The suicide bomb attack on the Pakistan Army in Pakistani Kashmir on Friday was not only unprecedented; it also raised questions about the state of militancy in Pakistan.
Pakistan: Now or Never?
Conspiracy theories have filled a void in Pakistan that opened up as soon as the dozen gunmen who attacked the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team made a leisurely getaway without any apparent casualties after a 25 minute gun battle.
An Indian military presence in Afghanistan to put further pressure on Pakistan? That would be the red rag for Pakistan, and the end of its long struggle to seek strategic depth in Afghanistan against its much larger eastern neighbour.
The bodies of nine Islamic militants killed while attacking Mumbai in November still lie in a public morgue there. Indian Islamic leaders have refused to bury them in a local Muslim cemetery, saying terrorists "have no religion" and do not deserve a religious funeral. Although India suspects the militants came from neighbouring Pakistan, Islamabad refuses to take the bodies back as this could presumably undermine its claim to have no link to the gunmen. Indian officials say they still need the bodies for their investigations into the Nov. 26-29 massacre, in which 179 people were killed, but those inquiries will end some day. What should the Indians do with the bodies then?
According to Pakistani newspaper the Daily Times, Pakistan’s decision to crack down on the Jammat-ud-Dawa, the charity linked to the Laskhar-e-Taiba, came as the result of pressure from China. Jammat-ud-Dawa was blacklisted by a UN Security Council committee this week.
India’s governing Congress party’s unexpectedly good showing in a clutch of state elections should give Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a little more breathing space as he considers a response to Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks which New Delhi says were orchestrated from there.
Pakistan has begun a crackdown on Lashkar-e-Taiba following intense pressure from India and the United States to take action against the militant group blamed by New Delhi for the Mumbai attacks. According to intelligence officials and local residents, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, was arrested following a raid on a camp near Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-held Kashmir.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Pakistan to cooperate “fully and transparently” in investigations into the Mumbai attacks, while U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has pointed a finger at Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant group.