A court in Pakistan has granted bail to Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, key accused of the ghastly Mumbai terror attacks facing trial in Pakistan. Lakhvi has been charged with planning, financing and executing the attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people in November 2008.
The news has come as shocker for India which the other day strongly condemned the massacre of children at an Army school in Peshawar. People on this side of the border joined Pakistanis in mourning the dead with schoolchildren across the country observing a two-minute silence in solidarity with their neighbour. The Indian Parliament echoed the sentiment by condemning the attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his counterpart extending his condolences and support to fight terrorism.
The Peshawar attack seemed like a wake up call for Pakistan. As the parents buried their children, there was a palpable feeling in Pakistan against home grown terror groups. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said there can’t be any distinction between good and bad Taliban. “A terrorist is a terrorist, no matter from where he belongs to,” he argued. But the anti-terrorism court’s decision to grant bail to Lakhvi is in stark contrast to Sharif’s pledge.
Lakhvi’s trail in Pakistan is a sham. The case has been adjourned many times in the past. A judge hearing the case recused himself fearing threat to his life. The judge’s fear was not misplaced. Another terrorist wanted for Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed, is roaming free spewing venom against India, often justifying the 26/11 attacks. In his public speeches, Saeed instigates his followers to wage war against India. In this approach of ‘not-my-terrorist’, the outcome of the trail is no one’s case.
For long Pakistan nurtured many militant groups as part of its covert policy vis-a-vis India. And now that the devil has turned back to haunt Pakistan with all impunity, it is clear that terror as a state policy never pays. Writing in The Indian Express, former diplomat and author Husain Haqqani argues that the origins of Pakistan’s ill-fated romance with jihadism lie in the notion that the country faces an existential threat from India. “Arguments about the 1947 Partition and the two-nation theory, hardly relevant in the current context, continue to fuel the ideology of Pakistan. The division of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh, with support from India, in 1971, also still looms large in the Pakistani elite’s imagination,” he writes.
The premise of Pakistan’s anti-terror policy is primary based on the notion that India is the bigger enemy. Peshawar can or may be a pause. A point to introspect. It’s a chance to change the narrative. A narrative that doesn’t discriminate between terrorists. And Mumbai attack trail is a test case. Unfortunately, with Lakhvi case, it seems Pakistan as a country is faltering again.
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