Some reactions of Pakistani media to the terror attacks in Mumbai
It was interesting to note that even the best newspapers in Pakistan did not want to believe that Pakistan was in any way involved in the Mumbai terror attacks. I know that nothing is proved as yet but can you blame me if I think the terrorists arrived from the sea from Karachi? I mean, the authorities are saying it to the media, and I see no reason to disbelieve them. Sure, the terrorists must have had Indian help too, but now there seems to be mounting evidence that some people did come via the sea. They seem to have the confession of an arrested man, who is a Pakistani. So here are some excerpts from Pak newspapers, which don’t seem to want to believe that anyone from Pakistan is involved. An article in the Dawn said:
The scale of the terror attack was military-like in its scope, inviting comparisons with an Al Qaeda plot. But military training is not the preserve of Muslim extremists any longer, as the recent arrest of a lieutenant colonel of the Indian army has revealed. Before the Mumbai terror plot unfolded on Wednesday night, Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorist Squad was pursuing solid leads into the involvement of the colonel and several Hindu extremists in bombing incidents eslewhere. Two of the police officers killed in Wednesday’s shootout at the Taj Mahal hotel had been heading the probe into the anti-Muslim Malegaon blasts. The suspects were also being questioned for apparent involvement in the Samjhauta Express bombing, for which Pakistan was initially blamed. That probe may now remain shrouded in mystery.
Earlier on in the same article the writer had said that one of the reasons for the attack was that the terrorists wanted to drive a wedge between the two countries!
Were those that felt threatened by an India-Pakistan strategy on terrorism watching all this closely? Was the Mumbai massacre needed to drive a wedge between the two? Dr Manmohan Singh’s masked warning to Pakistan indicated he did not see the trap.
Another article in one of Pakistan’s reputed newspapers, The Daily Times, seemed to imply that it was an Indian terror outfit which was behind this. They go so far as to suggest that Indian terror outfits now have a direct linkage to Al Qaeda!! A complete falsehood.
Heavily armed terrorists calling themselves the Deccan Mujahideen, a group unknown thus far, stormed luxury hotels, a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station in at least seven attacks in India’s financial capital, killing over 100 people by latest count including the Mumbai Anti-Terror Squad chief. Analysts have cautioned against jumping to any conclusion but say the group might have some linkage with Al Qaeda or its ideology — even though until now investigators have not found an Al Qaeda spoor in the many terrorist attacks in India since 2003. The grievance on the basis of which the Indian Muslim terrorists usually own up their acts has thus expanded to include a global agenda. The Deccan Mujahideen — whoever they are — while talking about atrocities in Kashmir have also thrown in references to places other than India where the Muslims are said to be suffering at the hands of America and Britain. The hidden reference is to Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
And according to the Daily Times the reasons why Indian Muslims are now turning to terrorism is because of the Gujarat riots and that Pakistan is being unnecessarily dragged into it.
Everything went back to the Muslim carnage in Gujarat in 2002 in which 1,100 men, women and children were killed and over 150,000 ousted from homes. At the local level, every time an act of terrorism was committed in India, Pakistan was somehow named. Ongoing investigations into some terrorist attacks that were alternately blamed on Indian Muslims and Pakistan have shown that they were actually carried out by a Hindu terrorist network. But facts aside, this is how the collective psyche of fear works. One credible event is remembered and then myths are attached to it. The same sort of thing happens on the Pakistani side. Taken together, this trend forms the brick-wall against which all efforts at normalising Indo-Pak relations come to a halt.
And the most ridiculous article I found was from a newspaper which calls itself The Frontier Post, a newspaper which has “a mission against the oppressors and the corrupts.” This newspaper is supposed to represent the voice of the people of the North-West Frontier Province and is published from Peshawar & Queta. The newspaper apparently sells 5000 copies in Afghanistan as well. It claims to be the largest English daily from the NW Frontier Province and also from Baluchistan. The article is titled The Bombay holocaust. I have quoted large amounts from the article, the amusing parts. According to them, prominent industrialists and film stars are being hounded out of Mumbai, the Maoists have a strong presence in Maharashtra, Malegaon is in Pune, and that fanatical Indian nationals who carried out the the Malegoan blasts have links with the Indian military. I just feel sorry for all those people who read such rubbish.
That so many sites were taken on simultaneously indicates unmistakably that this was not just a planned, organised and coordinated assault but had active involvement of some local elements as well. Without such a local collusion, an assault like this one was hard to carry out on a sprawling city that is not infrequently a horrified witness to running gang wars of its notorious underground but is presently being convulsed violently by the Maharashtrian nationalists. Led by Raj Thackeray, estranged nephew of rabid Hindu nationalist Bal Thackeray whose own Shiv Sena goons have quite often kept Bombay rocked with blood-soaked anti-Muslim riots, these nationalists are keeping the city troubled with their vicious campaign now for months. Bombay, they contend, is for the Maharashtrians only; and they have been hounding out from the city with strong-arm methods the Indian migrants, mostly belonging to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, and including prominent industrialists and businessmen and film celebrities. The port city is very much in the eyes of the Maoists too, whose expanding insurgency, already having nearly half of India’s countryside in its wild sweep and now creeping up sharply to the urban centres …this Maoist insurgency, now [is] deeply entrenched in the Maharashtra state too. Just recently, the Indian security investigators have stumbled on a militant organisation of fanatical Hindu nationalists and ideologues based in the Maharashtra state, Abhinav Bharat, with links with the Indian military. The outfit was found involved in several bomb blasts in India, including the fatal Malegaon strike in Pune, a major city of Maharashtra state, and on the Samjhota train in which several Pakistani passengers were killed. These were earlier attributed, as is its routine, by the Indian officialdom to foreign sponsored terrorists, implicating Pakistan directly or indirectly. A serving army colonel has already been arrested while several retired military officers and Hindu ideologues belonging to this militant outfit are under investigation for these terrorist acts. It is unfortunate that Manmohan Singh has raised his finger at Pakistan for the Bombay holocaust, without even waiting for the findings of the investigation panel he himself has set up to probe this reprehensible terrorist assault. And that too when only the other day the two countries’ interior secretaries decided in their Islamabad meeting not to blame each other’s country for terrorist acts without substantive evidence. He should have waited for his panel’s report. But he did not, replicating his Congress party’s mainstream rival BJP, which his own party president Sonia Gandhi had recently berated in a party meeting for accusing Pakistan of every terrorist act in India impetuously, not on some concrete evidence’s basis. The regret is that Singh’s accusation will leave the real culprits go laughing all the way.