Case against Kasab for Mumbai mayhem, India reacts cautiously (Roundup)

February 11th, 2009 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad/New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) A case has been registered against Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman arrested during the Mumbai terror attacks, a media report said, even as India reacted cautiously to the development, saying it was yet to hear officially from Islamabad.
The case against Kasab and 13 others was registered on the basis of the probe conducted by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the decision taken by the defence committee of the cabinet at its meeting in Islamabad Monday, Geo TV said.

The case was registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act at the Dockyard Police Station in Karachi, the channel added, quoting sources.

“Sources further said that among the others named in the case were three persons who were arrested in Karachi. Nine more persons had been identified but were yet to be taken into custody,” Geo TV reported.

The Pakistani government, however, has not confirmed the report.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday refused to react to media reports about Pakistan’s decision to file charges against Kasab and again asked Islamabad to officially respond to India’s dossier on Mumbai.

The dossier points to the involvement of elements from Pakistan in the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that claimed the lives of more than 170 people, including 26 foreigners, and injured over 300.

“We have yet to get a report from (Pakistan). The problem is unless we have official information from Pakistani authorities, it is difficult for any (Indian) official spokesperson to comment,” Mukherjee told reporters outside his office.

Indicating that India was planning to intensify international response on Pakistan, Mukherjee said that he will discuss the Mumbai attacks with US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke when he comes to New Delhi. The response came to a question as to why the Mumbai attacks had not figured during Holbrooke’s talks with Pakistani leaders.

“It’s not his (Holbrooke’s) concern. His mandate is to deal with Pakistan and Afghanistan and not India,” Mukherjee replied.

Holbrooke, who is currently in Pakistan on a fact-finding tour, is expected in New Delhi Sunday.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Tuesday said that the Mumbai attacks did not figure in talks Holbrooke held with Pakistani leaders.

Although India is waiting for an official response from Pakistan, reliable government sources, who did not wish to be named, said that if the Pakistani media report was true, it would only reinforce the pattern of denial and obfuscation Islamabad has shown since the Mumbai attacks.

“These are trial balloons to see how we react. It’s basically testing the waters. It’s a tactic for derailing any meaningful action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks,” the sources said.

If these reports are true, then Pakistan is finally admitting that Kasab is a Pakistani national who was involved in the Mumbai attacks. “This amounts to buttressing India’s case that the Mumbai conspiracy was hatched and choreographed in Pakistan. They can’t heap all the blame on one individual,” the sources added.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that the attacks of this scale and magnitude could not have happened without the involvement of official agencies of Pakistan. Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon reinforced this point before a French think tank in Paris recently when he pointed a finger at Pakistani spy agency ISI’s involvement in the attacks.

“In each case the perpetrators planned, trained and launched their attacks from Pakistan, and the organizers were and remain clients and creations of the ISI,” he said while alluding to the bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul and the Mumbai mayhem.

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