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Pak may not seek consular access to Kasab: report

As per a report in Dawn newspaper, Pakistan may not seek consular access to Kasab despite acknowledging that he is its national as he has damaged the country's image 'like no other.'

world Updated: Jan 08, 2009 14:22 IST

Pakistan may not seek consular access to Ajmal Amir Iman 'Kasab', the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai attacks, despite acknowledging that he is its national as he has damaged the country's image "like no other," a media report said on Thursday.

"We are not yet sure when to ask for consular access. We may not ask for it. He is involved in a heinous crime," an unnamed senior official told Dawn newspaper.

The terrorist had damaged Pakistan "like no other," the official said when asked about the issue of Islamabad seeking consular access to Kasab following Wednesday's admission by the government that he is a Pakistani national.

After being in constant denial mode, Pakistani officials, including Information Minister Sherry Rehman and Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Sadiq, on Wednesday finally admitted that Kasab is a Pakistani national.

Kasab has written a letter to the Pakistan government asking that he be provided consular access and legal aid. Pakistani authorities had earlier said they were examining Kasab's request.

An unnamed "high-ranking government official" was quoted by Dawn as saying that the preliminary investigation had provided enough information to conclude that Kasab was "from a Punjab village (in Pakistan), and perhaps belonged to a militant group that was bent upon destabilising the region by undermining the (India-Pakistan) peace process".

The official said Pakistani authorities "were examining all parts of the puzzle on the basis of their own investigation, as well as the information provided by India and the Americans".

The official said that there was no doubt in the minds of Pakistani investigators that Kasab is a Pakistani. "Sadly, it has been established that Kasab is a Pakistani national."

Pakistan's Interior Ministry and police launched investigations to ascertain Kasab's nationality soon after initial reports said that he is a Pakistani national.

The authorities wanted to be "doubly sure" about his identity because there were no records of Kasab and his family with the National Database and Registration Authority, he report said.

The senior official also told the Dawn that the identity of other terrorists killed in Mumbai is yet to be established.

Senior security officials said their preliminary investigations had established the militants were "operating on their own and had absolutely no link with any section of the country's security apparatus".

A top ranking Western diplomat was also quoted by the newspaper as saying that there "was no linkage between the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai carnage and the Pakistani security agencies, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence.

"There is ample evidence to prove that most of the terrorists belonged to Pakistan," the diplomat said. "But there is not even a shred of evidence to suggest that the ISI or any other Pakistani intelligence agency had any links with these terrorists.

"And this is not based on what the Pakistanis have been telling us, as we have double checked it on our own," the unnamed diplomat was quoted as saying.

First Published: Jan 08, 2009 13:14 IST