A hollow vow

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has taken upon himself the onerous task of easing tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai disaster. Why is he so keen to prevent a conflagration in that part of the world? Only the naïve will think his concern stems from altruism and any love for either India or Pakistan.

An Indo-Pakistan war is a frightening proposition for the US-led allies stuck in the Afghan imbroglio, as in such an eventuality Pakistan will be compelled to pull out its troops at present engaged in war against Al Qaeda, and the western nations will have to pour in their own men to fill the vacuum.

However, some of the observations Prime Minister Brown made of terrorism during his recent tour of India and Pakistan are of import. He is reported to have backed India's accusation that Pakistan-based Laskhar-e Taiba (LeT) was responsible for the savage attacks in Mumbai. He has also said Britain would give 'every help to efforts to tackle terrorism' and condemned 'unacceptable messages that are sent out by extremist terrorist groups that are perversions of very good religions and faiths."

"It is important to recognise that," PM Brown told the media in New Delhi yesterday, "wherever there is terrorism, it has to be fought. Wherever there is terrorism it affects the stability and cohesion of countries." One could not agree with him more. Nay, he is preaching to the choir! But, sadly, the choral members are convinced that their tub-thumping preacher is given to hypocrisy.

Does what PM Brown is telling the world really underpin the British policy towards terrorism? No! It was only last Friday that British High Commissioner to India Sir Richard Stagg thought it fit to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, a notorious backer of Sri Lanka's terrorists, to discuss, inter alia, 'the issues related to Sri Lankan Tamils and the security situation in Sri Lanka'. Why should a top level British diplomat ever discuss Sri Lanka's internal affairs with an Indian politician sponsoring the LTTE, which is responsible for far worse crimes than the LeT?

If Britain thinks the supporters of the LTTE terrorists like Karunanidhi have a right to speak for the Sri Lankan Tamils, then how on earth can it deny the same right to LeT and its backers who claim to speak for the Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Sauce for the goose …! It was Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh who told Lok Sabha on Thursday, "There is no cause that justifies the massacre and killing of innocent people." Does Britain think the LTTE's macabre cause is different from that of the LeT and therefore justifies brutal terrorism it unleashes against civilians?

PM Brown has said 'wherever there is terrorism it has to be fought'. Never mind other places, Mr. Prime Minister! You cannot be unaware that London is a haven for terrorists of all hues. The LTTE, which is responsible for killing a Sri Lanka President and dozens of political leaders, making an attempt on another incumbent president's life, massacring and maiming thousands of civilians including children is operating in Britain openly, ably assisted by some British lawmakers. The late Anton Balasingham, who coordinated the LTTE operations from London, was a British citizen. The LTTE activists are raising funds in Britain, in spite of a ban, to perpetuate bloodletting in Sri Lanka.

Shouldn't Prime Minister Brown put his house in order first of all?

One's gorge naturally rises when one is treated to world leaders' grand anti-terror pronouncements reeking of hypocrisy and duplicity. They only ring as hollow as a fille de joie's vow of chastity!

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