By Jawed Naqvi
Inaugurating an international conclave that will be addressed on Saturday by former president Gen Pervez Musharraf, Mr Mukherjee urged international action in this regard. Home Minister P. Chidambaram, speaking in Mumbai, however, said India was not immune to the contamination. A group called Indian Mujahideen was an example of this emerging homegrown threat.
Saying that terrorism was a major challenge before the world, Mr Mukherjee was relieved that ‘the world at large is slowly but surely moving in the direction of reaching the threshold of zero tolerance of terrorism. States that have used terror as an instrument of state policy should be left with no choice but to dismantle their infrastructure of terrorism and actively cooperate with the international community to eliminate this scourge,’ he said.
‘As this week’s reprehensible attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore shows, government’s lack of will or capability in tackling this menace becomes a major hindrance in the smooth process of change,’ Mr Mukherjee said. ‘This threat needs the efforts of the international community at large to ensure that it is eliminated on an urgent basis. Otherwise, no part of the world would remain immune to the flames being ignited there. These developments are most disturbing for every right thinking person in the world and, without doubt, for us Indians.’
Press Trust of India quoted Mr Chidambaram as saying he was not sure who was in charge in Pakistan today. ‘It is not a failed state, but it is threatening to become one,’ he told a seminar in Mumbai.
‘A great concern is weighing on our minds. In Pakistan, with regret, I would say we don't know who is in control there. Whether it is the Army or the President or the government... We are in a difficult situation but we are a vibrant democracy,’ he said.
Noting that a large part of Pakistan is being controlled by the Taliban, Mr Chidambaram said, the ‘fire’ has already spilled over to India in the form of extremist organisations like the Indian Mujahideen.
Gen Musharraf arrived quietly after a gap of nearly four years. It has been described as strictly a private visit, which includes a day at the Aligarh Muslim University, some 80 miles east of Delhi.
Before he left Islamabad for New Delhi, Gen Musharraf underlined the need for the two countries to adopt a ‘new path of peace and harmony’ to confront the common threat of terrorism and extremism.
‘We are facing terrorism and extremism as a common threat to the whole world, the region, Pakistan and India. That is what we need to discuss and find solutions (and work) towards a resolution,’ he told reporters at the Islamabad airport.
He was unstinting in his criticism of the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore Tuesday. The whole of Pakistan is ‘ashamed’ that the Sri Lankan cricket team came under a terrorist attack on its soil, he said.
The former president also underscored the need for more interaction between India and Pakistan so that they can move beyond a cold war like situation.
‘I think the situation demands that we interact with each other. So that way, I think my visit is very appropriate,’ he said. The two countries ‘should forget the past and move towards the future’, he said.Gen Musharraf said the two countries had been ‘making progress on the Kashmir issue’ and working for the resolution of all problems during his tenure as president. ‘We should begin from that again and take things forward.’