PARIS, May 12: If the suspected suicide-bomb blast in Karachi was the work of the Islamic extremists, it would have come from a number of domestic Pakistani movements.

This was stated by one of the France’s leading specialists on Pakistan and an expert on terrorism as well, Christophe Jaffrelote.

He, ruling out the possibility of Al Qaeda’s involvement in the attack on French engineers, said: “ I’m not all that certain it’s from fundamentalist movements that come from outside of Pakistan, as has been intimated.”

Mr Jeffrelot, who is an author of a just-published book ‘ Le Pakistan, carrefour de tensions regionales ( Pakistan, crossroads of regional tensions), threw out many hypotheses supporting his argument.

“ For example,” he stresses, “ one possibility would be Jaish-i-Mohammed, whose leader Masood Azhar, whom I know well, was trained in a Karachi madressa before associating himself with Bin Ladin. His group should be considered as culprit behind the attack, as they have already taken part in suicide attacks in Kashmir as well as in New Delhi.”

“ If you make a judgment in terms of who benefits most from the attack in question, then it’s certainly India that has the best reason to want to sabotage Pakistan’s fleet of submarines, because - it hasn’t yet been said enough - Pakistan, when and if it does go through with construction of the three Agosta-90Bs, will have gained a strategic naval superiority over India in the Indian Ocean.”

“ Still,” notes Mr Jaffrelot, “I think it improbable, at least for the moment — not having any more intelligence in the matter than I’ve been able gather — that India would be directly behind Wednesday morning’s attack. For the simple reason that in my estimation, its secret services are incapable of undertaking such a (terrorist) action, as they don’t yet have the appropriate infrastructure that under-taking this sort of sabotage action requires.”

In reply to a question as to whether France was targeted in the Wednesday bombing owing to the military assistance it provided to Pakistan, Mr Jaffrelot says: “ No, definitely not. France was targetted by the attack simply because of the role it’s played in the anti-terrorist coalition that was assembled after Sep 11. I wouldn’t be surprised, moreover, if it’s the same group that’s behind the French attack that had killed Daniel Pearl in late January, or at about the same time bombed a Protestant church in Islamabad.”

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