Pak identifies 20 more Mumbai suspects: Report

Pak has put on trial 7 suspects linked to LeT, which was blamed for attacks.

Islamabad: Pakistani security agencies have identified 20 more people suspected of involvement in the 2008 attack on India`s commercial capital Mumbai which killed 166 people, a Pakistani newspaper reported on Monday.

Pakistan has acknowledged that the attack was plotted and partly launched from its soil, and has put on trial seven suspects linked to the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant group, which was blamed for the attacks.

But India says it is not satisfied with the pace of the Pakistani investigation and has demanded more people be put on trial for the attacks including the founder of the LeT, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed.

The Express Tribune in its online edition said the counter-terrorism wing of a Pakistani federal agency has identified the 20 suspects, mostly LeT affiliates.

"The new suspects had allegedly provided logistical and monetary support for the Mumbai attack," the newspaper said quoting a "classified report”, two years after the attack.

It did not say why the authorities had acted now, and Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment.

The newspaper said the suspects included the alleged captain of two boats used in the attack as well as their 10 crew members, six financers of the LeT and three others.

Relations between India and Pakistan deteriorated sharply following the attack, but tension has eased in recent months.

The United States wants relations between the two countries to improve so that Pakistan can focus more closely on fighting Afghan militants who cross its border to attack US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Pakistan`s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qrueshi said Pakistan needed India`s support to prosecute the Mumbai culprits.

"We want the perpetrators to be punished through legal means, and our interior ministry has sought more information from India," he said.

Nine attackers were killed in gunbattles with Indian security forces during the attack on Mumbai while the tenth, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, sentenced to death by an Indian court.

The prosecution of the seven accused in Pakistan has stalled because officials are demanding that Kasab be allowed to testify in Pakistan, which New Delhi has refused.

The seven suspects on trial included Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a LeT commander, who has been identified as a key person in the Mumbai attack by David Coleman Headley, an American who pleaded guilty in a US court in March to charges that he scouted targets for LeT for the assault.

LeT was nurtured by Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency to fight India in Kashmir in the 1990s.

Pakistan officially banned the group in 2002, but analysts say it is tolerated because it doesn`t conduct attacks inside Pakistan.

Bureau Report