Wait­ing for Jus­tice

Aj­mal Kasab: the ele­phant in the Indo-Pak talks.

Southasia - - Contents - By Sun­darara­jan Mu­rari

A re­cent car­toon in the In­dian news­pa­per, Dec­can Chron­i­cle, shows a jail staff telling the jailor, “Sir, his last wish is that he should be al­lowed to live un­til the Pak­istan trial of 26/11 ac­cused is over.” In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh how­ever, put it across more diplo­mat­i­cally to Pak­istani Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari, when the two met in Tehran on the side­lines of the NAM sum­mit. A speedy con­clu­sion of the trial of the mas­ter­minds of the at­tack on Mum­bai by Pak­istan will “re­duce the trust deficit.”

Pak­istan con­tin­ues to be in de­nial even af­ter the In­dian Supreme Court con­firmed the death sen­tence awarded to Mo­hamed Aj­mal Kasab, the lone gun­man cap­tured af­ter the mur­der­ous at­tack on Mum­bai, and held that he was part of a con­spir­acy “hatched across the bor­der” to wage a war against In­dia. Nat­u­rally, Pak­istan’s cred­i­bil­ity has hit a new low, as re­flected in the car­toon.

Pak­istan has re­jected Kasab’s of­fi­cial con­fes­sion state­ment. Kasab is ac­cused of ex­e­cut­ing the at­tack on Mum­bai on Nov 26, 2008 along with nine other heav­ily armed ter­ror­ists, leav­ing 166 dead, in­clud­ing Amer­i­cans and Is­raelis.

The Rawalpindi anti-ter­ror­ism court has re­fused to ac­cept the re­port of a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion that vis­ited Mum­bai last March and ex­am­ined the tes­ti­mony of four wit­nesses, in­clud­ing the spe­cial judge who recorded the con­fes­sion of Kasab. Among the wit­nesses were two doc­tors who did the au­topsy on the nine ter­ror­ists killed in the at­tack.

The Rawalpindi court has said the ev­i­dence gath­ered by the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion can­not be used against LeT com­man­der Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, LeT co-chair­man Ab­dul Rehman Makki and five oth­ers con­sid­ered as mas­ter­minds, as they have been ar­rested on the Pak­istan soil and are

cur­rently fac­ing trial. More­over, the com­mis­sion was not al­lowed to cros­sex­am­ine the pros­e­cu­tion wit­nesses.

How­ever, dur­ing the meet­ing in Tehran, Prime Min­is­ter Singh ac­ceded to Pres­i­dent Zar­dari’s re­quest that the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion be al­lowed to make an­other visit as di­rected by the Rawalpindi court. By agree­ing to a sec­ond visit, In­dia has shown its will­ing­ness to walk the ex­tra mile to meet Pak­istan’s le­gal re­quire­ments.

But Pak­istan has been in de­nial from the very out­set. It ini­tially tried to dis­own Kasab and his fel­low ter­ror­ists de­spite In­dia shar­ing dossiers on them, not only with Pak­istan but also with Amer­ica and other western coun­tries whose cit­i­zens were killed in the at­tack. Pak­istan re­luc­tantly ad­mit­ted only af­ter Kasab’s par­ents ac­knowl­edged his cit­i­zen­ship.

De­spite Kasab’s vi­o­lent shoot­ing spree in Mum­bai, he was given a lawyer to de­fend him at ev­ery stage, from trial court, to the high court to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court it­self has termed Kasab and his fel­low ter­ror­ists ac­tions, as a war on In­dia. “In short, this is a ter­ror­ist at­tack from across the bor­der. It has a mag­ni­tude of un­prece­dented enor­mity. The con­spir­acy was as deep and large as it was vi­cious. The prepa­ra­tion and train­ing were as thor­ough as the ex­e­cu­tion was ruth­less. A chan­nel of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the at­tack­ing ter­ror­ists and their han­dlers and col­lab­o­ra­tors from across the bor­der, based on ad­vanced com­puter tech­nol­ogy, was ar­ranged and put in place be­fore the at­tack.”

The court dis­missed the con­tention that Kasab was a mere tool in the hands of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Though he joined the ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion around De­cem­ber 2007, even af­ter his ar­rest, he re­garded him­self as a watan parast: a pa­tri­otic Pak­istani at war with In­dia.

The court has also re­jected the charge that Kasab’s con­fes­sion was not vol­un­tary. There was noth­ing un­usual about his know­ing the names of his han­dlers and their po­si­tions as he was not a mer­ce­nary but a highly com­mit­ted, de­voted mem­ber of the LeT. The han­dlers who went into the mi­nut­est de­tails did not fore­see him be­ing caught alive, the court has noted.

The de­por­ta­tion of 30-year-old Say­eed Zabi­ud­din An­sari, alias Abu Jun­dal, a key op­er­a­tor in the 26/11 at­tack case, from Saudi Ara­bia to In­dia in June last, will help In­dian in­ves­ti­ga­tors put the miss­ing pieces to­gether. “[Jun­dal] was the key per­son and had an im­por­tant role in the con­trol room. We think such a con­trol room could not have been es­tab­lished with­out some kind of state sup­port.”

When Jun­dal was ap­pre­hended, the first thing In­dia did was try to match up the voice sam­ples of the 26/11 han­dlers. To­day it has been as­cer­tained be­yond doubt that one of the voice that guided the 26/11 at­tack­ers was that of Jun­dal’s. With the co­op­er­a­tion of for­eign agen­cies, In­dia also man­aged to as­cer­tain that the calls were be­ing made from the Malir area in Karachi, which is close to the in­ter­na­tional air­port.

Jun­dal, in his con­fes­sion has also named three civil­ians, two ma­jors and a colonel who were a part of this at­tack, in­clud­ing Ma­jor Samir Ali, Ma­jor Iqbal and Colonel Shah. He has been able to con­firm that these were of­fi­cers (serv­ing) in the In­ter-Ser­vices In­tel­li­gence and the army, and were a part of the op­er­a­tion all the way. Jun­dal con­fessed that it was Ma­jor Iqbal who pro­vided Rs 20 lakh for the boat that was pur­chased for the 2008 at­tacks. These of­fi­cers were also present in the con­trol room and had asked for the con­trol room to be de­stroyed once the op­er­a­tion was over.

In the face of such mount­ing ev­i­dence, Pak­istan can no longer be in de­nial. Voices of rea­son are as­sert­ing it­self in Pak­istan. It is not for noth­ing that 26/11 is called In­dia’s 9/11. There can be no true clo­sure un­til the mas­ter­minds in Pak­istan are brought to jus­tice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.