1. By Mobarik A Virk ( News of February 13, 2009)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that the Mumbai attacks were partly planned in Pakistan and that it has arrested six suspects, including the "main operator".
In its first detailed response to the dossier provided by India, Pakistan said criminal cases had been registered against nine suspects on charges of "abetting, conspiracy and facilitation" of a terrorist act. However, it said more evidence is required from India, including DNA samples of Ajmal Kasab, to establish his identity.
Addressing a press conference at the interior ministry, Interior Adviser Rehman Malik told the media FIR No: 01/009 had been lodged with the Special Investigation Group (SIG) in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against nine suspects. The Pakistani investigators have identified Hammad Amin Sadiq as the alleged ‘mastermind’ of the whole conspiracy.
Malik said the cases against nine persons had been registered under the Anti-Terror Act (ATA) and the Cyber Crime Act and they would be tried under these two sets of laws. He said six of the nine accused named in the FIR have already been arrested and being interrogated, two have been identified but not arrested so far while investigations are still under way into the possible involvement of the ninth accused.
He identified those taken into custody as Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT) commander who was arrested from Muzaffarabad soon after the Indian government alleged that the LT was behind the Mumbai attacks, Javed Iqbal, who was arrested from Barcelona, Spain, Hammad Amin Sadiq, believed to be the main operator belonging to southern Punjab, Zarar Shah, Mohammad Ashfaq and Abu Hamza. The name of the lone surviving terrorist now in the custody of India, Ajmal Kasab, is not included in the FIR.
He also said some of those arrested by the security agencies of Pakistan for possible involvement in the Mumbai attacks belong to the LT. Malik said Javed Iqbal, who was based in Barcelona, Spain, was the person who paid $200 for the ‘Internet Domain’ that was also used for communication and planning for the Mumbai attacks. "Having ascertained the involvement of Javed Iqbal, we somehow lured him into coming to Pakistan and he was arrested on his arrival," Malik said.
He also said the e-mail sent by ‘Deccan Mujahideen’ claiming responsibility for the Mumbai attacks was believed to be prepared and sent by Zarar Shah, who was responsible for communication link in the whole operation.
The adviser disclosed that the money to fund these attacks was transferred from Pakistan and was received in Italy. This money transaction was made through a Pakistani bank. He also said after thorough investigations by the Pakistani security and intelligence agencies it was learnt that these alleged terrorists operated from two bases — one inside Karachi and the other outside but not very far away from Karachi.
He also disclosed that the people involved in the Mumbai attacks used three boats for travelling to Mumbai, one named ‘Al-Hussaini’ and the other ‘Al-Ghaus’. For communication, these culprits used ‘Call Phonic’ system and they also bought Indian cell phone SIMs for communication from inside India.
Malik said the findings have already been shared with the Indian government. The Indian high commissioner in Islamabad was called to the foreign office and the report was handed over to him officially.
"We also have forwarded a set of 30 questions for which we would need answers as early as possible to support and further the investigation process on our side. We have asked the Indian government to provide us the DNA samples of the lone surviving terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, to ascertain his nationality, as we don’t have any record of the individual with Nadra (National Database Registration Authority)."
"At the same time," he said, "we would like to have the statement given by Ajmal Kasab to the Indian investigators, how this group of terrorists managed to sneak past the Indian security and intelligence agencies guarding their coastal lines, and how these nine persons managed to travel in a small boat and reach the Indian coast".
He also pointed out that the satellite phone connection that was used for communication during the Mumbai attack was registered in the Middle East and not in Pakistan. He also said forensic reports of the arms and ammunition used in the attack have been sought from the Indian authorities.
The adviser on interior said to make a solid case against all these people who have been arrested or for whose arrest the Pakistani authorities are making all-out efforts, meaningful cooperation from India would be most important.
Agencies add: Malik said the breakthrough in the investigation had resulted from tracing the fishing vessel used by the militants, purchases of equipment like life jackets and the engine for the rubber dinghy that militants came ashore in Mumbai.
He said only nine of the 10 gunmen came ashore in the dinghy, and the fishing
boat they had used to sail from Karachi had refuelled on the coast of India’s
Gujarat state. The Pakistani official said one suspect was allegedly involved in
the 2007 bomb attack on the Samjhauta Express in India that killed 68 people as
the train headed for Lahore, and India has been requested for more information.
2.Islamabad hands over Mumbai probe report to New Delhi
By Sajjad Malik/Tahir Niaz (Daily Times of February 13, 2009)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has formally handed over the details of its investigation into the Mumbai terror attacks to India, the Foreign Office said on Thursday as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik admitted that the attacks were ‘partially planned’ in Pakistan.
"The Indian high commissioner was ... [on Thursday given] material pertaining to the Mumbai terror attacks probe by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), by the foreign secretary," said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit.
Arrests: Meanwhile at a press conference, Rehman Malik announced ‘breakthrough’ arrests in the Mumbai probe, and admitted that the Mumbai attacks were partially planned in Pakistan. He said some of the suspects were linked to Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LT). Rehman said a case was registered on Thursday under the Anti-Terrorism Act against eight suspects – including LT’s Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Hammad Amin and Zarar Shah – on charges of "abetting, directing, conspiring and facilitating a terrorist act". Six of these suspects are in the custody of intelligence agencies, and all will be tried under Pakistani law.
"Some funds for the attacks were transferred from Spain and Italy," he said.
Karachi: Rehman said the suspects used three boats, all of which have been seized, to sail from Karachi to Mumbai between November 26 and 28, 2008.
More information: Rehman, however, said these findings were not final and Pakistan needed more information from India. He said the Indian authorities had been asked to answer 30 questions raised by the Pakistani investigators.
Other countries: The adviser said "the system of various other countries" was also used to plan the attacks. Rehman said two more men were being held, and identified them only as Khan and Riaz. Other leads pointed to Europe and the US, and Malik said Pakistan would ask the FBI for help. DAILY TIMES 13-2-09
3. LT slams Islamabad for Mumbai charges
SRINAGAR: The banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba angrily condemned Islamabad on Thursday for filing a case against some of the group’s top operatives. Pakistan lodged a first information report against eight suspects, including the presumed mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. "We strongly condemn the lodging of the FIR against LT," Lashkar spokesman Abdullah Ghaznavi told AFP over the telephone. The case was brought to ‘win appreciation’ from India and the US and to "implement India’s agenda of suppressing the people’s struggle for freedom in Kashmir", said Ghaznavi. AFP DAILY TIMES 13-2-09
4.Islamabad forex company involved
LAHORE: Interior Adviser Rehman Malik has claimed that a money exchange company in Islamabad was involved in transferring money to a suspect of the Mumbai attacks in Spain, said a private TV channel. The money was transferred through Paracha International Exchange’s Euro 2005 branch in Islamabad to Javed Iqbal in Barcelona. The branch was later found sealed. Representatives of other branches have denied that such a transaction took place. But one of the two owners confirmed the transaction, and blamed his partner for it. daily times monitor DAILY TIMES 13-2-09