Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Terrorist attack against the Indian Parliament

Delivered in Plenary 7th February 2002

On the 13th December last year an appalling and vicious attack occurred on the Parliament of the Indian Union in Delhi which is their most visible symbol of democracy, and secular nationhood. Lets not underestimate the danger this posed as had it succeeded in killing the assembled government ministers and opposition leaders it could have heralded a state of war between Pakistan and India, both nuclear powers with massive conventional land forces as well. Although India at least has declared a "no first use policy" of its nuclear arsenal unlike Pakistan.

The responsibility was soon traced to militant Islamic terrorist groups based in Pakistan, with full support and training from the Pakistani Government, and also responsible for the earlier attacks in Srinagar against the Kashmir State Assembly. This is in clear violation of Security Council Resolution 1373 forbidding States from sponsoring terrorism against other states.

Nevertheless I welcome President Musharraf's change of heart in backing the United States in their war on terrorism which toppled the Taleban regime and destroyed the Al Quaeda network in Afghanistan, even though this regime was largely a creation of Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence Agency.

In particular his January 13th speech promising reforms of the Madrassas or religious schools which fomented so much hatred of the west and bred an atmosphere conducive to the massacre of Christians peacefully at worship last year. This is a promising start but Pakistan is yet to accede to the request to extradite the 20 ringleaders of the plot and there are deep concerns that the kidnapping of Wall Street Journalist Daniel Pearl may have involved renegade pro-Taleban members of the Pakistani security forces, and there is now evidence that the shoebomber Richard Reid's (alas from my own country) comptroller from email based evidence was based in Pakistan.

Therefore I call upon Pakistan to ratify the SAARC and all UN Conventions on terrorism, and I congratulate India in its restraint in the face of provocation and its Joint declaration with the EU in November last year against terrorism.

During the Afghan war in the 80's we supported Islamic militant ideology to oppose the spread of Communism. Alas America paid the price on 11 September. Will the West again repeat this mistake?