FBI team to visit Pakistan over Mumbai attacks probe

A seven-member FBI team from the US is expected to visit Pakistan next week to follow-up the findings of the probe conducted by authorities in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks.
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Updated on Feb 21, 2009 05:35 PM IST
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PTI | By, Islamabad

A seven-member FBI team from the US is expected to visit Pakistan next week to follow-up the findings of the probe conducted by authorities here in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks.

The visit by the FBI team has been cleared by the Foreign Office, diplomatic sources said.

The team will interact with Pakistani law enforcement officials to discuss the findings of their probe into the November 26 Mumbai attacks, the sources told PTI.

They said the FBI is also expected to question the six suspects detained by Pakistani authorities in connection with the attacks which left over 180 people dead, including six Americans. These suspects include Lashker-e-Taiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, its communication expert Zarar Shah and another member of the group Hamad Amin Sadiq.

Interior ministry chief Rehman Malik had last week said Pakistani authorities had filed formal charges against nine suspects, including Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the attacks. He said six of the eight other suspects had been detained while two are still at large.

Malik had also acknowledged that part of the conspiracy behind the Mumbai incident was hatched on the Pakistani soil.

The FBI has played a key behind-the-scene role in the sharing of information uncovered by Indian and Pakistani investigators. The FBI also has a sizable presence in the US embassy here and it is believed that some of its officials have conducted preliminary inquiries in Pakistan, including in Kasab's village Faridkot in Punjab province.

Islamabad last week handed over to New Delhi the findings of its probe. Pakistan's nine-page response to the Indian dossier included the findings of its investigation and 30 questions seeking further information from New Delhi.

Diplomatic sources said the information provided in the Indian dossier was used by Pakistani security agencies to round up suspects and gather vital evidence. In one case, GPS coordinates and phone numbers provided in the dossier helped Pakistani sleuths locate two houses in Karachi that were used by the attackers and their accomplices.

Both these houses were located after extensive surveillance and in one of them, officials found a dinghy that was used by attackers for training at sea, the sources said.

An anti-terrorism court judge has so far remanded four suspects - Lakhvi, Shah, Sadiq and Abu al Qama - to the custody of Federal Investigation Agency till March 3.

While seeking their remand, police officials and a special public prosecutor told the judge that they were all active LeT member and were involved in the Mumbai attacks, with Lakhvi acting as their commander. All the four men have been charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act, Pakistan Penal Code and Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance.

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