In a pointed indictment of Pakistan’s military establishment in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, in his opening argument, on Tuesday termed the incident “a classic case of sponsored terrorism” perpetuated by “State actors involved in the security apparatus of Pakistan.”
When the Special Sessions Court trying the case began hearing the arguments from the prosecution’s side, Mr. Nikam said he was consciously using the term “sponsored terrorism.” He dwelt on the role of an unidentified Major General, and the intention of the attackers and their handlers to zealously conceal their Pakistani identity.
“The November 26 attack was not an ordinary attack by 10 indoctrinated terrorists. It was well orchestrated, meticulously planned and [reflected] a deep-seated hatred for our country. It was a classic case of sponsored terrorism. Evidence by the prosecution has successfully established that the attack was sponsored by Pakistan. Irrefutable inference [can be drawn] that it was sponsored by State actors involved in the security apparatus of Pakistan,” Mr. Nikam contended.
He said the Major General’s name was not revealed to the attackers “undoubtedly because he was from the Pakistan Army.” “He is an entity separate from the Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT]; he must have been the supreme authority running the training camp.”
Citing excerpts from the judicial confession statement of lone surviving terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, recorded on February 20, 2009, Mr. Nikam said the Major General visited the training camps when military and intelligence training was being imparted to the attackers. He had enquired whether the trainees had any complaints and was keen that they completed the mission given by the LeT.
The query about complaints “postulates that he was supervising the training,” Mr. Nikam argued. He said Kasab’s statement mentioned the Major General also provided trainers for the camps and personally tested the firing skills of the trainees once.
Mr. Nikam pointed to an instance in the confession statement when the Major General arrived for a training session led by Lashkar handlers Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-Ur-Rehaman Lakhvi. “They saluted him; so he must have enjoyed a position in the Pakistan Army. He also instructed Abu Kahfa to impart sea training to the attackers. The Major General has a suspicious role. The manner he in which he gave instructions shows that he was from the Pakistan Army,” Mr. Nikam said.
Hiding Pakistani identity
Referring to the fake identity cards the attackers had, Mr. Nikam said: “usually any terrorist group takes pride in its operations and claims responsibility, including the LeT. However, in the case of 26/11, the authority that hatched the conspiracy along with the LeT did not want its identity to be revealed.