Thursday, June 25

Blaming Al Queda unfairly

Looks like I owe Al Queda an apology, I thought that they were the perpetrators behind the killing of the French engineers in Pakistan. But it turns out that the reason is much more mundane. I quote:

High-ranking Pakistani officials were behind the killing of eleven French ship-building engineers in Karachi seven years ago, two French judges have ruled. Until now al-Qaeda had been blamed for the bomb attack on a bus in 2002 that killed 11 engineers and three Pakistanis . The judges suspected that the Pakistanis were retaliating over a decision by former French President Jacques Chirac, to halt payment to Pakistani officers of millions of pounds in secret commission from an 720 million pounds contract signed in 1994, for three French submarines, the Time reported today.

But this was the major WTF moment for me.

According to media reports, the French secret service retaliated after the 2002 attack, breaking the legs of two Pakistan navy admirals and killing a lower-ranking officer.

Shades of Operation Wrath of God, eh? Now that’s something that makes you go, hmmm, why ever not? although I realise that this is just very very dangerous indeed. If you think Indian media is biased, then check out AFP. I quote:


France's opposition called Thursday for a parliamentary inquiry into the 2002 killing of 11 French engineers in Pakistan, over allegations of a link to a corrupt submarine deal with Islamabad. According to a lawyer for the victims' families, the judicial probe under way into the Karachi attack -- initially pinned on Al-Qaeda -- is now focusing on a 1994 sub contract with French state firm DCN, the engineers' employer.

Anti-terrorism investigators now suspect it could have been ordered as punishment after Paris stopped paying commissions to Pakistani intermediaries for the contract won by French state firm DCN, said lawyer Olivier Morice. Magali Drouet, daughter of one victim, says the magistrates specifically believe the attack was ordered because payments were not made to Asif Ali Zardari, who is now Pakistan's president but was a minister at the time.

The May 8, 2002 attack saw a car packed with explosives ram into a minibus carrying the 11 French engineers for DCN, who were killed along with three Pakistanis. Two alleged members of an Al-Qaeda-linked group were convicted in Pakistan in 2003 over the Karachi attack, but both were acquitted last month after a court ruled there was insufficient evidence against them.

In a letter seen by AFP, the head of the DCN's international branch, Philippe Japiot, wrote to French investigators in September 2002 arguing that the attack was a direct result of its contract to supply the Agosta subs. But the Paris prosecutor's office said on Monday there were "no objective elements" linking the attack to the submarine deal.

Big question marks there!!! See this Pakistani news story as well.

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