Dr Muhammad Khan
WHEREAS, India blamed Pakistan based non-state actors for the planning and execution of Mumbai Attack, November 26, 2008, commonly known as 26/11, the inside story is quite different. A German author Elias Davidsson has contradicted the Indian narrative in his 2017 book entitled, “The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence”. He questioned the very authenticity of Indian story and declared it fabricated and deceitful. Following the incident, there started a coordinated media campaign, not only in India but world over, as an already planned activity, known to them. Some Pakistani media houses also become part of this campaign and even tried to provide evidence to Indian and international media about one of the assailant, Ajmal Qasab, the only survivor of the attack.
Since I monitored the entire event on media, therefore, to me, it felt like a staged managed event, where there was not a single deviation from the written script. Like Indian Parliament Attack of December 13, 2001, this event was well coordinated, well directed and executed superbly. Similar observations have been made by the above-mentioned German author. A review of this book indicates, the official narrative of 26/11 incident is quite different from the ‘testimonies of dozens of important witnesses, whom Indian courts ignored because they shed a radically different light on the events.’ For an analyst of international relations as well as the writer, the basic question is, who is the ultimate beneficiary of this incident and who is the long-term loser of this at regional and global level.
This book and many independent scholars strongly realize that, true beneficiary of Mumbai attacks, which killed 162 people were, the powerful constituencies in India, Israel and United States. The book reveals, “The results of this evaluation are shattering for they expose a tacit consensus by leading news media, the political class, the police and the judicial system, to cover up the true facts on 26/11 and thereby shield the real criminals.” It is very surprising that, the assailants were using the US telephone number during and prior to attacks and their approach to hotel and Jewish centre was well coordinated. “It is highly plausible, that major institutional actors in India, the United States and possibly Israel, were complicit in conceiving, planning, directing and executing the attacks of 26/11; evidence of a deceptive investigation is even stronger”. It was also proved that, ‘all the crime scenes were violated, with bodies hauled off before they could be examined. Furthermore, at the Cama Hospital, the forensic study disproved the Indian version of using AK-47 rifles during these attacks.
In 2013, ‘Times of India’ disclosed a real story about this incident, which was later removed from internet. As per this report, a former Under Secretary of the Indian Home Ministry, R V S Mani, has revealed that, “the Indian government, and not Pakistan, was behind the parliament (13/12, 2001) and Mumbai (26/11 2008) attacks in India.” The officer of home ministry was categorical in his revelation that, this was orchestrated by India to formulate and strengthened the counter-terrorism laws in India and to defame Pakistan. As per the ‘Times of India’ Mr Mani has submitted a signed affidavit in the court. These documentary evidences were given to a member of CBI-SIT probe team, Satish Verma. The facts revealed that, these attacks were set up “with the objective of strengthening the counter-terror legislation.” But, apart from this, this Indian narrative provided India an opportunity to prepare a case against Pakistan, based on which it stopped negotiating with Pakistan on core issues like Kashmir.
It is worth mentioning that, these attacks killed Hemant Karkare, who was Chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad at that time. It is to be noted that, Mr Karkare being an investigating officer of another terror attack against a serving Indian Army officer, involved in terrorism against Muslims was hit at the beginning of the Mumbai attacks. The said Indian Army officer; Lieutenant Colonel Prashad Srikant Purohit was arrested on the charges of attack on Malegaon Mosque bomb blast also revealed that he was also involved in the attacks on Samjota Express-2007 and many other incidents of similar terrorist attacks. The inquiry of this serving Indian Army officer was still underway to probe many more cases of terror by Indian Army personnel, once mysterious Mumbai attacks were stage-managed and the investigating officer, Hemant Karkare was killed too.
Over the last one year, based on the facts as mentioned in the Book and other evidences, the international community and the scholars of international relations have started questioning India for such stage managed incidents and blaming Pakistan. In response, India had no concrete evidence to repudiate the facts, thus felt hapless until rescued by a highly reckless statement by the former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, published on May 12, 2018 in Daily Dawn. The three times Prime Minister said during an interaction with Cyril Almeida, a Dawn columnist that, “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” Mr Sharif further said, “It’s absolutely unacceptable.
Resuscitating the Indian stance on Mumbai attacks after 10 years by a three times Prime Minister of Pakistan is a very serious national security lapse, whose motives and intent need immediate attention and investigation by the state, the government, the political parties, the institutions and above all the superior judiciary. Besides, a context has to be established as why such a statement has been issued at a time, once Pakistan is at the hit list of its regional and international rival forces.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.