Pakistan gets Mumbai attacks evidence

January 5, 2009 12:00 am

, NEW DELHI, Jan 5 – India on Monday handed to Pakistan what it said was evidence linking the country to the Islamic militants who attacked Mumbai in November, India’s foreign minister said.

The government also said it was launching a major diplomatic offensive to maintain international pressure on Islamabad, which has so far rejected New Delhi’s demands to hand over a list of terror suspects.

"We have today handed over to Pakistan evidence of the links with elements in Pakistan of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai on 26th November, 2008," Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

"What happened in Mumbai was an unpardonable crime. As far as the Government of Pakistan is concerned, we ask only that it implement the bilateral commitments that it has made at the highest levels to India, and practises her international obligations. These are clear," he added.

India’s foreign secretary, Shivshankar Menon, handed over the evidence to Pakistan’s high commissioner in New Delhi.

The material includes details of interrogation of Mohammed Ajmal Amir Iman — also known as Mohammed Ajmal Kasab — who was the lone surviving gunman and who India says is a Pakistani national.

It also details the militants’ communications with "elements" in Pakistan during the attack, recovered weapons and other equipment and data retrieved from recovered global positioning system data and satellite phones.

"It is our expectation that the Government of Pakistan will promptly undertake further investigations in Pakistan and share the results with us so as to bring the perpetrators to justice," Mukherjee said.

New Delhi has also shared the evidence with foreign ministers around the world, will brief foreign ambassadors in New Delhi and Indian ambassadors in other countries will do the same, the minister said.

The November 26-29 assault on India’s financial capital left 172 dead, including nine attackers.

Indian officials say the banned Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba trained and equipped the 10 militants who stormed Mumbai.

Pakistan’s government has so far said that New Delhi has provided no proof of a Pakistani link to the strikes.

But Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said over the weekend that the proof against Pakistan was "overwhelming" and "unanswerable" and indicated that the attackers were backed by the Pakistani authorities.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, however, has described the attackers as "stateless" actors.

Chidambaram is expected to travel to Washington this week to present the evidence to the United States.

As tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals, Richard Boucher, the top US diplomat for South Asia, arrived in Pakistan for talks on ties between the two countries.

Ahead of Boucher’s visit, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that Islamabad would not hand over any Pakistani nationals to India, noting the two sides did not have an extradition treaty.

"But the problem is still there. After all an incident has taken place and we have to get to the bottom of it," Qureshi said.


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