Mumbai Unites Pakistanis
By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent
ISLAMABAD — Indian accusations of a Pakistani involvement in last week's Mumbai attacks and threats of troops build-up on the borders are uniting all political and religious parties, even Taliban tribesmen, against a possible threat from arch rival India
"We will not leave the government alone at this critical juncture," Qazi Hussein Ahmad, leader of Jammat-e-Islami, Pakistan's largest Islamic party, told IslamOnline.net.
"India must not have this wishful thinking that the Pakistani nation stands divided. The nation stands fully united and is ready to thwart any outside aggression."
India on Monday formally accused "elements" in Pakistan of being behind the 60-hour attacks, which left at least 172 dead and 300 wounded, and demanded "strong action" from Islamabad.
Officials claim their investigations had shown that all the attackers were Pakistani nationals.
Pakistan has denied any link to the attacks and President Asif Ali Zardari has urged New Delhi not to "over-react."
"This is not a time where we are supposed to score political mileage," Siddique-ul-Farooq, a spokesman for the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (N) of former premier Nawaz Sharif, told IOL.
"This is a testing time not only for the government and the armed forces but for the whole nation, and the PML-N will stand alongside them."
PML-N sources said Sharif personally contacted Zardari and Premier Yousef Raza Gilani to offer his full cooperation.
"He has not conveyed his verbal support only. But he is busy in backdoor diplomacy and using all his contacts with the world leaders in a bid to stem pressure on Pakistani government," a senior PML-N leader told IOL.
He added that Sharif, a former two-time premier, has contacted the leaders of China, Saudi Arabia and Iran to seek their help in easing tension between India and Pakistan.
The nuclear-armed neighbors have fought three wars since their 1947 independence and came on the brink of a fourth over a 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament.
Even the pro-Taliban tribesmen, who have been fighting Pakistani forces in the tribal belt for the past four years, offered unconditional support to the government in case of any Indian aggression.
"Whatever our differences are with the government, there is no second opinion on the sovereignty and defense of the country," Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Swat, told IOL by telephone.
"We offer our unconditional support to the government at this hour of need."
The spokesman described Taliban leaders Baitullah Mehsud and Maulvi Fazalullah as "patriotic" Pakistanis.
"They have no differences with Pakistan but with the government and the army," suggested Khan.
"We offer the government to hand over the western borders to us and deploy the army of eastern borders to defend any Indian invasion.
"We assure them that we are fully capable of defending the western borders, and India knows that very well."
Pakistani security officials have threatened that the country would be forced to relocate its 100,000, now fighting militants in the tribal area, to the borders with India if case of any military escalation.
Intelligence sources confirmed that the main militant groups in South Waziristan have contacted the government after the Mumbai attacks offering a ceasefire if the army halted operations in their areas.
"We have no big issues with the militants in FATA (federally administered tribal areas)," a top security official told reporters on Saturday.
"We have only some misunderstandings with Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah. These misunderstandings could be removed through dialogue."
Lawmakers are urging the government to halt its military operations in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
"Our appeal to the government is to halt military operations in tribal belt and pay attention towards eastern borders," Akhunzada Chattan, a parliamentarian from Bajur, told IOL.
"Ten hundred thousands tribesmen will defend the western borders voluntarily."
Akhunzada thinks that differences within different segments of society at this stage will only benefit the "enemy".
"India has no nerve to invade Pakistan unless the Pakistani nation is divided," he contends.
"Therefore, it is high time to halt military operations in the tribal areas and send a clear-cut message to India and its allies that they have to face a united Pakistan in case of any misadventure."
Defense and security analysts believe the government and army are seriously considering the militants' ceasefire offer.
"The Indian allegations against Pakistan have suddenly forced the military establishment to finally accept that they are not fighting an American war inside the Pakistani territory," Hamid Mir, a defense and security analyst, told IOL."Thanks to India. It has got us untied."
India demands Pakistan hand over terror suspects
The latest attacks in India are reminiscent of the 9/11 World Trade Center conspiracy: thought out, planned and carried out by the enemies of Islaam to be blamed on Muslims.
The claim that there was a surviving attacker is clear indication that India and/or Zionist American and Israeli operatives are behind the plot. Having a living "planted" witness is the most convincing way to pin the attack on Muslims and in particular on Pakistan.
Why would any Muslim resistance group carry out such futile attacks? What gain is there for Muslims or Islaam?
Pakistan must not pay heed to India's accusations and especially to India's demand to hand over Muslims named as suspect by India or Western governments or the Zionist Western media.