Who sabotaged Krishna?

The Samjhota Express attack holds the key to exposing who is stalling efforts to resolve Kashmir and other disputes between Pakistan and India

Ahmed Quraishi July 24, 2010
This is not the first time that Indian extremists have sabotaged crucial peace talks with Pakistan.

On February 19 2007, one day before Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri landed in New Delhi for peace talks, a bomb exploded aboard the Samjhota Express, or the friendship train launched as a peace gesture. Fifty nine Pakistani visitors heading to India were burned alive. A cynical Indian government blamed the ISI and Kashmiri freedom fighters for the incident but later it turned out that serving Indian military Intelligence officers and members of a Hindu terror group were involved. The Indian officers were arrested for a trial but soon investigations were blocked.

This was the clearest evidence to date proving the existence of a pro-war camp in New Delhi which springs to action whenever anyone within the Indian government decides to discuss Kashmir with Pakistan. It is almost as if there is an undeclared gag on Indian politicians warning them of dire consequences if they dare to try and resolve disputes with Pakistan. Unfortunately, the American and British media and politicians continue to turn a blind eye to the existence of extremists in New Delhi. The same Indian pro-war camp sprung into action on July 15 2010 and the latest victim was Indian’s own foreign minister S. M. Krishna.

Mr. Krishna realizes the bitter truth: His government, or influential elements within it, pulled his leg from under him when he landed in Islamabad for crucial peace talks with Pakistan. The bitter foreign minister has accused his own government’s Interior Secretary G. K. Pillai of sabotaging his visit to Pakistan. He said Pillai “would have been wiser” if he had not made the damaging statement, in a television interview with CNN-IBN on Wednesday. Mr. Pillai, of course, acted on behalf of all the extremists in New Delhi in scuttling the talks.

This political tussle was as intense as a melodramatic Indian movie. As Mr. Krishna’s plane touches down in Islamabad on July 15, 2010, in New Delhi Mr Pillai issued a statement claiming the Pakistani government and ISI were directly involved in the Mumbai attacks. This statement tied Mr. Krishna’s hands and poisoned the expected talks before they even began. Could anything be more dramatic?

Krishna told CNN-IBN’s Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesi that the Indian home secretary was almost responsible for destroying talks with Pakistan. Krishna said:
“Well, in hindsight, I think Pillai could have waited till I came back to issue a statement. Perhaps it would have been wiser if that statement had not been made just on the eve of my visit.”

But the real question, one that Mr. Krishna has avoided discussing in public (possibly because it was damaging to India) is this: Who within the Indian government planned the sabotage of talks with Pakistan?

Someone brave in the Indian media will have to step up and expose the pro-war camp within the Indian government, military, intelligence and Hindu extremist and terror groups. This camp is violently opposed to peace in Pakistan and Kashmir. Pakistani government officials, the military, and local civil society have to step up and draw the world’s attention to the terrorists in New Delhi who burned 59 Pakistanis alive just one day before the Pakistani foreign minister landed in New Delhi on February 19. It is not the Mumbai attacks of 2008 but the Samjhota Express attack of 2007 that holds the key to exposing who is stalling efforts to resolve Kashmir and other disputes between Pakistan and India.
Ahmed Quraishi The author is a journalist and a public policy professional, with government & private sector experience across Pakistan and the Middle East. He tweets @Office_AQPk (https://twitter.com/Office_AQPk)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.