David Headley is the ace Foreign Minister SM Krishna will play during his three-day visit to Pakistan, which began on Wednesday.
As soon as he landed in Islamabad, Krishna said he expected to discuss “our core concern of terrorism” during his meetings with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, “in the context of the interrogation of David Coleman Headley regarding the Mumbai terrorist attack.”
In case Islamabad didn’t get the message, Krishna invoked Headley again at the hotel he next travelled to. “When such irrefutable evidence,” he said, referring to Headley’s statement, “is presented to any government, that government would have to act.”
"India expects some response to the interrogation (of Headley). I am here to see what it is," he added.
Headley, the Pakistani-American who served as a Lashkar e Tayyeba (LeT) scout for the 26/11 Mumbai attack, but who has cooperated with the police following his arrest in the US, is said to have described in detail how three LeT commanders planned and directed the terrorist assault.
More damningly, he is reported to have said that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence was also directly involved.
According to Headley, ISI went as far as choosing the weapons to be used in the attack and funded Headley’s trips to India to look for targets.
Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram had passed on Headley’s statement to his Pakistani counterpart, Rehman Malik, at the SAARC home ministers’ meeting last month.
However, it is Krishna who is exploiting Headley’s revelations during negotiations. Krishna noted it was the US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation that had interrogated Headley. Pakistanis tend to treat confessions made to Indian authorities as being coerced or fictitious.
New Delhi leaked details of Headley’s statements to the media before Krishna’s departure. The day before he left, home secretary GK Pillai told media that Pakistan intelligence “were literally controlling (the attacks) from the beginning till the end.”
It is expected that Islamabad will respond by raising Kashmir and the unrest that rocked the valley for the past several days. New Delhi believes the violence has Pakistani connivance.