Islamabad/New Delhi: Pakistan must admit its mistakes for allowing Pakistani terrorists to sail to Mumbai and carry out the horrific massacre in Mumbai in 2008, almost bringing Islamabad and Delhi to war, a former senior Pakistani official has said.
The revelation vindicates India's stand that 99 percent of the evidence of the 26/11 attacks lies in Pakistan since the entire plotting was done in that country, sources said on Tuesday.
Tariq Khosa, a former director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), equivalent of India's CBI, wrote in the Dawn newspaper that "Pakistan has to deal with the Mumbai mayhem, planned and launched from its soil".
"This requires facing the truth and admitting mistakes," he said, detailing the various Pakistani links to the terrorists who massacred 166 Indians and foreigners over three days in India's financial capital.
"The entire state security apparatus must ensure that the perpetrators and masterminds of the ghastly terror attacks are brought to justice," Khosa said, underlining that the case had lingered on for far too long.
"What's new in what has been revealed?" a source told IANS. "This is what we have been saying all along -- that the entire plotting and financing for 26/11 was done in Pakistan, and the prosecution there has 99 percent of the evidence, but they choose not to act on it."
"What he (Khosa) has said vindicates our stand. India has been maintaining since 2008 that the entire plotting and financing was done in Pakistan," the source added.
According to noted strategic expert Uday Bhaskar, the revelations by Khosa are an important statement in the public domain.
"The author is a former DG of the FIA and his observations are that of a seasoned senior professional from Pakistan's premier investigating agency," Bhaskar told IANS.
He said the most valuable parts of Khosa's revelations "are the detailing of 'facts' pertinent to the case that have been unearthed or pieced together including the role of the LeT; the casings of explosives recovered from a training camp in Pakistan and matched with devices used in Mumbai; linking the number of the engine used on the dinghy with a Karachi sports shop; the money trail; the operations room et al".
"Khosa and his team are to be commended both for their investigative diligence - and his candour in bringing this to the public domain. One hopes that his personal safety will not be compromised due to such courage," Bhaskar, director of think tank Society for Policy Studies, told IANS.
He said that while the facts were not new to the concerned Pakistani authorities, "it is unlikely that the Khosa disclosure will bring about a mea culpa transformation in the Rawalpindi-Muridke combine. The deep state in Pakistan is too deeply invested in support to certain terror groups and enabling 26/11 to reach its ethical conclusion will bring too many skeletons out into the open."
In his article, Khosa said dilatory tactics by the defendants, frequent change of trial judges and the assassination of the case prosecutor as well as retracting from original testimony by some key witnesses had proved to be serious setbacks for the prosecutors.
Ten Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai from the sea in November 2008 and carried out a massacre in a well-planned manner.
One of the terrorists, Ajmal Kasab, was caught, put on trial and later hanged in India. Security forces killed the others. Islamabad initially denied any links with the attackers but later admitted that Kasab and the masterminds were Pakistani nationals.
Khosa pointed out that Kasab was a Pakistani and that the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who attacked Mumbai were trained near Thatta in Sindh and launched by sea from there.
"The training camp was identified and secured by the investigators. The casings of the explosive devices used in Mumbai were recovered from this training camp and duly matched.
"Third, the fishing trawler used by the terrorists for hijacking an Indian trawler in which they sailed to Mumbai was brought back to harbour, then painted and concealed. It was recovered by the investigators and connected to the accused.
"Fourth, the engine of the dinghy abandoned by the terrorists near Mumbai harbour contained a patent number through which the investigators traced its import from Japan to Lahore and then to a Karachi sports shop from where an LeT-linked militant purchased it along with the dinghy. The money trail was followed and linked to the accused who was arrested.
"Fifth, the ops room in Karachi, from where the operation was directed, was also identified and secured by the investigators. The communications through Voice over Internet Protocol were unearthed.
"Sixth, the alleged commander and his deputies were identified and arrested. Seventh, a couple of foreign-based financiers and facilitators were arrested and brought to face trial," Khosa said.
Khosa said the Mumbai case was unique, and that proving conspiracy in a different jurisdiction was more complex and required a far superior quality of evidence.
"Therefore, the legal experts from both sides need to sit together rather than sulk and point fingers."
He asked: "Are we as a nation prepared to muster the courage to face uncomfortable truths and combat the demons of militancy that haunt our land?"
Khosa also flayed India for the "botched investigation" into the Samjhauta Express bombing and the alleged support to the Baloch insurgency as well as the terror financing in Karachi and Fata.
"They (India) too have many skeletons in their cupboards. So why fight shy?
"Let both India and Pakistan admit their mistakes and follies and learn to co-exist while trying to find solutions to their thorny issues through peaceful means."
Khosa said the political and security leadership of Pakistan had resolved to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, militancy and extremism.
"The duality and distinction between good and bad Taliban, including all militants and terrorists, should stand removed from Miramshah to Muridke, from Karachi to Quetta."