Terrorism: Surviving Mumbai gunman is Pakistani

Islamabad, 7 Jan. (AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad - Ajmal Amir Qasab, the only surviving gunman from November's deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks, is a Pakistani citizen, the government confirmed on Wednesday. A senior Pakistani intelligence official told Adnkronos International (AKI) the announcement heralds a major clampdown on the outlawed Kashmiri separatist group, Lashkar-e-Toiba, which India has blamed for the attacks.

“Yes, indeed this is the beginning of a crackdown against Laskhar-e-Toiba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and against the Jaish-e-Mohammed organisation,” the intelligence official told AKI on condition of anonymity.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa , a charity that has been outlawed in Pakistan since the Mumbai attacks, is widely seen as a front for LeT, but it has denied any involvement in the Mumbai assault.

Jaish-e-Mohammed is another militant Kashmiri separatist group.

Pakistan's information minister Sherry Rahman told journalists via a text message that Qasab was a Pakistani and that was also confirmed by the Foreign Office.

Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday accused Pakistan of using terrorism as a state policy.

Pakistan has denied any involvement in the Mumbai attacks that targeted two luxury hotels and other city landmarks. A total of 173 people died and hundreds of others were injured.

The "sophistication and military precision" of the Mumbai attacks pointed to the support of some "official agencies" in Pakistan, Singh said.

"A few interceptions took place, though we failed to intercept the 10 Pakistani terrorists who came by sea from Karachi on 26 November,” Singh stated.

Pakistan on Monday received a dossier from India containing what it claimed to be evidence that the Mumbai assault was launched by individuals with links to "elements" in Pakistan.

The assault was carried out by 10 gunmen who worked in pairs and apparently arrived in Mumbai by boat. India claimed Qasab told interrogators he was recruited and trained by LeT.

However some sources said Indian pressure is not the reason for the Pakistani government's imminent crackdown against LeT. Zardari flew to the Afghan capital, Kabul for talks on Tuesday after US Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Boucher, urged him to strengthen the fight against terrorism on Pakistan's western and eastern borders.

The crackdown against LeT on Pakistan's eastern border is expected to be conducted through Pakistan's civilian Intelligence Bureau, and not the Inter-Services Intelligence as the military has reservations about the operation, sources told AKI.

In the wake of the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan carried out raids on LeT training camps and detained several of its top leaders as well as those of Jamaat-ud-Dawa. A UN Security Council panel in December placed LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and his charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa on a list of people and organisations linked to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

The UN panel said sanctions would be applied to Saeed, to the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, and two other alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba members, Haji Muhammad Ashraf and Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq.

But the Pakistani government announced the men would not be tried until investigations against them are completed and stated if they are found innocent they will be freed.


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