Islamabad too may be behind 26/11 attacks

No dialogue until Pak acts: Home Minister

Islamabad too may be behind 26/11 attacks



Accusing Islamabad of deliberately stalling the probe into the Mumbai attacks, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said involvement of “state actors” could not be ruled out in the incident.

This is the first time since the controversial Sharm-el-Sheikh Indo-Pak joint statement in mid-July that the Indian political establishment has pointed to the involvement of Pakistani establishment in last November’s Mumbai terror attack.

Rejecting Pakistan’s repeated proposals for immediate resumption of  the ‘composite dialogue’, he reiterated that action against the perpetrators of the Mumbai strike was a condition for the return to the dialogue table. In a television interview, the Home Minister said a Pakistani Major General Saheb’s name had come up during the investigation into the Mumbai attacks.

The minister, however, did not say whether the Pakistani army officer was in service or retired. Pakistan has all along claimed that the Mumbai attack was executed by ‘non-state actors’.

Chidambaram will be on a four-day visit to the United States from Tuesday. The visit is aimed at carrying forward the dialogue with the US regarding the assessment of the security situation in South Asia and understanding the counter-terrorism institutions and structures in the US. He is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior officials involved in security and intelligence matters.

What makes the home minister’s ‘revelations’ significant is that they come almost two months after the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement that left the Indian government red in its face.

Turning up the heat

Since then, the Indian establishment has turned up the heat on Islamabad and accused it of going soft on some of the Lashkar-e-Toiba masterminds, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Mohammad Saeed.

In the joint statement, the two sides had resolved to take the dialogue process forward in a graduated, step-by-step manner involving deliberations at the foreign secretary level ‘as often as required’, followed by discussions at the foreign minister level. A meeting between the foreign ministers—S M Krishna and Shah Mehmood Qureshi—is expected to take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meet later this month. This could be followed by a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani at the same forum.

During his US visit, the home minister will interact with the heads of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies, including the FBI, and also look at the functioning of the New York Police Department.

Chidambaram said he would impress upon the US authorities the need to put pressure on Pakistan to initiate action against Saeed, held accountable by India for the Mumbai attacks.  “We are thoroughly, totally dissatisfied with the Pakistani response (over the 26/11 probe),”  he said while answering queries.

Asked why India was not satisfied, he said: “Because they are not arresting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. They are still on Pakistan soil. We know their names...we have shared their names with them. They are not investigating the case. The trial hasn’t opened yet. It will be a year on the 26th of November. There is no evidence of either. So that is our position.”

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