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Handshake, Pak's ISI guns for Kashmir militants

world Updated: Jun 08, 2011 02:13 IST
Himani Kumar
Himani Kumar
Hindustan Times
Himani Kumar

Pointing at Pakistan military spy agency’s direct involvement in arming militants in Kashmir, Tahawwur Rana, a co-accused in the Mumbai terror attacks, has told FBI that the ISI gives weapons to terrorists about to sneak into India.

Rana’s questioning video played for the first time during his trial, which entered final phase on Tuesday, shows the 50-year old Pakistani-Canadian sharing details of his conversations with Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Headley, who identified the Mumbai attack targets and is the also the star witness in the case.

Headley had told him that the ISI was providing weapons to "freedom fighters" in Kashmir, Rana told two FBI sleuths who questioned him. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTPopups/080611/08_06_11-metro-1c.jpg

When asked about the ISI and weapons, and Headley’s role, the 50-year-old Chicago businessman said, “No guns but now obviously it's, uh, a freedom fight...in Kashmir. I think he said ISI gives them weapons.”

“When he says, when they (terrorists) are about to enter into India. So, at that very moment, when they say bye-bye to each other...ISI at that time gives them, you know, guns,” Rana told the investigators.

Major Iqbal was Headley’s ISI contact. Rana also said he had spoken to Iqbal over phone.

Headley had told Rana that though ISI knew he was working for Lashkar, the terror group was unaware of his links with the spy agency.

Rana told the FBI that Headley had spent some time with the Lashkar and trained with it during his contact with the group for five or six years.

Over 17-minute clips of seven videos - part of Rana's interrogation on October 18, 2009 - are hosted on the official website of the court.

Rana also told FBI officials that Headley had promised him that he would help him return to Pakistan. Rana, who was a doctor with the Pakistan army, was declared a deserter after he refused a high-altitude posting.

Rana's claim of being innocent to Mumbai plot was contradicted by a federal attorney as closing arguments began in the case on Tuesday.

“Evidences flatly contradicts the defence argument… Rana and Headley were part of the same team,” the attorney said.