Pakistan to contest US court notices to ISI officials

Thursday, December 30, 2010

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Thursday said it will challenge in court a US lawsuit accusing officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of providing material support for the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, Xinhua reported.

“The government of Pakistan has taken a firm decision to strongly contest the suit filed against the ISI, its present and past directors general,” the Pakistan foreign ministry said.

The lawsuit was filed by the relatives of two American victims in the attack.

A New York court had issued summons to ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha and other officials of the agency in November.

Summons were also issued to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi and Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, accused of masterminding the attacks.

“The government of Pakistan and the Pakistan embassy in Washington shall defend the legal suit on behalf of ISI and its directors general fully and properly,” the ministry said in a statement.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also said in the National Assembly: “We do not believe the ISI, as an agency of the government of Pakistan, or its present and former officials could be subjected to civil litigation in the courts of the US and we intend to take appropriate steps to obtain dismissal of this action.”

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 in the attacks.

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, blamed for the 26/11 attacks. The LeT is also named in the suit.

Besides Pasha, who has been the 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.

Pakistan has denied any involvement and also arrested several people, including LeT commander Lakhvi.

Filed under: Terrorism

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