India and Pakistan, the two nuclear capable neighbours in South Asia should admit their mistakes and follies and learn to co-exist while trying to find solutions to their thorny issues through peaceful means, says leading Pakistani daily in its opinion page.
The opinion piece written by former DG FIA in Dawn, has compared Mumbai terror attacks (26-11) to the massacre of over 150 people mostly children at the hands of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan on December 16, 2014.
It also says Pakistan is determined to root out all forms of terrorism from its soil. According to it, political and security leadership have resolved to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, militancy and extremism through the counterterrorism National Action Plan.
The duality and distinction between good and bad Taliban, including all militants and terrorists, should stand removed from Miramshah to Muridke, from Karachi to Quetta.
It has also termed meeting of national security advisers of India and Pakistan to "discuss all issues related to terrorism" as welcome move.
"Pakistan's concerns in respect of the botched investigation into the Samjhauta Express bombing and alleged covert support to the Baloch insurgency as well as reported ‘terror financing' both in Karachi and Fata by Indian and other foreign agencies.
These should not only be highlighted but concrete evidence presented to put a stop to such means of non-kinetic warfare resorted to by sleuths from both sides to further their so-called national interests."
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"There are very knowledgeable and competent professionals with investigation and intelligence background in Pakistan who can meet the Indian security officials and talk as professionals. They too have many skeletons in their cupboards. So why fight shy?"
"Pakistan has to deal with the Mumbai mayhem, planned and launched from its soil.
"The case has lingered on for far too long. Dilatory tactics by the defendants, frequent change of trial judges, and assassination of the case prosecutor as well as retracting from original testimony by some key witnesses have been serious setbacks for the prosecutors. However, cognizance was taken by the Islamabad High Court which directed the trial to be concluded within two months."
The following facts are pertinent. First, Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani national, whose place of residence and initial schooling as well as his joining a banned militant organisation was established by the investigators. Second, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists were imparted training near Thatta, Sindh and launched by sea from there.
Third, the fishing trawler used by the terrorists for hijacking an Indian trawler in which they sailed to Mumbai, was brought back to harbour, then painted and concealed. It was recovered by the investigators and connected to the accused.
Fourth, the engine of the dinghy abandoned by the terrorists near Mumbai harbour contained a patent number through which the investigators traced its import from Japan to Lahore and then to a Karachi sports shop from where an LeT-linked militant purchased it along with the dinghy.
Fifth, the ops room in Karachi, from where the operation was directed, was also identified and secured by the investigators.
The communications through Voice over Internet Protocol were unearthed. Sixth, the alleged commander and his deputies were identified and arrested.
Seventh, a couple of foreign-based financiers and facilitators were arrested and brought to face trial.
"After an exchange of multiple investigation dossiers with the Indian police authorities, the trial court was requested to give approval to obtain voice samples of the alleged commander and his deputies for comparison with the recorded voices. The court ruled that the consent of the accused should be obtained. Obviously, the suspects refused."
The investigators then went in appeal before the High Court. That appeal, I believe, is still pending. The Fair Trial Act, 2013 caters for admissibility of such technical evidence. However, its application with retrospective effect is a moot point."
The Mumbai case is quite unique: one incident with two jurisdictions and two trials. While the Indians managed to nab Ajmal Kasab and were able to obtain his confession to close the trial, proving conspiracy in a different jurisdiction is more complex and requires a far superior quality of evidence. Therefore, the legal experts from both sides need to sit together rather than sulk and point fingers.
Indian interlocutors, engaged during the talks between the then prime ministers of India and Pakistan in Egypt in 2009, had conceded that the Pakistani investigators had done a professional job in the indictment of seven perpetrators of the attack.
However, the Pakistani authorities should not forget that the FIA declared various other facilitators and operatives as fugitives in the case. The trial will not be over with the disposal of those under arrest or on bail. Other missing links need to be uncovered after the absconders' arrest.
This case will not be over soon.