US court summons ISI chief in Mumbai terror case

A US court has issued summons to senior ISI officials including its powerful chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, along with Mumbai attack masterminds and LeT leaders Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi.

Last Updated: Nov 25, 2010, 00:12 AM IST

Washington: A US court has issued summons
to senior ISI officials including its powerful chief Ahmed
Shuja Pasha, along with Mumbai attack masterminds and LeT
leaders Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi in response to a
lawsuit filed by relatives of two American victims accusing
them of providing material support for the 26/11 attacks.

The 26-page lawsuit was filed before a New York Court
on November 19 against the Inter-Services Intelligence and
Lashkar-e-Taiba by the relatives Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg
and his wife Rivka, who were both gunned down by militants at
the Chhabad House in Mumbai.

Their son Moshe was saved by his Indian nanny in the
tragedy.

The 26-page lawsuit accusing ISI of aiding and
abetting LeT in the slaughter of 166 people was filed before a
New York Court on November 19, following which the Brooklyn
court issued summons to Major Samir Ali, Azam Cheema,
Inter-Services Intelligence of the Islamic Republic of
Pakistan, Major Iqbal, Lakhvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Sajid Majid,
Pasha, Saeed and Nadeem Taj.

"The ISI has long nurtured and used international
terrorist groups, including LeT, to accomplish its goals and
has provided material support to LeT and other international
terrorist groups," said the lawsuit filed by relatives of the
slain Rabbi.

Pasha, who has been director general of the ISI since
September 2008, has been summoned, so is Nadeem Taj, the
director general of ISI from September 2007 to September 2008.
Major Iqbal and Major Samir Ali are other ISI officers
who have been issued summons.

The one of its kind lawsuit also brings as defendants
Lashkar operatives like operations commander Lakhvi, JuD chief
Saeed, and Azam Cheema.

"The Mumbai terrorist attack was planned, trained for
and carried out by members of defendant LeT. Defendant ISI
provided critical planning, material support, control and
coordination of the attacks," the lawsuit alleges.

It accuses ISI officers Pasha, Taj, Iqbal and Ali of
being purposefully engaged in the direct provision of material
support or resources including weapons and explosives.

"On and prior to November 26, 2008, ISI, Pasha, Taj,
Iqbal and Ali (as well as other officials, agents and
employees of ISI) directed, engaged and/or relied upon the
efforts of US-based individuals, including but not limited to
Headley and Rana, for raising funds, building a network of
connections, recruiting participants and planning the
operation of the Mumbai terror attack," the lawsuit claims.

Noting that LeT still operates training camps in
Pakistan, Kashmir and Afghanistan, the petition said the group
has openly advocated violence against India, Israel and the
United States. It names Muridke, Manshera and Muzaffarabad as centres
of training camps operated by the LeT.

The 10 LeT members who undertook the on-the-ground
Mumbai terrorist attack underwent extensive training in the
LeT camps in Pakistan, the lawsuit alleged.

It also says that Pakistani American LeT operative
David Headley, who has already pleaded guilty for his role in
the plotting of the attack, built a network of connections
from Chicago to Pakistan, undertaking these efforts at the
direction and with the material support of both LeT and the
ISI.

Prior to and following each trip to Mumbai, Headley
reported to and received further instructions from both LeT,
including defendants Majid and Iqbal, and the ISI, it alleges.

"In September 2008, the 10 LeT attackers were moved to
Karachi and installed in an ISI/LeT safe house and isolated
from outside contact," it said, adding that while staying in
the Karachi safe house, they received specific instructions on
Mumbai targets.

The safe house was part of ISI`s "Karachi Project,"
an initiative by which anti-Indian groups were tasked and
supported by the ISI in a surreptitious fashion to engage in
acts of international terrorism.

"During the period Headley communicated with and
took directions from the ISI regarding the Mumbai plot,
defendant Taj, as ISI`s Director-General, exerted full command
and control over the ISI.

"During the final two months of training of the LeT
attackers and throughout the attack, defendant Pasha exerted
full command and control over the ISI," it alleged.

During the Mumbai attacks, the lawsuit alleges
defendant Majid along with other LeT officers operated from a
mission control room in Karachi, passing instructions and
encouragement to the attackers via telephone.

"By reason of the foregoing, LeT, Saeed, Lakhvi,
Cheema and Majid are each liable to each plaintiff,
individually and as the personal representative and/or
surviving family member of their decedents, for compensatory
damages in excess of USD 75,000, such amount to be determined
by a jury," it said.

PTI