India’s 26/11 charges baseless: Hafiz SaeedFebruary 17th, 2010 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS
Lahore, Feb 17 (IANS) Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group and who India says masterminded the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, says the charges against him are baseless.
“India always indulges in propaganda and has always fabricated false reports about me and that’s how India has been able to use international pressure against us,” Saeed told the Al Jazeera TV channel in an interview.
India has submitted seven dossiers to Pakistan pointing to the involvement of its nationals in the Mumbai attacks. Three of these dossiers relate to Saeed’s alleged involvement in the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai attacks that claimed the lives of 166 people, including 26 foreigners
Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram, in a recent interview with Al Jazeera, had alleged Saeed had personally co-ordinated the training for the attacks.
“Hafiz Saeed selected the trainees and gave them new names. (Ajmal) Kasab was given a new name, Abu Mujahid, and that name was given by Saeed,” Chidambaram said.
Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the 26/11 attacks, is currently being tried in a Mumbai court. He had confessed to being trained by the LeT but later retracted.
Saeed denied he knew Kasab.
“I never saw him (Kasab). In fact, it was from media in India that I discovered he was a Pakistani national.
“I have never met Kasab nor have I ever known him and I have said this on many occasions. This is baseless propaganda without an iota of truth.”
Saeed had been put under house arrest on Dec 11, 2008, after the UN proscribed the Jamaat-ud Dawa that the LeT had morphed into after it was banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament which New Delhi blamed on the terror group.
“But the Lahore High Court exonerated us and they concluded that neither I nor the Jamaat-ud Dawa had any involvement in the Mumbai attacks,” Saeed maintained.
The Pakistani government has appealed the high court verdict but the Supreme Court has indefinitely put off a hearing on this.
The trial has also begun in Rawalpindi of six LeT operatives, including its commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and communications specialist Zarar Shah, for their alleged role in the Mumbai attacks.
Asked whether he favoured an open dialogue with India, Saeed said this “needs to be productive”.
“I never said no to dialogue - that is propaganda. I have always talked about having open dialogue, but it needs to be productive, it needs to obtain results,” Saeed said.
“India has never had a sincere interest in opening dialogue. When they do, it is because of national interest. If India wants to restore confidence in opening dialogue with Pakistan, then India must accept Kashmir as a core dispute.”
“India saturated all of Kashmir with military personnel. They must change the situation on the ground, withdraw their forces and set a time frame for such a withdrawal.”
India has suspended the composite dialogue with Pakistan in the wake of the 26/11 attacks, saying it can only resume after Islamabad takes concrete steps against the perpetrators of the mayhem.
The foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India are scheduled to meet in New Delhi Feb 25, with New Delhi saying that the focus of the talks would be on countering terror but that other issues of common concern could also be discussed.
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Tags: al jazeera, al jazeera tv, al jazeera tv channel, carnage, court verdict, foreigners, hafiz, home minister, house arrest, indian parliament, iota, jamaat ud dawa, lahore high court, lashkar e taiba, mujahid, mumbai court, p chidambaram, pakistani government, saeed, terror group