From ABC News’ Nick Schifrin in Islamabad, Pakistan:
Lots of mudslinging in the subcontinent today. In some of his harshest comments to date, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today accused Pakistani "agencies" of attacking Mumbai, stopping just short of accusing the state of sponsoring the attack:
"There is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack, it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan," he said.
The Pakistanis are having a field day in response. The foreign ministry released 12 paragraphs of vitriol this afternoon. A few nuggets for your reading pleasure, including some alliteration and trips to the thesaurus.
"It will not only ratchet up tensions but occlude facts and destroy all prospects of serious and objective investigations into the Mumbai attacks. This approach is fraught with grave risks and will further vitiate the situation in South Asia…Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. This pernicious phenomenon is regionally pervasive. Pakistan has suffered more terror attacks than India. But we have not lost our equanimity…Pakistan is not a state sponsor of terrorism. Our civilian and armed forces causalities over the past year in terror attacks and in countering terrorism have been far more than that of India. The history and genesis of terrorism is well-known and need no repetition. Many South Asian states have been victims of all kinds and manifestations of terrorism…The Government of Pakistan expects the Government of India to demonstrate restraint and responsibility. The policy of casting accusations without uncovering full facts and even while the investigations are still continuing is irresponsible. Vilifying Pakistan or for that matter any of its state institutions on this score is unwarranted and unacceptable. This is a sure way to close avenues of cooperation in combating this menace."
Of course, the more we talk about India and Pakistani rhetoric, the less we’re talking about the origin of groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, accused of orchestrating the Mumbai attacks. Lashkar was created in the late 1980s by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, better known as the ISI, to fight against India. And parts of the ISI are still linked with the group today.
As Ashmed Rashid, the Pakistani author of, among other books, "Descent into Chaos" recently told me: "The military wants to take a tougher line against India and they also want to preserve some of these jihadi groups. They don’t want to see these people being shut down completely. They’ve invested in them for many, many years because these jihadi groups have been on the front line in Kashmir in India on behalf of the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies. So there is a great reluctance to give up on these guys."