Pakistan claims significant developments in Mumbai probe

January 2nd, 2009 - 2:56 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 2 (DPA) Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday that his country had made significant developments in the probe into the Mumbai terrorist attacks, which left more than 170 people dead and over 300 injured.”We are moving ahead in our investigations and we are examining our development,” he told a local news channel when asked to comment on a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) story that reported Pakistan’s own probe had linked militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) with 10 fighters involved in the Mumbai attacks.

“I do not want to comment on Wall Street Journal story. If I do, the ongoing investigation into the incident will be affected,” Qureshi told the Urdu-language Geo news channel.

The WSJ cited a Pakistani security official saying that at least one top LeT commander, Zarar Shah, has admitted, during interrogation, that he played a role in the Mumbai attack.

LeT was set up by Pakistani intelligence agencies for use in their proxy war in the Indian-administered part of divided Kashmir. The group was banned after Pakistan joined an international alliance against terrorism, but it continued attacks inside India.

A second person familiar with the investigation said Shah admitted to Pakistani officials that he was one of the key planners of the operation and that he spoke with the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused.

Shah reportedly said the 10 gunmen were trained in the Pakistani part of the mountainous Kashmir region and then went by boat from Karachi to Mumbai, according to the WSJ report.

Before leaving, the attackers spent at least a few weeks in Karachi, a city of around 13 million, where they were trained in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault.

Relations between the two South Asian nuclear-armed neighbours have soured since the attacks, but the two countries have tried to avoid an armed conflict, despite some symbolic aggressive gestures.

The Indian Air Force flew over Pakistani border areas in December and Islamabad moved some of its troops from its western border with Afghanistan to its eastern border with India in what it calls “anticipation of any possible Indian aggression”.

New Delhi has demanded that Pakistan extradite some suspects involved in the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan has refused so far, but has condemned the action. Simultaneously, it has asked India to share evidence, if it has some, against any “non-state Pakistani actors”.

“There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. If there are some people involved in it (the Mumbai attacks) and India shares evidence with us, we will take action against them under our judicial system.”

“We are sincere in our investigations and I want to tell you we won’t be putting Pakistan’s credibility on stake,” Qureshi pledged.

To recent Indian demands that Pakistan should dismantle terrorist infrastructure, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said that terrorist elements were found in every society and religion.

“Pakistan, India and other countries of the region need to follow a cooperative, and not accusatory, approach to jointly deal with this menace, he added.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |