Come clean on LeT confession on Mumbai attacks: Dawn

January 3rd, 2009 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 3 (IANS) Noting that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Zarar Shah’s confession of involvement in the Mumbai attacks “have not been denied at the highest levels in Islamabad”, a leading Pakistani daily said the government should come clean on the matter or it will “continue to be deemed guilty until proven innocent”. In a strongly worded editorial, headlined “Taking stock”, the influential Dawn newspaper said Saturday unless Islamabad comes clean on the reported confession of Shah and the outcome of its probe into 26/11, Pakistan “will not be in a position to counter criticism that facts are being withheld and we will continue to be deemed guilty (of involvement in the Mumbai mayhem) until proven innocent”.

At the same time, it said it was “heartening to note that the clouds of war (in the wake of the Mumbai attacks) have lifted to a degree and both sides are refraining from upping the ante”.

“There is an urgent need for Pakistan to decide on the path the country must choose from this point onwards,” the editorial said.

“Foot-dragging will get us nowhere, and we need to explain what headway, if any, has been made in our own investigations,” it added.

At the same time, it admitted that full disclosure could not be expected in a matter as sensitive as this until every avenue of inquiry has been explored.

“A progress report, though, is the need of the hour.

The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have separately reported that Shah, the LeT’s communications chief, had admitted the group was involved in the Mumbai carnage - as India has been saying ever since the Nov 26-29 attacks.

Pakistani security forces arrested Shah and LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi during a crackdown last month on the Jamaat-ud Dawa, a charity front for the LeT.

Lakhvi is one of the three men whose extradition India has demanded for their involvement in the Mumbai attacks. Underworld boss Dawood Ibrahim and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar are the other two.

Holding that any confessions made “should be acknowledged”, the editorial added: “There will be no loss of face if it turns out that Pakistanis were among the militants who attacked Mumbai.

“Egged on by India, much of the world believes that anyway. We need to act decisively against militants and terrorists operating from Pakistani soil, not on account of pressure exerted by India or America but because therein lies our own salvation. The enemy within is a far greater threat than any external foe,” the editorial maintained.

On Thursday, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that an FBI team that visited Pakistan earlier this week had shared with the authorities “strong evidence” of the LeT’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

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