FBI to question Mumbai terror suspectsheld in Pakistan

February 20th, 2009 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 20 (DPA) A team of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is arriving in Islamabad next week to question the Nov 27 Mumbai terrorist attack suspects held by Pakistani authorities, an official said Friday.
“The FBI team will interrogate the six suspects who are detained in Pakistan and charged in connection with Mumbai terror attack,” a senior official in Pakistani foreign ministry told DPA.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the team would also bring Washington’s official response to the probe carried out so far by Pakistani investigators into three-day gun-and-bomb strikes that left more than 170 people dead in Indian financial hub Mumbai.

The attacks that also injured over 100 people have strained relations between two nuclear armed South-Asian neighbours. New Delhi claimed that all 10 attackers came from Pakistan and the carnage was planned by the Pakistani-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Pakistan initially denied that its soil was used for the terror acts. But international pressure, particularly from its main financial aid provider ally US, forced the Islamic country to launch an inquiry that revealed the entire network involved in the incident.

Pakistan’s top security official Rehman Malik told reporters early this month that a trawler transported the attackers from Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi to Indian waters and the men then used an inflatable boat to reach Mumbai.

According to Malik, the six of the eight suspects, including the master mind LeT chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and the main facilitator Hamad Amin Sadiq Shah, in custody have told authorities about the preparations and their training for the Mumbai attacks. Two alleged conspirators are at large, he added.

The results of the preliminary investigations were also shared with India and US intelligence agencies, which now are interested in questioning the detainees.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry official said that US sleuths would meet senior officials of Pakistani intelligence community and Interior Ministry. They would discuss the country’s probe and exchange views on the future strategy to prosecute the perpetrators, he added.

Earlier, and FBI special team visited Pakistan in December to investigate Indian allegations that Pakistan was involved in the attack. It also visited the hometown of Ajmal Kasab, the sole attacker seized by Indian authorities alive, in Pakistan’s eastern province of Punjab.

Reportedly, the US intelligence officers have also visited India and interrogated Kasab.

Washington has played a major role in cooling down India and Pakistan in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks, mainly because a show-down between the neighbours could jeopardise US efforts against Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.

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