Archive for August 11th, 2009

The Untold Sufferings of Pakistani Hindus & Sikhs

August 11, 2009

displacedsikhs

The cultural and institutional marginalisation of Hindus in Pakistan is a travesty of human dignity and freedom

Ali Eteraz, guardian.co.uk, Friday 11 April 2008

Hindus in Pakistan have suffered grievously since the founding of the nation in 1947. Recently, in the southern province of Sindh, a Hindu man was accused of blasphemy and beaten to death by his co-workers. This comes at the heels of the abduction and dismemberment of a Hindu engineer.

A little while earlier, the military removed 70 Hindu families from lands where they had been living since the 19th century. To this day the temples that Pakistanis destroyed in 1992 in response to the destruction of the Babri mosque in India have not been restored.

Pakistan, according to many accounts, was founded as a way to protect the rights and existence of the minority Muslim population of Colonial India in the face of the larger Hindu majority. Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is reported to have said in 1947: “In due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims – not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one state.” It is therefore a travesty of Pakistan’s own founding principles that its Hindus – and not to exclude Christians and Ahmadis – have suffered so grossly.

There are two levels of prejudice in Pakistan with respect to Hindus – the cultural and the legal.

While it is difficult to say which one is more pernicious, cultural prejudice is certainly more difficult to uproot because it is perpetuated by religious supremacism, nationalism, stories, myth, lies, families, media, schooling and bigotry.

Cultural prejudice has become part and parcel of language itself. Hindus are referred to as “na pak.” Na means “un” and pak means “pure.” So, Hindus are turned into the impure, or unclean. Given that the word “pak” is part of the word “Pakistan” – which means Land of the Pure – somebody’s impurity suggests that they are not really Pakistani.

To make matters even worse, Pakistani mullahs teach a very supremacist version of the Islamic creed, the kalima. Usually, the kalima reads simply: “There is no god but God and Muhammad is His final messenger.” The version that children are taught, however, reads as follows: “The first kalima is Tayyab; Tayyab means Pak (Pure); There is no god but God and Muhammad is His final Messenger.”

Do you see how the word “Pak” – which denotes both purity and connects to citizenship in Pakistan – is smuggled into the Islamic creed? Since in Urdu this little ditty rhymes very effectively, this is the version of religiosity that most children repeat their entire lives. As a result, while they grow up, they psychologically equate Hindus with impurity, with uncleanliness, as not Pakistani, and therefore less than, both Islamically and as citizens.

The only two parties that can begin to bring some change in this arena are the state and the liberal clerics.

Last year Pakistan’s prime minister did greet Hindus during Diwali and a prominent Hindu nationalist leader – who had to quit his party because of his outreach – that was born in Karachi did come back and pay respects to his birth-city.

Cricket diplomacy, which began in 2004, helped a little (but not really, because the focus was on cricket and not on religion). Also, there are a few prominent Hindus here and there – one is a justice of the Supreme Court and one is the leading leg-spinner for the cricket team. Yet, as the Pakistani exile Tarek Fatah points out, Justice Bhagwandas had to take the oath on the Quran. Meanwhile, Kaneria is regularly excluded from the Pakistani cricket team’s congregational Islamic prayer.

As bad as the cultural prejudice is, legal prejudice is the one that must be more urgently dealt with, because it is what allows cultural prejudice to acquire institutional power.

Two laws in particular have been very problematic for the Hindu community.

The first one was promulgated under the 1973 constitution which made Islam the state religion of Pakistan and established a separate electorate for Muslims and non-Muslims so that Hindus could only vote for Hindu candidates. Musharraf abolished this in 2002. I think Muslims who support the idea of Islamic states around the world really need to stop and think about this for a second. It took an American-backed dictator in the year 2002 for a Muslim state to abolish unequal voting? As a wise man once said: are you kidding me? This is a deplorable commentary on the state of equality in today’s Islam.

The second law is the infamous blasphemy law passed under Islamist dictator Zia ul Haq in the 1980s. Designed specifically to punish the Ahmadi minority, the blasphemy law now provides convenient protection to anyone who ever wants to kill, murder, maim, beat up, mug, abduct, or punish any religious minority. All you really have to do is carry out your brutality and then point at the victim and say that he was blasphemous.

This law needs to be repealed immediately: no reform, no fixing, no tweaking, but total abolishment. Efforts to repeal it under Musharraf failed in the Senate. The secular parliament in session now is probably not going to touch it unless it is told to do so by international groups (who frankly aren’t really interested). The UN, EU, US, and International Council of Jurists must make some noise about repealing Pakistan’s heinous blasphemy law.

There are little more than three million Hindus in Pakistan (a nation of 160 million). They are still part of Pakistani life and need to be treated with respect and dignity. According to some sources, at the founding of Pakistan, Hindus comprised nearly 15% of the country’s population and now number barely 2%. Many have left, many have been killed, and many have converted to other religions to protect themselves. All in all, a travesty for a state that was created with the intended purpose of protecting minorities.

book1

Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947 is a book by Sikh author Gurbachan Singh Talib. It was first published in 1950 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and has been reprinted several times.

The book consists of harrowing stories of the Partition of India between the new nations of India and Pakistan. The Partition led to one of the greatest population movements in the 20th century, as Muslims in what would become India, and Hindus and Sikhs in what would become Pakistan, fled across the new borders.

This book details the sufferings of the Hindus and Sikhs who fled their homes in the western Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Sind and parts of Kashmir. An appendix contains numerous press and eyewitness accounts of atrocities committed against the refugees during the Partition.

The book takes a position against Pakistan and the Muslim League, which it accuses of planning the massacres. The author mentions, and argues against, accusations that Sikhs were conspiring to ethnically cleanse Muslims from Eastern Punjab.

Contents

[hide]

Critical reception

It has been reprinted several times and cited in various academic compilations of literature concerning the Partition of India.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the Department of Political Sciences at Stockholm University, has examined the book and reports that many of the incidents related in the text can be independently verified.

In one such incident, Muslim “goondas” (thugs) in Lahore received packets containing “churis” (bangles) and “mehndi” (henna) from some Muslims of Lahore. Ahmed describes this as a “bizzare antic meant to shame them for their unmanliness and cowardice and for being women like (as women wear bangles and apply henna) at not finishing off Hindus and Sikhs”, thereby inciting them into violence against Hindus and Sikhs.[1] This incident has been verified by the British political officer at the scene, a Mr. Eustace.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ ‘Forced Migration and Ethnic Cleansing in Lahore in 1947: Some First Person Acoounts’, in Ian Talbot & Shinder Thandi (eds), People on The Move, Punjabi Colonial, and Post-Colonial Migration, Oxford University Press 2004

External links

 This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

Is Pakistan is the most dangerous country for ever ?

August 11, 2009

untitledpk1 961_p28 pakistan-terrorist-state

Pakistan is the most dangerous country: Report

PTI 22 October 2007, 08:02am IST

NEW YORK: Pakistan, which recently witnessed a series of suicide attacks by pro-Taliban and Al-Qaida militants, is the most dangerous country in the world, and has become a safe haven for terrorists, a media report says.

“Unlike countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, Pakistan has everything Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden could ask for: political instability, a trusted network of radical Islamists, an abundance of angry anti-Western recruits, secluded training areas and security services that don’t always do what they’re supposed to do,” says Newsweek in an investigative report being published in its upcoming issue.

Then there’s the country’s large and growing nuclear programme, it adds ominously.

The conventional story about Pakistan, it says, has been that it is an unstable nuclear power, with distant tribal areas in terrorist hands.

“What is new, and more frightening, is the extent to which Taliban and Al-Qaida elements have now turned much of the country, including some cities, into a base that gives militants more room to manoeuvre, both in Pakistan and beyond,” it adds.

Taliban militants, the magazine reports, now “pretty much come and go” as they please inside Pakistan. Their sick and injured get patched up in private hospitals there.

“Until I return to fight, I’ll feel safe and relaxed here,” Abdul Majadd, a Taliban commander who was badly wounded this summer during a fire fight against British troops in Afghanistan, told Newsweek after he was evacuated to Karachi for emergency care.

Guns and supplies are readily available, and in winter, when fighting dies down in Afghanistan, thousands retire to the country’s thriving madrassas to study the Koran, it says.

Jihadis thrice attacked Pakistan nuclear sites

Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN 11 August 2009, 08:35am IST

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities have already been attacked at least thrice by its home-grown extremists and terrorists in little reported  incidents over the last two years, even as the world remains divided over the safety and security of the nuclear weapons in the troubled country, according to western analysts. ( Watch )

The incidents, tracked by Shaun Gregory, a professor at Bradford University in UK, include an attack on the nuclear missile storage facility at Sargodha on November 1, 2007, an attack on Pakistan’s nuclear airbase at Kamra by a suicide bomber on December 10, 2007, and perhaps most significantly the August 20, 2008 attack when Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers blew up several entry points to one of the armament complexes at the Wah cantonment, considered one of Pakistan’s main nuclear weapons assembly.

These attacks have occurred even as Pakistan has taken several steps to secure and fortify its nuclear weapons against potential attacks, particularly by the United States and India, says Gregory.

In fact, the attacks have received so little attention that Peter Bergen, the eminent terrorism expert who reviewed Gregory’s paper first published in West Point’s Counter Terrorism Center Sentinel, said “he (Gregory) points out something that was news to me (and shouldn’t have been) which is that a series of attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons facilities have already happened.”

Pakistan insists that its nuclear weapons are fully secured and there is no chance of them falling into the hands of the extremists or terrorists.

But Gregory, while detailing the steps Islamabad has taken to protect them against Indian and US attacks, asks if the geographical location of Pakistan’s principle nuclear weapons infrastructure, which is mainly in areas dominated by al-Qaida and Taliban, makes it more vulnerable to internal attacks.

Gregory points out that when Pakistan was developing its nuclear weapons infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s, its principal concern was the risk that India would overrun its nuclear weapons facilities in an armored offensive if the facilities were placed close to the long Pakistan-India border.

As a result, Pakistan, with a few exceptions, chose to locate much of its nuclear weapons infrastructure to the north and west of the country and to the region around Islamabad and Rawalpindi – sites such as Wah, Fatehjang, Golra Sharif, Kahuta, Sihala, Isa Khel Charma, Tarwanah, and Taxila. The concern, however, is that most of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are close to or even within areas dominated by Pakistani Taliban militants and home to al-Qaida.

Detailing the actions taken by Islamabad to safeguard its nuclear assets from external attacks, Gregory writes that Pakistan has established a “robust set of measures to assure the security of its nuclear weapons.” These have been based on copying US practices, procedures and technologies, and comprise: a) physical security; b) personnel reliability programs; c) technical and procedural safeguards; and d) deception and secrecy.

In terms of physical security, Pakistan operates a layered concept of concentric tiers of armed forces personnel to guard nuclear weapons facilities, the use of physical barriers and intrusion detectors to secure nuclear weapons facilities, the physical separation of warhead cores from their detonation components, and the storage of the components in protected underground sites.

With respect to personnel reliability, Gregory says the Pakistan Army conducts a tight selection process drawing almost exclusively on officers from Punjab Province who are considered to have fewer links with religious extremism (now increasingly a questionable premise) or with the Pashtun areas of Pakistan from which groups such as the Pakistani Taliban mainly garner their support.

Pakistan operates an analog to the US Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) that screens individuals for Islamist sympathies, personality problems, drug use, inappropriate external affiliations, and sexual deviancy.

The army uses staff rotation and also operates a “two-person” rule under which no action, decision, or activity involving a nuclear weapon can be undertaken by fewer than two persons. In total, between 8,000 and 10,000 individuals from the SPD’s security division and from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau agencies are involved in the security clearance and monitoring of those with nuclear weapons duties.

Gregory says despite formal command authority structures that cede a role to Pakistan’s civilian leadership, in practice the Pakistan Army has complete control over the country’s nuclear weapons.

It imposes its executive authority over the weapons through the use of an authenticating code system down through the command chains that is deployment sites, aspects of the nuclear command and control arrangements, and many aspects of the arrangements for nuclear safety and security (such as the numbers of those removed under personnel reliability programs, the reasons for their removal, and how often authenticating and enabling (PAL-type) codes are changed).

In addition, Pakistan uses deception – such as dummy missiles – to complicate the calculus of adversaries and is  likely to have extended this practice to its nuclear weapons infrastructure.

Taken together, these measures provide confidence that the Pakistan Army can fully protect its nuclear weapons against the internal terrorist threat, against its main adversary India, and against the suggestion that its nuclear weapons could be either spirited out of the country by a third party (posited to be the United States) or destroyed in the event of a deteriorating situation or a state collapse in Pakistan, says Gregory.

However, at another point, he says “despite these elaborate safeguards, empirical evidence points to a clear set of weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Pakistan’s nuclear safety and security arrangements.”

Baitullah may not be dead, it is a strategy to transfer the power to Hakimullah

August 11, 2009

imageshk

Hakimullah Mehsud calls media, says he is alive

PTI 10 August 2009, 09:20pm IST / Source The Times of India

ISLAMABAD: Two days after reports emerged that he had been killed in a shootout with a rival, Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud contacted the media organisations to say that he was “alive”.

Hakimullah, one of several top Taliban commanders considered as contenders for leading the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan following the reported death of Baitullah Mehsud, telephoned Pakistani and foreign media organisations to deny reports of his death in fighting with rival Wali-ur-Rehman.

Talking to Geo News channel, Hakimullah said no scuffle had occurred between him and Rehman. He said he was “safe, hale and hearty”.

He also claimed that Baitullah was alive despite the contention of the Pakistan and US governments that they are now certain the Taliban chief was killed in a Predator drone attack in South Waziristan on August 5.

Hakimullah said if Interior Minister Rehman Malik could not present any evidence regarding the killing of Baitullah, he would “table proofs to deny the reports regarding his death”.

He said the Pakistani Taliban remained united despite the government’s claims that there was infighting among militant factions.

Baitullah’s death – Good news for Pakistan

imagesbm

Indrani Bagchi  Friday August 07, 2009

The killing of Pakistan Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud by a US drone is the first piece of good news that Pakistan can celebrate, certainly since its been near impossible to capture or kill any high-value terrorist. Mehsud was the biggest obstacle to Pakistan’s campaign in Waziristan. The Pakistan army’s job should be made easier in Waziristan, but only if they can exploit the advantages of Mehsud’s post death confusion. Certainly before either Hakimullah Mehsud or Maulana Azmatullah, both able deputies of Mehsud take over.

In a different way, the death of Mehsud, should be used by the Pakistan government to justify their usage which had created a strange situation in Pakistan.

Third, Pakistan is now an established base for the US carrying out its covert operations in this region. Out of the almost $2 billion that is coming Pakistan’s way in 2009 as “security-related aid” the Pentagon has just added an extra $114 million under section 1206 for training and equipment.

According to Pentagon figures, Pakistan will get $80 million for Mi-17 helicopters, $17 million for counter-terror package for special ops forces, $13 million for ground-based intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capability for counter-terrorism operations and $3 million for helicopter maintenance shelters.

This means Pakistan, despite all the cribbing by its president Asif Ali Zardari about less aid from overseas, will be getting about $5.3 billion in 2009 alone, in security and economic aid from the US. Interestingly, from India’s point of view, the new kinds of aid to Pakistan should not be entirely unwelcome, US is no longer giving Pakistan money that it would have otherwise spent on military equipment against India, but is targeting them for counter-terror operations. On the other hand, as the US shoulders Pakistan’s burden of fighting the Taliban, Pakistan gets to free up that much resources to use against India.

But the US is clearly pitching its tents for a long stay in the Af-Pak region, using Islamabad as its hub. According to reports in Pakistan last week, the US embassy in Islamabad is undergoing a huge makeover — having acquired 18 acres of land in Islamabad, with 1000 more personnel, bringing their strength to almost 1800, supposedly including 350 Marines (later the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson was later quoted as saying that 1000 Marines would be stationed there), 250 housing units as well as hundreds of armoured personnel carriers.

In other words, US diplomatic and military presence in Pakistan is being ramped up significantly, far beyond the call of its relationship with Pakistan.

In the years 2002 to 2009, US gave Pakistan $10.8 billion in military aid and only a paltry $4.4 billion in economic aid.

In the years after 9/11, Pakistan got US defence supplies in plenty, most of them to be used against India, not terrorists.

According to US Pentagon reports, Pakistan bought the following from the US in those years – weapons and military equipment bought with a variety of resources – some, Pakistan’s own money, some US’ foreign military financing, some from what is called excess defense articles, some from a fund known as coalition support funds (CSF) given to Pakistan for fighting terrorists.

Pakistan’s big-ticket conventional military buys include, 18 new F-16C/D Block 50/52 combat aircraft (valued at $1.43 billion; none delivered yet), F-16 armaments including 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; 1,450 2,000-pound bombs; 500 JDAM tail kits for gravity bombs; and 1,600 enhanced pave way laser-guided kits, also used for gravity bombs ($629 million); 100 Harpoon anti-ship missiles ($298 million); 500 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles ($95 million); and six Phalanx close-in naval guns ($80 million).

The Pentagon made $4.89 billion worth foreign military sales (FMS) agreements with Pakistan between 2002 and 2008, although the bulk includes the F-16 sales. The US gave $1.9 billion military financing (FMF) with what they call a “base program” of $300 million a year from 2005-2009 and these have been used to buy US military equipment.

Pakistan bought 8 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and their refurbishment (valued at $474 million); about 5,250 TOW anti-armor missiles ($186 million; 2,007 delivered); more than 5,600 military radio sets ($163 million); six AN/TPS-77 surveillance radars ($100 million); six C-130E transport aircraft and their refurbishment ($76 million); and 20 AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters for an added $65 million.

The Great Pakistani Warrior Ajmal Amir Kasab :: 26/11 Mumbai Connexion with Pakistan

August 11, 2009

images1

Kasab trial at crucial crossroads

Kartikeya, TNN 23 July 2009, 02:53am IST / Source : The Times of India

MUMBAI: For the past three days, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab has confessed to his involvement in the deadly 26/11 attacks that crippled Mumbai back in November and has stuck to his stand that his confession was given voluntarily and “under no pressure”. He has asked for the trial to end and that he be punished. On Wednesday, he went so far as to say that he is ready to be hanged for his crime.

 These sudden and dramatic developments have opened up a host of legal options for special judge M L Tahaliyani. Several legal experts observed that this could be the end of what could otherwise have been a lengthy trial. “The judge should admit the plea of guilt and immediately move to sentencing Kasab. There is no need to waste any more time and money on this trial,” said noted criminal lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani.

If the court accepts Kasab’s guilt on Thursday, legal eagles think the trial could be wrapped up within days if Kasab’s sentencing follows. “We must remember that there are two other co-accused (Fahim Ansari and Sahabuddin Ahmed) in the same trial and their cases will also have to be considered by the judge when he takes any decision on Kasab’s statement,” said criminal lawyer Majeed Memon.

There is a likelihood of separating the two co-accused’s trial from Kasab’s. Or, as Memon pointed out, “The court could also keep Kasab’s verdict aside and proceed with the other two accused.”

Special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam wants another course of events. He wants the court to keep Kasab’s guilty plea on record, but proceed with the trial. He has said that Kasab has made a “half-hearted” statement in which he has left out many details of the overall crime. Nikam wants to fill in those aspects of the conspiracy that have been alleged by the prosecution but not admitted by Kasab. Nikam may also ask Kasab to give a further statement in respect to incidents where all evidence has already been examined by the court. These include the killings at CST, the murder of navigator Amar Singh Solanki and the killing of constable Tukaram Ombale at Marine Drive.

“He has been shrewd enough to pin the blame on other gunmen and portray himself as a minor subordinate in the entire incident,” Nikam said.

Nikam said, if the trial continues, he would not want to prolong it under any circumstances. “I will try to finish it off in a month. I may examine only the most crucial witnesses to save time,” he told TOI.

Another scenario that could develop is linked to the stand taken by Kasab’s lawyer Abbas Kazmi, who has said that the court should “either accept Kasab’s statement or reject it outright”. In other words, no keeping it on record and using it as corroborative evidence. “If the confession is thrown out, it cannot be used against him and the trial will proceed,” Kazmi said.

Memon also pointed out, “According to the legal system, the court can embark on a brief enquiry to ascertain whether Kasab’s confession was voluntary.”

Noted advocate Yug Chaudhary said, “The matter is now solely at the discretion of the judge. He will decide whether to admit the plea of guilt or continue with the trial.”

No kabab for Kasab

 Manas Gupta  Friday August 07, 2009 / Source : The Times of India blog

Mohammed Ajmal Kasab wants to eat mutton biryani. Apparently, he does not like jail food. Maybe it’s too fattening. Well, I’ve got noose er news for you. According to reliable sources, a goat was requisitioned to be served to Kasab but it flatly refused. It (the goat that is) has now filed a PIL seeking a stay on insulting Indian animals by serving them to bloodthirsty terrorists.

This entire trial is now becoming a joke. The man who massacred so many Indians on that fateful day in Mumbai is behaving like a spoilt celebrity, and the world is laughing at us.

Just look at the list of demands the man has made. He wants toothpaste, an Urdu newspaper, perfume and now mutton biryani. Will somebody tell this guy he’s not on an all-expense paid vacation. Toothpaste I can understand, he wants to wash that dirty mouth. But why the perfume? I wonder which girl he’s planning to impress behind bars. As for the newspaper, I say give him one… only roll it up and hit him on the nose with it whenever he throws a tantrum. Believe me, it works. At least it did for my spoilt Pomeranian.

What next? How about an LCD TV, a split AC, a king-sized bed, a Blackberry and a Bentley for transportation to court? If we are treating him like a VVIP and keeping him in a fortress, we might as well go the whole hog. In fact, why not give him an entry to Rakhi’s swayamvar? On second thoughts no, such torture might anger amnesty international.

The other day, he asked for permission to stroll outside his jail cell. A walk on the wild side, eh? I think walking won’t make him very fit. What he needs is to run. I am partial to those contraptions in labs which have mice and hamsters constantly running, spinning the wheel as they do. That would be fun…to watch.

He also wanted someone to tie him a rakhi on Rakshabandhan. Don’t worry dude. We’re readying a large one for you. Only this one goes around your neck. Hasta la vista baby.

Disclaimer: Taking my articles seriously can be injurious to your sense of humour. Please note that this blog is only intended to lampoon people and events. Also, the views published here are entirely my own and not my employer’s.

Take Kasab at his word, hang him

Ravi Rao, Tuesday July 21, 2009 /Source : The Times of India blog

Pakistani hitman Ajmal Amir Kasab has finally admitted in court what the world (at least all of Mumbai) knew. That he and his evil band of brothers landed in aamchi Mumbai with the express purpose of unleashing a mind-numbing, bone-chilling wave of terror; shooting and bombing indiscriminately, mowing down innocent civilians, cops, rich man, poor man and middle class woman in cold blood. I was at work that nightmare, one that stretched close to 60 agonising hours and left hundreds slain or maimed, and lakhs of others psychologically scarred for life. That evening, the TOI newsroom was just coming to terms with a sluggish news flow. The weather outside was fit to cry, almost portending Mumbai’s worst non-natural tragedy. Then the news exploded: a handful of gunmen had terrorised Colaba Causeway, were on their way to Fountain, then CST…. As the live reports of our brave lensmen and reporters brought home the chilling horror, we watched as two stocky figures plodded their way up the bridge on Platform No 1. From our third floor office, the duo—silhouetted against the skylight and framed in the stained glass windows of CST—looked like a couple of overblown circus performers—it would have been funny were it not so terrifying. Here was terror up, close and personal—and it was a nasty sight. Even as the tense hours inched by, our work was proceeding apace with instructions, assignments, advisories (and warnings!) flying across the newsroom, and page dummies being drawn and redrawn countlessly. Fortunately, nine of the Gang of Ten eventually bit the dust, with Kasab becoming the sole major terrorist to be caught alive in the act anywhere in the world. The trial of 26/11 would have joined countless others in the Mumbaikar’s cynical memory — well-meaning but ponderous, weighed down by legal nicety and political nitty-gritty, and hearings without end. While all of Mumbai waited for justice, deliverance seemed to have become a tamasha of our times. Kasab is unwell, Kasab is home-sick, Kasab wants newspapers, Kasab wants chicken, his lawyer wants this, the Pak government wants that…. Now that he has confessed to his crimes against humanity (his own parents must be dying a hundred deaths everyday grieving for the monster son they have brought into this world), it’s time the special judge gets cracking and sees to it that the trial is completed at the earliest. For Pakistan, Kasab may be a mere pawn in the high-stakes world of politics and global diplomacy, but for India, he is the face of living terror. One who has shot down hundreds and thousands of lives and left a gaping hole in the heart of the metropolis. In the backyard of reason, there dwell passion and compassion, squabbling inmates who fight for and against capital punishment as a deterrent in a world civilized and uncivilized by turns. In Kasab’s case, let there be room for no doubt. All the major charges against him merit the maximum penalty. His co-terrorisers may have cheated death (and justice) the wrong way. Kasab musn’t. He’s done it, let him hang for it.