” says Sahni, who tracks terror networks in South Asia.

Former diplomats and Pakistan experts agree. “They have acted out of compulsion, not conviction,” says G Parthasarthy who was posted in Pakistan in the ’80s. “Very soon, they will go back to their old ways,” he says, adding that Pakistan’s demand it be allowed to try 26/11’s sole surviving gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab is just a way of piling the pressure on India. “A trial in Pakistan will be a total farce. It will be like the trial of nuclear scientist A Q Khan, who has been released now, or the conviction of Omar Sheikh Sayeed, who got the death sentence six years ago for the murder of Daniel Pearl, but the order has not been carried out though the anti-terror law calls for execution within a month of conviction.”

The success of the trial of the six men arrested by Pakistan will depend on the quality of evidence against them. It’s thought interesting that Malik constantly used the words “credible” and “tenable’ evidence to the world’s press. Clearly, Pakistan has publicly asked India to give “solid evidence” against the alleged Mumbai plotters. Parthasarthy says this is part of Pakistan’s game. “If the trial fails they will blame India for not giving them enough evidence.”

But Delhi is unlikely to share all the evidence — including the calls log — with a neighbour it so distrusts. This, many believe, will be Pakistan’s trump card. It will accuse India of failure to cooperate and bad faith. “By mocking (India’s) 26/11 dossier at his press conference and by putting questions about Hemant Karkare and Lt Col Srikant Purohit in its list, Malik has already set the stage for this process to fail halfway,” says a ministry of home affairs official, who doesn’t want to be named.

So has Pakistan won this round of the game? Wilson John, senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and author of Karachi: An International Terrorist Capital in the Making, says he doesn’t think “Pakistan has scored diplomatically over India as they have not done anything about the terrorist network, which India has been asking them to dismantle, and they have not addressed the issue of ISI’s involvement. So, India will continue to raise these issue and they just can’t get away with it”.

But Islamabad-based terrorism expert Zahid Husain sees the recent developments as a “turning point” in bilateral relations. “It shows that Pakistan is serious about fighting terrorism. Both India and Pakistan are victims of terrorism and they have to work together to fight it.”

Perhaps, but is India failing to make the right strategic moves with respect to Pakistan? Yes, says an Indian diplomat, because we place too much faith in the West. “Almost every year, we get excited about the possibility of Pakistan being put on the list of terrorist nations or facing economic sanctions, and then we hear that it’s getting billions of dollars in aid and being called a partner in the ‘war on terror’. And we look like idiots. We have put too much faith in the West and in the process lost our leverage with Pakistan.”

Pakistan knows too well that the West needs it as much as it needs the West. Malik’s confessions seem to be part of this design. He has killed two birds with one stone: turned off the heat from Western allies and put India on the spot. Sometimes, one blinks just to rest the eyes before the next round of eyeballing.

New Delhi vs Islamabad

TALE OF TRIUMPHS

1948 | As Pakistani army regulars follow the Kabayalis into Kashmir, New Delhi makes Hari Singh, then king of J&K, sign the Instrument of Accession, making the state part of India and weakening Pakistan’s claim over it

1971 | India sends its army into East Pakistan to support the Mukti Bahini. Pak is bifurcated and Bangladesh is born. A military victory and a foreign policy coup

1972 | Indira Gandhi and Z A Bhutto sign the Simla Agreement, the cornerstone of bilateral relations to this day

1974 | As Z A Bhutto cozies up to China, India tests its first nuclear device in an attempt to join the N-club, dehyphenate itself from Pak & send a message to Mao

1999 | Battle erupts in Kargil; Pakistan forced to accept its troops were present in the area. This creates a rift between Musharraf and PM Nawaz Sharif, who orders his army to withdraw after a visit to the Clinton White House

…AND BLUNDERS

1949 | Nehru’s plebiscite offer at the UN makes Kashmir an international issue and gives Pakistan a stick to beat India with

1998 | India’s Pokhran-II is followed by Pakistan’s nuclear test. Both face international sanctions and India gets hyphenated yet again with Pakistan

2001 | India invites Musharraf for peace talks. He leaves Agra in a huff, makes a strong statement on Kashmir, and India ends up legitimizing the rule of a dictator

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