Ritesh K Srivastava
Almost a decade after America suffered its deadliest terrorist attack sponsored by al Qaeda, which claimed the lives of thousands of its citizens and forced the world’s most powerful nation to take unprecedented steps in mainland security, the US has finally taken revenge by eliminating Osama bin Laden.
Laden’s killing brings to fruit years of relentless counter-terrorism operations launched by the US and its allies aimed at bringing to justice the man, who is reviled in the West as the personification of evil and a mass murderer of innocent civilians.
The killing of al Qaeda founder is undoubtedly “a momentous occasion”, for the Americans, who were often criticised for waging a war against Muslims in the name of eliminating terrorism, and more importantly for the whole world, as terrorism today threatens global peace.
The development holds good for the US President, Barack Obama, who despite promising to change the lives of Americans during his election campaign, had been struggling to bring the recession-hit national economy back on track and rebuilding ties with the Muslim world.
Osama, whose Islamist ‘holy war’, made him a household name after the September 11 attacks in the US and gave him a cult status, changed the course of history forcing the US and its allies to rewrite their security doctrines.
He is the same man who had issued a fatwa in 1998—a religious edict—on behalf of the World Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, stating that killing Americans and their allies was Muslim duty.
So it’s quite obvious why the Americans and the people world over have erupted in joyous celebration following the death of Osama bin Laden- the man, who they have hated as a mass murder of a thousands of innocent civilians.
The sympathizers of Laden or those who hailed him or revered him as the champion of oppressed Muslims fighting injustice and humiliation, celebrated when the United States was put through its most difficult times after al Qaeda challenged its sovereignty in 2001. However, now ten years later, it is the turn of Americans and all the victims of terrorism to celebrate Laden’s death and feel proud of what the US has accomplished.
Though, the US managed to eliminate this dreaded terrorist after a decade-long seek and destroy mission, probably the world’s largest and longest manhunt ever, justice has surely been done to all those who lost their lives, who suffered because of Laden’s unmindful and hatred-filled campaign against world’s oldest democracy.
In all probability, bin Laden’s killing marks the most significant achievement to date in America’s effort to defeat al Qaeda and with this, it has reaffirmed its unmistakable message that it will not compromise with the security of its nationals and any threat to its sovereignty.
However, the development has left everyone with a pertinent question - what would be the likely fallout of Laden’s killing? Whether it would lead to a safer world? Whether it would enable the US to further weaken al Qaeda’s global terror network and disintegrate it from the Taliban?
It is yet to be seen whether Laden’s killing would turn out to be a turning point in US-Pak counter-terrorism partnership and whether US will now act tough against Pakistan given the fact that Osama was provided a safe haven in Pakistan.
The development also holds significance for New Delhi, which has always raised doubts over Islamabad’s commitment to fighting terrorism. Osama’s confirmed presence and killing in the backyard of capital Islamabad vindicates India’s stand that Pakistan remains the epicentre of terrorism.
However, the question still remains unanswered as to when will we get the heads of those who masterminded the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai? When will India punish the hijackers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, which finally saw the dreaded militant Maulana Masood Azhar slipping out of India’s hands? When will the founders of several banned terrorist organizations including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, SIMI etc be brought to justice.
Osama’s death is a pointer to the fact the establishment in Pakistan is involved in a dual game – on one hand it claims to be acting as a committed partner to the US in its war against terror, and on the other, it has been remote controlling terror activities and shielding militant groups operating openly on its soil.
All this lends credence to India’s repeated claims that the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attack, including the controllers and handlers of the terrorists who actually carried out the attack, continue to hide in Pakistan.
So, is it not high time for the world, especially the United States to realise that Pakistan has not fulfilled its commitment on fighting terrorism and has in fact cheated all in the pretext of diplomacy.
The government of India must not miss out on this opportunity and must mobilize support of international community in pressurising Pakistan to arrest those suspected to be behind Mumbai terror attacks.
India must use diplomatic channels to build pressure on Islamabad to take action against the Jihadi groups involved in anti-India activities and provide voice samples of those suspected to be among the controllers and handlers of the 26/11 terrorists.
The killing of one Osama bin Laden will not end the global war on terrorism and it is beyond doubt that al Qaeda will get demoralised and will not avenge the death of their supreme leader, so the governments world over now need to be more vigilant and active on counter-terrorism efforts.
We must also ensure that the international community does not let down its united effort to overcome terrorism and eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that have been provided to terrorists in our own neighbourhood. The struggle to defeat religious fanaticism must continue unabated.