Kasab execution is reminder of Pakistani foot-dragging

By Lisa Curtis
November 22, 2012

(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

Nearly four years after the horrific Mumbai attacks that left over 160 dead, including six Americans, India put to death the lone surviving gunman, Pakistani citizen Ajmal Kasab.

The Indian government conducted the execution quietly at a facility in Pune. A senior commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group which directed the attacks from Pakistan, called Kasab a hero who would inspire more attacks.

The 10 perpetrators of the attacks had travelled from Pakistan by sea, and were armed with AK-56 automatic assault rifles, hand grenades, GPS devices, and cell phones. For nearly three days the attackers terrorised Mumbai, gunning down innocent civilians at a train station, hospital, two five-star hotels, a Jewish centre, and a restaurant frequented by Westerners.

The attackers were in constant contact with their controllers in Pakistan via cell phone. The controllers in Pakistan provided the gunmen detailed instructions on where to go and whom to murder. In June, India arrested one of the individuals who had issued instructions from the control room, Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari, after he was deported to New Delhi by the Saudi government. Ansari claims that Pakistani intelligence officials were present in the control room.

Islamabad, in order to demonstrate it is committed to fighting terrorism and to shore up Indo-Pakistani peace talks, must take steps to bring to justice the remainder of those involved in the Mumbai attacks.

LeT founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed was released from detention in June 2009, when the Lahore High Court determined there was insufficient evidence to continue his detainment, and has taken an increasingly public role in Pakistan. He frequently speaks at political rallies, where he calls for jihad against India.

The fact that the founder of a banned terrorist organisation is allowed to portray himself as a legitimate political leader demonstrates the growing disconnect between Pakistan and the rest of the world on the terrorism issue.

In a welcome step that demonstrates U.S. officials are taking the LeT threat more seriously, the State Department earlier this year issued a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Saeed.

For too long, U.S. officials viewed the LeT only through the Indo-Pakistani prism — rather than as part of an international terrorist syndicate. By choosing to view the activities of al Qaeda and other Pakistan-based terrorists groups through a separate lens, U.S. officials failed over the years to hold Pakistan accountable for dealing effectively with terrorists located on its territory.

Part of what makes the LeT so dangerous is its increasingly sophisticated methods of propagating its views, even in the U.S.

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s son, Talha Saeed, who is in charge of LeT media operations, reportedly pays journalists to write stories favourable to the LeT in Pakistan. Moreover, he has also been in touch with people living in the U.S. to propagate LeT’s message here. A Pakistani immigrant living in Northern Virginia, Jubair Ahmed, pleaded guilty this past April to materially supporting the LeT and working with Saeed to prepare LeT propaganda videos.

Pakistan can no longer treat the LeT with kid gloves or hide behind the excuse that it is incapable of reining in the group. The more the world sees Hafiz Muhammad Saeed cavorting around the country delivering speeches calling for jihad as well as the failure of the Pakistani courts to prosecute LeT terrorists, the more it will doubt Pakistan’s commitment to fighting terrorism.

(Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation)

4 comments

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kasab is dead, india cab continue with occupation of kashmir, pakistan is dragging feet- resistance against occupation is not dead. this sounds more logical.

rex minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Read Pakistani forums. So many Pakistanis still parrot conspiracy nonsense about Kasab not being Pakistani. It is utterly disgusting that Pakistan disowned one of its own and would not even take his body back.

India actually treated this young man with more respect and dignity than his own country would.

As for LeT. It’s the next nail in the coffin for Pakistan. The mistake that LeT made during the Mumbai attacks was killing American citizens. By law, those deaths had to be investigated by the FBI. And the killers have to face justice in American courts.

What’s the business about doubting Pakistan? There is no doubt. Ever go to any security or intelligence conference? There is not doubt as to whose side Pakistan is on. There are interests that require the West to play nice. Once Western troops are out of Afghanistan, the real fun will start for Pakistan. Aid gets scaled back drastically. Commissioners at the IMF and the World Bank become far more demanding about loan conditions and repayment. Favourable trade deals will be far less frequent (like the gift the EU gave Pakistan on textiles).

And all those Pakistan backed terrorists will only make it worse. They are dumb enough to keep attacking upper class establishments in India. All places that foreigners and non-resident Indians from abroad frequent. Every time they do that, they’ll kill foreign nationals, whose governments will only grow more and more suspicious of and hostile to Pakistan. It was one thing when the violence was restricted to Kashmir. Foreign government turned a blind eye to what they considered an internal matter in Kashmir. They are far less tolerant about their citizens being massacred in cafes and nightclubs and hotels.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

What a piece of lie to say that the man India sent to gallows was treated with more respect and dignity than…..,. This is not new for the infidels and non believers who have neither any morals nor ethics specificatios. When the French Industry Minister last week accused Lakshmi Mittal of lying to the French Govt. for years and declared that the Indian Investor, the employer of 20,000 workers leave France, little did he know that Indians are not able to differentiate between the truth ad a lie.

Rex Minor

PS Idians need to create a God they do not have one , as Voltaire said to be able to have morals.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

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