Malik stirs fresh row: ‘Ansari source of Indian agency’

FP

In yet another controversial statement, visiting Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Sunday called 26/11 terror accused Abu Jundal alias Zabiuddin Ansari the "source" of an "elite agency" of India. He also called the attack a failure of intelligence agencies on both sides.

"Abu Jundal's statement was taken in Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, he was brought here. We have all the information. And in his own statement, Abu Jundal said he is a criminal, having been charged in many cases, and that he also worked as one of the sources of a very elite (intelligence) agency of India. Now, see, he has used the agencies also and went rogue," Malik said.

He did not specify when and in which statement Ansari had said he was working as a "source" for an Indian intelligence agency. India, which maintains Ansari is a Pakistani citizen and had recovered a Pakistani passport from him, rubbished Malik's statement as "ridiculous". "Such a statement is ridiculous. Jundal was working with the Lashkar-e-Toiba on Pakistan's soil when the Mumbai terror attack was carried out," Home Secretary R K Singh told PTI.

On Malik's remark that Indian agencies could have prevented the attack, the Home Ministry in a statement said that the main issue was that 26/11 was conceived, planned and directed from Pakistan. Pakistan did not take any action against these terrorist elements then, it said.

During a lecture at the Observer Research Foundation here, Malik underlined that Pakistan alone could not be blamed for 26/11, pointing out that Indian "non-state actors" were involved.

Pakistani-American David Headley had conspired with al-Qaeda terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri, a retired major of Pakistan army and three Indian terrorists — including Ansari — and "roamed freely" and plotted the Mumbai attack, he said.

"So it is not a state-sponsored drama, state-sponsored action. It is action by non-state actors. Triangular nexus between Headley, (Ilyas) Kashmiri, the enemy of Pakistan, a major who deserted the Pakistan army, having joined the LeT, and of course three Indians," he said.

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