26/11 partly planned in Pakistan: Malik

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LINK ESTABLISHED: Pakistan’s Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik shows pictures of a fishing trawler used by the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, in Islamabad on Thursday.
LINK ESTABLISHED: Pakistan’s Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik shows pictures of a fishing trawler used by the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, in Islamabad on Thursday.

Nirupama Subramanian

Islamabad registers case of terrorism against eight suspects; six of them in custody

More information sought to build water-tight case

Assures India “we are with you”

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday delivered a big part of its promise of cooperation with India on the Mumbai attacks by registering a case of terrorism against eight Pakistani suspects, and formally acknowledging that part of the planning for the attacks was done in this country.

The move is unprecedented and marks an important milestone in India-Pakistan relations.

Rehman Malik, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior, who also heads the crucial Ministry, told journalists that the case was registered under sections of the 1997 Anti-Terrorism Act that enable the prosecution of Pakistanis for directing, abetting, conspiring or facilitating a terrorist act in another country.

“The incidents have happened in India, and some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan,” Mr. Malik said.

The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2008 and sections of the Pakistan Penal Code have also been invoked in the case, registered in the capital by the Federal Investigation Agency on the basis of its investigations into the material provided by India on the Mumbai attacks.

Six of the eight suspects are in custody, and “some of them,” Mr. Malik said, belong to the banned militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Among the six are the LeT’s Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, alleged by India to have masterminded the entire operation and LeT communication expert Zarar Shah, who was a main “handler” of the 10 men who carried out the attacks.

Another person in custody was identified as Hamad Amin Sadiq, who Mr. Malik also described as a “mastermind.” A fourth is Javed Iqbal, who is said to have made the payments for the SIM cards purchased from Callphonex, an Internet phone company through which the Mumbai attackers and their handlers communicated.

Mr. Malik refused to divulge the identities of two of the eight men as they are not in custody yet and revealing their names could jeopardise the investigation.

While the official outlined some details of how the FIA had followed up on leads provided by the Indian government in order to get to the FIR stage, he repeatedly made the point that Pakistan needed “more information” from India to build a water-tight case in court.

“When I say this, it does not mean that we are passing on the responsibility. India and Pakistan have a joint responsibility, and we are just asking for help,” he said, stressing that it was important that “we should not allow the weakening of the FIR.”

He said he wanted “to assure the people of India, the Indian leadership that we are with you, and we have proved that we are with you.”

Mr. Malik briefed Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal on the FIA findings, before the Foreign Ministry handed over the investigation report to the envoy. Included in the report is a list of 30 questions on which Pakistan wants additional information. A few of the questions raise the possibility of local help in India to the attackers.

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