By ASIF ALI ZARDARI
Published: December 8, 2008, NY Times.
THE recent death and destruction in Mumbai, India, brought to my mind the death and destruction in Karachi on Oct. 18, 2007, when terrorists attacked a festive homecoming rally for my wife, Benazir Bhutto. Nearly 150 Pakistanis were killed and more than 450 were injured. The terrorist attacks in Mumbai may be a news story for most of the world. For me it is a painful reality of shared experience. Having seen my wife escape death by a hairbreadth on that day in Karachi, I lost her in a second, unfortunately successful, attempt two months later.
The Mumbai attacks were directed not only at India but also at Pakistan’s new democratic government and the peace process with India that we have initiated. Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with a vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root.
To foil the designs of the terrorists, the two great nations of Pakistan and India, born together from the same revolution and mandate in 1947, must continue to move forward with the peace process. Pakistan is shocked at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. We can identify with India’s pain. I am especially empathetic. I feel this pain every time I look into the eyes of my children.
Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks. But we caution against hasty judgments and inflammatory statements. As was demonstrated in Sunday’s raids, which resulted in the arrest of militants, Pakistan will take action against the non-state actors found within our territory, treating them as criminals, terrorists and murderers. Not only are the terrorists not linked to the government of Pakistan in any way, we are their targets and we continue to be their victims.
India is a mature nation and a stable democracy. Pakistanis appreciate India’s democratic contributions. But as rage fueled by the Mumbai attacks catches on, Indians must pause and take a breath. India and Pakistan — and the rest of the world — must work together to track down the terrorists who caused mayhem in Mumbai, attacked New York, London and Madrid in the past, and destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September. The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization.
These militants did not arise from whole cloth. Pakistan was an ally of the West throughout the cold war. The world worked to exploit religion against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by empowering the most fanatic extremists as an instrument of destruction of a superpower. The strategy worked, but its legacy was the creation of an extremist militia with its own dynamic. ... more ...
Asif Ali Zardari is the president of Pakistan.
So the President of Pakistan all but admits the attacks were carried out from Pakistani soil, attempts to gain sympathy over his wife's murder in the effort to appear in the same boat as the Indians, and that some mysterious Pakistani non-state actors are to blame quoting the arrests in Muzaffarabad.
Pakistanis simply had to arrest 'someone'. Perceptions are more powerful than reality. If perceptions say Pakistanis must have done it, then Pakistan has to show it's doing something about it to avoid war. These arrests appear no more than that.
Let's see if any proof is presented. Right now the Indians are stumbling along changing stories every other day. Latest was the attackers left a sack of Pakistani flour, a satellite phone with Pakistani numbers on it, and unbelievably some rolls of Pakistani toilet paper in the abandoned boat. I know they wouldn't have much use for a sack of flour and toilet paper on a suicide mission but a satellite phone?
Re: "The terrorists who killed my wife are connected by ideology to these enemies of civilization."
Mr. Zardari not very long ago when asked by a reporter "Who killed your wife?" during a press conference at the Nawaz Sharif Ranch in Lahore, replied with great finality while staring down the reporter "The same people who killed her father."
It wasn't known till now that terrorists killed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
Why can't the Pakistani State come right out and say what Tariq Ali says in conclusion on Counterpunch, and which infinitely makes more sense:
The Assault on Mumbai
Why should it be such a surprise if the perpetrators are themselves Indian Muslims? Its hardly a secret that there has been much anger within the poorest sections of the Muslim community against the systematic discrimination and acts of violence carried out against them of which the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in shining Gujarat was only the most blatant and the most investigated episode, supported by the Chief Minister of the State and the local state apparatuses.
Add to this the continuing sore of Kashmir which has for decades been treated as a colony by Indian troops with random arrests, torture and rape of Kashmiris an everyday occurrence. Conditions have been much worse than in Tibet, but have aroused little sympathy in the West where the defense of human rights is heavily instrumentalised.
Indian intelligence outfits are well aware of all this and they should not encourage the fantasies of their political leaders. Its best to come out and accept that there are severe problems inside the country. A billion Indians: 80 percent Hindus and 14 percent Muslims. A very large minority that cannot be ethnically cleansed without provoking a wider conflict.
None of this justifies terrorism, but it should, at the very least, force India’s rulers to direct their gaze on their own country and the conditions that prevail. Economic disparities are profound. The absurd notion that the trickle-down effects of global capitalism would solve most problems can now be seen for what it always was: a fig leaf to conceal new modes of exploitation.