27.10.13

The case of 99% evidence: Pakistan, India and 26/11

The Ministry of External Affairs appears to be washing its hands off the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. There has been little to introspect about our security by the Home Ministry. Naturally, one cannot wish away that an attack did take place. So, what is the next best thing to do?

This:

Responding to a Pakistan foreign office statement that it requires more evidence in the Mumbai attacks case, the external affairs ministry said, “The entire planning of the dastardly Mumbai terrorist attack was hatched in Pakistan, the training of the terrorists who launched that attack was undertaken in Pakistan, the financing of the conspiracy was in Pakistan.

“It, therefore, follows that 99 per cent of the evidence will be available in Pakistan. It is incumbent on the authorities there to present that evidence in order to bring to book the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.”


1. If they can conduct such a fine-tuned operation, would they leave enough evidence?

2. If the Pakistani Intel agencies are involved, will they ever admit to it?

3. How is it incumbent on an aggressor to confess?

4. Is there any conclusive proof that because the plot was hatched there, the evidence will be in the same place? Could it not be a more broad-based plan?

5. Since the MEA has reached this conclusion now, how will it justify its tardiness and wrongful arrests of Indian citizens in the plot?

6. If 99 per cent of the evidence is in Pakistan, where is the one percent and why does it have no significance?

7. Does all this mean that Ajmal Kasab was given the death sentence based on this one percent evidence, when 99 percent is in Pakistan, the country that refused to accept his last remains?

This is going to be one more of those to-and-fro investigations that keep both the Track 11 and the governments in business. They politely call it diplomacy.

© Farzana Versey

18 comments:

  1. The official statement would sound really strange to anyone. They are actually asking Pakistan to collect evidence that the attack was planned and conducted by people in their country. Why will they do that?
    It seems like even if its addressing the Pakistani officials the statement actually is for consumption by Indian media, people, may be officials. I guess its just a way of saying we can't do anything about it, so lets just say something and get it over with. Its amazing that they make these kind of statements and get away with it.

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  2. Hi FV, There are two different crimes.

    Ajmal Kasab's terrorism was on TV and he was sentenced in India for his crimes -- and there was plenty of evidence of his crimes on 26/11 to justify his sentencing and eventual execution. The planning of 26/11 occurred in pakistan and all the evidence related to that even is still in Pakistan. It is a different matter that Pakistan has refused to conduct a trial into the events related to 26/11 and has done little more than waste everyone's time. No reason to let their terrorist loving government and army off the hook on 26/11. The Indian govt.'s tactic of dismissing pakistan's pretense of conducting a 26/11 trial by demanding more evidence from India is sound given Pakistan's intransigence.

    As for the "99% percent of evidence..", the "99%" figured seems to be based on the scientific technique known as orifice-extraction method (where random figures are pulled out of some random orifice of some random passerby on the street).

    The terrorist-supporting establishment like the Pakistani govt. recently gave a government grant to Hafiz Saeed of the LeT, when Nawaz Sharif became PM...and we all know that the LeT conducted 26/11 has much to answer for. Notwithstanding all the screwups by the Indian govt, they have done the right thing by questioning Pakistan's worthless and inane "we want more evidence from India" shenanigans. About time, really.

    PS: hope all is well in FV-land. :)
    PPS: Glad you decided to throw open the comments section again.

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  3. Sai:

    India has been asking Pakistan to 'hand over' criminals for decades now, and Pakistan gets even more brash. Example: Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim.

    {It seems like even if its addressing the Pakistani officials the statement actually is for consumption by Indian media, people, may be officials. I guess its just a way of saying we can't do anything about it, so lets just say something and get it over with.}

    Absolutely. 

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  4. Al:

    Come on, if we go by TV footage, and a good deal of other evidence, we will have to reopen what happened to ATS chief Hemant Karkare, and why was there no coordination. 

    I emphasised Kasab being tried on 1% evidence...are we to believe that what was on TV is that? The intention is to reveal the shoddiness of such government statements. 

    And why would Pakistan carry out investigations for us? Not all the planning took place in Pakistan. What about all those maps and videographers? And what about the collateral damage where people were rounded up and served sentences only to be proved innocent? How did that 1% come in handy?  

    As regards Pakistan wasting our time, check out how much time we waste. It is a subcontinental thing. What grants Pakistan gives its criminals is not something we can control. After all, we have murderers as MPs, too. 

    I agree with Sai that what you see as "about time" India took a stand is more for us, than them. 

    99% is "orifice-extraction method"? Nice. All sorts of images come to mind!

    {PS: hope all is well in FV-land. :)}

    Yes, but was kinda incomplete without you and a few others :-)

    {PPS: Glad you decided to throw open the comments section again.}

    You are 99% late in noticing...

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  5. FV,

    "Come on, if we go by TV footage, and a good deal of other evidence, we will have to reopen what happened to ATS chief Hemant Karkare, and why was there no coordination. "

    Why and what for? Even if one accepts your thesis and ignoring conspiracy theories, those are two distinct crimes to be treated separately. It is no surprise that Indian law enforcement has been ill-prepared for such surprises many times over, all over the country...to their credit, it is not an easy job. If Karkare was careless/unlucly enough to get killed on the job (where had an important position to monitor what went on), that has to be dealt with by an internal inquiry in the police/state government.

    "I believe kasab was being tried on 1% evidence"

    There are Kasab's crimes, and there is the question of Pakistani establishment involvement in sending the death squad into pakistan. There was ample evidence of Kasab's crimes in India since he did not bother to cover his tracks, most likely because he was expected to be dead by the end of 26/11 attack, but he survived, thanks to the bravery of a few policemen.

    EVen the TV footage of him wandering around with a semi-automatic shooting at civilians is evidence, and was among recorded statements by the many witnesses to all the activity on 26/11.

    Kasab's crime was against the Indian republic, given he was a foreign national that entered India illegally with the intent of murdering innocent people. And he left plenty of witnesses and evidence behind to aid in his prosecutiion, though I do not support his eventual execution. He would have been more useful alive and was likely too small a pawn in the game to cause Pakistani establishment to do another plane hijacking event (or the like) to extract him. I don't quite support his execution for my own reason, but it is not true that there was no evidence against him.

    "And why would Pakistan carry out investigations for us? Not all the planning took place in Pakistan. What about all those maps and videographers?"

    Also, the pakistani courts/establishment was only wasting India's time and patience by pretending that the evidence of planning the attack was on Indian soil, i.e., Kasab. The voice of the handlers from pakistan were a match to known people in Pakistan -- such digital finger printing of voices is highly accurate. The IP addresses of the VOIP calls to the terrorists who were instructing them were from pakistan -- I would say that would suffice as sufficient indicators that the planners of the event were/are still in pakistan, wouldn't you?

    Ultimately, Pakistani govt. and its chattering classes do make pretensions of having friendly relations with India, and the lack of seriousness in investigating this terrorism on Indian soil is just an indicator of their intentions. I think India wasting time is a different problem...as they say, they are multiple problems in all situations, each of them must be dealt with in isolation, else it is just a recipe for confusing ourselves.

    PS: Indeed, appears like I am 99% late in noticing your comments section was up. :)

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  6. FV, "What grants Pakistan gives its criminals is not something we can control. After all, we have murderers as MPs, too. "

    Hafiz Saeed is a tad more than just a common criminal -- he is the leader of a terrorist organization, the same one that is responsible for 26/11, and the prime minister of Pakistan granted this organization monies from the exchequer. This is not something that can be overlooked.

    Murderers in Indian politics can be dealt with by appropriate laws such as the recent ones that disqualify convicted cirminals from holding positions in government, which is a start, even if the extent of criminality in Indian politics is still pervasive at all levels and needs further cleaning up.

    However, this is again a different problem from a hostile enemy government in Pakistan openly supporting a known terrorist organization that was responsible for 26/11. The pakistani establishment has hidden behind plausible deniability in their support and active fomentation of terrorism in India against Indians, and they need to face the consequences for all they have done, sooner or later.

    cheers

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  7. " I guess its just a way of saying we can't do anything about it, so lets just say something and get it over with."

    Sai, FV,

    That's pretty reprehensible, how the govt. openly admits to falling on the job, and how there is no public pressure against such behaviour. I am not asking for war mongering, but for some sort of back pressure to ensure that enemy states do not carry out such wanton attacks on Indian interests and start believing that they need to face no consequences...of course, the matter here may be the lack of werewithal to actually enforce any sort of consequences thanks to internal politicking, as is usually the case. depressing.

    -Al

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  8. Al,
    First Hafiz Saeed.
    AFAIK, there is no evidence against him that could stand internstional law. It is not just us who were after Mr. Saeed. Even Americans were after him - and yet they were unable to get a credible iota of evidence. So let us get him out of our way.
    Now to 26/11. Your statement about Indian un-preparedness. Which un-preparedness are you hinting at ? The operational one which left us surprised or the follow-up one ?
    Mr. Chidambaram has been on record and repetedly been demanding in past voice samples of few from Pakistani side (and perhaps part of establishment) which we thought were responsible. Is that un-preparedness ? Really ?
    As for our other part of follow-up - we are likely missing the real sub-text of whole equation.
    Our own follow-up has been mostly "transactional" in nature. Hinting at "our" eagerness to bury the whole whole episode in favour of "something else".
    That this "something else" is a much broader spectrum which could be clouding the follow-up on 26/11 and therefore is more of interest.

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  9. "Our own follow-up has been mostly "transactional" in nature. Hinting at "our" eagerness to bury the whole whole episode in favour of "something else"."

    bystander, I am not willing to go into conspiracies or flights of fancy without sufficient data/evidence, and you may be in possession of such evidence..I am not.

    The fact is the army has resumed its old "bleed India by a thousand cuts" once more as evinced by the shelling on the international border and the LoC and the pakistani establishment is back to its dissembling and duplicitous behaviour. Those who are starting to sound reasonable are no longer in good terms with establishment. So nothing has changed other than Pakistan's internal problems getting more severe than before, not that it has changed the tone or stance of the Pakistani establishment. Time will reveal the contours of how pakistan's slide into anarchy will fall out.

    -Al

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  10. "Mr. Chidambaram has been on record and repetedly been demanding in past voice samples of few from Pakistani side (and perhaps part of establishment) which we thought were responsible. Is that un-preparedness ? Really ?"

    Bystander, not one to point out the obvious, but one is prepared *before* an event or emergency, not afterwards. Mr. PC demanding voice samples of various people (who we know are already culpable, else the request would not be so specific) does not amount to being prepared -- having emergency response protocols in place and operation, in order to deal with similar attacks in the future is what constitutes preparedness, not post facto demands or actions such as making demands of pakistan.

    -Al

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  11. Bystander,

    this is the kind of two-faced duplicity one can expect from the "liberals" in Pakistan on their pet terrorists they unleash on India. On the one hand, they will claim they will do nothing to rein in the likes of Hafiz Saeed and his terrorist goons, and simultaneously pretend to seek friendly relations with India. This is not a new tactic -- these pakistani liberals have been pushing this line since the early 90s when they fomented terror in J&K anew.

    http://m.indianexpress.com/news/pakistan-s-new-normal/1189676/

    -Al

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  12. Al,
    Thanks for responding.
    Respect.
    Let me start with your last posting addressed to me.
    Liberals in Pakistan.
    My own personal sense about liberals in Pakistan tells me about a huge conflict they have been facing. The public discourse in Pakistan **has dictated** India as arch enemy. I would guess it is no different on our side of border. Notice here I have relied on public discourse and not validated facts. Or, historically validated facts - to be precise. Somebody who hasn't exactly bought that part of public discourse and is voicing different opinions is assuredly going to be "publicly nit-picked" about their positions. I would guess it is much more difficult in Pakistan given the absence of a vocal political spectrum.
    Roughly translated, it is much more easy for me - as Indian national - to campaign for cross-border peace than my Pakistani counterpart.
    So, in that sense I will rather dismiss your comment on duplicity of Pakistani liberals as something relying on pure formal comparison.
    The sub-text here being it is far more difficult for somebody in Pakistan to voice dissent as against those in India. Indian polity has far richer democratic political history and tradition in comparison. A history that is far conducive in encouraging political dissent.

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  13. Al,
    About "the preparedness" comment.
    Please try to lookup your own comment. It said "law enforcement" agencies.
    Let us be more accurate with our terminologies. The kind of response a situation like 26/11 required transcended much beyond your "law enforcement" phrase.
    I got confused when you used "law enforcement".
    26/11 was a disaster. Demanding response and preparedness much beyond your "law enforcement".
    I am not hinting at war. My point is about preparedness in the face of a terrorist attack. IMHO, we were un-prepared.
    Interestingly enough, if you are looking for parallels, please try looking up National Geographic's episode on Munich. The parallels are astoundingly appalling.

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  14. "Roughly translated, it is much more easy for me - as Indian national - to campaign for cross-border peace than my Pakistani counterpart. "

    Byustander, You are not the only ill-informed Indian with such delusions of "campaigning for peace with Pakistan", when the ones that hold the levers of power in Pakistan, the pakistani army, has no intention of making peace with India. I suggest you read up on the Pakistani Army's history of usurping control of Pakistan and its tactic of training terrorist groups for operating in India, while simultaneously making noises about wanting peace and amity with India. "Campaigning for Peace" with a hostile entity is futile, not that it stops any number of delusional Indians from doing so.

    "So, in that sense I will rather dismiss your comment on duplicity of Pakistani liberals as something relying on pure formal comparison."

    You can dismiss all you want -- the words of the so-called Pakistani liberals have been watched and recorded and analyzed for over a decade by Indian civilians, so the data speaks for itself.

    "The sub-text here being it is far more difficult for somebody in Pakistan to voice dissent as against those in India"

    Why is that relevant? The voices of dissent cannot really make a difference in policymaking in Pakistan, seeing as to how the Army holds primacy in pakistani policymaking with respect to India. When a pakistani citizen cannot make a difference in this situation, on what basis are you claiming that Indians "making peace" will fix this problem? Are you sure you have thought this through?

    What you say about dissent by Indians would make a difference if there was constituency in Pakistan that (a) listened to these Indians (b) had influence on Pakistan's India policy. By all evidence, there is only one entity in Pakistan that has total control over Pakistan's India policy, and that is the Pakistani army -- so all of your claims make no sense.

    -Al

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  15. "Interestingly enough, if you are looking for parallels, please try looking up National Geographic's episode on Munich. The parallels are astoundingly appalling."

    Bystander, as a realist, I don't expect perfection and think it is perfectly reasonable to be unprepared, as long as there exist processes to do a post-mortem on what went wrong and ensuring it never happens again. What I see in India is usually a formation of a commission that makes recommendations on what needs to be fixed, followed by speeches on TV and newspaper headlines indicating forthcoming action...and then silence for a few months/years, until the next disaster or if we are lucky, because someone speaks up and points out the lack of follow through.

    Even something as crucial Indian govt. officials conducting top secret govt. business on gmail, which is under the scrutiny of foreign intelligence agencies is not treated with any level of urgency, as recent headlines have shown. So the lack of urgency and seriousness in dealing with security problems is not entirely surprising.

    -Al

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  16. FV,

    Sorry I have nothing new to say on the issue. Hope I was not missed. :)

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  17. Al:

    As this discussion has been quite comprehensive, I will repond only to two comments.

    About the Karkare matter being probed internally. It has not been done. There were several different official versions. It is easy to dismiss these as conspiracy theories, but they we valid questions. Initially, his widow had raised points too, but she got co-opted.

    About all planners still being in Pakistan, not quite. Headley is in the US. Important to note he is being protected. Agreed that Hafiz Saeed is not a common criminal, but will we measure crimes according to the terrorism label only? I would like to know how we deal with political leaders masterminding killings or ignoring the process of law. Who is going to catch these culprits?

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  18. Bystander (to Al):

    {Roughly translated, it is much more easy for me - as Indian national - to campaign for cross-border peace than my Pakistani counterpart...
    The sub-text here being it is far more difficult for somebody in Pakistan to voice dissent as against those in India. Indian polity has far richer democratic political history and tradition in comparison. A history that is far conducive in encouraging political dissent.}

    Pakistani peaceniks are more active and vocal. Bring out the names of Pakistani activists who encourage Wagah picnics as opposed to Indians. Therein lies the answer.

    As for dissent, how many Indians are in jail for having certain literature, for music, for art? Really, where is the political dissent?

    ---

    F&F:

    I see you are lost when a certain CM is not around!

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