The Roiling India-Pakistan Situation
There have been a couple of interesting developments in the tense exchange of words between India and Pakistan that’s been going on since the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November. Pakistan has responded angrily to the claims by India’s prime minister of involvement of the Pakistani government in the attacks:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Jan. 7 (UPI) — Pakistani leaders say Indian suggestions that official agencies may have been involved in training November’s Mumbai terrorists are pushing the region to war.
Tuesday’s statement by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the sophistication of the terror attacks pointed to the involvement of “some official agencies in Pakistan” has infuriated officials in Islamabad, who called the statement “irresponsible,” the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
“Vilifying Pakistan or … any of its state institutions on this score is unwarranted and unacceptable,” the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement. “This is a sure way to close avenues of cooperation in combating this menace.”
“If India takes military action against Pakistan, it would be a big mistake,” the Times quoted Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir telling Pakistani lawmakers. “India is pushing this region to war.”
However, Pakistan has also confirmed for the first time that the sole surviving terrorist attacker is a Pakistani citizen:
Pakistani authorities are reviewing the evidence but have dismissed Singh’s claims. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accused India of waging a “media and diplomatic offensive against Pakistan.”
“It is clearly unhelpful to any serious and objective investigations and amounts to unnecessarily whipping up tensions in South Asia,” Gilani said.
But Pakistani Information Minister Sherry Rehman did say Wednesday that the lone surviving gunman was a Pakistani citizen, after weeks of refusing to confirm Delhi’s claims. Islamabad had previously said it could not find Ajmal Kasab — the only one of 10 not killed as commandos ended the siege — in its databases.
Indian leaders have made clear they do not want a military conflict with Pakistan, and Pakistan’s intelligence chief said there will be no war over the Mumbai attacks.
“We may be crazy in Pakistan, but not completely out of our minds,” Pakistan’s intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, told German news magazine Der Spiegel. “We know full well that terror is our enemy, not India.”
For the present we can only hope that the angry exchanges between the two countries remain limited to words.