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BJP: Sharif has ripped the mask

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: Pakistan has been shown in its true colours by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who left no one in doubt that last month’s Mumbai terror attacks were carried out from his country’s soil with the help of influential people there, the Bharatiya Janata Party said here on Saturday.

Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad was commenting on Mr. Sharif’s interview to a private channel in Pakistan that was telecast on Friday.

India’s charge that the lone terrorist caught alive during the attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, is a native of a village near Faridkot in Pakistan was confirmed by Mr. Sharif, Mr. Prasad noted. He said Mr. Sharif also confirmed that the government in Pakistan was busy with a cover-up job, cordoning off the village and preventing journalists and others from talking to Ajmal’s parents, who admitted that he was their son.

What India said was no longer an allegation but was confirmed independently by Mr. Sharif and Pakistani journalists, some of whom talked to Ajmal’s parents before the village was cordoned off, Mr. Prasad said.

“Some villagers have told journalists that Ajmal came to seek the blessings of his mother a few months before the terror strike in Mumbai and told her that he would be going on an important mission. All this confirms what India has charged,” Mr. Prasad said.

“Frank interview”

Important issues were raised by Mr. Sharif in his frank interview, he said. The former Prime Minister questioned whether President Asif Zardari was in control, and even indicated that it was the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence that continued to call the shots.

Mr. Prasad said it was time for Pakistan to face up to the reality and stop denying what was now obvious to the entire world: the Mumbai attacks were planned by Pakistanis and executed from Pakistan.

At the same time, Mr. Prasad regretted that statements expressing doubts over the manner in which the former Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare was killed would give a handle to Pakistan in continuing to suppress the truth. He said the drama over the remarks made by Union Minister A.R. Antulay and now by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh should be brought to a speedy end, by accepting Mr. Antulay’s resignation.