A New York lawsuit, filed by relatives of Mumbai’s 26/11 victims against the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), could have “disastrous” consequences and could fuel instability in the country that the United States considers important in its fight against terrorism, an attorney has warned, The New York Post reported.
Kevin Walsh, the lawyer representing the ISI, urged Brooklyn federal Judge Dora Irizarry to throw out the lawsuit that was filed by relatives of New Yorkers killed in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Walsh argued in a letter filed with the federal judge, that the consequences of the judicial inquiry have the potential to be “disastrous”. If the lawsuit against the ISI and several high ranking Pakistani intelligence officials is not dismissed, the backlash in the country could undermine America’s goals in one of the world’s most sensitive regions, the attorney said.
“The intrusion of these actions into the politics of Pakistan will fuel violence and extremism, directed against the government that the US intends to support,” the newspaper quoted Walsh as saying.
The lawsuit, filed last November, also named Lashkar-e-Taiba, which operates in Kashmir.
It asked for unspecified damages and alleges that the ISI has worked closely with the banned outfit.
However, Pakistan has denied these allegations.
The suit was filed by relatives of Gavriel Noah Holtzberg, a rabbi originally from Brooklyn, and his pregnant wife, Rivka, who were gunned down when terrorists stormed the Chabad Lubavitch centre in a commando-style attack that also killed the couple’s unborn child.
The Holtzberg’s two-year-old son survived the attack after being rescued by an employee. He now lives with his grandfather in Israel.
Walsh, a prominent New York attorney, argued that the general public in Pakistan will see the lawsuit not as an action taken by private individuals, but as an official intrusion by Washington into its internal politics and as a violation of their country’s sovereignty.
That perception could undermine US’ efforts to foster its relationship with Pakistan as part of its goal of fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan
and throughout the region, Walsh said.
“The alliance with Pakistan is an extremely sensitive, important and difficult relationship for the United States,” the attorney said.
He asked Judge Irizarry to throw the lawsuit out, emphasising that any argument with Pakistan should be dealt with by US political institutions not the US courts which have no jurisdiction over government agencies in Pakistan.
The judge has not yet ruled on the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2011.