Editorial : Acting in haste - Monday 4th April 2011

THE folly of haste appeared to be on full display the other day when the Maldives authorities released, for want of evidence, a man branded as a terrorist by both Islamabad and Interpol. A plot to attack cricket World Cup matches had been foiled, we were told by the interior minister, in a tone that bordered on the grandiose. The Interpol secretary general seemed equally confident that his organisation, in conjunction with intelligence shared by Pakistan, had got its man. The Maldives courts believed otherwise though and with the benefit of hindsight it seems that both Interpol and Pakistan’s interior ministry sensationalised an issue that would have been more prudently investigated behind the scenes. Panic was created, on grounds that can clearly be questioned now, and in the end there was little or no material gain from issuing statements that were bound to come under the media spotlight. Headlines were made, true, but to what effect?
Terror plots must be foiled, and that end can obviously best be achieved before militants bent on mayhem actually arrive on the scene. Their activities need to be tracked and that requires improved intelligence-gathering. Equally important in this respect is intelligence-sharing, be it with Interpol, the CIA or any other foreign agency. The common goal is clear: only by working together can we thwart the designs of people who desire creating fear not just in any one country but across the world. First and foremost, the mistrust between international intelligence agencies must end. Two, as stated earlier, the authorities in Pakistan and elsewhere must refrain from making their information public unless they are absolutely certain the case is solid. Back-patting of the kind seen recently between Interpol and the interior ministry is pointless if there can be no follow-through. The point here is not to disparage attempts by the Pakistani authorities to disrupt the various terrorist networks in the country. While they may have failed on several occasions, the many successes too should be noted. But shooting from the hip serves no purpose when it comes to delicate issues like the menace of terrorism. Some measure of reserve is required.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/04/acting-in-haste.html

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