Another BLOW for India in its bid to get Dawood
Underworld don and 1993 Mumbai blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim is too precious for Pakistan to let go. And the recent statement by former US ambassador Robert Blackwill further dampens India's efforts to get Islamabad to hand him over, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
Getting its hand on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim seems like a dream for India. Ever since the don got out of India after the 1993 Mumbai blasts, India has made several attempts to get him back to the country, but all attempts have gone down the drain. India had a hope in the United States of America to get this man down.
Despite the US declaring him as an international terrorist, even they have failed to bring him to justice. To make matters worse, came a statement from former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill.
Replying to a query on Dawood and also Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar, he went on to say on Thursday that the US did not have the leverage to tell Pakistan to hand over these two men. He justified this by saying that this is probably to do with the fact that the US has lesser influence on Pakistan today and the relations between the two countries have gone from bad to worse since the 9/11 strikes.
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Image: Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim
Dawood an easy source of funds for Pak
Indian agencies, however, beg to differ on this point made by the former ambassador. Handing over Mullah Omar would lead to the worst possible backlash and they are just not prepared to let go of Dawood.
This statement comes as a dampener for India in particular since Dawood is the answer to many unsolved mysteries. For Pakistan, he continues to be the primary funder of all terror activities (targeting many countries including India) and has continued to generate an easy source of funds over the years.
Indian agencies also point out that when it comes to people like Dawood, Pakistan would go to any extent to shield him. There are unseen treaties between Pakistan and other nations where this man is concerned as he continues to be their most important person.
All these years Pakistan did its bit to protect Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, and once his utility got over, they literally handed him over to the US.
Image: Pakistan would go to any extent to shield persons like Dawood
Pakistan cannot afford to lose Mullah Omar either
According to reports in the Intelligence Bureau in India, Pakistan would continue to give up less important persons to the US, especially when the heat on some other important persons raises.
Currently for Pakistan, men like Dawood Ibrahim, Mullah Omar and also Harkat-ul-Jihadi Islami chief Ilyas Kashmiri hold a great deal of importance and they would do anything possible to shield them.
Mullah Omar remains an iconic figure in the Taliban and he continues to hold some ground. In the case of this man, it is more important that he is kept alive since his death or arrest would lead to an extremely unruly Taliban which Pakistan cannot afford today.
Moreover, the Inter Services Intelligence in particular has been having a tough time in keeping terror groups united after they complained of betrayal following the death of bin Laden.
Image: Mullah Omar
Kashmiri, another valuable asset for Pak
In the case of Ilyas Kashmiri, Pakistan continues to realise his potential of being one of the fiercest terrorists. Moreover, Kashmiri is being pitted as the natural successor to Osama bin Laden in the Al Qaeda. They do not need a chief strategist in the Al Qaeda at the moment.
Kashmiri also holds the key to training programmes as he is considered to be one of the best in the business offering training not only to the Al Qaeda but also the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.
Image: Ilyas Kashmiri
Dawood, Pak's best bet to unleash terror in India
However, the biggest problem that Pakistan would face if they hand over Dawood or even facilitate his killing by US forces would be the fact that he is probably one of the biggest drug racketeers in the world today.
Not only is Dawood bringing in the cash, but continues to create safe routes for terror operations. In addition to this, he is Pakistan's best bet to conduct any operation in India since he is extremely familiar with the terrain.
Apart from this he continues to have the best network on Indian soil and this helps terror groups lay the ground work for any attack to be carried out. He not only controls the drug trade but also has a large role to play in the fake currency racket, apart from setting up proper routes between India and Nepal.
Going by all this, he is too precious for the Pakistani establishment to lose, as his utility for them continues to remain at its peak.
Image: File picture of a damaged building in the 1993 Mumbai blasts
Photographs: Rediff archives