The ridiculous routine of asking for evidence

…shouldn’t be taken seriously anymore

It is about time the Pakistani government—as indeed some of the country’s more enlightened newspaper editors—stopped this ridiculous business of asking for evidence and promising legal action. These demands may be a fig leaf to cover their own impotence against their military establishment, but they only have the effect of reinforcing the impression that the language of diplomacy is merely a frivolous sideshow when it comes to engaging Pakistan.

So if the good people of Pakistan want to begin to prove that their demand for ‘proper’ evidence is driven by bona fide concerns, here’s what they should do: extradite to India Dawood Ibrahim (a.k.a Sheikh, Dawood Hasan) against whom there is an outstanding Interpol red corner notice. It might even be in line with the late Benazir Bhutto’s promises.

If President Zardari and his government wish to be seen as credible interlocutors then it is about time they dispensed with this routine. If it fails to act forcefully against terrorists of various stripes that operate out of Pakistan, then it must be prepared to cede authority to an international coalition that will.

Related Posts: How evidence becomes credible.

14 thoughts on “The ridiculous routine of asking for evidence”

  1. These demands may be a fig leaf to cover their own impotence…

    Or possibly connivance?

    Speaking of evidence, how do we know that these acts are committed without the approval (or at least prior knowledge) of the civilian government?

    Asking for evidence is a standard ploy to put Indians on the defensive. To build a legally compelling case, Indian law enforcement agencies need access to key evidence inside Pakistan, which they do not have.

    It is therefore easy to trash pretty much any piece of evidence they present – telephonic intercepts, confessions/statements from those arrested, etc. – on the grounds that it has been cooked up or as being insufficient.

    It always beats me – if someone within the country (eg. famous actors or politicians) can get away so easily by trashing evidence of crimes committed locally, how can we expect a sovereign nation to hand us over, who are after all, its covert operatives?

  2. It’s absolutely farcical to consider Pakistan’s demand for proof. Look at the 1965 Indo-Pak War — did we bother to submit proof of Operation Gibraltar? No, we attacked them across the border. Neither did we give them the opportunity to ask us for evidence of this or that, nor did we wait around for them to ask. We made the accusation of their attack upon us, and we simultaneously responded by counter-attacking them.

    Obviously this was when Pakistan had no nuclear weapons to deter us against attacking them. And therefore it bears scrutiny as to why we just sat there and allowed them to get nuclear weapons in the first place, not understanding that they would then use those nukes as a shield from behind which to strike at us.

    Our own myopia has loudly advertised itself to the world, who consider us a laughingstock – an object of pity, if not outright derision.

    So the ignominy and burden of ‘proof’ that we have to endure today is the result of what our deep ostrich-reflexes of apathy and complacency have earned us. These are the wages of our sins.

  3. So far, this routine of asking for evidence seems to have worked well for Pakistani leaders. Indians are unlikely to display clinching intelligence to their Pakistani interlocutors in the fear of revealing sources etc. Knowing this, Pakistani politicians ask for evidence and basically make the Indians look like liars at least in the eyes of the Pakistani public and the Indian candle kissing crowd.

    Agreed, this ploy may not work within diplomatic circles but may serve as a rallying point intended for public consumption. Makes the Pakistani gov. look more credible, honorable and all that. Also LeT and JeM walked away practically scott-free from the last crisis.

    On a different note, JS , after the winding up of Op Parakram, told Steve Coll, “Hereafter, I really will never ask the United States for anything as far as Pakistan is concerned.” And during a crisis, he added, “obviously now I won’t even send messages” through the United States to Pakistan. One wonders if this lesson was a correct one and if so, learnt by the MEA and applied this time around. From the outside it doesn’t seem like it and I suspect it has something to do with the current Pakistani non-response.

  4. When you stoop to having to provide evidence to your enemies, then you open yourself to their rejection of what you have provided.

    Meanwhile, I notice that the Atlanticist NYT seems to be walking a tightrope by reporting that ISI is linked to LeT, but not necessarily to this particular LeT attack:

    If it had been just Indians killed, as in the previous Mumbai train-bombing attack, I’m sure the NYT would have had no qualms about dismissing the Pakistani role. However, due to the significant number of western casualties, they may be under a little more pressure to own up to the truth.

  5. Also interesting is to analyze how this time the the situation is different for both India and Pakistan ; geopolitically, militarily and in terms of domestic political conditions. Perhaps a suggestion for a post for the INI contributors.

  6. A good article from Swati Parashar:


    “Our Prime Minister does not tire of telling us that his government is waiting for an effective ‘international response’ to the Mumbai terror attack. All the Prime Minister is interested in, is making a cheap spectacle of our tragedy. We are relying on the international community which in turn is guided by individual national interests of the constituent nation-states. The Indian Government looks for sympathy; therefore, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gatecrashes into a grieving India and lulls this country into inaction instead of joining hands in giving a fitting reply to the state that sponsors such heinous acts. The Secretary of State achieves her only objective of sabotaging India’s strong response, in order to protect US geopolitical interests in the region. There are about 34,000 US troops (around 64,000 foreign forces) in Afghanistan fighting the ‘war on terror’. Pakistani armed forces supposedly provide security to the trucks carrying food, clothes, equipments etc into Afghanistan for these foreign forces. India’s response to the Mumbai carnage is held hostage to the supplies and logistics for the foreign troops in Afghanistan. It seems that the primary objective of the Pakistani forces fighting on their western frontiers is not to fight the Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists but to ensure the logistic supply route to Afghanistan. (The Taliban leaders have expressed their willingness to fight alongside the Pakistani army should India take military action against Pakistan; so much for the ‘war on terror’!) The moot point is, will the US ever allow their ‘traffic police’ to be distracted by any thing else at this juncture?”

  7. Evidence or not, our guys seem to be a bit more serious now, based on the press statement that Mukherjee gave in response to the hoax call – we just don’t talk like that. I am not sure what the turning point would be to say to US: you had your chance, we’ll go our way. One can’t wait too long like Sri Vajpayee did in 2002. One hopes it’s sooner than later. One hopes things are already in motion to provide “physical” evidence and justice at the same time.

  8. This whole charade is tiresome. The Pakensteins are doing what they do. And our cojone-less babus and netas are doing what they do – mewling around instead of acting and be seen to be acting. Now it’s time for us to do what we do – and boot these eunuchs out of power.

  9. The Kagan proposal sounds right in temporarily shutting off the loud growth of terrorism on the soils of Pak. however it is not a comprehensive solution.

    Muslims in the world should form a body that defines clearly the message of peace in Quran – deny the call for violence – from its texts – [ ~~ jihad] and propagate this message – in all states – specifically those sponsoring the terrorism in the name of Islam.

    Until the above is not – done – the poor and courageous Muslim people anywhere in the world – would be instruments of wrong ideology being pursued by those with affluence.

  10. Here’s an interesting piece from CSM:


    Regarding Myra MacDonald, she writes like she’s in Pakistan’s hip-pocket.
    I remember debating her on her blog once, when she claimed that Muslims have been fearing BJP for several decades. When I told her that BJP didn’t exist before 1982, and that it had only held a few seats until about 1989, she became irritated and said I was distracting from her points. She’s an absolute idiot.

  11. I agree. First extradite Dawood, then ask for ‘evidence’. We have always been shouting hoarse for Pakistan to step up to the plate and eradicate its fundamentalist elements. If they don’t do it, an international coalition should. In the end it would still be best if the Pakistanis do it, but first they should acknowledge how many of them still at least tacitly support this kind of terrorism. And given that the line of command starting down from Zardari is fractured and corrupted, we may have to wait till eternity before substantial action is actually taken. Again, it’s only the Muslims who can reform Islam from within. But if they are not going to, we will have to undertake the second-best remedy.

  12. Even if said evidence is provided, how do we know Pak won’t try these dumbags in their own stellarly credible courts?

    Extraditing any Pak terrorist to Indian justice will pull the bottom out of the legitimacy of the state and state institutions (including the Army) in Pakistan. This was the premise (protection from the evil kafir) on which the state of Pak was founded, remember?

    Also, the burning of upto 260 NATO vehicles in peshawar this week is an interesting pointer to the eyeball contest on within and between the Pak -US ‘alliance’. No way this happened without the Pak Army’s nod.

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