Posts Tagged ‘Ajmal Kasab’

Propaganda: the (blatant) Indian way

February 26, 2013


Indian media can be called many things – free, vibrant, opinionated – but if there is one thing it cannot be called is subtle. The Indian media has had a long history of bias, Pakistan-bashing and a general lack of uniformity on national issues.

When the gang rape story broke in December, there was an intense media debate in India about the consequences of the tragedy on the country. The Indian Express advocated reform and called for a safe environment in the country on its Op-Ed pages. The Hindu, on the other hand, took off on a different tangent and discussed the need for death penalty and castration for rapists. The Times of India chose to remain on the fences, calling for “long term solutions.” The Asian Age focused on the political fall-out of the gang rape. Navbharat Times, on the other hand, filled its Op-Ed pages with a debate on the oppressed classes of the Indian society and raised an entirely existential question. Nai Dunya, went off in a completely different direction, and called for an end to protests since laws could not be “made over night.”

However, this is tame compared to some of the attacks the Indian media has made on its national athletes. And that onslaught is nothing compared to the continuous Pakistan-bashing that occurs every time wind blows from the west. Over the years, the Pakistani establishment has consistently demanded that the Indian media tone down its anti-Pakistan stance for better Indo-Pak relations. Several times over the years, former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf has blasted the Indian media for fabricating stories about Pakistan’s military. Furthermore, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said in an interview, “Pakistan-bashing has become fashionable in India whenever there is an issue.” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar also said several times that she was saddened by the constant barrage of negative comments emanating from the other side of the border.

“Pakistan and India are both important countries of South Asia. It is imperative that they demonstrate requisite responsibility for ensuring peace by addressing all concerns through dialogue. Rhetoric and ratcheting up of tensions is certainly counterproductive. We are saddened and disappointed at the continued negative statements emanating from India both from the media as well as certain Indian leaders. For its part, Pakistan has observed a measured and deliberate self-restraint in our public statements on India. This has been done keeping in view the interest of peace in the region,” said Khar.

The LoC, Pakistan-India cricketing rivalries, political and security debates aside, the latest stunt pulled by the Indian media was worthy of a good laugh.

In the wake of the Hyderabad blasts in India that left 16 dead and 117 injured, the Indian security forces issued a statement that slain Pakistani MQM leader Manzar Imam was the mastermind behind the attack. Within a few hours of this statement, the Indian media men dug out a photograph of Manzar Imam and declared him the chief terrorist behind the incident. Except the fact that Imam had been killed in a targeted attack a few weeks ago. It took them another few hours to realize their mistake and retract their statements.

This incident, again, just goes to prove how the Indian media looks for any outside sources to blame without looking inwards for their own security woes.

The Indian Home Minister Shinde announced in a statement that they had been expecting some form of retaliation after two high-profile hangings – Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab. If it was expected, perhaps the Indian journalists should focus their energies at investigating how there was such a massive security failure in one of their busiest, most populous cities instead of pointing fingers on dead men across the border.

In every journalism course there is a section on media ethics and responsibility. It seems that either the Indian journalists missed those important classes or need to revisit them once more.


Mumbai police silent on Headley’s role in 26/11 attacks

January 24, 2011

If Mumbai Police is to be believed, American-born terrorist David Headley, who has confessed to conducting a recce of all 26/11 targets in the city, may have played no role in the carnage. The assessment by the Mumbai Police is reflected in its appeal before the Bombay High Court in which its elite Crime Branch is silent on the role of the Pakistan-origin LeT terrorist while contesting the acquittal of Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin in the November 26, 2008 attack that left 166 people dead.

While the Ministry of Home Affairs burnt midnight oil over getting access to Headley after his role in the brazen attack emerged, the focus of Mumbai Police through its Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal D Nikam was that the terrorists intruded into the country’s financial capital with the help of hand-written maps drawn by Ansari.

Headley is at present in a jail in Chicago in the US.

Headley, who was recruited by Pakistan-based Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group, has confessed to the US authorities and India’s National Investigating Agency (NIA) in front of a magistrate about his role in carrying out the survey of the locations attacked by the terrorists on 26/11.

“When they (police) are seized of the issue of 26/11, it was incumbent upon them to bring forward all criminals concerning the crime and their respective roles played therein before the court of trial and appeal so that truth prevails and no scope for misunderstanding occur,” defence counsel for Ansari, R B Mokashi, said in Mumbai.

Headley’s arrest and subsequent revelations had left Mumbai Police red-faced and punctured their theory of criminal conspiracy involving only Ansari and Sabauddin.

The two had, however, been discharged by the Special Judge M L Tahaliyani saying that better maps were available on Internet.

“As per the judicial confession of Ajmal Kasab, Lashker had explained the targets with the help of video shootings and map. It is clear from the plea bargain of David Headley that he was entrusted the work of taking video of targets,” Nikam said and maintained that the maps were prepared by Ansari and Sabauddin.

“One such map was found in the pocket of deceased terrorist Abu Ismail and the hand writing on it is proved to be of Ansari,” Nikam claimed.

A response was also sought from Joint Commissioner of Mumbai’s Crime Branch Himanshu Roy to comment on role played by Headley in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. However, there was no immediate response from him.

Origin of Regional Militancy

April 12, 2010

By Sajjad Shaukat

Despite American failure to cope with the Al-Qaeda-related Taliban particularly in Afghanistan, US new strategy of war on terror in South Asia had excluded the solution of Indian-held Kashmir which is, in fact, origin of regional militancy.

While during and after the American presidential elections, US president Barack Obama, recognising co-relationship between war on terror in Afghanistan and dispute of Kashmir had repeatedly said that he would pay attention to the solution of this core issue so that Islamabad could fully concentrate on the rising militancy.

However, Obama’s u-turn has indicated open deviation from his pragmatic approach in the region. In fact, India which has already been manipulating American war against terrorism in securing its covert designs against Pakistan and other regional states by strengthening its strategic grip in Afghanistan succeeded in diverting the attention of Washington from Kashmir.

It is notable that since partition, suppression of Kashmiri’s struggle for independence and ignorance of their legitimate right of self-determination are the root cause of terrorism in South Asia. In 1989, after facing a long period of Indian state terrorism, people of the Valley launched an armed movement to fight back the barbaric methods of New Delhi’s security forces. And people of the Occupied Kashmir crossed the stage of fear and entered that of the fearlessness. At that time, United States which helped train Afghan and Arab fighters, left them after defeating the former Soviet Union. Afghanistan was thrown into an era of poverty and uncertainty. Out of that, came the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. Although Bin Laden announced his own pattern of conflict against the US, yet armed struggle of Kashmiris proved a motivating force for him.

Even at present, a perennial movement of Kashmiris is giving a greater incentive to the insurgency both in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal regions. In this context, reply provided by Islamabad to India last year, after admission in relation to Ajmal Kasab and arrest of some suspects show that there are links among the non-state actors in respect of the November 26 Mumbai carnage and Kashmiri freedom fighters. These connections were verified on February 8, 2009 when Indian Gujrat Chief Minister Narendra Singh Modi, while indicating Indian home-grown militants, had disclosed that the Mumbai terror attacks could not have been carried out without internal help.

Europe of the 19th century gives ample evidence that non-state actors had links with each other. Metternich, the emperor of the Austria-Hungary, who concluded an alliance of the like-minded rulers, did all what he could to crush the European nationalist movements. A renowned historian, W. Laquer remarks that terrorism at that time appeared as the activities of the secret societies which grew up throughout Europe. Italians and Germans took up arms to free their lands from the occupying forces. Despite the brutal tactics of Metternich, his empire could not survive. Like Metternich, now, the US-led some western powers and India have been trying to curb the South Asian militancy through their futile efforts.

Indian author, V. D. Mahajin writes that the ideas of the French Revolution of 1789 dominated the European politics throughout the 19th century, inspiring the whole of Europe.

Similarly, a prolonged struggle of Kashmiris has given a great impetus to the subjugated people of Afghanistan where Taliban have been fighting against the colonial forces. Like the past Europe, there is close cooperation among the non-sovereign entities of Afghanistan, Kashmir and FATA.

After fighting for more than eight years in Afghanistan, American and European taxpayers should understand that terrorism has emerged as global phenomena, having linkages with the unsettled issues among the concerned sovereign states. The non-state actors of the occupied Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian alien rule. Suppression of their right of liberation has radicalised the whole of region.

British Secretary of State David Miliband has rightly assessed that peace and stability in South Asia are directly linked to the solution of Kashmir. While, India which wants to fight Kashmir war in Afghanistan has tried to keep Pakistan silent on the issue to get a favourable bargaining leverage on all the related disputes. In this regard, before leaving Afghanistan in accordance with the announced schedule, Americans must keep the Indians out of Afghanistan.

Pragmatic approach demands that Kashmir dispute must be included in the new strategy of Washington, if it really desires to get rid of terrorism and needs stability in South Asia as well as the world.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations. Email: