Monday, December 1, 2008


Over the last few days the world watched in horror the mindless and criminal carnage in Mumbai. Nearly 200 dead, many more injured and prime real estate like The Taj up in flames. The terror operation seemed well planned and executed which must have required months of preparation and ground surveillance.

Even more shocking for me personally was the fact that I spent a whole week in Mumbai in January this year staying with my good friends Rano & Kamal Singh who live only a couple of blocks away from The Oberoi, where I had all my social and business meetings almost on a daily basis. The horrific pictures on TV screen seemed like a cloud over my wonderful visit earlier in the year.

At this time plenty of finger pointing is going on. The Indian Prime Minister initially talked about a linkage to Karachi, then news came that some of the terrorists were British born and some had Mauritian passports. Also, that some had credit cards issued by various Indian banks. The latest report from India seems to suggest that the lone survivor of the terror group comes from a village near Multan, Pakistan. BBC's Barbara Plett reported from that village this morning and no one has heard of this young man in that small village where everyone know everyone else.

The Indian Government and some foreign agencies are suggesting this was a Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LET) operation - a terrorist group initially sponsored by Pakistan's ISI and later banned and abandoned and since moved to Indian Kashmir. It is highly doubtful that this was an LET operation. This fanatical group believes that a Muslim without a beard is not a Muslim at all, whereas the terrorists were clean shaven young men.

The Pakistan Government has denied any involvement. In fact for the last several years, operations against India have seized and more recently ISI has been harnessed by the new Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kiyani, who has been working hard to rid the army and intelligence services of rogue elements. Also, Pakistan Government with the full backing of Pakistani public has been making serious efforts to kick start the slow dialogue with India in order to improve trade, tourism and cooperation in a number of areas. Each time the two countries come close to putting the past behind, something like this happens. It seems, certain forces on both sides of the border are not interested in the rapprochement.

The blame game by the Indian Government may partly be due to their long held suspicions and also perhaps for political reasons due to upcoming State elections where the opposition BJP is trying to make political capital against the ruling Congress party. The fact is that no one is really sure of who is behind this operation. A full investigation has not taken place yet and many aspects of this terror attacks still need to be examined. There is no doubt that the terrorists had local support not just on the day of the operation but for sometime before. Also, they seemed to roam around Mumbai streets as if they were fully familiar with the landscape, people just coming off the boats would not have had that kind of knowledge of the city.

A number of questions remain unanswered and need to be investigated. Some of these are:
  1. Who stands to gain from this carnage, politically as well as otherwise.
  2. What local help did the terrorists have and who are their local contacts and what is their agenda and have they escaped by simply melting into the crowds.
  3. Who is the Mastermind behind this operation
  4. Why did the Indian intelligence not know anything about it and who is responsible for this massive failure.
  5. Why did the Indian Navy and coast Guard not intercept the merchant vessels or the dinghies and why did they not have surveillance along the coast.
  6. If the person or persons behind it are based in Pakistan, who are these people. Rather than the blame game, this is where Indian and Pakistani intelligence need to work together to put such individuals/groups out of business for good.
  7. If indeed individuals/groups from Pakistan were involved then why did the Pakistani intelligence not know about their activities and who is responsible for this massive intelligence failure.
  8. Who are the elements that do not want India and Pakistan to have close relationship and want to drive a wedge.

This is a matter of great importance for the future 1.4 billion people in India and Pakistan. It is extremely important to get to the bottom of all this. An impartial and fair investigation needs to takes place to determine responsibility and to identify field operatives and Principals on both sides of the border. That task is large and complicated. India needs to engage the services of a neutral foreign intelligence agency which will have access on both sides of the border. Britain's Scotland Yard is ideal for getting to the root of such problems and is equally respected in India and Pakistan. Also, the findings of Scotland Yard will be considered free of political motives and blame game. However, both countries must agree in advance to accept their final report and commit to work jointly to identify and eliminate terrorists and their backers.


Anonymous said...

I have not heard a report where India or anybody else has blamed ISLAM for the carnage in Mumbai. Please change the heading of your blog as this is misleading, nonfactual and sensationizing in character. I agree with rest of what you said.



adolfo said...

India yesterday sounded a nationwide alert and all airports in the country put on high-security surveillance after terrorists struck in yet another series of planned and synchronised attacks in the heart of India’s financial capital around midnight yesterday.

Ajaz Haque said...

Anonymous - Rajesh
Thank you for your comment at the end. I hope more people can view the situation objectively like yourself and a way is found to put the terrorists out of business for good.

I started this blog in December 2006 and the title was chosen to reflect the tendency of West to blame everything on Islam. It was as a consequence of Iraq invasion and the aftermath, which had political rather than religious implications. The title has no bearing on recent events. India has nearly 160 million Muslims and a 900 year history with Muslims.

Kvatch said...

An impartial and fair investigation needs to takes place to determine responsibility and to identify field operatives and Principals on both sides of the border.

No argument, though historically a impartial investigation by the Indian government is not typical policy. At this point even transparency in the investigation would be a huge improvement.

Ajaz Haque said...

Good observation Kvatch

aakram abbas syed said...

Richard Falk, the professor of international law at Princeton University and the UN's special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, had accused Israel of violating international law, international humanitarian laws, and the Geneva Convention. He described Israel's policies against Palestinians and its siege of Gaza as "war crimes", "genocidal tendencies", "holocaust implications", and "holocaust-in-the-making". He urged the International Criminal Court to look into the possibility of indicting Israeli leaders for war crimes.
Professor Falk had a little taste of Israel's Nazi-like crimes and human rights violation when he traveled to Israel, last Sunday December 14th, 2008, to visit the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to report on Israel's compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law. The Israelis "detained" Professor Falk at the airport, treated his as a criminal and a threat to the state, humiliated him and deported him next day back to Geneva.

Despite Israel's strong declaration that every Jew in the world is automatically granted full Israeli citizenship with all the protections this entails, and despite being a Jew himself, Professor Falk was not spared the humiliations and cruelty Israel treats its enemies with

Emboldened by the American blind and unconditional support, defiant Israel wanted to publicly give its finger to Falk and to the UN he represents, declaring itself above all international laws and above any criticism of its crimes and human rights violations even if such criticism comes from a Jew himself. Such defying humiliation of the world political body is meant to distract the UN, and thus the whole world, away from the holocaust it is perpetrating against the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, and all its on-going war crimes against the rest of Palestinians throughout the whole Palestine.

Falk's accusations of Israel's Nazi-like holocaustal implications are no different from those made by John Dugard, his predecessor, in several reports on conditions in occupied Palestine. Many conscientious political figures, as well as regular citizens, around the world had described Israel's policies in occupied Palestine in specific and in the Middle East in general as war crimes and threat to world peace.