‘Pakistan being pressurised to extradite LeT’s Lakhvi’

December 31st, 2008 - 1:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 31 (IANS) Pakistan is under tremendous US pressure to extradite to India Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zaki Al Rahman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, a media report said here Wednesday. “The Americans are believed to have given Pakistan a taped conversation Lakhvi allegedly had with the gunmen involved in the attacks,” the Dawn newspaper said in a dispatch from Washington, quoting US and diplomatic sources.

The sources said that American audio experts had checked the tape and concluded that it was genuine and that the speaker was Lakhvi.

“It is, however, not yet clear if the Americans recorded the conversation using their own surveillance methods or received the tape from the Indians, who have blamed Lakhvi right from the beginning,” the newspaper said.

On Dec 4, less than a week after the Nov 26 attacks, Indian officials told journalists in New Delhi they believed Lakhvi and Yusuf Muzammil - who heads the LeT’s operations in India - had masterminded the Mumbai terror attack.

On Dec 8, Pakistani security officials told the media that they had arrested Lakhvi and some of his top lieutenants but they also said that all suspects would be tried in Pakistan and would not be handed over to India.

Officials in New Delhi and Washington say that’s not enough and they would not be satisfied unless Islamabad followed up by prosecuting those arrested and taking further action against other militant groups linked to attacks on Indian soil.

“Until this week, US officials had not taken a clear stand on this issue but Lakhvi’s reported conversation with the gunmen appeared to have changed their minds,” Dawn said.

Reports in the US media have also noted that Lakhvi comes from the same area as Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested during the Mumbai attacks.

Officials in Islamabad, however, appeared “reluctant” to accept the intercepts of Lakhvi’s alleged conversations as “authentic”, Dawn said.

“There, however, appears to be a serious difference of opinion between Islamabad and the Pakistan Embassy in Washington over the issue.

“While Islamabad was reluctant to accept the evidence as authentic, the embassy insisted that it’s authentic and that the Pakistani authorities now needed to take steps to satisfy the international community,” the newspaper added.

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