Pakistan must now act against Mumbai attackers: India

Pakistan must now act against Mumbai attackers: India

Sources in the home ministry said Headley's confession about the role of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was a “well known” fact shared by the US with India as part of an exchange of information between intelligence and security agencies of the two countries.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US had shared with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) the information about the ISI's role in the Mumbai carnage earlier, the sources said.

But it was not revealed because it would have hampered the investigation and the FBI wanted it to be revealed during the trial of Headley's accomplice Tahawwur Rana that began in a Chicago court Monday.

Headley, a Pakistani American who had earlier confessed to having scouted terror targets for the LeT, testified that the outfit “operated under the umbrella of the ISI” even after the group was banned in Pakistan in 2001.

Headley has pleaded guilty to reconnoitering in Mumbai for the November 2008 attack that killed 166 people, including six Americans. He is now the star government witness against Rana, who had also allegedly helped in scheming the attack.

"Since the truth has been revealed now, the civilian government in Pakistan should act against those who perpetrate terror against India.  We always believed that not only non state actors, but state actors were behind the Mumbai attack and the finger pointed to some people associated with the ISI,” an official, closely watching the trial in the US, told IANS here.

Political parties in India keenly watching the Rana trial also wanted Pakistan to come out with the truth openly now and act against LeT leaders involved in anti-India terror activities.

"Headley's revelations on Pakistan during the Chicago trial are another reason for it (Pakistan) to clarify to India and also to the world on whether state actors were involved in the Mumbai terror attacks. Rather than hide behind a defence, Pakistan needs to come out with truth," Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Prakash Javdekar said the Headley testimony was on “expected lines”.

"The ISI is a power unto itself. There is a need to evolve ways to deal with it. We must apply more pressure on Pakistan through diplomatic channels."

“This is a completely incorrect statement from him (Headley)," a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Washington said.

"(The) ISI and serving officers did not provide support to David Headley, and the ISI had nothing to do with the Mumbai attack," the spokesman said. "David was a double agent. He is not a credible witness."

Headley in his testimony revealed the rare behind-the-scenes of the planning of the terror attack. The main focus of the assertions remained the ISI's role in planning the most audacious strike in India.