It’s a marquee Monday in the history of India’s fight against terrorism. David Headley, the Pakistani-American LeT operative kicks off his deposition before a Mumbai court today through video conference. This is the first time ever that a high profile terrorist like Headley will be prosecuted in the court via video conferencing. However in this context it needs to be remembered that in any case this deposition more of optics than achieving any specific purpose.
Though Headley played a key role in facilitating the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks has already been pardoned after he plead that that he would be revealing every detail about his Pakistani handlers, the primary ISI officials who were involved, the LeT operational commander, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and also crucial details of LeT chief Hafeez Mohammed Saeed and his role in the ghastly attack. Though Headley’s deposition is mainly aimed at nailing Pakistan and highlighting its role in the Mumbai attacks on the global forum, it needs to be seen just how much of a difference it makes on the ground level and helps altering our neighbour’s approach.
If the recent terror attacks on our Western front is any indication, any perceptible change or constructive measures seems almost like a far cry. Neither has the United States or Pakistan for that matter given any type of indication that Headley’s deposition will bring about an alteration in the course followed by them thus far. Many experts have even gone on to call it as a ‘legal illusion’. Infact the experts also seem to indicate that any roll back in Pakistan’s policies after Headley’s deposition and its use as evidence is extremely unlikely. In fact the dis-proportionate amount of optimism surrounding this video conference is quite worrying.
Infact if we track the US role to it, just before the deadly attacks on November 26, 2008, US merely supplied vague details and refrained from any specifics to ensure Headley’s cover was not blown out. Even till date, Indian intelligence have not been given direct access for interrogating him directly.
While the verbal evidence provided by Headley could highlight the complexity of Pakistani involvement in the whole crime, the US role could still remain under wraps. Perhaps Headley knows it best how the day’s going to end and who would have the last laugh.