It seems very likely that the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks came from Pakistan. I don’t believe for a moment that ordinary Pakistani people, or Asif Ali Zardari, condone this sort of thing, but it seems clear that they are not in control, whatever Zardari’s official designation — and nor was Pervez Musharraf. Indeed, Pakistan has been a much bigger victim of terrorism, as in the recent attack on The Marriott in Islamabad.
Pakistan’s domestic terrorists were certainly encouraged by their establishment, who did not foresee — or did not care — that one day they would turn on their own country. But that is not very relevant anymore. The terrorists continue to be supported by elements of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies, even if not officially, and that is certainly relevant. The question is, where does one go from here?
Barack Obama has talked of going into Pakistan to root out the terrorists, but he had the northwest in mind, which is largely not under the Pakistan government’s control. These terrorists very likely come from — or are supported from — Karachi, the city where Daniel Pearl was killed, and there is no way to go in there without actually declaring war on Pakistan; and I’m not sure we in India want that in our backyard. Besides, it will solve nothing and will create a mess ten times worse than Iraq.
Pakistan is become dangerously close to a failed state, and we — India, and the international community — cannot afford to let it fail. Demonising the entire country, or invading it or trying to bomb it into oblivion, is the surest way of letting the jehadis win. Strengthening civil society and the civilian government is the only long-term solution. At one level, these are internal problems of Pakistan, but at another level, the consequences are being faced by all of us.