Kayani refused to take away Lakhvi's mobile: report

Kayani refused to take away Lakhvi's mobile: report

The US request was made during a meeting overseas last summer between a senior US official and Kayani to discuss the threat posed by Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-Taiba (LeT) terror group since the 2008 Mumbai attack, investigative media group ProPublica said in a story co-published with PBS Frontline.

The US official expressed concern that Lakhvi, arrested for the brutal Mumbai attack, was still directing Lashkar operations while in custody, it said citing a US government memo viewed by it.

Kayani responded that Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had told prison authorities to better control Lakhvi’s access to the outside world, the memo says.

But Kayani rejected a US request that authorities take away the cell phone Lakhvi was using in jail, according to the memo to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the National Security Council.

The failure to crack down on the jailed Lakhvi, whose trial has stalled, raises fears of new attacks on India and the West, ProPublica said, citing counter-terror officials.

“Lakhvi is still the military chief of Lashkar,” one official said. “He is in custody but has not been replaced. And he still has access and ability to be the military chief. Don’t assume a Western view of what custody is.”

Confessed Pakistani American Lashkar operative and ISI spy David Coleman Headley’s testimony at a trial in Chicago this year revealed the ISI’s role in the Mumbai attack and a plot against Denmark, ProPublica said, describing it as “the strongest public evidence to date of ISI complicity in terrorism".

But the trial shed little light on Headley’s past as a US Drug Enforcement Administration informant and the failure of US agencies to pursue repeated warnings over seven years that could have stopped his lethal odyssey sooner - and perhaps prevented the Mumbai attack, it said.