Dear President Bush,
Congratulations! At last you have recognised Dawood Ibrahim as a terrorist. This is because Dawood helped Osama bin Laden. But Dawood had been helping terrorists long before 9/11. Dawood is an extortionist, smuggler and hawala kingpin. He is a criminal. But when his hawala network serves terrorists, he gets drawn into terrorist activity. Narcotics create money for terrorism. Hawala distributes that money. To fight terrorism, therefore, the money trail must be busted.
Readers complain that this column is obsessed with the Jain hawala case. The obsession arose because Dawood's network, using Moolchand Shah, had distributed hawala money to India's leading politicians as well as to Kashmir militants. Dawood's hawala network provided a service. When terrorists and politicians utilised the same service, national security was breached. Dawood, with links to terrorists, knew all about politicians who broke the law to avail of hawala money. These politicians became vulnerable to blackmail by hawala operators linked to terrorists. That, and not corruption or FERA violations, was what made the Jain hawala case crucial.
The Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) dominated Kashmir's separatist movement before the Jain hawala case. Salahuddin, a recipient in that case of hawala money through Dawood's network, was unknown then. Within a decade, he rose to lead the Hizbul Mujahideen because Indian politicians refused to act in the Jain case.
Mr President, please make sure that Dawood, if captured, is taken to America. If he is handed over to India, he might either escape or be shot dead. Remember Abu Salem? Interpol presented him to India on a platter. India didn't present the necessary documents. Now the Indian government is enacting a soap opera, trying "vainly" to extradite him.
When you get hold of Dawood, Mr President, induce him to sing. Ask him to sing about the airline company in which a senior politician's relatives were his partners.
Ask him to sing about politicians in Mumbai from both sides that collaborated with him in land scams in his early days. Ask him to sing about politicians who had links with him and led mobs to demolish the Babri Mosque.
Ask him to sing about all the politicians he lavishly hosted in Dubai. Ask him to sing about politicians and journalists who regularly enjoyed the hospitality of his henchman Romesh Sharma at his Delhi farmhouse.
There are so many songs he could sing. If you could only make him sing, Mr President, we would forget Lata and Asha. Dawood could sing like a canary.