Pakistan’s Fingerprints All Over Mumbai Jihad Strike
Less than three years after the coordinated jihad attacks in Mumbai, India, of November 2008, in which jihadists murdered 164 people, jihadists have again targeted the city, which is India’s financial center. Last Wednesday, 21 people were killed and well over 100 wounded in a series of synchronized bombings. “This was a coordinated attack by terrorists,” Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s home minister, said. Indian officials named as responsible a jihad terror group known as the Indian Mujahideen.
The jihadists planted Wednesday’s bombs in busy areas so as to ensure the maximum number of casualties. The first explosion went off in the Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai’s renowned jewelry market. The second detonated just one minute later in a building that houses jewelry firms in Mumbai’s business center, the Opera House district. Ten minutes after that, a third bomb went off in a populous area of central Mumbai.
There may be more to come: Narendra Modi, chief minister in the western state of Gujarat, warned that the bombings may prove to be the prelude to another large-scale jihad attack like the one in November 2008, and said that the bombers are trying to prove that “they have the strength to destroy the country.”
Because the Indian Mujahideen’s bomb-making experts are all in prison, authorities are investigating the possibility that the Pakistani jihad group Lashkar-e-Taiba helped construct the bombs used in Wednesday’s attacks. There would be no surprise in the involvement of Pakistani jihadists, or even in the involvement of elements of the Pakistani establishment. Pakistan’s intelligence service has been accused of involvement in the planning of the November 2008 massacres, and the suspicion continues in India and elsewhere that figures at high levels of the Pakistani government may have known about the attacks beforehand or even been involved in planning them.
As a result of this suspicion, last week the Pakistani government spoke out quickly in order to head off speculation that it may have been involved in these latest attacks too. Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani quickly condemned the attacks Wednesday, offering condolences to the Indian government and people. Then Zardari headed off to Iran for talks with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared: “Iran is ready to reinforce its cooperation with Pakistan in every field.”
The Pakistani government’s latest efforts to forge close ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran is just one reason why legitimate suspicion remains about its involvement in jihad attacks against India. How unequivocal can the Pakistani government be in its condemnation of these attacks when it has already been proven to have aided and abetted jihad activity in Afghanistan, and to have given American taxpayer money that it was supposed to be using to fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to those very groups?
Pakistan has proven to be so unreliable an ally that it was not notified about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden for fear that he would be tipped off, and then had the chutzpah to take umbrage at the U.S. for acting unilaterally. After years of ignoring the reality on the ground in Pakistan, the U.S. government finally announced last week that it was withholding nearly a billion dollars from the billions it has been planning to send in aid to Pakistan. The rest should be suspended also. The Mumbai bombings Wednesday show that both India and the United States should be regarding Pakistan only with suspicion.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a nuclear-armed rogue state that has demonstrated little, if any, genuine interest in reining in those who hold to the doctrine of violent jihad within their borders. If Zardari really deplores jihad terrorism in India, why is his government behaving so positively toward it in Pakistan—to the extent that the U.S. authorities warned American personnel several years ago that the Pakistani spy service, the ISI, was untrustworthy and tied to al-Qaeda?
If the involvement of Pakistani jihadists in the Mumbai jihad attacks Wednesday is definitively established, the international community should censure and quarantine Pakistan for having turned a blind eye to the growth and activity of jihad groups within that country for years—and for often even encouraging that activity. But the United Nations, which is increasingly just a mouthpiece for the 57-government Organization of Islamic Cooperation, wouldn’t ever dream of doing such a thing.