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LeT chief denies role in Mumbai attacks

india Updated: Dec 04, 2008 21:40 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The founder of terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, a fugitive wanted by India for his involvement in many terror attacks, has said he cannot be extradited since he has never been convicted either in India or Pakistan.

Saeed, whose name figures in the list of 20 fugitives wanted by India from Pakistan after the Mumbai attacks, has termed the demand for his head as a "crude attempt" to divert attention of the people from the failures of Indian intelligence and security agencies.

In an interview to Outlook magazine to hit the stands on Saturday, Saeed said:"I have never been convicted either in India or in Pakistan on any charge. On the other hand, a criminal case is still pending against BJP leader L K Advani for masterminding Mohammad Ali Jinnah's murder."

He said Pakistan never demanded "Advani's extradition despite this pending case." On the other hand, the Indian leadership is using Pakistan as a punching bag to cover its failures at home, Saeed said.

The Lashkar founder has warned that his organisation would fight alongside Pakistani forces, in case India launched an attack. "It is up to the Pakistani government and army how to react to any misadventure by the Indians. Like any other patriotic Pakistani, we will stand with the army if there is any aggression."

Asked about India's allegation that Mumbai attacks were masterminded in Pakistan, Saeed replied it was not for the first time India was making the charge, and it would again be proven wrong again.

"The Indian leadership was quick to blame Pakistan for masterminding the blasts in Samjhauta express and Malegaon. Yet their own security and intelligence agencies have finally arrested an Indian army officer as the actual mastermind," he said.

On the Mumbai attacker who has been arrested and has reportedly confessed being a Lashkar militant from Pakistan, he said it was a "cooked-up confessional statement."

Completely denying any Lashkar involvement in Mumbai attacks, its supremo said "Lashkar does not believe in killing civilians."

Saeed charged that India was not interested in properly investigating the Mumbai attacks. "They are only interested in blaming Pakistan, evident from the fact that they started naming Pakistan even while the operation was still under way."

Lashkar has been operating under the name of Jammat-Ul-Daawa as a religious organisation in Pakistan, since it was banned by former President Pervez Musharraf following the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001.

Lashkar founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed speaks:

· Lashkar has no role in Mumbai attacks since it does not believe in killing civilians.
· India started blaming Pakistan even while the operation was still on in Mumbai.
· Pakistan is used as a punching bag by India to cover its own intelligence and security failures.
· Investigations in Samjhauta Express and Malegaon blasts showed none of India's allegations have been true so far.