India resents U.S. plea of immunity for ISI in civil suit

India has expressed extreme disappointment on the U.S. taking the position that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency be accorded immunity from a civil suit filed in a New York court on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

“It cannot be that any organisation, state or non-state, which sponsors terrorism, has immunity,” noted Foreign Office spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. He was responding to a query on the ‘Statement of Interest’ filed by the U.S. State Department on immunity for the ISI and two former Director Generals of the agency in a civil case of wrongful death filed by U.S. family members of the victims of the terror attacks.

Mr. Akbaruddin said it is of vital importance that justice is done. “People who organised and perpetrated this horrible crime should be brought to justice, irrespective of the jurisdiction under which they may reside or be operating. Our position has been made known to the United States consistently,” he said, while declining to go into the motives for this stand.

‘A matter of concern’

“India isn’t a party to the civil suit filed in the Eastern District Court of New York. The details of what was conveyed to the court by a sovereign government are a matter for that government to explain,” he said. From India’s perspective, the stand taken by the U.S. government was “a matter of abiding concern.”

The Foreign Office said this stand, when viewed against assurances by the leadership of the U.S. to counter terrorism, dismantle terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan and bring the people responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks to justice, is a cause for serious disappointment.

The State Department told the New York court that, “in the view of the United States, the ISI is entitled to immunity, because it is part of a foreign state within the meaning of the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act). Furthermore, the Department of State has determined that former Director Generals Ahmed Shuja Pasha and Nadeem Taj are immune because the plaintiffs’ allegations relate to acts that these defendants allegedly took in their official capacities as directors of an entity that is undeniably a fundamental part of the Government of Pakistan.

“Because foreign sovereign immunity and foreign official immunity provide an adequate basis upon which to handle this case with respect to the ISI and former Directors General Pasha and Taj, the United States takes no position on the political doctrine issues that are also presented in this case,” said the 12-page affidavit in response to the court case.

The suit was filed by American survivors of 26/11 against ISI chiefs, Ahmed Shuja Pasha and Nadeem Taj, besides LeT leaders, Mohammed Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rahman, Sajid Mir and Azam Cheema.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 6:45:59 AM |

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