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India hands Kasab's letter to Pakistan

India handed over a letter written by Mumbai attack accused Ajmal Amir Iman Kasab to Pakistan's acting High Commissioner Afrasiab, stating he is a "Pakistani", reports Amit Baruah.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2008 00:08 IST
Amit Baruah

Nearly a month after 26/11, New Delhi has handed over to Islamabad a letter written by Mohammed Ajmal Mohammed Amir Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist nabbed by the Mumbai police, seeking a meeting with officials in the Pakistani High Commission.

Pakistan’s Acting High Commissioner Afrasiab, who uses one name, was called to South Block on Monday, and the letter written by Kasab was handed over to him.

“In his letter addressed to the Pakistan High Commission, Kasab has stated that he and the other terrorists killed in the attack were from Pakistan and has sought a meeting with the Pakistan High Commission,” a brief official statement said.

It is the first real piece of evidence that India has handed over to Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks. The one-page letter, reportedly written in Urdu, is dated December 19.

Afrasiab confirmed to Hindustan Times that he had received the letter from MEA Joint Secretary T.C.A. Raghavan. “We have already conveyed the contents of the letter to Pakistan,” Afrasiab stated.

“Action is being taken,” he added, without providing details.

With this, India has taken the first step of trying to get Pakistan to confirm Kasab’s nationality. Now, if Pakistan so chooses, it will be able to meet Kasab, verify his personal details, crosscheck with Islamabad and convey to India whether he is a Pakistani or not.

The Indian action comes days after Pakistani President Asiz Ali Zardari expressed doubts whether Kasab was from Pakistan while former PM Nawaz Sharif said he had no such doubts about Kasab’s nationality.

Already, the respected Pakistani daily, Dawn, has traced Kasab’s father to Faridkot village in Okara district and verified that he’s very much a Pakistani.

Earlier this month, Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police Rakesh Maria had been quoted as saying that Kasab had written a letter to the Pakistani High Commission.

"Kasab's letter, which also seeks legal aid from the consulate (read high commission), has been dispatched to the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs to be forwarded appropriately," Maria reportedly said.

It is now up to Pakistan to decide what it chooses to do with the letter. Under normal circumstances, it should seek consular access to Kasab, verify his nationality and then help with his defence. But given Islamabad's continuing denials, Pakistan could well do nothing about the letter or say that it wanted more evidence from India before responding to the letter.