Former head of Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and investigator into the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks Tariq Khosa has said the whole incident had been ‘planned and launched’ in Pakistan and that this will require ‘facing the truth and admitting mistakes’.
Khosa was made head of FIA only a few weeks after the deadly assault that killed 166 people in 2008. In an article in Pakistan’s major daily Dawn, Khosa admitted that trial of the seven men charged for the attacks had “lingered on for far too long”. He went on to add that Pakistan must ensure the “perpetrators and masterminds…are brought to justice”.
Khosa also said “dilatory tactics by the defendants, frequent change of trial judges, and assassination of the case prosecutor as well as retracting from original testimony by some key witnesses” had been serious setbacks for Pakistani prosecutors.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has met his Pakistani countepart Nawaz Sharif last month on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia. During the meeting, it was mutually decided that the trial of Pakistani suspects in the 26/11 case would be expedited.
The seven Pakistani suspects including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi have all been charged with planning, financing and executing the attack in Mumbai. Lakhvi’s release on bail and the slow trial of suspects have been constant impediments in improving bilateral relations between the two countries.
Although the Islamabad High Court had set a deadline of two months for the trial’s completion, that date has already been passed.
In his article, Khosa listed several key facts uncovered during the course of investigation.
Khosa said Ajmal Kasab, the lone attacker successfully captured and then executed in India, was a Pakistani national and had been trained by a banned militant group in Pakistan.
He also said that the training camp near Thatta in Sindh province, where the LeT terrorists were trained, was secured by investigators. Similar explosive devices used in the Mumbai attack were recovered from the same training camp.
Khosa also suggested that legal experts from both countries “need to sit together rather than sulk and point fingers.”
He also wrote: “Other missing links need to be uncovered after the absconders’ arrest. This case will not be over soon.”