Karachi Photo Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amazing energy was seen in today's protest in front of the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can someone come up with a coherent story about Mumbai attacks, please?

While the US celebrated Thanksgiving Mumbai was under attack. Terrorists’ assault on India’s financial hub brought the country of over billion people to almost a halt. But two weeks after the carnage we are still waiting for a coherent story from the Indian establishment. Who were those attackers? The official story tells you these men were of Pakistani origin who were trained in a militant camp in Pakistan ran by a banned group. But you should not be in any hurry to accept this version because it has changed many times. While the terrorists were still on their rampage, Indian police claimed they were Pakistanis. And then we were told they were British passport holders of Pakistani descent. And then the identity documents changed to Mauritius ID cards and then to Malaysian passports. And a couple of days ago we were told Pakistani identity cards have been confiscated from the dead terrorists. The last claim would make the terrorists very smart and very dumb at the same time. They were smart enough to carry out a sophisticated, highly coordinated operation, but dumb enough to carry their Pakistani identity cards with them.

How did the assailants reach India? The loudest version of the story tells you these men reached the shores of India in a boat and went straight to execute their terror plot. But then another version tells you at least one terrorist checked in Taj Mahal Hotel as a guest and used his room to store ammunition—and it makes sense because the amount of ammunition used (hand grenades and rounds after rounds of AK47) would be very hard to carry in a rubber boat and then to carry along on person, while trying to locate the targets in a teeming metropolis. But then which one is it: quick and dirty rubber boat trip, or a long operation that required hammering out logistics for days before embarking on the plan?

The official story is still being refined as I write these lines. Now we are told the terrorists carried fake identity cards of an Indian college. Should the rubber boat part of the story be forgotten now?

And then there is this phone call to a TV channel from a person claiming to be one of the terrorists killing people in Nariman House. You got to listen to it on YouTube to understand how enigmatic the clues given in that phone call are. Can someone from the Indian establishment please give this segment of the gory episode a credible spin?

In short, while the world is patiently waiting for the Indian government to get its story together, our sole link to the truth behind Mumbai attacks is Ajmal Kasab (if that indeed is his real name), the only terrorist purportedly captured alive. Pakistan and the international community must demand talking directly to this man. A conversation with this man might be the only way to find out what actually transpired in Mumbai.

And we must also fear what would ultimately happen in India, in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks. One particular part of the Indian establishment would use this opportunity to not only suppress its largest religious minority, it would come hard on all separatist movements raging in various parts of that country.

Photo, courtesy of Reuters.


Monday, December 08, 2008

In the aftermath of Mumbai attacks Peace Activists try to dampen the sound of war drums

As the world watches India mulling its response to the most egregious terrorist attack on its soil, San Francisco Bay Area peace activists are urging India to act with restraint. This sane advice to India was aired in a vigil arranged by Friends of South Asia (FOSA), a group of Bay Area based South Asian and other activists, on Saturday, December 6. Over sixty people gathered on the stairs of San Francisco City Hall to participate in the program co-sponsored by a number of South Asian groups. Of the dozen or so speakers addressing the rally many had family and friends living in both India and Pakistan. The speakers noted that thus far India had acted with maturity--unlike Pakistan where last year after the murder of Benazir Bhutto lawlessness prevailed and angry mobs set private property on fire, Indians have neither violently unleashed their anger on their government nor on the Muslim community. But certain quarters of the Indian Diaspora are urging India for a military response to Pakistan, the purported source of ten terrorists who ran havoc in Mumbai for two days. FOSA’s vigil was to counteract the hawks among Indian-Americans and to advise Indian and Pakistani governments to work together in bringing the masterminds of Mumbai terror plot to justice.