India Hands Pak 26/11 Dossier Seeking Extradition of Suspects

Posted: 6 January 2009 by Sayyid in India-Pakistan; 26/11, International Affairs
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The New York Times:

Calling the Mumbai terrorist attacks a “conspiracy” hatched on Pakistani soil, India on Monday handed Pakistan what it said was the first comprehensive evidence linking them to Pakistan and demanded that those responsible be tried in Indian courts, a demand likely to be rebuffed.

Speaking Monday evening to reporters here, the Indian foreign secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon, refused to say whether the suspected conspirators were connected to current or retired government officials, but said that it was unlikely that a sophisticated, commando-style assault, like the one in Mumbai in late November, “could occur without anybody anywhere in the establishment knowing it was happening.”

While Mr. Menon refused to specify whether India had evidence of complicity of Pakistan’s military or spy agency officials, he did not rule it out. “We are not going to say this is where the line ends,” he said.

In a presentation to a number of foreign diplomats earlier in the day, Indian officials detailed the involvement of retired Pakistani military officials in training the gunmen who carried out the Mumbai attacks, according to two diplomats present.

The envoys, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with typical diplomatic protocol, said the 100-page dossier included transcripts of telephone conversations between the gunmen and their superiors in Pakistan during the course of the attacks; transcripts of interrogations of the sole surviving gunman, Muhammad Ajmal Kasab; phone numbers in Pakistan that the attackers called as they sailed across the Arabian Sea from Karachi, Pakistan, to Mumbai, India; and details of their movements, recovered from a GPS unit they had used.

The Indian authorities say the gunmen were citizens of Pakistan and belonged to a banned terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. The police have said that during interrogation, Mr. Kasab said he had been trained by retired Pakistani military men.

Immediately after the attacks, India assigned blame to “elements” in Pakistan, taking pains not to accuse members of the government, which pledged to cooperate and announced the closing of camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its charitable wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

During a stop in Islamabad on Monday, the United States assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, Richard A. Boucher, said that it was “clear” the attackers had “links that lead to Pakistani soil.”

But he also said that in the aftermath of the attacks, the authorities in Pakistan had “done quite a bit,” and that a “significant” number of members of Lashkar-e-Taiba had been arrested. “Pakistan has a number of people in custody” suspected in the planning and execution of the attacks, he said.

Mr. Boucher declined, however, to answer a question about whether evidence suggested any involvement or support for the Mumbai plot, directly or indirectly, by the Pakistani government.

According to a Pakistani official, Pakistani authorities have obtained confessions from members of Lashkar-e-Taiba who said they had been involved in the attacks. One of them, according to the official, is Zarrar Shah, the militant group’s communications chief. American intelligence officials say they believe he has served as a conduit between Lashkar and the premier Pakistani spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

The Pakistani government confirmed that India had handed over materials about the Mumbai attacks and said the evidence was being examined by “concerned authorities,” according to the country’s state news agency.

Paki Pres. Asif Ali Zardari and PM Yousuf Raza Gilani reiterated Pak’s devotion to fighting terror and the importance of healthy relations with the US and India, as the FBI and China will be involved in Pak’s investigation. Foreign Secy. Salman Bashir has expressed that Pak “will evaluate the information provided by India so far”

PM Gilani: “Pakistan’s persistent efforts to defuse the current tensions with India, and his government’s commitment to take action against any Pakistani national in case credible evidence is provided,”

India’s home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram hinted at Pak’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) involvement over the weekend — as we have.

Indian Foreign Secy. Shivshankar Menon: “The relationship between Lashkar-e-Toiba and the ISI has been historical. It is a very fine line to draw between state actors and non-state actors. Whoever is responsible has to pay… We will follow evidence wherever it leads. It is hard to believe something of this scale, which amounts to commando operation, would occur without anyone in the establishment knowing. We are not going to say this is where the line ends. We have to continue with the investigations.”

India’s primary minority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) still thinks 26/11 is a game of political football:

By warning Pakistan that it would have to pay “enormously” if another 26/11 takes place, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was actually “condoning the present act”, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said here Monday.

The BJP said that Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s statement that the “price they (Pakistan) will pay if this is repeated, I think, will be enormous” was a testimony to the bailout plan.

“Right from 26/11, the union government has launched an offensive in coercive diplomacy. The BJP supported the move in the national interest. But Pakistan is in continuous denial mode till today. It seems that the government of India is now warning Pakistan for the future, in a way condoning the present act,” party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said at a press conference here.

The government must come clean on the actions it has envisaged in the face of Pakistan’s denial, he said.

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  1. […] India Hands Pak 26/11 Dossier Seeking Extradition of Suspects […]

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