The high drama that accompanied Ajmal Kasab when he appeared on the Indian scene four years back was missing in his death. If at all, it came in the form of headline-grabbing news and daylong debate and discussions on Indian TV channels only after he had disappeared from the scene. As the lone survivor of the Pakistan-based terror group that launched its audacious attack on Mumbai, killing 166 people and wounding several others, on 26/11 in 2008, Kasab had been a “dead man walking” since the time of his capture. But the government’s announcement early on Wednesday morning that Kasab has been hanged to death came as a surprise to most Indians.
More surprising perhaps was the muted reaction in Pakistan. Barring tweets, a few discussions and predictable statements from jehadi groups, Kasab’s death went almost unsung. There were no demonstrations or rallies carrying his portrait; no anti-Indian sloganeering. By mid-day his death was not even in the main headlines on Pakistan’s busy news channels.
The Pakistani government, which had earlier politely refused to accept the letter from the Indian government informing them about the decision to execute Kasab, asked its foreign ministry to make a statement emphasising its resolve to fight terrorism and the readiness to work with all countries in the region to fight it. But, as many in the establishment describe Wednesday’s incident as a “closure” on the Kasab case—with the trial and execution completed in as few as four years—questions are being raised. Can keeping him alive have served India’s purpose better? Or was it too late?
“He should have been hanged two years back,” former Indian foreign minister K. Natwar Singh told Outlook. He pointed out that former president Pratibha Patil had been sitting on Kasab’s mercy petition. “The entire judicial process had been completed and there is no reason why he should not have been hanged earlier.”
But many are now questioning whether Pakistan will have the political will to do so. Despite the muted response in the country to Kasab’s hanging, there are fears among many Indians that jehadi groups as well as the hardliners in Pakistan may take a much tougher line to prevent the Pakistani government from showing meaningful progress on the 26/11 trial. There are indications from Pakistan that while its army and the ISI have not said much on Kasab’s death, they may not encourage the government to act against the seven suspects.
“Kasab dead may prove to be stronger and more potent than Kasab alive,” says K.C. Singh, former MEA secretary. He thinks the jehadis will turn Kasab into a poster boy to boost recruitment. South Block, however, insists that the “closure” on Kasab does not mean India can stop insisting that Pakistan acts against the 26/11 perpetrators. “That is the bare minimum for Pakistan to establish its credibility on this important issue of bilateral ties,” says a senior Indian diplomat.
The signals from Pakistan are complicated. Khawaja Haris Ahmed, one of the lawyers for Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, one of the seven being held, says, “Kasab had to be cross-examined before his Indian confessional statement could be admitted in a Pakistani court. Now, his statements have no legal value.”
However, lack of progress on the 26/11 case is not the only worry. There are indications that, in the coming days, the focus may shift to Sarabjit Singh, an Indian being held in a Pakistani jail after conviction on a terror charge. So are we looking at a scenario when India and Pakistan are likely to go back to their old rivalry, ending the bonhomie and ambitious talk of liberalising trade and visa regimes? “Bold initiatives are required by the Indian and Pakistani leadership to keep the bilateral ties moving forward and avoid getting into a game of brinkmanship,” says C. Raja Mohan, an Indian strategist. But as both countries get into election mode, can Manmohan Singh and Asif Ali Zardari end their tenures on a high note by embarking on a breakthrough in Indo-Pak ties? Or will they play it safe and leave that task to their successors?
By Pranay Sharma in New Delhi and Mohammad Zulqernain in Lahore
There can be no doubt about one positive outcome of Kasab’s hanging (So Much More to Unentangle). There won’t be any Kandahar-like hijackings to bargain for his release. He might have become useless as a gamer but would have retained his potential as a bargaining chip.
"Bold initiatives are required by the Indian and Pakistani leadership to keep the bilateral ties moving forward and avoid getting into a game of brinkmanship,” says C. Raja Mohan, an Indian strategist.
After decades of genocide and ethnic cleansing, Pakistan is now 99% Muslim. The last remaining Hindus are being subjected to rape, forced conversions and kidnappings, and those who can make it to the border are fleeing to India.
Pakistan has not punished even a single person for the Mumbai attacks.
Every week, there is a report of armed infiltration from Pakistan into J&K. There are hundreds of camps in Paki Kashmir filled with thousands of terrorists who are waiting for the green light to cross over to India.
The solution from our "strategist": bold initiatives to keep bilateral ties moving forward!
If this is strategy, it is no wonder our country is in the state it is in.
Yet another pointless article on Indo - Pak relations with not a whisper about 1) Pakisan's Theocractic system coming in way of better Indo-Pak Relations 2) The poor condition of the religious minorities of Pakistan.
We will never see any real improvement in Indo-Pak relations, unless above 2 points are addressed.
"He pointed out that former president Pratibha Patil had been sitting on Kasab’s mercy petition"
Pratibha Patil's term was till July 25 2012, the SC upheld his death penalty in August 2012. Please explain how exactly Pratibha Patil had been sitting on Kasab's 'mercy petition' - otherwise please elaborate whether the reporter was on dope
This article worries about Indo-Pak relations post-Kasab execution.. We must realise that the Pakistan with whom India might have made peace to solve outstanding problems no longer exists.In its place we have a terrorist controlled state which includes all murderous elements from Afghanistan as well bent upon Jihad .Any amount of write-ups and discussions on TV or the pontifications of 'Terrorism Editors' in our newspapers will not alter this fact.All that these editor log are good at is explaining to us mangoes what each abbreviation means!By all means let them make a living out of it. Not knowing what LeT means or the Quaranic significance of Takiban, Al Queda etc etc is no deawback when fighting these goons.All that India needs are good intelligence about these assassins, and an excellent police force/army unswayed by mercy or political calculations.
The time may not be conducive to bold initiatives being attempted. Better to keep chipping away, with small incremental improvements, trade, travel, sports, culture.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT