Thursday, May 5, 2011

Will India be able to deliver justice?

“Justice has been done”. As soon as US President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed, jubilant Americans flocked to Ground Zero to mark the death of world’s No. 1 terrorist. The killer of thousands of people was shot in the head in the 40-minute operation by US forces on the land of Pakistan.

The ‘Kill Osama’ operation has popped up a very significant debate in India. Can India conduct a similar operation against its enemies, who are hiding in Pakistan? Do Indian politicians have the resolve to bring to justice 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, LeT terrorist Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri and 1993 Mumbai serial blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim?

The whole operation makes clear one thing. Diplomacy with Pakistan without pressure does not work. Pakistan talks the talk but does not walk the talk. India has claimed it oft times that the US’ key ally in the war against terror – Pakistan – actually harbors terrorism. The claims made in leaked US government documents obtained by WikiLeaks prove it. The leaks say Pakistan’s security services used to tip off Osama bin Laden whenever US troops approached. Not surprisingly, the terror lord was found in a mansion in Abbottabad, home to many retired military and intelligence figures and just a mile away from the gate of the Pakistan Military Academy.

Whether the operation was carried out with or without Pakistan, the killing of Osama has exposed the two-faced Islamabad. Pakistan had used 9/11 as an opportunity to be an ally of the US in its war against terror. But this time, Pakistan has been left in a dubious state. If Pakistan says the US conducted this operation with its knowledge, it puts the South Asian country on terror radar. If Pakistan says it had no beforehand knowledge of the US’ operation, it proves the country is dumb enough to be fooled. US helicopters breached Pakistan’s defences and later Barack Obama informed Asif Ali Zardari about the triumphant operation.
But the point is: will New Delhi go beyond handing out dossiers to Islamabad? Will India be able to deliver justice to those who were shockingly terrorized and still painfully recall the horrific and deadly blasts in which their kin were killed? What will India do besides reiterating calls for Pakistan to arrest those behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people? Indubitably, Indian agencies know the addresses of most of the wanted terrorists, who scoff at India in speeches and vicious acts. So, can India do the US in Pakistan?
China has come out in support of its all-weather ally, Pakistan. Beijing has also indicated it would not force Islamabad to hand over perpetrators of 26/11 to India. Already, China-Pakistan ties are a cause of concern for India. And it is also worrying that China will use this moment to increase its influence in Pakistan, where most of the population is angry about the fact that the US forces killed Osama on their country’s soil.
Why is it that at every opportunity, our ministers plead to the United States to tell Pakistan to bring 26/11 perpetrators to justice? Indian politicians seem to have no determination to act tough with Pakistan. Even after 26/11, what India could do was to call back its High Commissioner from Islamabad. Osama’s death brings with it a lesson for the Indian government. Move beyond just talks, Mr PM. If Pakistan were to be persuaded by talks, New Delhi would have gotten hold of most of its wanted man by now. But this certainly is not the case. India’s naïve approach to stop Pakistan from sponsoring terror has produced no results.
The US has killed its Osama, but India’s many Osamas are still hiding in the safe havens of Pakistan. Will India be able to deliver justice now? Hopes are slim, sadly.

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