Mumbai terror attack has raised the bar for Pak to act: Times

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London, Dec. 8 (ANI): The militants who killed Hindus, Christians and Jews in Mumbai have evidently seen the attack as a part of a struggle connecting India with Kashmir, America, Afghanistan and Britain, reports The Times.

The paper is of the view that the Mumbai outrage has raised the bar, again on the requirements for proof of Pakistan's commitment to counter terrorism on or from its territory.

"For it to meet this challenge and concur with Western and Indian demands to act against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, it (Pakistan) will require a careful combination of pressure and inducement, as well as an intensification of regional efforts to resolve the Kashmir dispute," it says.

"If they (terrorists) are to be successfully countered, the moves against them will have to be as many-headed, as widespread, and much more sophisticated," it adds.

Pakistan, it says, has a hard job rooting out militancy and cannot let the Jamaat-ud-Dawa carry on fooling people about its aims.

The Times says that just three weeks before the Mumbai attacks, in Peshawar, a leading JuD official, Atiq ur Rahman, said: "We don't like democracy. Our struggle is to establish an Islamic caliphate throughout the world. Whichever force tries to resist it, shall be shattered."

This statement in itself suggests that the attack on Mumbai was pre-planned.

Though designated as a terrorist organisation by America in 2006, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa remains a legitimate organisation in Pakistan where it has hundreds of offices and numerous "relief camps" throughout the country.

Over and above similar militant organisations in Pakistan that have, more or less, been ostracised by Pakistani authorities in recent years, JuD is of specific importance now in highlighting the limits of Pakistan's commitment to combating regional and international terrorism, with special significance to the UK.

So far Pakistan has been dismissive of claims by Indian and Western security officials that the cell involved was trained, armed and funded by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the militant organisation inside Pakistan that is the parent of the JuD, and with which the terrorists allegedly communicated during the course of the operation.

The LeT was formed in Kunar province, Afghanistan, in 1989 by Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. After the withdrawal of the Russians from Afghanistan the LeT, funded by the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, turned its attention to fighting Indian forces in Kashmir.

The LeT's December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament drew both countries to the edge of war, after which the organisation was banned.

The JuD, formed by Saeed in 2002 as a charity organisation, emerged directly from the LeT being forced underground.

Based in Lahore, the JuD has been accused ever since of being little more than the public front for the LeT's Kashmiri militants, in much the same way as Sinn F‚in was for the IRA.

Thanks to its high-profile relief work, notably in the wake of the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir, and a continued desire to preserve strategic assets to counter India's regional jockeying, Pakistani authorities have to date been unwilling to close down JuD offices, despite growing evidence of its involvement in terrorism.

America's headache with Jamaat-ud-Dawa is straightforward enough. Washington accuses it of recruiting and funding for the LeT, who in turn are attempting to reverse the US strategy of improving relations between Pakistan and India so as to focus Pakistan's efforts on the militant sanctuaries along its border with Afghanistan.

Britain's worries are more acute and related directly to the disproportionate number of Kashmiris among the UK's 480,000-strong Pakistani population.

However, Pakistan's efforts to face up to the threat of its militancy should not be sneered at, says The Times. Since 2001 it has lost more than 1,000 soldiers fighting militants along its frontier with Afghanistan and its troops remain heavily engaged in action in Bajaur tribal agency.

Recently it has made serious efforts to clean up the ISI and purge it of renegade elements funding militant groups. (ANI)

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