Pakistani army chief discusses security with Zardari, PM

December 31st, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 31 (IANS) Top government officials on the last day of year Wednesday continued discussions on relations with India after the Mumbai attacks amid a report in the US media that top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zarar Shah has confessed to the group’s involvement in the Nov 26-29 mayhem in India’s commercial capital.Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held important but separate meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and according to the presidential spokesman “discussed with him professional matters”.

Kayani is also said to have briefed the president on the situation on the western and eastern borders. According officials, the situation along the border with India, particularly at the Line of Control in Kashmir, is still “not normal”.

The prime minister’s office, meanwhile, was quick to respond to the US media report on Zarar Shah’s confession, saying: “No staff of the prime minister secretariat was involved in providing these reports.”

Government officials also termed the report as baseless.

The report, in the Wall Street Journal, said that Shah, who was captured in the crackdown on militants earlier this month in Pakistan, has confessed the LeT’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

Shah has also implicated other LeT members, and had broadly confirmed the confession made by the sole captured militant Ajmal Amir Kasab to Indian investigators that 10 assailants trained in Pakistani Kashmir and then went by boat from Karachi to Mumbai, the Journal said, quoting a senior Pakistani security official.

It said Pakistan’s own investigations of the Mumbai attacks “have begun to show substantive links” between the LeT and 10 gunmen who took part in the Mumbai mayhem.

Pakistani security officials were quoted as saying that Shah, during interrogation, had admitted the LeT’s role in the Mumbai attack.

The paper quoted a person familiar with the investigation as saying that Shah also admitted that the attackers spent at least a few weeks in Karachi, training in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also present during Kayani’s meetings and briefed the president and the prime minister on Pakistan’s efforts on the diplomatic front to defuse the situation.

Officials said Pakistan’s envoys in various world capitals were holding meetings with officials there to brief them on Islamabad’s stance on the Mumbai attacks and the Indian accusations of involvement of Pakistan-based militant groups in terrorism.

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