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Pakistan drags Bangladesh into 26/11 blame game

Pak investigators have found evidence of the involvement of Bangladesh-based banned terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI) in the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist attack, said a report in a Pak daily. See graphicsListen to podcastaudio

world Updated: Feb 06, 2009 02:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Pakistani investigators have found evidence of the involvement of Bangladesh-based banned terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI) in the November 26 Mumbai terrorist attack, said a report in Pakistani daily Dawn on Thursday.

<b1>Pakistani investigators “are said to have evidence of… its role in planning the attack and training the terrorists”, said the Dawn report. Also, some of the planning may have happened in Dubai and the attackers had local Indian help.

Indian investigators and intelligence agencies said Pakistan was trying to dilute its responsibility by blaming others.
"This is a red herring," said a counter-terrorism intelligence source. "This is an attempt to distance themselves from the attacks."

The intelligence source, who refused to be identified as he is not supposed to speak to journalists, said: "It’s possible that some Lashkar-e-Tayyeba elements in Bangladesh may have helped, but to blame HuJI is far-fetched.”

“Complete humbug,” said a Mumbai police investigator, refusing to be identified saying the ministry of external affairs had already responded to the report. “We know exactly who the attackers were, where they came from and where they trained.”

The Dawn article was seen as part of a calibrated plan by Pakistan to distance itself from the attacks.

The first claim of the “attacks being planned outside Pakistan” came from its high commissioner in London, Wajid Shamsul Hassan.

This was followed by a report in Iranian Press TV that quoted sources in the Federal Investigation Agency of Pakistan (equivalent of India’s CBI) saying the attacks were planned outside Pakistan.

Now the Dawn report: “The investigators were intensely probing… if at least one of the Mumbai attackers was of Bangladeshi origin. A senior western diplomat… said there was a strong possibility that one of the attackers was a Bangladeshi national.”

All but one of the 10 terrorists died in the gunfight with Indian security men stretching over 48 hours. The lone survivor, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, is in police custody and singing. He is Pakistani.

A senior external affairs ministry official refused to speculate on the motives behind the Dawn story. “We will comment only after an official response to our dossier is received,” the official told HT.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, however, said in Paris that one month after India presented a dossier of evidence linking the attacks to elements in Pakistan, Islamabad continued to prevaricate and New Delhi still awaited response.

Asked to comment on the Bangladesh “link” in the Dawn report, a Bangladeshi diplomat said, on condition of anonymity: “This is the first time we have heard about it. We have passed the information on to Dhaka.”

The diplomat made it clear that Bangladesh had not heard anything officially on the issue from Pakistan. “I cannot say anything on the basis of a newspaper report,” he added.

First Published: Feb 05, 2009 09:59 IST