WILL HEADLEY’S TESTIMONY MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?

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.

To continue..

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY 26/11 TRIAL OF SEVEN ACCUSED IN PAKISTAN IS A SHAM

Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi masterminded the Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008 with Hafiz Saeed. Pakistani courts have already allowed Hafiz Saeed to roam free even if he carries US$ 10 million bounty on his head by the US. For Pakistan, he is asocial activist sort of person. Lakhvi is LeT’s operations commander. He is also out on the bail due to the deliberate acts (conscious acts of negligence) of Pakistan.

The court in a sham trial, sham so far as the reasons behind adjournments show, is trying seven accused in the case – Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Mazhar Iqbal, Abdul Wajid, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Younis Anjum and Jamil Ahmed.

The adjournment chronology so far (that makes the whole trial a sham) – of a trial that began in early 2009:

July 23, 2015: An anti-terrorism court of Pakistan adjourned again the 26/11 trial of the seven accused in the Mumbai attacks case of November 26, 2008 to the next day as the judge was on leave.

July 16, 2015: The judge was on summer vacation.

July 8, 2015: The trial was adjourned till the next date as the judge was on leave.

May 13, 2015: The court adjourned the trial as the required documents were not presented.

December 3, 2014: The judge in the case was on leave as ‘he was not well’.

October 15, 2014: The judge trying the case was transferred – seventh one to be transferred in the case.

October 1, 2014: The trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave.

July 23, 2014: The trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave.

July 2, 2014: The trial adjourned as the prosecution lawyers did not appear.

June 25, 2014: The trial was adjourned as the judge was on leave. A PTI headline said the judge was ‘not feeling well’.

June 18, 2014: Prosecution lawyers did not appear.

June 4, 2014: Prosecution lawyers did not appear.

May 28, 2014: Prosecution lawyers did not appear.

December 22, 2012: The trial was adjourned as defence and prosecution lawyers did not appear.

October 13, 2012: The judge was on leave – due to his health problems this time.

These are just few instances that show how negligent Pakistan has been about the Mumbai attacks trial. Most of the time, either the judge is on leave or the lawyers don’t appear in a case that drew global outrage. Barack Obama even warned Nawaz Sharif on the slow pace of 26/11 trial in Pakistan.

The trial that began more than six years ago has reached nowhere – because it is intended to so. Empty rhetoric and denials are Pakistan’s favourite pastime in the case.

Continuing the tradition, after a much talked about Narendra Modi-Nawaz Sharif joint statement on July 10 in Ufa, the Russian city where BRICS and SCO summits where held, Pakistan again made a U-turn saying the evidence provided in the case so far by India was of no use.

For long, India has been demanding voice samples of the accused and it reflected in the joint statement as well. But Pakistan didn’t react the next day when Lakhvi’s lawyer said his client won’t give his voice samples. Echoing Pakistani establishment sentiments, a prosecution lawyer in the case further said Lakhvi’s voice samples were not admissible in the court.

Pakistan was always looking to water down the case. The developments in the case so far and the latest developments only confirm this.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/