Thursday, February 12, 2009




In the wake of the terrorist attack by 10 Pakistani members of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Mumbai from November 26 to 29,2008, India hasto use three yard-sticks to decide on the genuiness and adequacy of any Pakistani co-operation. These are:

Does its co-operation help in bringing to justice the operatives of the LET in Pakistan and any others, who were involved in the planning and execution of the terrorist strike?

Does its co-operation help in a better reconstruction and understanding of the terrorist strike in order to find out answers to some important questions such as why the terrorists targeted Israeli and other foreign nationals, for example? The answers to such questions will be available only with the master-minds of the LET in Pakistan. Ajmal Amir Kasab, the surviving Pakistani perpetrator, now in the custody of the Mumbai Police, may not be privy to the objectives of the LET.

Does the Pakistani co-operation help India in preventing any more terrorist strike mounted from Pakistani territory----by the LET, the other anti-India terrorist organisations and Al Qaeda by eradicating their terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory and destroying their capabilities?

2.There was some forward movement with regard to the first question on February 12,2009, when Rehman Malik, Pakistan's InternalSecurity Adviser, who is known to be closer to President Asif Ali Zardari than to Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani and who enjoys thestatus of a Cabinet Minister though not so designated, handed over to the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad the salient points of thePakistani investigation and action taken so far with a list of 30 questions for India to answer to enable them to take the investigation furtherforward. These salient points were revealed by him to the media at a special press conference held the same day. Annexed are the reportscarried by the "News" and the "Daily Times" of Pakistan on his disclosures at the press conference.

3.A careful study of the Pakistani media reports would show that Pakistan has been more forthcoming now than it was since 26/11 and hasbeen keen to demonstrate to the international community that in investigating the case "Pakistan means business" as Malik repeatedlyemphasised. One should not grudge conceding that there has definitely been a shift from a position of total denial of the involvement ofanyone in Pakistani territory to partial acceptance of the conclusion of Indian and Western investigators that the conspiracy for the terroristattack originated in Pakistani territory and that the key answers to various questions coming to the fore during the investigation are to befound in Pakistan, which only Pakistani investigators can do.

4. At the same time, there was an undisguised attempt by Malik to project the conspiracy as trans-national and not uni-national only inPakistan. He repeatedly said that only a part of the conspiracy took place in Pakistani territory. To underline the trans-national dimensionsof the conspiracy he referred to the role played by some members of the Pakistani diaspora in Spain and Italy and to Pakistan's suspicion ofa role by some elements in India as seen, according to him, from the fact that the perpetrators had used SIM cards procured in India.

5. Pakistan's attempt is to project the conspiracy as mounted by non-State elements of which the Pakistani intelligence agencies had noinkling till after the attack. There has been a reluctance on the part of Indian analysts to accept that all the recruitment, planning andtraining could have been carried out by the LET in Pakistani territory without the Pakistani intelligence agencies becoming aware of it.Malik has prepared the ground for meeting this argument if and when it acquires force by pointing out that if the intelligence agencies ofIndia, Italy and Spain had missed noticing the preparations being made in their territory, how can they blame the Pakistani agencies forsimilarly missing them.

6. There were two significant points in the press briefing of Malik. The first is the absence of any reference to Indian allegations that agroup of 32 potential perpetrators was trained by the LET initially in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) and subsequently in Karachi before10 of them were finally selected and sent to Mumbai by sea. The second is his repeated use of the word "alleged" while refering to the roleof the LET operatives, who have been detained and against whom investigation has been launched in pursuance of the two First InformationReports (FIRs) registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He did not use the word "alleged" while referring to those whoseinvolvement Pakistan claims to have unearthed.This would indicate a possible attempt by them to show their investigation against someLET opetratives as warranted by the Indian "allegations" against them and not by any evidence so far uncovered by the FIA. Thus, whileregistering two FIRs against the LET operatives named by India, they have kept open the possibility of giving a free chit to the LET after theinternational pressure and interest subside and releasing their operatives on the ground that the investigation did not bring out anycredible evidence against them.

7. This was exactly the same modus operandi (MO) which the Pakistanis had followed after the thwarted attack by a group of terroristsbelonging to the LET and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) on the Parliament House in New Delhi in December,2001. Musharraf banned theseorganisations on January 15,2002, arrested their leaders and ordered an enquiry into their activities. A few months later, the arrestedpersons were got released by courts on the ground that the investigation did not bring out any evidence of wrong doing against them.

8. While we are right in welcoming the changed Pakistani stance--- even if it be only a change in tactics--- as seen on February 12,2009, weshould avoid nursing illusions that the seeming change in the Pakistani stance marked a watershed in Pakistani attitude to anti-Indiaterrorism. We have to wait and see whether Pakistan really means business this time, or is it merely pretending to co-operate while notsincerely co-operating as it has always done in the past---- whether against anti-India terrorism or against the Neo Taliban of Afghanistan orwith regard to the investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, or the investigation into the proliferationactivities of A.Q.Khan or the investigation into the involvement of Rashid Rauf, a British citizen of Pakistani origin, in the conspiracy to blowup some US-bound planes in 2006.

9. Welcome the seeming change in its stance, but avoid over-assessing its significance and keep the pressure on Pakistan. That should beour operating principle.

10. Pakistan's new stance does not respond to the remaining two questions posed in Para one above. There are no indications at all that itis having second thoughts about the wisdom or inadvisability of continuing to use terrorism as a strategic weapon against India and that itmight now act against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in its territory and the role of the ISI in keeping this terrorism sustained. Threatsof new terriorist attacks against Indian and foreign targets in Indian territory mounted from Pakistan remain as high as before.

11. There has been a debate as to why this sudden change of stance by Pakistan on February 12,2009. In this connection, the visit ofRichard Holbrooke, the US Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, to Islamabad from February 9 to 11,2009, and the first telephone call of President Barack Obama to President Asif Ali Zardari on February 11 have been cited by many analysts. There are twoother elements, which also need to be noted. The first was the brutal beheading of a Polish engineer working in Pakistan by the PakistaniTaliban on February 6. There has been a wave of anger and revulsion against Pakistan in Poland ever since the Taliban announced hisbeheading. The anger in Poland against Pakistan is as intense as the anger in India after 26/11.The second is the Mumbai-style attacks onthe offices of the prison department and the Justice Ministry in Kabul by the Taliban on February 11 which has set off concerns that theMumbai attack is already having a copy-cat effect. These are likely to have increased the pressure on the Pakistan Government to showthat they really business in going after terrorism and they are not playing games with the international community.One has to wait and seewhat further action the Pakistani authorities take in the weeks to come. This is the time for keeping up the pressure on Pakistan. (13-2-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute Fior TopicalStrudies, Chennai. E-mail: )


By Mobarik A Virk ( "News of February 13,2009)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that the Mumbai attacks were partly planned in Pakistan and that it hasarrested six suspects, including the “main operator”.
In its first detailed response to the dossier provided by India, Pakistan said criminal cases had been registered against nine suspects oncharges of “abetting, conspiracy and facilitation” of a terrorist act. However, it said more evidence is required from India, including DNAsamples of Ajmal Kasab, to establish his identity.
Addressing a press conference at the interior ministry, Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told the media FIR No: 01/009 had been lodged withthe Special Investigation Group (SIG) in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against nine suspects. The Pakistani investigators haveidentified Hammad Amin Sadiq as the alleged ‘mastermind’ of the whole conspiracy.
Malik said the cases against nine persons had been registered under the Anti-Terror Act (ATA) and the Cyber Crime Act and they would betried under these two sets of laws. He said six of the nine accused named in the FIR have already been arrested and being interrogated, twohave been identified but not arrested so far while investigations are still under way into the possible involvement of the ninth accused.
He identified those taken into custody as Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) commander who was arrested from Muzaffarabadsoon after the Indian government alleged that the LT was behind the Mumbai attacks, Javed Iqbal, who was arrested from Barcelona, Spain,Hammad Amin Sadiq, believed to be the main operator belonging to southern Punjab, Zarar Shah, Mohammad Ashfaq and Abu Hamza. Thename of the lone surviving terrorist now in the custody of India, Ajmal Kasab, is not included in the FIR.
He also said some of those arrested by the security agencies of Pakistan for possible involvement in the Mumbai attacks belong to the LT.Malik said Javed Iqbal, who was based in Barcelona, Spain, was the person who paid $200 for the ‘Internet Domain’ that was also used forcommunication and planning for the Mumbai attacks. “Having ascertained the involvement of Javed Iqbal, we somehow lured him intocoming to Pakistan and he was arrested on his arrival,” Malik said.
He also said the e-mail sent by ‘Deccan Mujahideen’ claiming responsibility for the Mumbai attacks was believed to be prepared and sent byZarar Shah, who was responsible for communication link in the whole operation.
The adviser disclosed that the money to fund these attacks was transferred from Pakistan and was received in Italy. This moneytransaction was made through a Pakistani bank. He also said after thorough investigations by the Pakistani security and intelligenceagencies it was learnt that these alleged terrorists operated from two bases — one inside Karachi and the other outside but not very faraway from Karachi.
He also disclosed that the people involved in the Mumbai attacks used three boats for travelling to Mumbai, one named ‘Al-Hussaini’ and theother ‘Al-Ghaus’. For communication, these culprits used ‘Call Phonic’ system and they also bought Indian cell phone SIMs forcommunication from inside India.
Malik said the findings have already been shared with the Indian government. The Indian high commissioner in Islamabad was called to theforeign office and the report was handed over to him officially.
“We also have forwarded a set of 30 questions for which we would need answers as early as possible to support and further theinvestigation process on our side. We have asked the Indian government to provide us the DNA samples of the lone surviving terrorist, AjmalKasab, to ascertain his nationality, as we don’t have any record of the individual with Nadra (National Database Registration Authority).”
“At the same time,” he said, “we would like to have the statement given by Ajmal Kasab to the Indian investigators, how this group ofterrorists managed to sneak past the Indian security and intelligence agencies guarding their coastal lines, and how these nine personsmanaged to travel in a small boat and reach the Indian coast”.
He also pointed out that the satellite phone connection that was used for communication during the Mumbai attack was registered in theMiddle East and not in Pakistan. He also said forensic reports of the arms and ammunition used in the attack have been sought from theIndian authorities.
The adviser on interior said to make a solid case against all these people who have been arrested or for whose arrest the Pakistaniauthorities are making all-out efforts, meaningful cooperation from India would be most important.
Agencies add: Malik said the breakthrough in the investigation had resulted from tracing the fishing vessel used by the militants, purchasesof equipment like life jackets and the engine for the rubber dinghy that militants came ashore in Mumbai.
He said only nine of the 10 gunmen came ashore in the dinghy, and the fishing boat they had used to sail from Karachi had refuelled on thecoast of India’s Gujarat state. The Pakistani official said one suspect was allegedly involved in the 2007 bomb attack on the SamjhautaExpress in India that killed 68 people as the train headed for Lahore, and India has been requested for more information. NEWS 13-2-09

Islamabad hands over Mumbai probe report to New Delhi

By Sajjad Malik/Tahir Niaz ( " Daily Times" of February 13,2009)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has formally handed over the details of its investigation into the Mumbai terror attacks to India, the Foreign Officesaid on Thursday as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik admitted that the attacks were ‘partially planned’ in Pakistan.
“The Indian high commissioner was ... [on Thursday given] material pertaining to the Mumbai terror attacks probe by the FederalInvestigation Agency (FIA), by the foreign secretary,” said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit.
Arrests: Meanwhile at a press conference, Rehman Malik announced ‘breakthrough’ arrests in the Mumbai probe, and admitted that theMumbai attacks were partially planned in Pakistan. He said some of the suspects were linked to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LT). Rehman said acase was registered on Thursday under the Anti-Terrorism Act against eight suspects – including LT’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Hammad Aminand Zarar Shah – on charges of “abetting, directing, conspiring and facilitating a terrorist act”. Six of these suspects are in the custody ofintelligence agencies, and all will be tried under Pakistani law.
“Some funds for the attacks were transferred from Spain and Italy,” he said.
Karachi: Rehman said the suspects used three boats, all of which have been seized, to sail from Karachi to Mumbai between November 26and 28, 2008.
More information: Rehman, however, said these findings were not final and Pakistan needed more information from India. He said the Indianauthorities had been asked to answer 30 questions raised by the Pakistani investigators.
Other countries: The adviser said “the system of various other countries” was also used to plan the attacks. Rehman said two more menwere being held, and identified them only as Khan and Riaz. Other leads pointed to Europe and the US, and Malik said Pakistan would askthe FBI for help. DAILY TIMES 13-2-09

LT slams Islamabad for Mumbai charges

SRINAGAR: The banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba angrily condemned Islamabad on Thursday for filing a case against some of the group’s topoperatives. Pakistan lodged a first information report against eight suspects, including the presumed mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.“We strongly condemn the lodging of the FIR against LT,” Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi told AFP over the telephone. The case wasbrought to ‘win appreciation’ from India and the US and to “implement India’s agenda of suppressing the people’s struggle for freedom inKashmir”, said Ghaznavi. afp DAILY TIMES 13-2-09

Islamabad forex company involved

LAHORE: Interior Adviser Rehman Malik has claimed that a money exchange company in Islamabad was involved in transferring money to asuspect of the Mumbai attacks in Spain, said a private TV channel. The money was transferred through Paracha International Exchange’sEuro 2005 branch in Islamabad to Javed Iqbal in Barcelona. The branch was later found sealed. Representatives of other branches havedenied that such a transaction took place. But one of the two owners confirmed the transaction, and blamed his partner for it. daily timesmonitor DAILY TIMES 13-2-09