Kasab, denial and conspiracy
Jang’s editorial on May 5th reacted to the verdict of the Ajmal Kasab trial by alleging that the manner in which the trial was conducted raised questions on the legal process itself. The editorial asserts that Pakistan’s name was repeatedly used in conjunction with charges of state terrorism.

It opines that the court acquitted the two other alleged conspirators—Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Sheikh—because they were Indian citizens, whereas Mr Kasab was convicted because he was “allegedly” a Pakistani.

The editorial further contends that not only did the court not examine the possibility of the involvement of local Indian groups in the Mumbai attacks, it also attempted to incriminate leaders of the “now defunct” Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed  and Zaki ur-Rehman Lakhvi, because India intended to implicate Pakistan in the 26/11
attacks. It says that India is attempting to humiliate Pakistan on the international stage through this verdict and urges
Pakistan’s ministries of interior and justice to review the verdict of the Indian courts and prepare an appropriate response.

An op-ed by Saeed Aasi on Nawa-i-Waqt entitled “Drama Case,” contends that this trial has proven that both India and the United States intend to paint Pakistan as a terrorist state on the world stage. Mr Aasi’s op-ed draws parallels between Mr Kasab’s trial in India and the Aafia Siddiqui trial in the United States, stating that Dr Siddiqui was arrested on trumped up charges of attacking US soldiers, while Mr Kasab had stated that he was arrested by Indian police officers 20 days prior to the Mumbai attacks.

The writer contends that no definitive proof was presented in the Indian courts, nor was any proof provided to Pakistan; however, India’s courts convicted “Kashmiri mujahid” Ajmal Kasab and levelled charges against Mr Saeed. Mr Aasi also opines that this has been done to sully the good name of Pakistan and derail its fight for the Kashmiri cause.

Flagging Talibanisation
Saleem Safi’s op-ed in Jang argues that in trying to trick the world for decades, Pakistan has ultimately deceived itself.
Mr Safi opines that the state wrongly believed that it could effectively tackle both the United States and India through
the use of terrorism. But the growth of extremism in Pakistan has come back to haunt the country. The writer says that no terror attack has occurred in the United States after 9/11; similarly, extremists are on their last legs in Jammu & Kashmir, and Pakistan has paid a huge price for the attacks in Mumbai.

Whereas terrorism has spread all over Pakistan—the common man and politicians were always targets of terrorists, now even the army’s general headquarters no longer safe. Mr Safi suggests that those persons who claimed to be mentors of extremist forces are themselves becoming targets.

Afghan and Pakistan Taliban and al-Qaeda rely heavily upon each other—suicide bombings, that are now the hallmark of the TTP and Afghan Taliban, are reliant on technology provided by al-Qaeda. Similarly, the Afghan Taliban, which used to claim that video CDs were haraam, now employ them extensively to promote their agenda—again, through technology provided by al-Qaeda.

The writer argues that this interlinkage between the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban, and al-Qaeda has made it impossible
to fight one group while attempting to make peace with the other. Mr Safi believes that Pakistan needs to develop a
strategy to deal with this issue and that the appropriate response must be calibrated on multiple levels including religious, political and social. The writer warns that if an appropriate strategy isn’t conceived soon, all of Pakistan will soon become Waziristan.

Basal Mohammed argues in Iraq’s ar-Rafidayn about the impact on the interference of regional and international powers in Iraq’s internal affairs, in an apparent reference to Iran and Arab states in its neighbourhood. The writer suggests that these countries have infiltrated Iraq’s security and intelligence services and use violence as a tool to weaken and divide Iraq, while the country’s news and media paint this interference as Iraq being used as
a bulwark against hostile forces.

The writer chastises Iraq’s political parties for being unable to not only prevent external forces from destabilising the
country, but also being party to those forces’ activities. Mr Mohammed contents that it is important for those with divergent views to accept and exchange ideas within the democratic framework of the country.

However, the writer says, it is worrying that those parties in opposition have in the past tried to obtain the assistance of regional powers to destabilise the ruling government, and in the process, the country. The writer points out that part of the challenge in the development of democratic institutions in Iraq is the interference of countries in region, most of which are ruled by totalitarian regimes; this means that those countries are incapable in effectively participating in the development of democracy in Iraq.

Mr Mohammed urges all political parties to work together to ensure Iraq’s national interests are protected, during and after the parliamentary elections.