17.2.10

Pune Blast: Actors in search of a character?

“I’m not accusing the government of Pakistan at all. In fact, we believe there are a number of actors in Pakistan who may be beyond the control of the government, who might be behind some of these actions.”

These are the precious words of minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor. That he decided to convey this in Kochi is a step up from his usual twitter politicking.

However, we would like to know whether he is speaking in his personal capacity or as a government functionary. He has used ‘I’ and then moves on to ‘we’ and they are almost giving the Pakistani government a clean chit in the Pune bomb blast. There are a number of actors beyond the control of the government. Right.

Do you think there is some altruism here? No. It is in a manner of speaking throwing up your hands and saying, look, those poor guys are not to blame, so how to you expect us to find out who did it? We sent them dossiers; they arrested a few blokes; we have Ajmal Kasab with us, but really there are too many.

The subtext is we must have those peace talks as though we have paid for some prime time slot on TV and just have to do it.

There is this absolutely hilarious mention in a report:

The discussion underlined that the foreign secretary-level talks will remain, to borrow the phrase used by national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon in an article for a foreign publication, a “limited and controlled” affair as long as the government remains unsure of Pakistan’s sincerity in controlling terror.

I love the reference to a foreign publication. I love the limited and controlled affair even more. It is like Pakistan is not committing itself, but India does not mind a one-night stand with no strings attached.

After Tharoor’s magnanimity, he realised he had to say something 'historical', so he came up with this:

“…it is a fairly safe presumption looking back at the last 15 years of attacks on India that many (of them) originated from across the border’’

Presumption? For 15 years the country suffers attacks and we are still presuming without any concrete evidence and all this baloney about ‘actors’. Actors are directed by someone.

Who is this someone? Obfuscation comes in handy when there are no hard facts.

The first several minutes of the telecast of the Pune attack kept on mentioning a gas cylinder. The media reached there after the cops. Did no one get it that there is a difference between LPG gas and a bomb? There were body parts strewn around.

As happens often, conflicting groups have taken responsibility - a so-called breakaway faction of the LeT, Lashkar-e-Taiba Al Alami (International) and Indian Mujahideen Kashmir.

They have been called red herrings:

to distract attention from the perpetrators in view of the growing belief among the intelligence community here that the Pune attack was the handiwork of the Indian Mujahideen, which was under pressure from its Islamabad-based patrons belonging to the LeT to break the 14-month lull in the terror campaign. The anxiety to organise an alibi for the ISI is seen as another possible reason for the sudden emergence of LeT ‘International’.

For all these months, until recently, we had no clue that the Indian Mujahideen had any role in the Mumbai attacks. The home minister woke up recently. Now, there is a belief that the IM’s masters are in Islamabad asking them to get going.

Abu Jindal, the self-proclaimed spokesman of the Lashkar splinter group, gave India’s “ittehad (alliance)’’ with America as the other justification for the blast. “We will wage war against any ally of America, whether it is India or Pakistan,’’ the correspondent of the Indian newspaper quoted Jindal as saying.

To the correspondent, the spokesman of the Lashkar faction, who claimed to be calling from Miramshah in North Waziristan, sounded like an educated boy in his late teens or early 20s. Jindal refused to give the name of the leader, but claimed that the breakaway faction had “sources’’ in India who executed the blast in Pune.

Okay, so this is getting very complicated. The group does not like India or Pakistan or America, and it is from Waziristan, so it could be the Taliban. Who would like this theory the most? The US. Pakistan. India. There is mention of an educated boy. We are going by what a correspondent says. What standards have been applied to gauge the education? Who will benefit the most from such profiling? And if Mr.Richard Gates knew, why can we not just demand to know the details?

Just when we were dealing with this, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) chief and Al Qaida commander Ilyas Kashmiri spoils it all by warning foreign players from coming to India for the hockey World Cup and later the Commonwealth Games.

“We, the mujahideen of 313 Brigade, vow to continue attacks across India until the Indian Army leaves Kashmir and gives the Kashmiris their right of self-determination. We assure the Muslims of the subcontinent that we will never forget the massacre of the Muslims in Gujarat and the demolition of Babri Masjid.”

His Harkat whatever did not remember the Muslims in 1993 or 2002. I am not sure if they have any real interest in Kashmir. Kashmir has its own indigenous movements.

There has been much talk about targeting foreign-dominated areas and the German Bakery has been seen in this context. It is too small a place. The bag was placed near a table with young Indian students. If the Osho Ashram was the real target it would have been placed there. Besides, the Ashram is not as prominent as it once was in the public eye, so it too does not serve a great purpose.

This was a low-level operation meant to disorient. It has succeeded because of the way our politicians are behaving.

There is much talk that there are groups against any Indo-Pak initiative. Let us stop acting like kindergarten kids. Everybody and their Uncle Sam know that dialogues are not going to solve the problem, and which problem? With such talks Pakistan has nothing to lose and India has nothing to gain.

There is a third hand that has nothing to lose and everything to gain by stealthily encouraging enraged militant groups. The good old divide and rule policy with a dash of fake détente.

7 comments:

  1. FV,

    All is not what it seems in the Pune Bombings and in international politics/relations, but I am sure you already knew that.

    India's behaviour is intended to restrict Pakistan's warmongering options. If India's talks peace with Pakistan, while the Foreign Secretary and her team actually focuses on consuming copious amounts of Hot Chai and Marie Biscuits, then Pakistan cannot take the stance that India is a mortal threat to Pakistan.

    Failing that excuse, Pakistan must cooperate with the USA in the war on terror, something the Pakistani Army wants to avoid doing at all costs. The last time they wanted to stop fighting and killing their terrorist friends in Tora Bora, the Pakistanis attacked the Indian Parliament and used the resulting mobilization of the Indian Army as an excuse to walk out of the US's war on terror.

    The Pakistani Army probably has very good reasons to take money from the USA but not actually do anything useful in terms of fighting their own terrorist creations. So we need to see what happens when Pakistan is forced to fight in FATA and other places and kill everyone that the US wants killed -- will the Pakistani Army succesfully neutralize all their enemies within Pakistan as part of the War on Terror and make a comeback, or will they have to start fighting a new war with all their ex-friends who now rightly think that the Pakistani army will sell them out to the USA if the PA stood to gain from it.

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  2. Presumption? For 15 years the country suffers attacks and we are still presuming


    What's wrong with what he said. It's perfectly reasonable to presume that there's a paki connection until evidence says otherwise.

    Of course, YOU'll be looking for a flak vest in an attempt to shield your home country.

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  3. Al:

    Much as I like the idea of chai and Marie biscuit politics, the Pakistani army works on its own selectively. I do not think our security and government agencies are trying to restrict war-mongering efforts. Pakistan cannot afford an external war.

    Incidentally, even Hafiz Saeed now wants a dialogue with India. It looks like everyone loves a good chat.

    Arjun:

    It would have helped if you had completed my sentence/para. Here it is:

    Presumption? For 15 years the country suffers attacks and we are still presuming without any concrete evidence and all this baloney about ‘actors’. Actors are directed by someone.

    The last bit needs to be seen in the context of what he said and I quoted in the beginning:


    “I’m not accusing the government of Pakistan at all. In fact, we believe there are a number of actors in Pakistan who may be beyond the control of the government, who might be behind some of these actions.”

    At least I look for the BP vest of one of MY police officers, after his WIFE and the WIFE of another slain officer also filed a PIL DEMANDING to know there was something wrong with the investigations.

    But then you would listen to tweets more readily. And did the bird also whisper something in your ear?

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  4. FV:

    "I do not think our security and government agencies are trying to restrict war-mongering efforts. Pakistan cannot afford an external war."

    FV, you misunderstand. Pakistani Army has no intention of intention (or capability) to fight anyone, and definitely not India.

    Pakistan only needs to claim that there is a threat of war from India by provoking India with a major terrorist attack. They want India to react badly because of the terrorist attack.

    It is accepted by pak-watchers that 26/11 was planned and executed for the exact same reason. To avoid moving Pakistani troops from the Eastern border to the western border to fight the US's war on terror. One year later, the Pakistanis are still sticking to the same plan to avoid fighting with the USA in Pakistani territory.

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  5. Al:

    Thus far the wars between the two countries have been initiated by Pakistan, so it does not have to play up threat, IMO.

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  6. FV wrote:

    "Thus far the wars between the two countries have been initiated by Pakistan, so it does not have to play up threat, IMO."

    FV, I think you are viewing this as a two-party scenario, there's three: India, Pakistan, and third party observers who generate world opinion. The Pakistanis do not care what India or Indians think -- they are out to influence perceptions in the rest of the world that India is just another warmongering country like Pakistan.

    To "prove" that such is the case, they periodically create terrorist attacks on India as a matter of official pakistani government policy.


    The Pakistanis play up the "India threat on the eastern border" for third parties like the USA -- the americans usually pretend that both India and Pakistan are warmongers and takes Pakistan's concerns about India "seriously"....but I believe that the USA does this deliberately for a reason.

    This is done to further their strategic goal of "balance of power" between India and China -- the premise of such strategies is to restrict the rise of any future competitors to the USA that is not completely under US influence.

    The fallout of such strategies is why Pakistan can continue to exist as a terrorist state and get money and weapons from the USA to direct against India -- it keeps India focussed on its immediate borders, undercutting its influence elsewhere.

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  7. I mentioned a third party in the post itself, but obviously there are different dimensions to how we see third parties.

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