David Coleman Headley, aka Dawood Gilani, deposing in a Mumbai court via video link from an undisclosed location in the United States – is indeed a big news no doubt – but will it make any qualitative difference to the ongoing probe into the 26/11 Mumbai attacks?
I don’t think so.
Seven years ago, in 2008, on November 26, ten Pakistani terrorists had carried out armed strikes at multiple locations in Mumbai killing 166 people of different nationalities (including the US).
It had been established from the day-1 that the terrorists had come from Pakistan via sea route. It had been established that they were being given orders and information from their handlers sitting in Pakistan. Nationalities of those killed mounted an international pressure on Pakistan to act and within months some arrests, including Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, were made. Later on, Hafiz Saeed, the main mastermind, as every Indian believes, was also taken in.
But that was it only. The things ended here. Nothing moved after that. We all now know what Pakistan did, in the name of 26/11 probe, in response to the mounting international pressure, was an eyewash only.
As the international pressure subsided, and as things became routine, in spite of repeated Indian dossiers, in spite of trial and execution of the lone captured terrorist Ajmal Kasab, Pakistan started turning deaf ears to India’s concerns.
Well, Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and all others were always free in Pakistan – like Masood Azhar is – founder of the terror group Jaish-e-Muhammad, a convicted terrorist in India – who was swapped in the Kandahar hijacking incident in 1999 involving an Indian Airlines flight – the mastermind of the terror attack on Pathankot airbase in Punjab last month – and a respected figure in Pakistan.
Yes, India and Pakistan are trying seriously to mend ties – at least at the political leadership level. But while India’s political leadership represents India, Pakistan’s political leadership is considered secondary to the primacy enjoyed by the Pakistani Army – an institution that feeds on anti-India sentiment in Pakistan and draw validity and sanctity from it.
And it is the Pakistani Army that takes decisions and makes calls whenever anything related to India is to happen including supporting terror groups operating in India.
And that is the reason, David Coleman Headley’s testimony is not going to make any difference – like the Indian dossiers about the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks failed to make Pakistan move – like the recent set of evidences about Masood Azhar and JeM role in the Pathankot airbase elicited a similar, familiar response from Pakistan.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/