Handing over 26/11 culprits to India among Zardari's offers to U.S. in exchange for help to avert any coup
Pakistan's civilian government is said to have offered to act against the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks and hand over the guilty to Indian security services in an assurance given to the United States.
This was in return for Washington's intervention in pre-empting any military takeover after the American raid in Abbottabad that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2.
Mending fences with India by addressing New Delhi's demands vis-à-vis the Mumbai terror attack case was among the promises made to the U.S. in a memo that is alleged to have been sent to the former U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari through a Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz on May 10.
Stating that a new security team would be put in place, the memo claims that under its guidance, the civilian government would cooperate fully with India to bring all perpetrators of Pakistani origin to account for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whether outside the government or inside any part of the government, including its intelligence agencies. “This includes handing over [of] those against whom sufficient evidence exists of guilt to the Indian security services.”
Of the view that Pakistan was facing a decision point of unprecedented importance — “a 1971 moment in Pakistan's history” — the memo that has now put a great strain on the already skewed civil-military relationship articulates the civilian leadership's willingness to improve relations with India.
“We, who believe in democratic governance and building a much better structural relationship in the region with India and Afghanistan, seek U.S. assistance to help us pigeon-hole the forces lined up against your interests and ours, including containment of certain elements inside our country that require appropriate re-sets and re-tasking in terms of direction and extent of responsibility after the OBL affair.”
Ambassador returns home
According to Mr. Ijaz, the memo was drafted by Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani on behalf of Mr. Zardari, but this has been denied by both quarters. However, with the military leadership apparently communicating its displeasure at this turn of events, Mr. Haqqani submitted his resignation on Wednesday and is expected to return to Islamabad during the weekend to explain his position on what is now being called the ‘Memo-gate' scandal.