?Enough is enough!?
?Down with Pakistan!?
?Shame on Politicians!?
Thousands of demonstrators in Mumbai expressed their outrage at terrorist attacks on the vibrant city they love. They were angry at their government for its failure to prevent the attacks. Many called it India's9/11.
During the three-day siege of Mumbai, terrorists indiscriminately and brutally killed more than 170 citizens of 10 nationalities. They targeted the luxury hotels Taj and Oberoi, a Jewish cultural center, a hospital, the central train station, and a popular landmark caf?. For me, as for many others who have lived in or visited that city, it was a rude shock. I have stayed in the grand Taj, an icon of Mumbai, and to see it in ruins on TV was a heartbreak.
This was not the first terrorist attack in Mumbai. Every time it has been struck since the 1990s the city has bounced back, licked its wounds, and moved on. People in Mumbai are resilient. But this time was different because of the ferocity and duration of attacks, the obvious meticulous planning by the terrorists, and the masterful execution.
Tragically, Mumbai joins New York, London, Madrid and Bali as sites of the massive attacks. Within India, it is preceded by violent hits on New Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmadabad, Guwahati, and Jaipur. Mumbai is an open city where Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Parsis, people from many nationalities, speaking many languages, have always lived harmoniously. It is a fun-loving city, with Bollywood lifestyle. And India is proud of its democratic traditions and pluralism. Hence, it is hard to ensure foolproof protection.
All that notwithstanding, critics charge that these strikes could have been prevented if there had not been extreme lapses in the intelligence and security systems, especially as American intelligence had reportedly warned Indian authorities of a terrorist plot. But, according to Mumbai'spolice commissioner, Hassan Gafoor, ?There was no specific intelligence? of these attacks. Accepting ?moral responsibility,? officials responsible for India'ssecurity and intelligence have resigned.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have both visited New Delhi and Islamabad. Their message to the Pakistani authorities is clear: Pakistan must take urgent steps to prevent terrorist attacks across the border from its soil. Rice urged Pakistan to accept its ?special responsibility.? Mullen called on Pakistan to take ?more concerted? action against militant extremists there.
Mumbai has forcefully demonstrated that terrorism is a global scourge that must be met with concerted international action. A bipartisan U.S. Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction made a chilling prediction of terrorists using biological or nuclear weapons for their attacks within the next five years.
Both American and Indian authorities have named the militant group Lashkar-e-Toiba as having directed the attacks. The attackers came from Karachi in a hijacked fishing trawler, launching a lifeboat to land on Mumbai'swaterfront. The sole surviving attacker, Pakistani national Ajmal Amir Kasab, was trained by ex- army officers at camps run by Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Pakistan'sintelligence service has been known to nurture militant groups such as LeT, although the new civilian government, led by President Zardari, has said that the intelligence services have been reformed.
Pakistan'sformer prime minister, General Pervez Musharraf, banned LeT as Pakistan joined the U.S. led ?war on terror,? but the group has kept functioning. A successor organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a charity with a militant wing, has been allowing LeT members to continue running camps to train extremists.
Musharraf did not deliver on his promise to combat militants in Pakistan, and India asserts that he did not show good faith. Hence, India demands more effective measures ? and Pakistan must deliver this time.
(The author is a distinguished Professor and director of International Legal Studies Program, University of Denver, USA. He can be contacted at [email protected])