Zardari blames ’stateless actors’ for Mumbai attacksDecember 3rd, 2008 - 12:59 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Dec 3 (IANS) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has blamed “stateless actors” for last week’s terror attacks on Mumbai and said he is willing to let Pakistani security officials participate in a joint investigation with India.Denying that Pakistan was involved in the attack, in which 183 people were killed, Zardari said he has seen no evidence that a suspect in Indian custody is a Pakistani national.
“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region,” Zardari said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview aired Tuesday night.
“The gunmen plus the planners, whoever they are, (are) stateless actors who have been holding hostage the whole world,” he added.
Asked about the possibility of Indian military strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan, Zardari said: “I would not agree with that because this is a time to come together and do a joint investigation and look at the problem in the larger context. We have a larger threat on our hands… it’s a threat throughout the region. So that would be counterproductive.”
On whether the Mumbai attacks could trigger a fourth war between the neighbours, Zardari said: “Democracies don’t go to war. All those wars you’re talking about did not take place in any democracy. They all happened in the times of dictators. The whole nation of Pakistan is united on becoming friends with India.”
“The state of Pakistan is in no way responsible,” Zardari said. “Even the White House and the American CIA (Central Investigative Agency) have said that today. The state of Pakistan is, of course, not involved. We’re part of the victims. I’m a victim. The state of Pakistan is a victim. We are the victims of this war and I am sorry for the Indians,” he said.
Zardari confirmed he is willing to let Pakistani security officials participate in a joint investigation with India.
Indian officials have said that the only suspected attacker in custody has told police he is a Pakistani national. Indian intelligence sources have told CNN’s sister network, CNN-IBN, that police believe all the attackers were Pakistanis.
Asked about the suspect in custody, Zardari said: “We have not been given any tangible proof to say that he is definitely a Pakistani. I very much doubt it, Larry, that he is a Pakistani.”
He said Pakistan is looking into the allegation, but added: “Like I said, these are stateless individuals…We’ve had incidents the past two days in Karachi where we’ve lost more than 40 to 45 people, hundreds injured. These are stateless actors who are moving throughout this region.”
“I am definitely going to look into all the possibility of any proof that is given to us,” Zardari said. “At the moment, these are just names of individuals. No proof, no investigation, nothing has been brought forward.”
If proof of the individuals’ involvement is provided, he said: “We would try them in our courts, we would try them in our land and we would sentence them.”
Indian authorities said the suspect in custody was trained by Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.
Zardari told CNN that the Lashkar-e-Taiba is a “banned organisation” in Pakistan and around the world.
“If indeed they are involved, we would not know,” he said. “Again, they are people who operate outside the system. Like Al Qaeda, for instance, is not state-oriented. They operate something on that mechanism and…I’ve already offered India full cooperation on this incident and we intend to do that.”
“I’m firmly committed to fighting terrorism per se,” Zardari said. “That’s why we are fighting them every day.”