Pak may name HuJI, ‘local links’ in Mumbai plot
Islamabad: Pakistani investigators probing the Mumbai attacks are closing in on a Bangladeshi connection to the terrorist strike and are said to have evidence of not only the involvement of a banned militant organisation, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, Bangladesh (HuJI-B), but also of its role in planning the attack and training the terrorists.
A reference in this regard is likely to be made in the report of the country’s premier investigation agency, FIA, that will be shared soon with India as findings of preliminary investigations.
The report is likely to indicate that the Mumbai attack was the handiwork of an “international network of Muslim fundamentalists” present in South Asia and spread all the way to Middle East; and may build the case for regional anti-terror cooperation.
The investigators were intensely probing, the sources said, if at least one of the Mumbai attackers was of Bangladesh origin. A senior Western diplomat confirmed this and said there was a strong possibility that one of the attackers was a Bangladeshi national.
It has already been established that Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving gunman involved in the Mumbai attacks, was of Pakistani origin but the identity of the other nine terrorists killed in the incident is yet to be determined although India has been claiming that they were Pakistanis.
Although the Bangladesh connection has emerged quite prominently in the investigations, there are clear indications that some of the planning for the attacks was done in Dubai and there is also an element of local Indian support.
New Delhi: In a direct indictment of the Pakistani establishment, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon has said its spy agency ISI is linked to those who organised the Terror attacks in Mumbai and on the Indian embassy in Kabul.
“The perpetrators planned, trained and launched their attacks from Pakistan, and the organisers were and remain clients and creations of the ISI,” Menon said in a speech in Paris. “We, in India, are next to the epicentre of international terrorism in Pakistan.”
The speech was delivered at a foreign affairs conference at the Institute Francais des Relations Internationales on Wednesday but was released to the media on Thursday by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Menon said those behind the carnages are known to prepare for strikes across the world and cautioned against any “compromise” with such forces.
He also indicated India’s opposition to the sale of arms to Pakistan by the US and others in the name of fight against terrorism, saying such supplies were “totally unrelated” to the objective meant for and rather act as “whisky to an alcoholic, a drug reinforcing an addiction”.
India has “directly suffered the consequences of linkages and relationships among terrorist organisations, their support structures, official sponsors and funding mechanisms, which transcend national borders but operate within them,” he said in a clear reference to Pakistan. “Any compromise with such forces, howsoever, pragmatic or opportune it might appear momentarily, only encourages them.”
He said two months after the Mumbai attacks and one month after India presented a “dossier of evidence” linking the attacks to elements in Pakistan, “we still await a response from the Pakistani authorities, and prevarication continues”.
In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that when Pakistan has not been able to investigate Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the UN has to probe, then how can its investigation be taken seriously. In Islamabad, Ban Ki-moon had announced a UN probe into Bhutto’s killing.
Meanwhile, the MEA spokesperson, referring to reports about a public meeting of banned organizations in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, said: “We have seen reports that representatives of terrorist groups Jaish-e-Muhammad, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Jamaat-ud-Dawa participated in a public meeting yesterday at Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. No effort was made by the authorities to curb the activities of these groups. We strongly condemn the license that banned terrorist organisations continue to enjoy in territory under Pakistan’s control.”
With the US today confirming that Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative on Pakistan and Afghanistan, would be visiting India next week, New Delhi also sought to link peace in Afghanistan with the elimination of the international terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan.