Today's Paper

“Ajmal not on Pakistan database”

Nirupama Subramanian

But NADRA covers only one-third of Pakistan’s population

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday deflected the issue of the alleged Pakistani nationality of Ajmal Amir ‘Kasab’, the lone gunman from the Mumbai attacks who is in police custody in India by declaring that he is not on the country’s computerised data base.

“As far as Ajmal Kasab is concerned, NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) do not have any records of his,” Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik told journalists after a meeting with visiting Interpol chief Ronald Noble here.

But Ajmal’s Pakistani origins cannot be ruled out on the basis of his absence in the NADRA database, which covers only one-third of Pakistan’s population.

In September 2007, NADRA announced it had issued computerised National Identity Cards to 60 million of Pakistan’s approximately 180 million population.

Mr. Malik said the government would respond soon to Ajmal’s letter to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi asking for consular and legal assistance. His letter also reportedly says that the nine other gunmen who were killed in the Mumbai stand-off were also Pakistani.

“Pakistan’s High Commission has received a letter said to be written by Kasab and we will get it examined by our experts. We will give a detailed response,” Mr. Malik, who has seen a copy of the letter, said.

The Interior Ministry chief, who told Pakistan’s parliament on Monday that the banned Laskhar-e-Jhangvi had carried out the September attack on the Marriott hotel, told reporters the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) “does not exist” as it had been banned in 2002.

He said Jamat-ud-dawah, which was recently designated by the UN as a terrorist organisation and a front of the LeT, but has yet to be banned by Pakistan, would be proscribed if proven to be involved in terrorist activities.

Mr. Noble, who arrived in Pakistan from New Delhi for talks with Mr. Malik, told reporters that India had not yet shared any evidence of the Mumbai attacks with Interpol, and what it knew was from the media.

“To date, India’s government has not authorised India’s police agencies to enter any data relating to the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai into Interpol’s databases,” the Interpol chief said.

“The information Interpol has about what happened in Mumbai is the same information that you have — it’s information that was read in journals, that was read on the Internet or that was seen on TV.”

Mr. Noble said he was optimistic that New Delhi would soon share the evidence with Interpol. He said the organisation had a team in India, and could pass on shared forensic details such as DNA profilesof the suspects to the rest of the world.

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