India gives 26/11 evidence to Pakistan, asks for ‘actual action’ (Roundup)

January 5th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Islamabad, Jan 5 (IANS) Going beyond the daily war of words, India Monday ratcheted pressure on Islamabad and handed over evidence linking Pakistan-based militants to the Mumbai carnage stating that it wanted “actual action” against the perpetrators. As the US rallied behind, pledging to take “the evidence to Pakistan” and pursue investigations to their logical conclusion, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon explicitly stated their positions.

“We have today given evidence to Pakistan of links between elements in Pakistan and the terrorists who attacked Mumbai,” said Mukherjee.

“What happened in Mumbai was an unpardonable act. The world will have to unite to eliminate the threat of terrorism,” he stressed, while urging Pakistan to honour its anti-terror pledge of not allowing its territory to be used as a launching pad for terror attacks against India.

The foreign secretary, who handed over to Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shahid Malik the material linking the Nov 26-29 Mumbai attack to elements in Pakistan, added categorically later in the day: “We are no longer interested in words, in mechanisms; we want actual actions against perpetrators.”

“We have given them material that has come out of our investigation… that leads to Pakistan. All the material leads to elements in Pakistan. We expect them to investigate, share the results with us. We will take it from there.”

“We don’t think there is any such thing as a non-state actor,” Menon asserted at a press conference, in a reference to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari labelling the terrorists as non-state actors.

The external affairs ministry will be briefing all resident heads of mission about the links between the Mumbai mayhem and Pakistan-based elements in the next 24 hours.

Indian ambassadors around the world will also brief the respective governments on the same.

“We have begun the process of briefing friendly governments on the evidence gathered after the Mumbai attacks, especially those countries who lost their nationals. This will continue,” said Menon.

As pressure mounted, Pakistan said it was reviewing the material given to it by Indian authorities.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Muhammad Sadiq told IANS in Islamabad that the material had been received in Pakistan “and is being examined by the concerned authorities”. He, however, did not give any timeframe for a reply to the Indian authorities.

In a conciliatory note, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher in Islamabad that his government was ready to cooperate with India in the investigations of the Mumbai terror attack and wants peace in the region.

The material given to Pakistan includes extracts from the interrogation of Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani national who was the only terrorist to be captured alive in Mumbai; and details of the terrorists’ communication links with elements in Pakistan during the Mumbai attack.

The evidence shared also includes recovered weapons and equipment and other articles and data retrieved from recovered GPS and satellite phones of the Mumbai attackers.

“It is our expectation that the government of Pakistan will promptly undertake further investigations in Pakistan and share the results with us so as to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Mukherjee said.

This is the first tangible move by India to counter Pakistan’s propaganda denying any links with the Mumbai carnage.

The US also pitched in and said an FBI team would take the evidence it had gathered in the Mumbai attacks to Islamabad and underlined that it would pursue to its logical conclusion the investigations into the terror strike that killed more than 170 people, including six Americans and 20 other foreign nationals.

“The FBI will pursue the evidence gathered there (in Mumbai) and they will eventually take the evidence to Pakistan because under our law, if Americans are killed, the US itself has a duty to pursue all avenues to the bottom of it,” US Ambassador David C. Mulford said in New Delhi.

According to home ministry officials, the FBI has conducted a parallel probe into the attacks and been helpful in decoding the Voice over Internet Protocol calls made by Pakistani handlers to the terrorists when the Mumbai attack was on.

The US envoy also expressed Washington’s displeasure with a reported move by the banned militant outfit Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a public front for the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), to regroup itself under a new banner.

“The name may have changed. You don’t change the spots in a leopard,” he replied when asked about reports suggesting the JuD has resurrected itself under a new banner.

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