The Mumbai Attacks, 1 Year Later

Mumbai (Bombay), India- It has been a year since November 26, 2008, when 10 Pakistani militants of the group Lakshar-e-Taiba coordinated and carried out simultaneous and deadly bombings and shootings in the heart of several important Mumbai buildings and institutions. The lone surviving gunman from that rampage, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, admitted to his role in the attacks during his trial in Mumbai and he could be executed if found guilty. No other individuals have been charged in India with the killings of over 170 people and injuries to scores of others.

In his visit to the United States this week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed India’s concern over Pakistan’s efforts in bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. “No they haven’t done enough,” he told CNN television in an interview telecast as he landed in Washington for a four-day state visit Sunday. Manmohan Singh said when he met Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, in July this year, he (Gilani) had assured that his government would do all that’s possible to bring the perpetrators to justice. “That’s not happening.”  

Then three days after that statement by Singh, seven people were indicted in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court Wednesday in connection with the attacks of last year. All have denied the charges and are planning to plead not guilty. This is the first indictment in Pakistan in a case that is closely being followed in India and in the United States. The seven men charged in Pakistan allegedly belong to the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba which is believed to be behind the coordinated attacks carried out simultaneously at numerous locations in Mumbai that lasted up to three days when all except Ajmal Kasab were killed.

Earlier in the week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on world powers to put pressure on Pakistan to rein in militants amid the rise in Taliban linked violence inside Pakistan and also in neighboring Afghanistan. Britain “will work shoulder to shoulder with India and our international partners to confront this common threat”, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Thursday, while French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner pledged “unreserved support” for India in the fight against terrorism.

India’s minister for external affairs, Shashi Tharoor told a vigil at the Chabad House Jewish center, where six people died, including the rabbi who ran it and his pregnant wife, that the gunmen had killed “in cold blood”.”The terrorists demonstrated that their brand of fanaticism was anchored less in the absolutism of pure faith than in the geopolitics of pure hatred,” he told the congregation, including the slain couple’s parents.

The Mumbai attacks ended the peace dialogue between India and Pakistan that has been off and on over the last 60 years, remaining unresolved over the disputed Kashmir region. The militants groups in Pakistan that were left unchecked through the 80’s and the 90’s have now gotten out of control as the level of violence and attacks inside Pakistan has reached an unprecedented level. All cities of Pakistan have been touched by attacks and violence either blamed on religious zealots like the Taliban or militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was allegedly formed with the help of the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI to infiltrate and fight Indians in Kashmir.

Bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice is not only needed for the victims of these attacks in India, but finding and punishing these individuals and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law is also in Pakistan’s best interests. With a crime and violence rate currently in Pakistan that is off the charts, the average Pakistani citizen has no sense of security inside their own country. Near daily news of attacks inside some part of the country or another has also given many civilians a siege mentality.

Pakistan’s biggest neighbor is India. It is also considered by many inside the country to be its biggest enemy. The two share a border of approximately 1800 miles. They also share over 5,000 years of common history, language, culture, and customs. India is not the biggest threat facing Pakistan as India is too big and complex to focus on just Pakistan. India is fast approaching world power status as it now competes with the likes of China, Russia and the Unites States in various fields due to its robust economy, fast growing middle class, and ever increasing influence around the world.

Pakistan’s biggest enemies are the Taliban and the various militant and extremist groups that are now causing havoc within the country and also are attempting to incite a war between India and Pakistan with attacks such as the attacks of November 26 of last year. Bringing these seven individuals to justice in front of the country and the whole world will go along ways to show its neighbor and the United States that it is serious in confronting these groups and putting an end to terror both within and outside its borders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reported by Manzer Munir for www.PakistanisforPeace.com, a group and website started by Pakistanis dedicated to peace between India and Pakistan and outraged by the Mumbai attacks of Nov 26, 2008.

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