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26/11 was not planned here: Pakistan

Pakistan’s Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) says the 26 /11 Mumbai attacks were planned outside Pakistan, possibly in Dubai or even Austria, sources told the Hindustan Times on Monday. Kamal Siddiqi & Amit Baruah report.International whodunit or escape route?

world Updated: Feb 10, 2009 01:31 IST
Kamal Siddiqi & Amit Baruah

Pakistan’s Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) says the 26 /11 Mumbai attacks were planned outside Pakistan, possibly in Dubai or even Austria, sources told the Hindustan Times on Monday.

Sources also referred to the possible involvement of the Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (Bangladesh) in the Mumbai carnage, an attack which India has blamed on the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.

This came on a day when the Pakistani cabinet’s defence committee suggested that the evidence supplied by India on the Mumbai attacks was not substantial.

In India, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters, “There is no doubt that the Mumbai terrorist attack was planned and executed from Pakistan’s soil”.

Pakistan, however, has decided to register a case against anonymous perpetrators for the 26/11 attacks so that further investigations could be carried out and those responsible, “wherever they may be”, brought to justice.

Pakistan’s reference is not to “whoever” the perpetrators may be, but “wherever they may be”. This indicates that they could be outside the country.

Islamabad has also decided that it will shortly communicate questions in a “return dossier” to Indian authorities that arise from the investigation conducted by the FIA. This will have queries about India-based terrorist organisations that facilitated the Mumbai attack.

Officials from the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Secretariat told local media that since Pakistan and India do not have an extradition agreement, it would be more appropriate to try anybody caught in Pakistan within the country.

In Dhaka, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said frameworks did not stand in the way of fighting terrorism.

But inability or unwillingness to tackle terrorism did create problems in dealing with the issue, Mukherjee said.

All key stakeholders in the Pakistan system — the military top brass, including Army Chief Parvez Kayani and ISI boss Ahmed Shuja Pasha — as well as Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and security czar Rehman Malik attended the cabinet meeting.

By having all those who matter present at the meeting, the Pakistani military and civilian authorities are sending out a simple message: we are all united and this position has support from all of us.

“The meeting acknowledged that the inquiry had been conducted professionally and endorsed the recommendations of the interior ministry to proceed with the registration of the case,” an official statement said in Islamabad.