Friday, June 24, 2005

NUPTIALS: India-Pakistan: Not a happy marriage

Indeed, the Ibrahim-Miandad matrimonials are a real googly (in cricketing parlance, a ball that is difficult to read). If Miandad represented the peak of cricketing excellence, Ibrahim is the man India wants the most for the series of crimes he has allegedly committed and supposedly continues to orchestrate.The fact file on Ibrahim is impressive in the hierarchy of terrorists. He has been declared India's Osama bin Laden by New Delhi. In 2003, the US labeled Ibrahim a "global terrorist". He is wanted by India for the March 12, 1993, Mumbai stock exchange bombings, which killed hundreds of Indians and injured over a thousand more. Ibrahim's syndicate is reportedly involved in large-scale shipments of narcotics in the UK and Western Europe. Not a week goes by without speculation about Ibrahim in the Indian media - that he lives a lavish life in Karachi, enjoys the hospitality of the top bosses in Pakistan, has married an Indian Bollywood actress, is still close to the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI), or has fallen out of favor. The latest, that his daughter is getting married to Miandad's son, has New Delhi smarting, though there has been no official response yet. Reports suggest that Ibrahim's daughter Mahrukh and Miandad's son Junaid grew up together in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Junaid studied at Oxford University in London, where Mahrukh is also based, and the two reportedly became engaged last year. It was a fairy-tale love story in which they should live happily ever after, until the ISI got involved. The contention of the ISI was that the marriage did not reflect well on Pakistan, which has held all along that it did not know anything about Ibrahim's whereabouts. Reports say it took some cajoling of higher-ups by ISI officials known to Miandad that allowed the marriage to happen. A happy ending, one should say.

Read Full Commentary