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Harmony in the face of atrocities

By Syed Atiq ul Hassan - posted Tuesday, 18 July 2006

This is not the first time that the largest business city of India has been rocked by a terrorist attack. A series of co-ordinated blasts on commuter trains on July 11 killed about 190 people and more than 600 were injured.

In the past, whenever any engineered carnage took place, Indian and Pakistani governments and their leaders usually blamed each other. This time the Indian Government and leaders avoided pointing at Pakistan. Instead, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowed to continue the peace process with Pakistan. Similarly, Pakistani leadership, without wasting time, slammed the Mumbai bombing and referred the incident as a “despicable act of terrorism”.

However, the Indian Interior Ministry claimed that the Mumbai bomb blasts were planned by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and carried out by the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). It said that the LeT planned the attacks while the members of SIMI planted the seven bombs. The Indian Interior minister also called on Pakistan to take action against militants operating across the border to which Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri reacted angrily and rejected any Pakistani link to the blasts.


In the past India claimed that the LeT, along with other like-minded groups, had the support and assistance of Pakistan secret agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). From the worst terrorist attacks of 1993 in Mumbai where 257 people were killed to the attacks in December 2002, January 2003 and March 2003 in Mumbai, India had  claimed the secretive involvement of ISI behind the terrorist activities in India.

In relation to the recent Mumbai bombing, in a statement provided to Indian media organisations, LeT spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi denied any involvement of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba. Similarly, Shahid Badr Falahi, the leader of SIMI, has also condemned the attacks and referred them as deplorable. In a news conference Shahid Badr said the SIMI had no involvement in these terrible bombings.

In recent times Pakistan and India have become closer. The governments of both countries and their leaders extended the hands of friendship and promoted diplomacy. The increasingly congenial relations of India and Pakistani are being acknowledged not only by the majority in the subcontinent but also by the international community.

In this situation one cannot think of any reason why these kinds of terrorist activities would provide any benefit to either side. In relation to the Kashmir dispute, both governments are moving forward with a constructive approach and have engaged Kashmiri activists and groups into the process of normalisation. The Indian prime minister has initiated direct talks with the Kashmiri leaders as well. Hence, in this atmosphere one cannot visualise any benefit to Kashmiri activists, and (other) groups, from the recent bomb blasts. Furthermore, almost all the major Kashmiri groups have already condemned the incident.

Analysing the trail of recent internal developments and conflicts in Pakistan, it seems the military conflict between the Pakistan army and Baloch tribesmen and separatist groups in the province of Balochistan has been a serious concern for Musharraf’s government.

According to some reports, a significant number of army personnel have been killed by Baloch separatist and tribal groups. At some stage the government of Pakistan, without naming anyone, did mention that there were foreign elements behind the Balochistan atrocities, supposedly pointing to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India.


In January 2005, a local Pakistan newspaper claimed in a report that the Intelligence Services of Pakistan (ISI) submitted a report to Pakistani high officials in which ISI claimed the Indian secret agency RAW was behind the current anarchy in Balochistan. RAW has set up a “Special Operations Division (SOD)” in Balochistan that was assigned the task of creating trouble for the Chinese engineers who were kidnapped and murdered. The report also said the SOD was providing weapons to Balochistan Liberation Army smuggled from Afghanistan into Balochistan.

The day after the Mumbai bomb blasts, the general secretary of the so-called “Government of Balochistan (GOB) in Exile”, Mir Azaad Khan Baloch, sent his condolences to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the incident. In the statement the GOB condemned the Pakistani ISI for the terrorist attacks in Mumbai and offered to co-operate with the Indian authorities in hunting the culprits.

The trail of ethnic violence in India at different times indicates there has been a long fomented suspicion between Hindus and Muslims that has often triggered bloody clashes and violent rioting. The worst documented clashes between Hindus and Muslims have occurred since the partition and creation of Pakistan and India in 1947.

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About the Author

Syed Atiq ul Hassan, is senior journalist, writer, media analyst and foreign correspondent for foreign media agencies in Australia. His email is

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