November 26 will mark the 12th anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Far from showing any semblance of sincerity in delivering justice to the families of 166 victims from 15 countries, what gets reinforced is Islamabad’s duplicity and obfuscation. When it comes to Pakistan, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Even FATF is made to look like a weak performer; easy to work your way around it. That the mechanisms championed by the global community have failed to make the rogue neighbour act in consonance with international obligations, despite its own public acknowledgement of complicity as well as the availability of all necessary evidence, is disconcerting. The exclusion of key conspirators of the 26/11 attacks from Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency list of 1,210 ‘most wanted’ terrorists only adds to the long litany of falsehoods.
The 921-page document contains the names of a select few members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a UN-designated terror entity. Included are the crew members of the boats used to execute the attacks, those who purchased the engine, life jackets, financiers who arranged foreign currency to obtain the Voice Over Internet Protocol connection for terrorist communication. The vital link is, however, missing. There is no mention of masterminds Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. The other two most wanted men for India, Masood Azhar and Dawood Ibrahim, are also not listed. It is an exercise mired in deception, hoping to serve little purpose than performing a meaningless ritual.
The Ministry of External Affairs has come out with a strongly-worded reaction, but Pakistan’s non-committal and dismissive approach only makes New Delhi’s task more arduous. A foolproof case has been presented on the sequence of events, listing those involved in the planning, on who carried out the terrorist attack, and at whose behest. Even this is proving to be inadequate. Pakistan’s moves on the US-China-Afghanistan strategic chessboard makes the road ahead tougher. Howsoever challenging and painstaking, India should and must be relentless in the pursuit of justice.