NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan admitted to international media that banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, led by Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, was behind the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Acknowledging that the attacks were “an act of terrorism”, Khan said he's asked his government find out the status of the case.
During an interview to American daily The Washinton Post, journalist Lally Weymouth asked Khan, “India really wants to see the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai bombing prosecuted. The mastermind, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a leader of the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was released on bail in Pakistan while a nine-year trial has dragged on for six other suspects, with no results.”
To this Khan responded, “We also want something done about the bombers of Mumbai. I have asked our government to find out the status of the case. Resolving that case is in our interest because it was an act of terrorism.”
Referring to the recently opened Kartarpur corridor, the cricketer-turned-politician added, “I have opened a visa-free peace corridor with India called Kartarpur [so that Indian Sikhs can visit a holy shrine in Pakistan]. Let’s hope that after the election is over, we can again resume talks with India.”
Responding to Khan's comment, Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat said, “We know who did it. I don't think we have to get anymore statement from anybody. International community knows who did it. Acceptance is good but even without it, we knew who had done it.”
Amid growing demands from the Trump administration to do more to combat terrorism emanating from its soil, Khan said he would not allow Pakistan to be treated like a "hired gun" to fight someone else's war.
The ties between Washington and Islamabad strained, especially after President Donald Trump, while announcing his Afghanistan and South Asia policy in August last year, hit out at Pakistan for providing safe havens to "agents of chaos" that kill Americans in Afghanistan.
In May this year, former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif had admitted that Pakistan-based terror outfits were responsible for 2008 Mumbai blasts.
Speaking in an interview to Pakistan media Dawn, Sharif said, "Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors, should we allow them to cross-border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Why can't we complete trial?"
As many as 10 heavily-armed Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists forced their way into the city of Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and carried out coordinated shooting and bombing. The assault on the financial capital of India lasted until November 29.