Don’t drag ISI into 26/11 trial, says PakistanBy Awais Saleem, IANS
Thursday, November 25, 2010
ISLAMABAD - It was “improper to unnecessarily drag Pakistani intelligence agency ISI” into the Mumbai terror attack trial, Pakistan said Thursday, a day after a US court summoned the ISI chief and other officials in response to a case filed by relatives of two American 26/11 victims.
At his weekly briefing in Islamabad, Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said: We are serious in taking punitive action against the culprits of 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, but it is improper to unnecessarily drag Pakistani intelligence agency ISI in it.”
He said he has no knowledge that the ISI chief was summoned in a US court in connection with 26/11 probe.
The summons were issued by a New York court to ISI’s powerful chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, and other officials Major Samir Ali, Azam Cheema and Major Iqbal, as aslo Pasha’s predecesor Lt.Gen. Nadeem Taj. Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged masterminds of the Nov 26-29, 2008, Mumbai terror attack, also have been summoned.
The 26-page lawsuit was filed before a Brooklyn court last week by family members of Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his pregnant wife, Rivka, who were among the 166 people killed during the attack. Their son Moshe was saved by his Indian nanny Sandra in the tragedy.
The suit alleges that ISI “provided critical planning, material support, control and coordination for the attacks” to the Pakistan-based militant group LeT, which has been blamed for the 26/11 siege. The LeT is also named in the suit.
On composite dialogue, Basit said that India is only paying lip-service as far as the composite dialogue is concerned and has shown no inclination towards the resumption of stalled talks.
He said that bilateral relations between India and Pakistan cannot improve without settling the Kashmir dispute.
Bilateral talks between Pakistan and India hit a roadblock after the Mumbai attack when India accused Pakistani militant outfits for it.
The visit of Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna to Islamabad in July this year was expected to break the ice, but was also marred by a deadlock when the joint communiqu could not be issued because of differences on inclusion of Kashmir dispute in it.
During the briefing, Basit said that the country will never allow drone attacks in Balochistan.
Washington Post had carried a report a few days ago claiming that US had sought permission from Islamabad for drone strikes in Balochistan province to target suspected hideouts of Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
(Awais Saleem can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)