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Hindus and Muslims in India hold a banner on Dec. 7 that reads in Gujarati: “Terrorists’
home Pakistan; declare Pakistan a terrorist nation.’”
(AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Pakistan Acknowledges Connection to Mumbai Attacks

February 13, 2009 12:02 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Months after a deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, Pakistani officials have acknowledged that at least part of the events were planned in Pakistan.

Acknowledging the Connections

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On Feb. 12, Pakistan said for the first time that the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai were orchestrated partly within its borders.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, this step could indicate that Pakistan is willing to "bring those responsible to justice after months of delays."

Pakistan's Interior Ministry Adviser Rehman Malik was quoted as saying that "some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan," and noted that eight people had been arrested. He also cited a larger network of participation in the events, with possible connections found in Austria, Italy, Barcelona, Russia and Houston.

Reuters reported that India has "cautiously welcomed" this information from Pakistan. The response may mean that diplomatic relations between the two countries are on their way to improving.

Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee also urged Pakistan to eliminate "militant infrastructure" within its borders. "I do not discount in any way either their intent or their sincerity, but the fact remains that the overwhelming response of official Pakistan to the Mumbai attack was not appropriate to a terrorist attack where innocents were massacred in cold blood," Reuters quoted Mukherjee as saying.

Opinion: Will the India-Pakistan relationahip improve?

Pakistan's statement on the attacks "genuinely surprised" some people in India, according to the BBC. But despite the admission, India plans to keep applying pressure on the country to "bring the Mumbai attackers to justice."

"The primary onus of responsibility lies on Pakistan to fully unveil the conspiracy, identify those guilty and act in a transparent and verifiable manner," Mukherjee stated.

The United States has also viewed Pakistan's acknowledgement favorably, according to The Times of India. However, United States officials also warned that unless more steps are taken to alleviate concerns about Pakistan's support of "anti-Indian militant groups," further peace talks between the two countries might be in jeopardy.

Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence for the United States, said, "In the absence of a military response against Islamabad, the Indian public will look for visible signs that Pakistan is actively working to punish those involved and eliminate its domestic terrorist organizations," The Times of India reported.

Background: Pakistan arrests accused planners, closes charity

Pakistan did make arrests and shut down a large charity that the United Nations said was a front for a terrorist group connected to the Mumbai attacks.

Voice of America reported in December that the offices of Jamaat-ud-Dawa were closing by order of Pakistan’s government

Jamaat-ud-Dawa is well known in Pakistan, and its leaders say they run 172 schools across the country, servicing 20,000 children, Voice of America said.

The head of the organization, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, denied any connection to terrorism.

“If India or the U.S. has any proof against Jamat-ud-Dawa, we are ready to stand in any court. We do not beg, we demand justice,” Saeed told reporters at a press conference, the Associated Press said.

Pakistani officials have placed Saeed, who is also believed to be the founder of Lashkar e Taiba, on house arrest for three months, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Officials there also arrested several men suspected of planning the attacks that left more than 150 people dead. Those arrested in Kashmir were allegedly part of the charity, according to AFP.

The arrested included Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who is believed to be the mastermind of the attack. The only gunman who survived the three-day siege was reportedly named Lakhvi, The Guardian said.

The attacks horrified India, which has seen several acts of terrorism, and led to the resignation of the home minister.

Reference: India-Pakistan timeline

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