India’s relations with Pakistan have again entered choppy waters with the revelations by arrested Lashkar-e-Toiba handler Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal about the involvement of Pakistani state and non-state actors in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and the shockingly unreasonable response of Pakistan’s interior ministry adviser, Rehman Malik, to a statement on the arrest by Union home minister P Chidambaram. Malik’s assertion that Abu Jundal is Indian hardly takes anything away from the latter’s confession that he was in the ‘control room’ in Pakistan giving directions to the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in 2008 and that he had worked in close tandem with terror mastermind Zaki-Ur Rehman Lakhvi. There are enough indications from Abu Jundal that officers of the ISI were not only in the know but also were virtually overseeing the operation. Malik’s loud talk that Pakistan was prepared to cooperate with India in any investigation and to share information to counter terrorism rings hollow in the light of the fact that there has been virtually no progress in the trial of the seven suspects arrested by Pakistan for the 26/11 attacks for over a year. India has passed on vital information on the suspects to Pakistan from time to time but the whole trial seems a colossal farce.
An important aspect of Abu Jundal’s arrest in Saudi Arabia is that Riyadh seemingly cooperated with India and the United States in tracking down the terrorist and in handing him over to the Indian police. Jundal is believed to have confessed to the Delhi police that he had more plans up his sleeve to accomplish the aims of the LeT. He was recruiting and training new volunteers in Saudi Arabia for some new feats when the concerted efforts of the US, Saudi Arabia and India snuffed them out.
Clearly, Pakistan seems in no mood to deliver to India the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks going by the confrontationist attitude of that country’s establishment. It is vital that India insists on this as a condition for continuing the dialogue that is currently on. It is indeed time India holds out a clear message to Pakistan and the world at large that enough is enough.