Pakistan’s former top security official Mahmud Ali Durrani said on Monday that the 2008 Mumbai attack was a “classic example” of cross-border terrorism carried out by a Pakistan-based group, prompting a quick reaction from India that said there was nothing new in the claim. Here are five things Durrani said and how India reacted.
* Durrani, who was the national security advisor when 10 Pakistani terrorists sailed into Mumbai and created mayhem over three days, said: “I hate to admit that the 26/11 Mumbai attack carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan on November 26, 2008 is a classic trans-border terrorist event.”
#WATCH: Former Pakistan NSA Mahmud Ali Durrani says 26/11 attack was carried out by terror group based in Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/cBmzSFnbK2— ANI (@ANI_news)March 6, 2017
* Addressing the 19th Asian Security Conference held at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, Durrani, however, maintained that his government had no role in the terror strike that claimed the lives of 166 people, including many foreigners. Later talking to reporters, he said: “I know (this) for definite. I have very good information that the government of Pakistan or the ISI (Pakistan’s spy agency) was not involved in 26/11 (terror attack). I am 110% sure.”
* Durrani declined to divulge details, saying he was sacked by the Pakistani government for certain statements he made regarding the Mumbai attack. Durrani, who had served as a major general in the Pakistani army, was sacked in 2009 for indicating that Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani terrorist arrested for the Mumbai terror attack, may have been a Pakistani. Kasab was hanged by India in 2012 after a trial.
Hafiz Saeed is the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group, which carried out the audacious 2008 Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. ((File Photo))
* In response to a question on Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed’s usefulness to Pakistan, Durrani said he had “no utility” for the country and that the Mumbai attack mastermind should be “punished”. India has maintained that Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the 2008 terror strikes, demanding action against Saeed. However, Pakistan has demanded more evidence to bring Saeed to book.
* Durrani also sought to debunk India’s assertion that it carried out surgical strikes on terror camps across the Line of Control (LoC), saying he did not see evidence of any such attack by the Indian forces. However, he advocated cordial relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, and said Pakistan could not progress if there was no friendship with India.
* Hours after Durrani’s assertion, minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said there was nothing new in this revelation. “India’s stand is very well known. There is nothing new in this revelation,” he said.
Boldness shown by Durrani,Pak Govt now cannot deny-Its an act of both state & non state actors: 26/11 Mumbai attack Special PP Ujjwal Nikam pic.twitter.com/5ZlFpAqQgc— ANI (@ANI_news)March 6, 2017
* Congress’s Shivraj Patil, who was the Union home minister during the Mumbai attacks, was quoted by ANI as saying: “We knew,they (Pakistan) were saying it too.They said many times how do you hold us responsible for non-state actors.”
* The Congress said strict action should be taken against the terrorists involved in the attack. Congress leader Shobha Oza said the Indian government had always claimed Pakistan’s involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, but Pakistan always denied it. “Now, if Pakistan is accepting it, strong action should be taken against those terrorists involved in the act,” Oza told ANI.