Forty-two days after 26/11, Islamabad has confirmed that Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist in Mumbai police custody, was a Pakistani national as claimed by India.
A Pakistani foreign office spokesman said in Islamabad that initial investigations revealed that Kasab was a Pakistani national.
He claimed in Islamabad that the delay in confirming the identity was because his details were not contained in a national database maintained by government.
At the same time, the spokesman said the identity of the nine other gunmen, described as Pakistanis by India, had not been ascertained. No decision had been taken on whether to give consular access to Kasab.
Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Mohammed Ali Durrani also told the Hindustan Times from Islamabad that Kasab was a Pakistani national.
“In my opinion, India and Pakistan need to work together to track down those responsible for the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan wants to work with India. Cooperation is 110 per cent possible between us,” Durrani said.
Hours after he spoke to the Indian press, Durrani was sacked as NSA by PM Yousuf Raza Gilani for making irresponsible statements. Durrani, Islamabad said, had not taken all stakeholders, including the PM, into confidence before making statements to the Indian media on Kasab.
Durrani’s removal is a sign that the Pakistan army-intelligence establishment and the civilian government are at loggerheads on whether to cooperate with India.
The NSA, it appears, has gone because he was one of those who believed that cooperation with India on Mumbai was the right thing to do.
Earlier in the day, Gilani said that Pakistan’s own investigations into Mumbai had progressed. “We’ve received information of an interim nature on Indian investigations. We are prepared to take this process forward with a view to uncovering full facts thus ensuring that the perpetrators of this heinous crime whosoever they may be are brought to justice,” Gilani said.
Responding to Monday’s statement from Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs wondered how Islamabad could reject the evidence offered by India in less than 24 hours.
Spokesman Vishnu Prakash said, “How can this rejection be credible or be based on a real examination and investigation of the evidence? This is a political rejection without any basis.”
“The issue is not words or statements or the situation in South Asia. The issue is what Pakistan does about terrorist attacks on India from Pakistan,” Prakash added.
Separately, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that Pakistan had not even lodged an FIR in the Mumbai attacks. Even in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, they had turned to the United Nations to investigate the case.
Mukherjee told a television channel that India would not allow the victims and perpetrators of terrorism to be treated at par.