Dawood Ibrahim has at last received terror’s accolade. The United States of America has declared him to be a “specially designated terrorist”. Moreover, this would automatically trigger a request for his inclusion in the United Nations blacklist as well, which would prevent any member of the UN from sheltering him. This is a good opportunity for India to make, rather reiterate, certain points to both its immediate neighbours and to the international community. Handy little scraps from the American anti-terror banquet occasionally come the subcontinent’s way, and do their bit in changing local dynamics. The US has also left no doubt about Ibrahim’s other co-ordinates, which too endorses India’s longstanding allegations. The website of the US treasury department confirms Ibrahim’s location to be Karachi and gives his Pakistani passport number. Henceforth, it will be extremely difficult for Pakistan to pretend not to have anything to do with Ibrahim and his men (and women) at all. The focus therefore shifts from the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan, with the former taking some credit for confirming Ibrahim’s location after the latest bomb blast in Dubai.
From the time of the Mumbai blasts of 1992-93, Dawood’s empire of myriad crimes has spread across the map of global terror, making him part of India’s pantheon of the Wanted. Consequently, his slipperiness has increased proportionately, in spite of his evident ubiquity. His crime syndicate has now spread across south and west Asia and Africa, while the US has definitively linked him with the trafficking of drugs to the United Kingdom and western Europe. Ibrahim had travelled through Afghanistan in the Nineties under taliban protection, and it is now confirmed that his routes and networks converge at many significant points with those of none other than Osama bin Laden. This is also the reason why the US has now suddenly sat up to Ibrahim’s importance. This needs to be kept in mind in case India thought that the American special designation meant a disinterested concern for India’s own efforts against terrorism or for India’s relations with Pakistan. But this should certainly not stop India from sharpening its pressure on Pakistan to hand over Ibrahim. With the violence in Kashmir continuing unabated and with information that Ibrahim’s men have more than just their eyes on Gujarat, expediting the process of his extradition — unfortunately bungled in the case of his brother, Anees Ibrahim, because India did not have his fingerprints — becomes all the more crucial.