Pakistan committee begins Mumbai attack probe

January 16th, 2009 - 4:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Jan 16 (IANS) The three-member committee appointed to probe the Mumbai attacks has started its work and will be presenting the initial report by end of next week, an official in the interior ministry said.The committee is headed by Additional Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Javed Iqbal, and comprises counter-terrorism experts Khalid Qureshi and Liaquat Ali Khan. The official said the committee is mandated to complete the probe “as soon as possible” and has been asked to submit weekly reports until the probe is completed.

The committee has also been authorised to communicate with the Indian intelligence people “through proper channels and in confidence with the senior officials of the Interior Ministry”, the official told IANS.

He said that the committee has been asked to submit its first report by end of next week “outlining its scope of work, help required from other departments and recommendations for further actions”.

“Yes, the committee has started its work and their first meeting was held in the Interior Ministry and they have been given financial authority as well so that they can move freely within the country for interrogating people,” said the official, adding they will be given access to all information collected by the security agencies so far.

Replying to a question, the official said that the “government will have no objection if the committee wants to travel to India to question Ajmal Amir Kasab… however, it depends if India agrees to it. We will cross the bridge when it will come”.

Interior Ministry Advisor Rehman Malik Thursday said that the government has arrested 124 militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jamaat-ud-Daawa and Jaish-e-Mohammad. The government has also shut down several offices and at least five training camps in different parts of the country.

India has blamed the Mumbai attacks, in which 170 people were killed, on “elements” based in Pakistan and provided Islamabad with a dossier containing evidence. But Islamabad termed it just information asking India to provide “concrete evidence”.

“We don’t expect any fair investigations and trial that is being done under pressure,” a senior leader of Jamaat-ud-Daawa told IANS on condition of anonymity. He said that all their top leadership is under government custody and their communication links have been completely blocked.

“Whatever the government is doing is all under pressure from India… even the UNSC Committee sanctions were pushed by Pakistan and the crackdown on Jamaat was done after pressure from India,” said the JuD leader.

He said: “We want fair and transparent probe under the UN auspices and without any fear or pressure… you can expect the result of investigations and trial that is being done under tremendous pressure rather under instructions.”

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