October 1, 2006Foreign AffairsSecurity

Finding fault with the Mumbai Police

It is naive to expect that exemplary standards of evidence will convince the Pakistani government to admit its own involvement

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Commenting on how the outcome of the Mumbai Police department’s investigations into the July 11 train bombings should embarass the supporters of the India-Pakistan joint mechanism” to fight terrorism, The Acorn wrote:

But you’ll never know, Dr Manmohan Singh’s spin doctors may now question Mumbai Police’s professionalism.

In today’s editorial, the Indian Express argues that India must improve its own act’:

One way for the police and diplomats in India to understand the importance of surefooted detective work would be to look at some of the court observations in terrorism cases. The 7/11 investigation breakthrough comes at a time of verdicts for the 1993 Mumbai blast case and the Parliament attack case. While finding terrorists guilty, judges have had things to say about shoddy and dodgy police procedure. Think about it this way: if police methods improve, India will gain whether or not Pakistan learns to accept facts. [IE]

There is certainly a case for improving the way India’s police forces work, just like there is a case for improving the way India’s water is supplied, buses are run, laws are made or for that matter, the way newspaper editorials are written. But asking Mumbai police to improve their methods” just after they have successfully cracked a very challenging case is not merely callous. It has sour grapes written all over it.

It is the Indian Express that totally misunderstands the role of evidence in the context of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Evidence is meaningful only when one desires to convince a neutral judge, it is not at all meaningful if one desires to convince the guilty party. Therefore calling for watertight” evidence (or questioning the validity of confessions extracted under narco-analysis) may be reasonable in an ordinary trial. It is completely irrelevant in the context of India attempting to convince the Pakistani government of ISIs involvement. The only way India can make its evidence credible—both to Pakistan and to the presumably more neutral international community—is by acting on it. In other words, unless India acts according to what the evidence suggests, the evidence itself will not be seen as credible.

That begs the question: what should India do now that it has found official Pakistani culpability? The official Indian response seems to be to put the evidence on Pakistan’s table and hold it to its word. That’s asking Pakistan to choose between the joint mechanism” and the ISI.

Update: In its editorial, Hindustan Times, another supporter of the Havana appeasement, writes:

Bet (sic), the ATS is yet to effectively link the conspiracy to the Pakistan government and its agencies —notably the Pakistan army’s notorious ISI. [HT]

Sounds reasonable enough? Not until you ask yourself how Indian security officials can effectively link” prove the ISIs hand without compromising intelligence sources.

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