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Pak studying list of 26/11 handlers given by India

July 03, 2010 20:29 IST

Pakistani investigators are looking into a list of six individuals, including three former army officers, named by India for acting as controllers and handlers of the terrorists who carried out the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The names of several of these six individuals had cropped up during investigations by Indian and American law enforcement agencies but they have so far not officially been made part of Pakistan's probe into the Mumbai incident, diplomatic and other sources told PTI.

During his recent meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik, Home Minister P Chidambaram sought action against the six individuals, identified as Sajid Mir, Major Abdur Rehman, Brigadier Riaz, Abu Qafa, Abu Al-Qama and Abu Hamza, the sources said.

The Indian side provided detailed information on these individuals, including photos, physical descriptions and intelligence reports on locations at which they were earlier based. In some instances, this information included details provided to Indian interrogators by Pakistani-American national David Headley alias Dawood Gilani, the sources said.

Action against these individuals would be seen as an indicator of Pakistan's resolve to bring to justice all those who were behind the Mumbai attacks, including financiers, handlers and controllers, the sources said.

The Indian side also told its Pakistani counterparts that investigators could obtain voice samples of the individuals and match them with recordings of conversations between the Mumbai attackers and their Pakistan-based handlers.

The Pakistani side claimed the suspects could refuse to provide voice samples on the ground that these would be 'self-incriminatory', but the Indian side said investigators could get a court order to obtain voice samples. Besides, the Indian side also pointed out that obtaining voice samples were part of modern investigation techniques akin to obtaining fingerprints and DNA samples.

Pakistani official sources acknowledged that India had expressed its dissatisfaction at the investigation into the Mumbai attacks and the slow pace of the trial of seven suspects, including Lashker-e-Tayiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency.

The Indian side also informed the Pakistanis that except for Lakhvi and LeT communications expert Zarar Shah, the other five men arrested by the FIA were minor players in the Mumbai carnage, the sources said. One of the seven suspects currently on trial in Pakistan Mazhar Iqbal uses the alias Abu al-Qama but the Abu Al-Qama named in the new list of six individuals is believed to be a different person who acted as a handler. Sajid Mir, a former army official and LeTs head of international operations, was David Headley's handler.

Mir is wanted by authorities in the US and Australia. Major Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha retired from the army in 2007. He too was in touch with Headley. Abdur Rehman was detained by the Pakistan army in September 2009 but released later.

Abu Qafa, Abu Al Qama and Abu Hamza are considered to be aliases of persons who controlled and handled the Mumbai attackers, the sources said.

Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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