Pakistan sacks senior adviser for disclosing Mumbai attacker’s identity

Mumbai-attacks-11262008.jpg

Ajmal Amir Kasab, outside the train station in Mumbai during the November terror attack.

Pakistan’s prime minister fired his national security adviser after he disclosed that the lone surviving Mumbai terrorist is a Pakistani citizen. The move came just hours after the government confirmed the Mumbai attacker was a Pakistani after more than a month of denials.

Mehmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor, was sacked by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after he gave “a statement to an Indian news channel regarding Ajmal Kasab without taking him into confidence,” Geo News reported. Kasab is the only surviving terrorist behind the late November 2008 military assault on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai. More than 170 people were killed and hundreds were wounded in the assault that closed down the city for three days.

Kasab admitted to Indian police his 10-man team trained in Lashkar-e-Taiba camps in Pakistan with the support of the Inter-Service Intelligence agency and launched their attack from the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Other Lashkar operatives in Indian and Pakistani custody admitted to their involvement the assault.

“The prime minister said that Durrani’s statement had tarnished the country’s image,” the Pakistani news channel reported. A press release issued by the prime minister’s office described Durrani’s behavior as “irresponsible” for failing to take Gilani “and other stakeholders into confidence and lack of coordination on matters of national security, ” the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

The dismissal of Durrani occurred on the same day the Pakistani government admitted officially admitted Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. Information Minister Sherry Rehman and Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Sadiq both confirmed Kasab was indeed from Pakistan.

Senior Pakistani government officials, including Gilani, Durrani, and President Asif Zardari refused to admit Kasab was a Pakistani citizen, even though Kasab himself admitted he is from Pakistan and submitted a request for consular access. The request is still “under review” by Pakistan’s foreign office.

Kasab’s family and other Pakistanis from his home town of Fardikot identified him from pictures and said he was recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba. His father and neighbors were interviewed by Pakistani television and news outlets and confirmed he was indeed from Pakistan. His own father identified him and provided a nearly identical account of his son’s background as Kasab gave to Indian intelligence. “This is the truth,” Kasab’s father told a Pakistani news outlet. “I have seen the picture in the newspaper. This is my son Ajmal.”

Pakistan’s response was to attempt to bury the information. Security forces cordoned the village, removed Kasab’s family from their home and moved someone else in, and forced the townspeople to retract their statements.

Pakistan’s refusal to accept Kasab was from Pakistan and claims that the evidence provided by India on how Lashkar-e-Taiba plotted and executed the attack from Pakistan has infuriated Indian officials. Tensions have risen between the two countries. in late December 2008, Pakistan began redeploying troops from the Taliban insurgency-infested Northwest Frontier Province to the eastern border with India due to fears India might retaliate over the Mumbai strike.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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13 Comments

  • flyonthewall says:

    Well, ain’t this a snapshot of P’stan’s integrity. This, our ally. Has anyone seen this on “the news”?

  • AAndrew says:

    “Pakistan’s response was to attempt to bury the information. Security forces cordoned the village, removed Kasab’s family from their home and moved someone else in, and forced the townspeople to retract their statements.”
    Wow. Just wow. This should be on the front page of every newspaper on the planet. The government of Pakistan INTENTIONALLY covering up information regarding terrorism.
    This shouldn’t be a shock to readers of this site, but to have confirmation of it in black and white for all to see – wow.
    Andrew

  • NS says:

    But here is the truly frightening thing – the so called “moderate” and democratically elected Government of Pakistan has fired this guy for telling the truth.
    And these guys are supposedly “better” to deal with than the Paki army and the ISI.
    Pakistan and Palestine are such mirror images of each other – effective support for terrorism actually comes from the so called “moderates” – their fundamentalists like Hamas and the Paki military/ISI only do their dirty jobs so that the “moderates” hands never get “soiled”.
    It is truly disheartening to realize why Islamic terrorism actually persists – its not merely because of the Islamic terrorists- its because of the “moderates” who supposedly dont agree with them and do nothing about the problem.

  • anand says:

    The situation in Pakistan is much more serious than the situation in Palestine. Hamas only wants to kill Israelis. AQ linked Takfiris that operate from Pakistan want to kill everyone.
    Hamas has actually tried to reach out to America. Hamas is also diverse with some elements open to recognizing Israel’s right to exist.
    Pakistan is disassembling before our eyes. If Pakistan isn’t in some type of complex continuingly evolving multisided low grade civil war . . . it is going through something even worse than that.

  • Abheek says:

    Well said NS. Unfortunately the way things are developing dont augur well for the region in the long run. Here you have a known State sponserer of terrorism killing innocent people at will. On the other end you have US which is afraid of harming P-stan. I think it has still not percolated in the minds of the American decision makers that key to A-nistan is P-stan. P-stan has to be dealt with strong hand if civilized world has to live in peace. Also India is told to keep restrain even though so many of its civilians and army personnel have been killed by P-stan. How long are we supposed to let Pakistan off ?

  • T Ruth says:

    “The prime minister said that Durrani’s statement had tarnished the country’s image,” the Pakistani news channel reported
    What a joke! These guys must be living on another planet if they think they have any more credibility left than a parasite!! (After having ripped off America for all these years, lets hope the all change on jan 20 will result in more stick than carrots.)
    Pakistan is not just in denial but also in delusion. Somebody should tell them this is the 21st century!

  • westguy says:

    Something has to be done about PAKISTAN. How long will thePAK State continue to sponsor terrorists. Their denial has been exposed and they continue as normal ..plotting to kill the world thru their “non state actors”.
    PAK black mails the world with their nukes and the US remains silent . Next stop might be NEW YORK . Who knows

  • Mr T says:

    Yeah, and wait until Iran gets the nuke. Then we will have 2 large terrorist states acting with impunity because the world will be afraid to do anything for fear of nuclear war.
    Who will be the first to detonate it. Iran, P-stan, India, US, Israel, Russia?

  • Jerjes Talpur says:

    We are sorry to indian people, that some of our Pakistani citizen Kasab was brainwashed by extremist group of pakistan.
    Pakistan government is already victim of terrorism, because it is front line ally of US in WAR ON TERROR.
    Kasab being Pakistani is not something new or shocking, these groups are already doing same in pakistan, and we are fighting with the. Terrorists have no nationality identy, they are just extremists, and doing such things.
    But it only not happened from pakistan, it already been happening from indian side, for disturbing neighbour countries, mostly pakistan, balouchistan FATA, karachi, bangladaish, tibat , sirilanka.
    There are many terrorists in this region,like Arunachal Dragon Force, United Liberation Front of Assam, Tigers of Assam, Zomi Revolutionary Organization, Mizoram Liberation Force, cheechins,uzbaiks, egyptians.
    So All region must get united for countering terrorism, like india , afghanistan iran saudi china.
    ISI CHIEF CONDEMN THIS ATTACK
    //www.dawn.com/2009/01/07/top5.htm

  • Raven says:

    Mr. Talpur:
    Were you planning on insulting us with your response?
    Your wrote “Terrorists have no nationality identy”.
    They do sir. In this case their nationality is “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” as in many terrorist attacks in India. They also have a religion, sir. It’s called “Islam”..
    ISI should be declared as a terrorist group by at least by India, as they have evidence now.

  • Jerjes Talpur says:

    We all know , we are in trouble, so we must take action jointly, as we Pakistani, and american already playing role, and we have already welcomed, you and again we are welcoming, that this is not only war of pakistan.
    This is war of region, this is now your war, Pakistani citizen was involved Government is fighting with these kind of people, so your government must support Pakistani Government, or work together, for the stability of region.
    We have offered you for joint investigation, after admitting kasab is pakistani citizen. We have also captured many indian extremists in pakistan, but we never blamed your government, we blame at our own security lapse.
    But a normal human-being would not support terrorism in any shape anywhere, these militants groups are also threat for Pakistan, and Pakistan is fighting with them, Bill Roggio knows that.
    Our leader BB is assassinated by them,What we are doing in FATA and wazirstan ? dont you know , we are having war with them, but in some cases they get escape and showing their strength by attacking at Pakistani people,and for the 1st time they entered in your country. does we sent ? if you think we support them then, whom we are killing in Federally Administered Tribal Area [ FATA? ].
    Afghanistan is unstable and we are suffering, and we know if we will get unstable then neighbor countries would suffer,We dont need to get unstable, we dont like terrorists , we dont make terrorists , we want to see pakistan as stable country, and it is in the favor of region.
    We must talk productive rather then criticizing, i have lot of criticism for india, the way they divided east pakistan, the way they are doing in kashmir, the way they are destabilizing Sirilanka by sending Tamil Tigers, we know what they are doing in tibet and what they did in balouchistan by funding local terrorist groups against its own country, karachi, they were funding afghan terrorists camps.
    We are thinking to go United Nations Security Council, if you are thinking for any adventure, rather then being mature and ready to counter-terrorism. come lets start joint investigation and work together to eliminate Terrorism.
    We are waiting for indian governments positive and productive response and we will go into detail investigation, that who is funding these terrorists in PAKISTAN ! how they took such huge ammunition, and break the indian naval security , and who supported them in india, who dealt them and they stayed there before attack.

  • Raven says:

    Forget about joint investigations (IMO). You don’t jointly investigate with crooks who just robbed your house and terrorized your family. LeT was a child of ISI and will remain so for strategic reasons. That will not change….
    If Pakistanis are that brave, they will put their foot down and clean up their house first. Unless they are afraid of loosing this battle which will end up in a civil war. Either way, all nations should be ready for this scenario. Even if other countries help Pakistan, which power center in Pak will they help? No one is sure…
    On that point, who is in charge of Pak? how many power centers are there? Whom to trust? I think, Pak has reached a point of no return and nations must realize this for any solution to emerge. Saying that “we” need to work together will work when Indians know who that “we” is… see the problem?

  • pabbe says:

    This is very unfortunate. The government is saking all the people raising voices against them. This is just a death of democracy.

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