Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram called on Pakistan to acknowledge that an arrested suspect in the 2008 Mumbai attacks had aided the coordination of the assault from a command post in Karachi.
Sayed Zabiuddin, an Indian-born member of militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), was detained at the Delhi International airport on June 21 after being deported from Saudi Arabia upon the Indian government’s request.
Indian police say Zabiuddin confessed to being a key handler for the 10 militants who attacked various locations in Mumbai in 2008, killing 166 people.
The gunmen, nine of whom were killed in the attack, were guided by handlers through the three-day assault on luxury hotels, a railway station and a Jewish cultural centre in the city.
According to police, he also admitted being present in the first 24 hours of the attack in the “control room” based in Karachi from where the attack was monitored and coordinated.
The lone surviving gunman from the attack, Ajmal Kasab, is currently on death row in a Mumbai prison. Chidambaram also told reporters that Zabiuddin had found a ‘safe haven’ in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan should admit that he did go to Pakistan and was part of the group including Kasab and the nine others, that he was in the control room among one of his handlers and that he was one of the masterminds of the attack.
“Just as we admit facts, Pakistan should also admit facts,” the minister added.
Pakistan had asked India to share information on Zabiuddin and urged New Delhi to refrain from blaming Islamabad.
Interior affairs advisor Rehman Malik said on Friday that Zabiuddin was not a Pakistani citizen. “Pakistan expects to receive a copy of the statement of [Zabiuddin].
I expect to have original passport claimed to have been allegedly given by Pakistan,” he said on Twitter.
Malik said, “India should supply us details enabling us to take action. Let us end the blame game … We have to fight terrorism together.” In a press conference on Wednesday, Malik said that India holding Pakistan responsible for involvement in terrorist activities had been wrong in the past and had severe effects on diplomacy between the two countries. He added that Zabiuddin was an Indian citizen
In 2009, Pakistan arrested seven people for their alleged role in the Mumbai attacks. However, their trials have still not been held.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.