Pakistan rejects India’s allegations on HeadleyJuly 20th, 2010 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad/New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Pakistan Tuesday refuted the assertion by India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon of links between Pakistan’s establishment and David Coleman Headley, who helped the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) plot the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said Menon’s baseless accusations were yet another manifestation of the Indian establishment’s propagandistic stance toward Pakistan.
Basit said this was entirely inconsistent with the understanding reached between the leadership of the two countries at Thimphu, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit, that terrorism was a common threat which needed to be addressed in a cooperative manner.
Without naming Pakistan, India Tuesday said Headley’s interrogation has revealed clear and growing links between “militants and official establishments”.
Five days after the India-Pakistan foreign minister-level talks deadlocked on the issue of terror, NSA Menon said that the nexus had left no room for India to be optimistic as the link was growing “stronger”.
“It has been brought to us through Headley that there are clear links between militants and official establishments,” Menon said at a conference on terrorism in New Delhi.
“It is that nexus with existing intelligence agencies that makes it a much harder phenomenon for us to deal with and suggest it won’t be broken soon,” Menon stressed.
He pointed out that the information that Indian investigating agencies have and deal with suggest that the link “is getting stronger”.
The interrogation of Headley proved “our worst fears have come true and the situation is as bad as we thought”, Menon said in his brief speech at the conference on ‘Countering terrorism in South Asia: Perspective from US and India’ organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Heritage Foundation, a US-based think tank.
Headley, who is in a Chicago jail, was interrogated by Indian investigators, including sleuths from the National Investigation Agency (NIA), last month and disclosed the involvement of not just LeT operatives but the involvement of some serving and retired officers of the Pakistan military and the ISI in the Mumbai carnage.
On the eve of the foreign minister’s talks in Islamabad last week, Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai had said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had a “much more significant role” to play in the Mumbai mayhem and that the Pakistani spy agency was “literally controlling and coordinating the attacks from the beginning till the end”.
At a joint press conference in Islamabad July 15 with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi took strong offence to Pillai’s remarks, saying such statements were not helpful in building an atmosphere of trust between the two countries.
Two days after the talks, Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao defended Pillai’s comments on the ISI, saying he was “perfectly within his rights” to draw attention to it and asked Pakistan to introspect on involvement of state and non-state actors in terror unleashed against India.
In an interview, Rao also spoke about “very credible evidence on the involvement of Pakistani agencies, Pakistani nationals in the Mumbai attacks”.
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