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Kasab verdict to mar Indo-Pak ties, warns Pak media

May 04, 2010 16:18 IST

Ajmal Kasab's conviction by a special Mumbai court for involvement in the 26/11 terror attacks drew mixed reaction from the Pakistani media on Tuesday, with a section saying that it should help the victims' families to put a lid on an 'ugly chapter' while another warning that it 'will impact' the Indo-Pak ties.

As Pakistan is still blamed by India for not doing enough to clamp down on 'groups that are capable of future Mumbai- style attacks,' Islamabad could 'wash away this perception' by proceeding expeditiously with the trial of seven Pakistani suspects, including Lashkar-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, accused of involvement in the carnage, the Dawn said.

"Like it or not, there are fundamental issues between the two countries that have to be resolved; but by holding everything hostage to the terrorism issue, India may have in fact given the terrorists a perverse incentive to try harder the next time," it warned in an editorial.

"India needs to accept that peace in South Asia will not be possible until the legitimate and genuine issues of concern to Pakistan are resolved to the satisfaction of both the sides," it said.

However, the conviction on Monday of Pakistani national Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist from the Mumbai attacks, should 'help give some closure to the victims' families and India on an ugly chapter in the country's history.'

The Dawn said Pakistan and India also need to learn 'the right lessons from experience,' including measures to prevent another Mumbai-like incident.

It said, "First, it is fairly clear that the attacks were launched to push Pakistan and India apart, and perhaps even to the brink of war. That common sense ultimately prevailed is a good thing."

"But there were enough warning signs to suggest that common sense may not necessarily prevail the next time, so everything possible must be done to prevent a repeat."

Both countries also need to realise that 'South Asia and the relations between Islamabad and Delhi are only becoming more complicated as the years pass by,' it said.

The two sides will need 'great will' to tackle several pressing issues, the daily cautioned.

"Afghanistan has become a bone of contention; military doctrines such as India's Cold Start can lead to undesirable consequences in a nuclear-armed subcontinent; and perhaps potentially more serious than any other dispute the water shortage places an increasing burden on the leadership of the two countries," it said.

The Nation, which is known for its anti-India views, said Kasab's conviction 'was no surprise, given how the deck was loaded against him from the start.'

Entitled 'The Kasab Verdict', the Nation's editorial said "Judge M L Tahiliyani's verdict that Kasab was a member of the Lashker-e-Tayiba and that his handlers were in Pakistan was reflective of the Indian government's claims."

It mocked Tahiliyani's contention that the gunmen came prepared for sustained urban combat and that such preparations are not normal for ordinary criminals by saying: "Clearly the judge has not seen the crime movies of Bollywood where criminal mafias have everything from machine guns to GPS devices!"

The Nation questioned the manner in which Kasab's confession was obtained and said the Indian court's 'verdict and the sentencing, which may include death, will impact Pakistan-India relations.'

India and the US 'will use this verdict to further pressure Pakistan on all manner of issues,' it contended.

It also claimed that 'the Kasab trial and verdict leave many serious question marks, not the least of it being what exactly happened to Indian (police) officer (Hemant) Karkare at the start of the Mumbai terrorism.'

Meanwhile, Osman Khan, executive director with the Lahore-based legal think tank Research Society of International Law, said Home Minister P Chidambaram's comments that Kasab's conviction was a message to Pakistan not to export terror could further aggravate tensions between the two countries.

"The statement by Chidambaram could result in derailing the ongoing peace process and estrangement of relations. Such comments are not helpful or fruitful as they could result in a further aggravation of the situation between the two countries, which have a lot of disputes, including Kashmir, water, Siachen and Sir Creek," Khan told PTI.

Besides, there was no 'substantive proof' that Kasab was working at the behest of the Pakistan government, he said.

"One cannot hold the state responsible for the acts of an individual citizen. The mere basis that Kasab has Pakistani nationality does not suffice to blame the country," he said.

Pakistan is doing all it could to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks as it had taken action on the basis of Kasab's statement even though it "was subsequently retracted," Khan said.

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