Pakistan admits involvement in Mumbai terror, guarded welcome from India (Intro Roundup)

February 12th, 2009 - 9:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaIslamabad/New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Ten weeks after the terror attacks in Mumbai that shook the world and sent India-Pakistan relations in deep freeze, Islamabad finally owned up that “a part of the conspiracy” was hatched in the country. It got a guarded welcome in India though officially New Delhi withheld comment till it could study the Pakistani dossier.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said at a crowded news conference that the terrorists, who slaughtered some 170 people in Mumbai in November and who India says were Pakistanis, were “non-state actors” - meaning the Pakistani establishment had nothing to do with the massacre that has been roundly condemned around the world.

“This is an individual act, act of individuals or non-state actors. Their purpose is to create terror for their own motives. These motives need to be determined. Both India and Pakistan need to work it out,” he said. “A part of the conspiracy has been done in Pakistan,” the minister admitted, “but a major part was shaped in India.”

He said a first information report (FIR) was registered in Islamabad Thursday. The FIR has named nine people, including Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving attacker captured during the Mumbai mayhem, as well as Javed Iqbal of Barcelona who had allegedly played a role in funding the attackers.

“The incident happened in India but part of the conspiracy has been done in Pakistan. Therefore, it is abetting conspiracy and facilitation. Anybody (Pakistani national) who directs or conspires to do an act of terrorism abroad is deemed to have done so in Pakistan,” Malik maintained.

“The alleged mastermind has been located and is under investigation,” he said, without giving out his name.

He added that a total of six men had been arrested in Pakistan for their links with the Mumbai massacre. These included Lakhvi of the LeT which did the “planning” of the attacks.

All these “have given us a complete picture. Obviously these accounts lead to the (terrorist) leadership also”, Malik said.

Pakistan, under increasing pressure to crack down on Islamists who have virtually taken over large areas bordering Afghanistan, had initially sought to deny any links with the 10 terrorists who sailed to Mumbai by sea from Pakistan Nov 26 and then went on a horrific killing spree that lasted three days and traumatised a nation.

Nine of the terrorists were killed and Kasab was captured. India said the terrorists were linked to LeT, which has reportedly had close links with the Pakistani intelligence.

“Our leadership is fully concerned and serious in bringing all the culprits to justice,” Malik said. “I would like to assure the government of India, the people of India, we are with you.”

The minister said Pakistan desired more information from India. He said a set of 30 questions had been sent to New Delhi through its envoy in Islamabad. These included fingerprints of all the dead terrorists and also better pictures of the men who were killed by Indian commandos.

The disclosure of results of Pakistan’s investigations was welcomed in New Delhi as a “positive development” although senior ministers were to study the dossier sent from Islamabad in detail.

Indian officials said, however, that Pakistan needed to do much before to show it was serious in tackling terrorism. It had to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure that was targeted at India as it was commmitted not to allow its territory for any anti-India activity.

“It’s a positive step,” commented Lalit Mansingh, a former foreign secretary. “The government should take it seriously and consider answers to some of their questions to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“At least they have admitted that part of the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan,” he said.

Analysts noted that the admissions come a day after the visit of Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in the wake of President Barack Obama’s telephone call to President Asif Ali Zardari.

“International pressure seems to have worked on Pakistan,” said K.Subrahmanyam, India’s pre-eminent strategic analyst. “They have accepted handlers were in Pakistan.”

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