ISI chief won’t appear in US court over Mumbai attack: Gilani

Thursday, December 23, 2010

ISLAMABAD - The chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency will not appear in any US court in connection with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani declared Thursday.

Addressing the National Assembly, Gilani said the ISI “is a sensitive agency of the Pakistani military and it is unimaginable that we will force their officers to appear in the US court on foreign dictation”.

Gilani was responding to a fiery speech by opposition leader Nisar Ali Khan, who took the government to task over what he described as a failed foreign policy.

“The situation has deteriorated so much that the chief of our premier intelligence agency is now being summoned (to the US) without taking our government into confidence,” said Khan.

The Pakistani Foreign Office Wednesday said: “Our mission in (the US) is yet to receive the summons and we can’t comment before going through its contents.”

A US court has summoned ISI’s powerful chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials as also Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the alleged masterminds of the November 26-28, 2008, Mumbai terror attack.

The 26-page lawsuit was filed before a Brooklyn court 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 in the tragedy.

The suit alleges that the 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.

Besides Pasha, who has been director general of the ISI since September 2008, the court has also summoned his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj and ISI officials Major Samir Ali, Azam Cheema and Major Iqbal.

“The ISI has long nurtured and used international terrorist groups, including the LeT, to accomplish its goals and has provided material support to LeT and other international terrorist groups,” said the lawsuit.

“The Mumbai terrorist attack was planned, trained for and carried out by members of LeT. ISI provided critical planning, material support, control and coordination of the attacks,” it alleged.

It accuses ISI officers Pasha, Taj, Iqbal and Ali of being purposefully engaged in the direct provision of material support or resources, including weapons and explosives.

Filed under: Terrorism

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