‘Kayani refused to seize Lakhvi`s phone in jail’

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 13:11

Washington: Pakistan Army Chief General
Ashfaq Pervez Kayani refused an American request to confiscate the cell phone of jailed LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi
being used to direct group`s operation from the Rawalpindi jail, reflecting connection between the country`s military and
the terrorist outfit.

"Kayani rejected a US request that authorities take
away the cell phone Lakhvi was using in jail, according to the
memo to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the National
Security Council," said the investigative news report which
was telecast by PBS`s Frontline and posted on the website of
ProPublica yesterday.

As a result of this Lakhvi continues to direct the
LeT operations unhindered from the safe confines of a jail in
Rawalpindi.

According to the PBS/ProPublica joint investigation,
during a meeting overseas last summer, a senior US official
and Kayani, the chief of Pakistan`s armed forces, discussed a
threat that has strained the troubled US-Pakistani
relationship since the 2008 Mumbai attacks blamed on
the Lashkar-i-Taiba militant group.

The senior US official expressed concern that Lakhvi, a
terrorist chief arrested for the brutal attacks in India, was
still directing Lashkar operations while in custody, according
to a US government memo viewed by ProPublica.

Kayani responded that Pakistan`s spy agency, the
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), had told prison
authorities to better control Lakhvi`s access to the outside
world, the memo said.

The Kayani-US officials meeting, the memo said, was emblematic of the lack of progress three years after Lashkar and the ISI allegedly teamed up to kill 166 people in Mumbai.
"The US government filed unprecedented charges against an
ISI officer in the deaths of six Americans. Yet, Pakistani
authorities have not arrested him or other accused
masterminds. The failure to crack down on the jailed Lakhvi,
whose trial has stalled, raises fears of new attacks on India
and the West, it quoted the counter-terror officials as
saying.

"Lakhvi is still the military chief of Lashkar," a
US counterterror official is quoted as saying.

"He is in custody but has not been replaced. And he still
has access and ability to be the military chief. Don`t assume
a Western view of what custody is," the official said.
Sebastian Rotella the investigative reporter for
PBS Frontline and ProPublica wrote that in the United
States, stubborn questions persist about the case`s star
witness David Coleman Headley, a confessed Lashkar operative
and ISI spy.

"The Pakistani-American`s testimony at a trial in
Chicago this year revealed the ISI`s role in the Mumbai
attacks and a plot against Denmark. It was the strongest
public evidence to date of ISI complicity in terrorism,"
Rotella wrote.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - 12:06

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