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American victims of 26/11 want Headley to depose

By Lalit K Jha
August 23, 2011 14:55 IST
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American nationals and relatives of those killed in Mumbai terror attacks want the confessed Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative David Headley to take the stand in a New York law suit they have filed against Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence for plotting the attack.

The victims have also stuck claim of $10 million per death and $3 million per injury from the Pakistan's spy agency on the lines of compensation received by those killed in the Pan Am terror bombing case.

The kin of those killed have filed cases against the ISI and its chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha and the organisation's former chief Gen Nadeem Taj.

"Plaintiffs will seek deposition of Headley regarding the ISI's involvement in the Mumbai attacks as well as any information he has regarding whether the ISI was operating without the consent and knowledge of the Pakistani government," said attorney James P Kreindler, who represents the American victims of 26/11 in the New York court.

As many as four such cases have been filed against the ISI in New York. Kreindler represents the plaintiffs in all the four.

During grand jury proceedings, David Headley testified under oath that he "had been asked to perform espionage work for ISI" and that, at the behest of the ISI, he was on "assignment to conduct surveillance in Mumbai".

During the hearing, Headley testified that the ISI trained him to go into India on secret missions, including in preparation for the Mumbai attacks. A compensation claim has also been made before a New York district court.

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 heading from London's Heathrow International Airport to New York Kennedy International Airport exploded en route over Lockerbie, Scotland. The explosion killed all 259 of the passengers and crew, as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie.

This has also been informed to attorney Kelvin Wash, who represents the ISI and its present and past chiefs in the New York Court, against whom the 26/11 relative of victims and survivors have filed a case for their involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks.

Wash in his latest submission argued that the court does not have any jurisdiction over the ISI as it is a foreign agency and thus subject to immunity.

The court has not set the next date of hearing in this regard, but the attorney James P Kreindler, who represents the American victims of 26/11 has argued that the court indeed has jurisdiction over the ISI as it is a separate entity other than the government of Pakistan.

Kreindler has challenged to withdraw the case if the State department informs the court in writing that the lawsuit against ISI its current chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha, and its former head Nadeem Taj, hinders the America's foreign policy towards Pakistan.

However, till date the State department has not given any such undertaking to the court.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington
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