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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

New Year brings more pressure on Pakistan to extradite LeT commander Lakhvi

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 01 January, ( Notwithstanding its denial mode, Pakistan saw the New Year eve bring in more pressure from the United States to extradite the wanted Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander, Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi.

Lakhvi is the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks that saw a 70-hour siege of Taj and Oberai Trident hotels and the Nariman House very close to the Colaba front.

American sleuths are reported to have recorded a conversation Lakhvi allegedly had with gunmen involved in the attacks on Mumbai on November 26.

The American audio experts checked the tape; they concluded it was genuine and that the voice was of Lakhvi, reports in Pak and American media said. The tape is believed to have been given to Zardari government with the message- handover Lakhvi to India.

Indian agencies have zeroed in on Lakhvi as the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks but the American investigators did not accept the view for a while. After tumbling upon the taped conversation, the US has brought forth 'tremendous pressure' on Pakistan, the reports add.

Lakhvi is presently under a forced detention in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan held Kashmir, which has been in operational headquarters for a long while. The arrest was a part of the Security Council prompted crackdown on: LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawah which was launched on Dec 7

Though Lakhvi arrest has been acknowledged unlike that of wanted Jaish-e-Mohammad
(JeM) leader Maulana Masood Azhar, Pakistan government has refused to handover to India not only Lakhvi but anyone ofts nationals found to be linked to the Mumbai attacks. It said that such individuals will be tried under Pakistani laws.

A Wall Street Journal report said, top LeT commander Zarar Shah captured in the crackdown on militants has confessed the group's involvement in terror attacks in Mumbai.

He also broadly confirmed the confession made by Ajmal Kasab, who is the lone gunman to be arrested on Nov 26, that the 10 militants who executed the Mumbai attacks were trained in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He also seconded the Kasab version that the militants had travelled by boat from Karachi to Mumbai, the Wall Street Journal reported quoting a senior security official.

The Murdoch owned daily also said that Pakistan's own investigation have begun to show substantive links between the LeT and 10 gunmen who took part in the Mumbai mission. Quoting sources familiar with the Pakistan investigation, the daily said, Zarar Shah, also admitted that the attackers spent at least a few weeks in Karachi, training in urban combat to hone skills they would use in their assault.

The disclosure will make Pakistan case that India had cooked up the story about Ajmal Kasab, untenable.

Nevertheless, Pakistan's Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah had gone on an overdrive on Wednesday to the extent of disowning Kasab.

He is not a Pak national, the official said, a view articulated by Pakistan Minister for Information, Sherry Rehman. Their contention is that Kasab's name does not figure in the data base of NADRA - National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).

Interestingly, the Observer of London, the Dawn of Karachi and Geo TV of Pakistan visited Ajmal's native village and spoke to his father, who said, 'Ajmal is my son.'

Local residents also told Pak media that he belonged to the area. And added that he had told his mother during his last visit home that he was going away for 'jihad'.

Pak Unhelpful: Britain

British Foreign Office has termed as unhelpful Pakistan denying proof of Mumbai links to LeT. It asked Pakistan to cooperate fully with the Indian investigators and said 'it is important that action is taken against those responsible' in view of reports that the attacks were mounted from Pakistan soil itself.

-Asian Tribune -

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