Will India ever nab Dawood Ibrahim?


Not in the near future, at least.

There are simple reasons behind this, and one does not need to dwell into deep thought to realize why India is unlikely to ever apprehend Dawood Ibrahim. Reasons like ‘Lack of political will’ and ‘We don’t have the capabilities (yeah right!)’ and others of this ilk have been repeated ad nauseum in the hyperventilating Indian media and have even been emphasized by several commentators.

To put it straight, I don’t think these reasons matter. There is a whole psychological argument that I intend to play in this post. It’s plain and simple – India gives it’s enemies too much time to scuttle away. Now a counter-argument can be made here. Some may say it is important for the credibility of Indian democracy that we deliver justice within the ambit of our ideals. Fair enough. But what about people who are our enemies, but not in any sort of direct or indirect control of the Indian state? Like Dawood Ibrahim.

Note that Ajmal Kasab does not come into the equation. I pray, hope and have ample faith in the Indian judicial system that justice will be delivered in the manner it should (i.e. in constitutional accordance) and I call for no urgency or portray any misguided patriotic fervor in hurrying up with the execution of the 26/11 terrorist.

But the question is about the likes of Dawood, and so many others. Here is a man, directly responsible for the carnage of Mumbai 1993 that cost us the lives 257 Indians, who lives and roams around freely in our neighboring nation (?) with no insecurity whatsoever. He marries off his daughter in a five-star Dubai hotel, and we Indians just watch the action.

What is this, if not some sort of intelligence failure? Oh wait. It’s not even intelligence failure. It’s failure of action despite the necessary intelligence. More so, should we wait for inspiration from the Americans before we undertake any action of our own? “Oh, the Americans took down Osama Bin Laden. Time for us to ape them”?

A counter-argument here would be about the threats of retaliation we face from Pakistan, as has been made clear by the Pakistani Army and the ISI, that if we do conduct any operation (covert or not) in the country. In fact, the whole idea about India having to face consequences of any action from the Pakistanis is a despicable farce that is extremely well played by the Pakistani establishment.

The only consequence we face is the time the Pakistanis get to stock up the necessary resources. Pakistan will then go on a series of denials and eventually become stronger in several aspects – diplomatically, in military terms and many others. Yes, stronger. By the minute. By the hour.

So here is a man, wanted by the CBI and the Interpol in connection with 1993 and several other ‘Bleed India’ events, who has no worries whatsoever. A potential superpower sits and watches, weak-kneed all the time. The whole scenario begs the question – Do we eliminate any of our enemies?

No, we don’t. At least, not the ones who matter. And it is not just about the lack of political will or the lack of military logistics (both of which may be fair reasons). It’s more about a basic Indian duty, to instantly counter any attempt made to destabilize the lives of it’s people and convince them that the Indian state does have the necessary power it can portray that will put us to sleep at night with the knowledge that we are safe.

And this is the least we deserve. Just like food, water and shelter.


Of Course, They Knew!

Following the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist, I blogged a few thoughts [Read] about why the Al-Qaeda threat still looms large simply because of the time taken by the United States of America to hunt down Osama Bin Laden.

Moving the stream of thoughts towards Pakistan, one has to say that it is unimaginable that the country’s leadership was unaware of a hiding Bin Laden in Abbottabad, the home of Pakistan’s very own military academy and several retired Army officers (according to news reports). Clearly, it makes sense to believe that the Pakistani Army and the country’s intelligence bureau, ISI, were somewhat aware and indirectly aided the survival of Bin Laden. Even the Americans must have realized this – which could be the reason why they kept the Pakistanis out of the operation they undertook to kill him.

Abbottabad, as a simple query for directions on Google Maps proves, is approximately 88 miles away from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad by road. This indicates that Pakistan may be a safe abode for several other terrorists. The likes of Hafiz Saeed roam around freely in the country giving hate speeches in favour of the Kashmiri ‘freedom movement’, anyway. [See video]

The Pakistani military and the ISI are the two (single-most?) most powerful entities in the country that the whole world will now suspect to be the root of terrorism (not Afghanistan, not anymore). It is very likely that they offered covert protection to Bin Laden and waited in the hope that the Americans would take some time to locate him. And the Americans did take time. They took so much time that the death may not have much significance, except on the streets of New York and other American cities where people are rejoicing. All along, Pakistan has stocked up ‘aid’ in terms of arms, ammunition and other military hardware. For a decade, and counting.

There is so much uncertainty that one is compelled to believe that a clear double game is being played and has been played all along. Pakistan claims to be helping the Americans clean up the terror trail, while we remain unsure about how much of a bonhomie there exists between the Pakistani military/ISI and the Al-Qaeda/Taliban. It is up to the world’s foremost superpower, now that they got rid of a man they so desperately sought, to grind Pakistan regarding Bin Laden’s resort-like mansion in Abbottabad. How he survived for so long? How did he manage to live in the middle of a township, when word all along had been about caves and mountains? More importantly, how did nobody know?

Or maybe, somebody did.

The Bin Laden Death

And the Americans got what they wanted. A man who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and was omnipresent on any American ‘Most Wanted’ list has been safely buried in the sea. Hiding in a mansion in Abottabad in Pakistan, Bin Laden was hunted down by US Navy SEALs after an operation directly authorized by President Barack Obama himself. Anyway, you can read all of this in the news. [Read]

The Americans are celebrating. But the killing happened a tad too late. It would be foolish to assume that the leadership of the Al-Qaeda would not have seen this coming. For a terror organization that aims to reign down the United States someday, a reliance on Osama Bin Laden is at best symbolic and at worst, non-existent. The Al-Qaeda head has died at the age of 54. ┬áDuring his time at the helm of one of the world’s most feared terror networks, he has successfully spread the wings of the organization into several pro-fundamentalist countries like Iraq and Yemen. The minimum this conveys is that the Al-Qaeda of today is a vast network, and any network of this kind will have several leaders in several disguises. Making several plans.

In fact, uncertainty regarding the Al-Qaeda leadership has always existed. The Americans and their allies have hardly been able to figure out who the commanders in control are. They’ve zeroed in on Ayman Al-Zawahiri, but remain unsure as leadership changes in Al-Qaeda have happened too often for their liking. Also Al-Qaeda, over the years, has tied up with several other organizations like the Pakistan Taliban and the anti-India organizations operating for Kashmiri ‘freedom’ and this clearly indicates that the network is too strong to be broken down by the death of a man who was most influential as long as a decade ago.

If Bin Laden would have been killed within 1-2 years of 9/11, it would have been a major statement from Washington and a cause of celebration for the Americans. As of now, the Pentagon and the CIA must prepare themselves. A warning has already been sounded by the Pakistan Taliban [Read]. It would, hence, be absurd to believe that in an era of spawned terrorist networks, the world just became a whole lot safer. Until Al-Qaeda is eliminated from it’s roots, which certainly can now be traced down to Pakistan, things remain murky.

The Americans can celebrate, the pro-Bin Laden Middle East can sulk a bit and the rest of South Asia can be cautious.

Meanwhile, life goes on.