Friday marked the second anniversary of the brutal terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Yet again, India's policymakers have enjoined Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the heinous attacks to justice. But, to put it bluntly, these ritualistic demands serve no useful purpose whatsoever. There’s enough circumstantial evidence in the public domain to strongly suggest that the Pakistani security establishment either directly aided or, at a bare minimum, was tacitly complicit in these attacks. Consequently, they simply can’t afford to cooperate with India in any worthwhile or meaningful investigation.
Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed, the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group implicated in the attack, continues to bask in the winter sun in his compound in Muridke outside Lahore. Worse still, he remains at complete liberty to spew his venom about India at will while the civilian regime continues to insist that it lacks evidence to prosecute him of any crime, let alone involvement with terror.
Despite their stated helplessness on the question of reining in Sayeed, some of Pakistan's civilian policymakers have made occasional public nods about their interest in bringing the marauders and their masterminds to justice. However, it’s far from clear that they possess the requisite will or capacity to do so.
Though Pakistan has a legitimately elected regime in power, the military establishment remains primus inter pares and controls the key levers of policy. As long as the distribution of power within the country remains so skewed, India's persistent and routine demands to bring the terrorists to book will remain a futile endeavour.