New Delhi: Proving India’s oft repeated contention that Pakistan’s ISI was behind the Mumbai terror attacks, the US government, Monday, named five terrorists including one officer of the spy agency as being involved in the 26/11 attacks.
The agency’s involvement in terrorism was made public days before the start of the Mumbai attacks trial in a Chicago court for the murder of six Americans, who were amongst the 166 killed.
The second chargesheet filed in the court in the Tahawwur Rana case has named Said Mir, Abu Qhafa, Mazhar Iqbal, Lashkar member D and Major Iqbal.
All accused were charged with one count of conspiracy to murder and maim in India, while Abu Qahafa, Mir and Mazhar Iqbal have been additionally charged with conspiracy to bomb public places in India. None of them is in US custody.
India has consistently maintained that Major Iqbal worked on behalf of the ISI to plan and execute the 26/11 terror attacks. Major Iqbal is also said to be Headley’s handler and had allegedly introduced him to a Lt Col Shah, gave him months of training before sending him to India.
Said Mir was thought to have manned the Lashkar control room during the 26/11 attacks, while Abu Qahfa was the one who imparted GPS-handling and map-reading techniques to the attackers.
Mir is also accused of working with Headley to plan a terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper, which in 2005 published cartoons on Prophet Mohammed.
The new indictment says that "during the course of attacks in Mumbai, the attackers were in telephonic contact with defendants Sajid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal, all of whom were then located in Pakistan".
The indictment comes before the scheduled May 16 trial of Rana, a Canadian citizen who is accused of using his immigration services business to provide cover to Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley, to scout targets for the Mumbai attack.
Headley, the son of an American mother and Pakistani father, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to 12 criminal counts, including aiding and abetting the murder of Americans in Mumbai, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecution in a plea deal to escape the death penalty.
In the first chargesheet, Harkat ul Jihad al Islami leader Ilyas Kashmiri and retired Pakistani military man Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed were indicted but they remain untraceable.
The US federal prosecutor said that in July 2006, Major
Iqbal provided to Headley approximately USD 25,000 to, among
other purposes, establish and operate the Mumbai office of
First World and pay for living expenses while Headley carried
out his assignments for Lashkar.
In September 2006, February 2007, September 2007, April
2008 and July 2008, Headley travelled to Mumbai for extended
periods for the purpose of conducting surveillance of possible
targets of attacks by LeT, using his association with First
World as cover for his travels.
Prior to Headley`s departure for each of these trips, Mir
and Major Iqbal along with others instructed Headley regarding
locations where he was to conduct video surveillance in and
around Mumbai, as well as other locations in India.
After each trip, Headley travelled to Pakistan, where he
met Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal associated with Lashkar to
report on the results of his surveillance, and provided them
with photographs and videos from the surveillance, the US
federal prosecutors said.
With PTI Inputs