Pakistan must find out who was behind 26/11: daily

Islamabad, Dec 21 (IANS) Pakistan must get to the bottom of who exactly was responsible for 26/11 and bring them to justice, demanded a Pakistani daily Friday.

The US State Department has determined that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and two of its former directors general enjoy immunity and cannot be tried in a New York federal court in the Mumbai attacks case, said an editorial in the Daily Times.

The case was filed by survivors and family members of the victims of the Nov 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. They had listed as respondents two former directors general of the ISI, Lt-Generals (retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha and Nadeem Taj, arguing that the Mumbai attacks were planned and supported by the ISI, over which the government of Pakistan has no control.

"This argument has been refuted by the State Department's finding, therefore it is now unlikely that the two former chiefs of ISI will have to make the trip to New York," said the daily.

The editorial said that India has surprisingly rejected the determination, calling it a matter of deep and abiding concern and in contradiction with Washington's commitment to bring those responsible to justice.

"Since the law is very clear on this issue, the Indian reaction is not understandable, except perhaps as an expression of frustration at the lack of progress in bringing closure to the case. In this regard, India has complaints against Pakistan for not putting the LeT leaders allegedly involved, especially Hafiz Saeed, on trial.

"India accuses the ISI of being behind and masterminding the attacks," it said.

During his India visit earlier this month, Interior Minister Rehman Malik argued that the perpetrators were "non-state actors" and the Pakistan government or authorities had nothing to do with it. He also argued that Hafiz Saeed had been arrested and presented before the courts but for lack of evidence, the courts released him.

"What he did not mention was that the prosecution of Hafiz Saeed had nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks case but other charges. In any case, we are in a grey area here, since allegations have been rife in the past that the Mumbai attackers were in touch with and receiving instructions from some people in Pakistan," said the daily.

The editorial went on to say that Pakistan "must cooperate in a transparent manner in getting to the bottom of who exactly was responsible for 26/11 and bring them to justice".

"This is in the interests of the normalisation of relations process that is ongoing between the two countries. With all their chequered history of relations and mutual mistrust and suspicion, the two neighbours have slowly converged on the understanding that the Mumbai attacks were a 'spoilers' effort to halt the peace and normalisation process and that they should not be allowed to succeed and hold both countries hostage to their own agenda," it added.

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