Some pointed questions to pinch Pak

U.S. President Barack Obama helped America reach closure with regard to the dastardly events of 9/11 when, after a decade, justice caught up with Osama bin Laden on the outskirts of Islamabad. There will be new reports by the hour as details of the commando operation are disclosed, yet there is no doubt that this operation was a huge success.

Retribution always comes, even if after a decade. Our thoughts are with those who perished and with their families.
Bin Laden was no longer the leader of a global movement, but he was the symbol of 9/11, the architect of the cold blooded murder of 3,000 people at the World Trade Centre and many other crimes in Europe, UK, Africa, West Asia, India and many other countries in Southeast Asia. The house built in Abbottabad in 2005 implicates the Pakistani government, the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence as they provided him sanctuary. That house will no doubt provide a wealth of information but the living conditions as we have seen in photographs indicated a man on the run. No Internet, no phones — you cannot run a global empire with a few couriers!
While it is true that new terror links have formed over the last decade, there are several questions for Pakistan to answer. Since 2003, Pakistan has suffered 30,000 casualties in the war on terror and these will continue as rouge elements within the system provide space and sanctuary to terrorists and criminals. For all practical purposes, Pakistan has become a terrorist state and it is no surprise that the US closed its embassy and consulates in Pakistan to the general public. However, a day later the US reopened its embassy in Pakistan, but consulates in two cities are still closed to the public. Soon others will follow suit unless the government acts and this is not an issue any longer.
Pakistan and the terrorists it harbours still have to account for 26/11. We are not the US, we do not give them $3 billion in aid, we do not supply them weapons to fight terrorists (though this has become an ironic joke) and they will do nothing to help us in tracking the killers of 9/11. We have a long list of names starting with Hafiz Saeed and we cannot jeopardise our security indefinitely by adopting a passive attitude. The next few days will indicate the pattern the US will follow and then we have to evolve a long- term plan and show our firm resolve not only to Pakistan but also to the US.
We must also remember that terror is a very lucrative business for many and there will always be provocations to react. We are a free society and in every religion we have a small group of extremists who indulge in these acts. But they do not represent anyone except their own selfish interests. We are on full alert and we must wait and watch for events to unfold.
The US President will gain in political terms but public opinion cannot be taken for granted and I think soon the focus will be on Pakistan and the $3-billion US aid to fight terror will be in jeopardy. Votebank politics are an essential part of any democratic structure. Mr Obama and his party have an election to fight and he may well have converted many a negative into instant positives by the successful commando operation. Along with the economy which is comparatively in better shape, the President is in a good position. The Democratic Party will rally around him with enthusiasm as this is a dream opportunity which every party looks for at election time. A few days ago Mr Obama thought it necessary to release his birth certificate. Look how the situation has changed!
Relations between the US and India have never been better and while we will never agree on everything, we do have a common commitment to democracy and to the rule of law. The large picture should always be before us and we should not revive the archaic arguments of the Cold War era. That political ideology has been rejected and we will see it rejected again in West Bengal, Kerala and, later, in Tripura.
We have had two decades of genuine growth and despite all the issues we may still be the best performing economy in 2011. The greatest threat to our growth is security, both external and internal. In my opinion, we have done extremely well since 26/11 and our systems may be fully tested in the immediate future. A full-scale war is ranging in many parts of Africa and West Asia and there is little doubt that the death of Bin Laden will influence events though the intensity of its impact may vary from state to state.
The situation in Tunisia and Egypt is very different from Yemen, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Libya and there are already serious developments in Bahrain and even Saudi Arabia. Six million Indians live and work in this area, we have huge business and commercial interests and as an emerging superpower we have a political responsibility.

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