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Ansari Nails Pakistan’s Lies

Author: Kiran Tare
Publication: India Today
Date: July 9, 2012
URL: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/abu-jundal-mumbai-terror-attacks-isi-pakistan/1/203056.html

Arrested LeT operative blames ISI for 26/11 attacks

Arrested Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal has directly implicated the Pakistan army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as planners of the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.

Ansari was deported from Saudi Arabia on June 25 and arrested by the Delhi Police's special cell. He revealed that two serving Pakistani ISI officers, Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali, regularly attended LeT meetings in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir between 2007 and 2008, when the attacks were planned. His sensational revelations have punched holes into Pakistan's insistence that the 26/11 attack, which killed 168 people, was the work of 'non-state actors' like the LeT and the Pakistan army was not to blame.

His revelations sparked a fresh war of words between India and Pakistan. "When I say state actors, at the moment, I am not pointing my finger at any particular agency. But clearly there was state support or state actors' support for the 26/11 massacre," Home Minister P. Chidambaram said. Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik kept up with his country's policy of denial. He spun a conspiracy theory that Indians were behind the attacks.

Ansari revealed that LeT bosses Hafiz Saeed and Zakir-ur-Rehman Lakhvi had planned the attack. This has lent fresh impetus to India's case for their deportation. He also said that Lakhvi and LeT operational commander Muzammil were present in the control room which monitored the attack from Karachi.

Ansari, 30, hails from Gevrai village in Beed, a district in Marathwada. He crossed over to Pakistan in 2006. His version essentially corroborates what LeT scout David Coleman Headley told National Investigation Agency officials in the US in 2010. Headley conducted a hostile reconnaissance of the 26/11 targets. Ansari operated under LeT's military planner Sajid Mir during the attacks.

"The handlers panicked after Ajmal Amir Kasab's capture. However, the overall mood in the control room was jubilant because the terrorists had succeeded in prolonging the battle with the Indian security agencies for three days," Ansari reportedly told interrogators.

Ansari trained the 10 attackers to pretend to be Indians. He taught them to converse in Hindi, provided them numbers of media houses and gave them tips on how to interact with the media and misguide them.

A trained electrician, Ansari was soft-spoken and rarely raised his voice till he came in contact with activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in 2005 in Aurangabad. The SIMI activists provoked him to get in touch with their top brass by showing him CDs of the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002.

Officers of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) are not surprised by Ansari's revelations. "We always suspected that Ansari was the only Indian link to these attacks," says an ATS official. "We had zeroed in on him after analysing intercepted phone conversations between him and the other terrorists during the attack. He used a Hindi word prashasan (administration) during the conversation. Apart from that, his accent was Indian," the officer says.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who represented the state government in the 26/11 attack trial in the special court, says Ansari's arrest is more proof of Pakistan's involvement in terror activities in India. "Not only the executor, but also the organiser of a criminal act is equally responsible for the crime. It is the need of the hour to build international pressure against Pakistan to stop terrorism," he says.
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