Pakistan admits Mumbai November attack was hatched in Pakistan

Published 12 February 2009

In the face of irrefutable evidence, Pakistan admits the 26 November attacks in Mumbai, in which more than 180 people were killed, were planned on Pakistani soil and carried out by Pakistanis

Indian authorities have termed Pakistan’s first formal response to the Indian dossier on Mumbai terror attack a “positive development” and said the dossier was so “tightly argued” that no one can ignore it.

In response to information conveyed to Pakistan by the Indian government, Pakistan admitted that the Mumbai attacks were planned partly in Pakistan, but said Islamabad must now dismantle the “infrastructure of terrorism” on its soil. “This is a positive development,” a Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) statement said in response to Islamabad’s admission and announcement that it had filed a case against nine suspects, six of them in custody.

New Delhi has blamed November’s Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 180 people, on the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and last month handed over information which Islamabad had used to investigate the assault. “It remains India’s goal to bring the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai to book, and to follow this process through to the end,” the foreign ministry statement said. “We would also expect that the government of Pakistan take credible steps to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan,” it added.

Yielding to international pressure, Pakistan today admitted for the first time that the Mumbai terror attacks were “partly” plotted on its soil and launched from its shores for which it has arrested six persons. In the face of evidence provided by India, Islamabad also acknowledged a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) links to attacks that began on 26 November, after a series of flip-flops on the credibility of the Indian dossier and initial denials of a Pakistani hand.

Pakistan made its first formal response to the Indian dossier on the attacks blamed on terrorists based on its soil at a press conference by interior ministry chief Rehman Malik, who gave details of the probe following a meeting Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal had with officials here this morning, PTI reported. Malik identified Hamad Amin Sadiq, a 38-year-old man hailing from Punjab province, as the “main operator” in facilitating and coordinating the Mumbai attacks and named two others — one Khan and one Riaz — as accused in the case. He admitted that nine terrorists had sailed from Karachi port for the Mumbai attacks in three boats. In all, cases have been filed against nine persons, six of them already in custody, on charges of “abetting, conspiracy and facilitation” of a terrorist act.

Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist captured in the Mumbai attacks, is one of those named in the FIR. Pakistan wants his confessional statement made during his interrogation in Mumbai, Malik said indicating they would like to have him in their custody.

The admission about planning of the attack in Pakistan came when Malik said that “some part of the conspiracy” took place on its soil. “About the crime and the criminals, some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan. According to available information most of them (planners and conspirators) are in our custody,” he said. Suggesting links between the Mumbai attacks and the LeT, he said the LeT operations commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, dubbed by India as the alleged mastermind and demanded for trial in Mumbai, and its communication expert Zarar Shah have been “located and are under investigation”. He did not specify whether Lakhvi was named in the FIR registered with the Special Investigation Unit police station in Islamabad. Two accused have been identified but were at large, he said.