Slipping like the eel

They said they were here. They said they were there. In the end it was found that they were neither here not there but only in the place they could ever be, in a country that is a terrorist sanctuary. It only shows up the prime movers behind the Bombay blasts.

Of course, those who flee would never make a bee-line towards where they really belong. They would always reach their haven via other places and countries. They would also ensure that those who pursue them were misled by false footprints until they reached their sanctuary.

This is true in the flight of the Memons who ran to Dubai and then reached Karachi. The Dubai police chief has overstepped the line by speaking of the alleged lack of cooperation between his outfit and the Bombay police because of what he describes as the frequent transfer of Bombay police commissioners.

Bombay has denied this and quite rightly too. It cannot afford to stop with mere denial. There has to be a follow-up by competent interaction between the Home or Interior Ministries of the two sides. That is the only way to stop fouling up of political relations which a media war usually triggers.

The Memons are in Karachi. What is Pakistan going to do? Lie low, until they are helped to hide themselves and then open the stables to Indian intelligence after the horses had galloped away.

Of course, Pakistan will say that it has no part in any of this. It could be that the fugitives might be given shelter in Afghanistan.

Pakistan cannot also ignore the fact that the West, chiefly the US and Britain, would not take Pakistani alibis. They have already made clear their resentment over Pakistani involvement in terrorist acts against India. They could force Islamabad to act.

Libya may successfully harbour the alleged Pan Am Lockerbie bombers. Technically they are Libyans and not foreign nationals. That cannot apply to the Memons. Also, Pakistan is in no position to be militant and intransigent against US or British protests.

The Memons are not also professional terrorists. Very soon they would lose their nerve. When that occurs they could land in Dubai to spare their Pakistani hosts needless embarrassment. When they do so, they would expect Dubai to oblige.

Such a protection should be denied to them. That is the task, the immediate challenge, before the Union Ministry of External Affairs. The Ministry has to establish for this purpose a better rapport than is seen at present between itself and its Emirate counterpart

e-mail the writer at
[email protected]

Jawahar T R