Mumbai attack: Don’t blame Pakistan, not yet

The Mumbai nightmare is over, but the horror lingers on, and it will for quite some time. Our collective memory is not that short; how short, we’ll soon know. But for the time being we would cry hoarse asking for some serious action, and the journalists on television would go crazy declaring in thumping voices and emphatic, jerk-nods ‘enough is enough’. But the question that would grimly hang in the air thick with the stench of a freshly served tragedy is what do you do when ‘enough is enough’?

Bring the culprits to justice? Most of them are already dead. So, there are no living villains in the league of Osama. Hit back at the organization that masterminded the attack? It doesn’t matter because it’s just another ‘mujahideen’ name. Tomorrow there would be another ‘x’ Mujahideen wreaking havoc no less tragic. Toughen up with Pakistan? Despite its being our favourite whipping boy and despite our having mastered the use of ‘foreign hand’ theory, blaming our disturbed neighbour this time would yield nothing.

Certain ‘elements’ in Pakistan may have some involvement in the attack, but to blame it on the country would just not be right because blaming a nation is blaming its people, and that must not be done lightly. Even if, for argument’s sake, the involvement of ISI is conceded, the involvement of Pakistan does not naturally follow because anybody who has any understanding of today’s ISI knows that it is not fully controlled by Pakistan.

With time and political backing ISI became a virtually autonomous organization and gradually turned into a headache for Pakistan, which is why Pakistan went ahead and disbanded the political wing of ISI. So, ISI is not essentially Pakistan. Before one trains one’s guns on Pakistan with respect to Mumbai attack, one must understand that it could well be the reason or one of the reasons for the attack.

Improvement in Indo-Pak relations does not help the interests of many groups within Pakistan. A faction of ISI itself may find such an attack quite useful and the blame on Pakistan even more so. All it has to do is carry out a thinly veiled operation of this kind and let the Services be blamed. What happens? Indo-Pak relations turn cold again and a certain faction of the ISI gains relevance. When a weapon assumes an identity of its own, it starts thinking of its own survival. And a weapon is relevant and important only so long as the war lasts. Therefore, the interest of the weapon lies in the prolongation of war.

So, blaming Pakistan in such circumstances may not only be premature and hasty but also counterproductive.

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2 thoughts on “Mumbai attack: Don’t blame Pakistan, not yet

  1. Well,its true that it would be too early to blame Pakistan.I have seen people who were so disturbed by the Mumbai attacks that the first thing they uttered was to blame Pakistan.don’t you think that in such circumstances,the emotions outweight the ability to logically analyse the things?Probably that’s their way to rationalise things for themselves…..

  2. Yes, I can understand the feeling. But then, it is during such times that one needs to keep one’s head and not go by the heart. Allowing emotions to take the front seat in such a situation is plain dangerous. Let’s not forget Afghanistan and Iraq, and the futility of it.

    And if we are talking of learning lessons, let’s not discard the lessons already learned. Let this lesson be added to other lessons and not replace those, or else we would end up having learned only the last lesson in the chronological order, which is how it actually works, sadly.

    The reality of Pakistan is slightly more complex than generally understood. Without taking that into account, we just can’t blame Pakistan. Everything in Pakistan is Pakistani, but is not Pakistan. And that’s a crucial distinction. Our wound doesn’t get healed by our inflicting a wound on someone else, especially when we are not sure of many things.

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