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Lashkar And ISI United In Pan-Islamic Terror, Headley Tells NIA

In a chilling disclosure with serious ramifications for India, Pakistan and the international community, 26/11 accused David Coleman Headley told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) earlier this month that Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI are virtually inseparable
lashkar and isi united in pan islamic terror...
PTI June 27, 2010 9:01 IST

In a chilling disclosure with serious ramifications for India, Pakistan and the international community, 26/11 accused David Coleman Headley told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) earlier this month that Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI are virtually inseparable as far as the pan-Islamic terror agenda is concerned.

Home minister P Chidambaram used the NIA dossier detailing Headley's disclosures to drive home the point that stringent measures are needed against terrorist groups operating with impunity from Pakistani soil.

The NIA dossier, which establishes the virtual closing of ranks between LeT and ISI, clearly indicates that both are acting independently of the government and pose a threat to Pakistan's governance.

It took two days of persuasion for Headley to waive his right to silence under US law and detail every meeting he had with his LeT handlers, including Hafiz Saeed and Sajid Mir, and ISI officials in Muzzaffarabad and Lahore before the 26/11 attacks.

Sources said that Headley told the NIA team comprising Loknath Behera, Swayamprakash Pani, Sajid Shapoo and special prosecutor Dayan Krishnan that his reconnaissance missions and its results were closely and jointly monitored by LeT and ISI before he received fresh instructions. The 11th dossier, which India handed over to Pakistan on June 18, contained every statement by Headley, who spoke for seven to eight hours every day, continuously for eight days.

Questioning only stopped for lunch, tea and loo breaks. Sources said Headley agreed to answer every question posed by the NIA once he was assured no magistrate was on the team because that would have made his remarks akin to a confession admissible in Indian courts.

Headley's remarks would have been tantamout to a commission recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code making it admissible evidence before Indian courts, but the NIA had assured him no magistrate was on the team.

Headley broke into Hindi several times while answering questions, taking by surprise the three US federal attorneys, two lawyers of Headley and the five sleuths from FBI who were present everyday. These were translated for their benefit but it was a difficult task to get a proper translation of the crude jokes Headley cracked.

Points raised by Headley also surfaced in the bilateral talks Chidambaram had with Rehman Malik on Friday. Though Pakistan promised to act on details and verify what even FBI shared with it, India does not seem to have any option right now except wait. Malik, however. said Pakistan wouldn't stand in the way of a full probe.

 

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