Recently India’s new National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case in USA against David Headley and Rana Tahawwur Hussain; the former a Pakistani-American and the latter from Canada for allegedly plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks in India. David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana are the same persons who were accused of plotting against the employees of a newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005 by the U.S. federal authorities in Chicago. This newspaper was involved in publishing the insulting cartoons of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Headley was accused of traveling to Denmark to survey the building of the Jyllands-Posten and Rana provided him the required shelter. According to the details provided by the Indian agencies David Coleman Headley, a Chicago-based Pakistani American formerly known as Sayed Daood Gilani was born on June 30, 1960. In 2006 he changed his Muslim name to a Judaeo-Christian name to hide his Muslim identity and conspired with Lashkar-e-Taiba. His changed identity made his travel to India easier. Later on he allegedly succeeded in getting the co-operation of some Pakistani ex-military officers and with their strong support he launched the 2008 Mumbai attacks; and as per Indian traditional blame game, all this was patronized by the ISI.
The Investigation Agencies of India are always in a state of confusion and dilemma. They are never confirmed about any of their findings except the presence of the ISI behind every happening. Simply look at the Mumbai Attacks; just after the incident ,the Indian officials, the Indian army, the Indian politicians and the Indian media, all started blaming Pakistan and its Intelligence agencies for this grave massacre without any rhyme and reason. In a pretended rage and fury over this incident India halted all peace talks, all negotiations to a stand-still position. The Kashmir issue, the water conflict, the attacks on Samjhota Express and the blood-shed in the Maligaon; all chapters closed at once. Then suddenly out of this skillfully portrayed scenario appeared Ajmal Kassab, who was introduced as the only surviving culprit involved in the Mumbai Attacks. The case was registered against him. In the court, so many times he denied his involvement in the Mumbai Attacks and so many times his lawyers complained of the police brutality their client had been facing with. Astonishingly when the court proceedings were stepping towards a final conclusion one of his leading-lawyers was brutally murdered in a very professional manner. Now after more than fifteen months, the intelligent investigators have introduced another character who ‘belongs’ to the ISI in the same manner as that of Ajmal Kassab. The only proof provided by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in this regard is the ex-nationality of Headley. Since he is a Pakistani American, he must belong to the ISI; that is the Indian point of view.
According to the details revealed by various Indian newspapers at the beginning of 2010, Headley had visited India several times before 26/11 and once after the Mumbai terror strikes. He stayed in a hotel in the national capital just months before the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. At the same time, in one of his statements the Indian Home Minister Chidambaram said “We are conducting investigations in the cities he visited to find out whom he met and what he did.” The Mumbai attacks took place on the 26th of November 2008 leaving 183 people dead and countless injured. A top Home Ministry official has claimed that the investigators had enough evidence to show Headley’s link with LeT and the Government is all set to produce the documents before a US court. Why all this hustle and bustle after the gap of a year; why had the Indian investigators been wasting their precious time on Ajmal Kassab; if Headley is the real culprit, why Ajmal Kassab was declared as the mastermind of these attacks. And above all is a very simple question; are the Indian Intelligence agencies so deaf and dumb that they could not get wind of a terrorist who had plans to shatter and scatter the peace and calm of Mumbai, the heart of India? A terrorist who changed his name just two years back and who had been visiting and revisiting India, staying at well known hotels, simply remained out of sight of the Indian law enforcing agencies; it is something more than a cock and bull story. Whatever happened there in Mumbai is certainly condemnable but more condemnable is the instinctive trait of the Indian hi-ups of throwing the whole responsibility to Pakistan’s ISI. India is very much fertile with reference to the home grown terrorists and terrorism. It does not need imported terrorists. The ISI has so many other important things to do. One needs not pour oil when the fire is already engulfing an oil refinery. Just for a moment let us suppose that the ISI is behind all this destruction; then question arises; what is the role of the Raw and the Indian army which are supposed to provide security and shelter to their country. If these organizations are so helpless, they are left with only one option; let the ISI take the charge of India.
The writer is a Pakistan based bilingual analyst on national and international strategic and defense affairs.