Wednesday, April 13, 2011

UPDATED  12/4/2011 2:39:19 PM

Headley implicate Pak and ISI for 26/11

Headley implicate Pak and ISI for 26/11

News 24 Desk

Washington: In a major embarrassment to Pakistan, David Headley aka Dawood Gilani and Tahawwur Hussain Rana have blamed the Pakistani government and ISI for the 26/11 attack. The two Pakistani expat foot soldiers allegedly planned and conducted the Mumbai recce before the 26/11 terrorist carnage. It may be recalled that large number of people died in that deadly attack.

Rana says his acts of providing material support to terrorists in the Mumbai attacks ``were done at the behest of the Pakistani government and the ISI, not the Lashkar terrorist organization.`` The documents also cite Rana invoking his friend David Headley`s Grand Jury testimony in which the latter too implicates ISI.

The disclosure that Rana and Headley are implicating the Pakistani government and its intelligence agency in the Mumbai attack came about indirectly when an Illinois district court rejected Rana`s attempt at what is known as a ``Public Authority Defense,`` in which the defendant essentially argues that he did something at the behest of a government or its official authority.

The startling disclosures came even as ISI chief Shuja Pasha is visiting Washington DC with a laundry list of demands as the US tries to repair ties which have been severely damaged by the Raymond Davis episode. The US effort comes despite growing disquiet about ISI`s role in fomenting terrorism. Still, the Obama administration is scrambling to control fallout from the court proceedings in an effort to save its ally from being publicly exposed as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Sources say that Rana told the Illinois court that ``he acted pursuant to his actual or believed exercise of public authority on behalf of the government of Pakistan and the ISI.``

While noting Rana`s argument ``that he is entitled to a public authority defense because he acted under the authority — whether actual or apparent — of the Pakistani government and the ISI,`` the court rejected the defense saying, ``Defendant cannot rely on the authority of a foreign government agency or official to authorize his violations of United States federal law.``

While the court rejected Rana`s attempted defense on technical grounds, his implicating of the Pakistani government and its intelligence agencies strengthens the widely held view in India and elsewhere that Islamabad`s reluctance to act against the perpetrators of attack points to official patronage of terrorism.

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