Pakistan denies India behind Lahore attack

Sketch of four of the terrorists wanted in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore on March 4.

Pakistan’s minister of the interior backtracked on yesterday’s claim that a “foreign hand” was behind the brazen assault on the Sri Lankan cricket team.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that there was no evidence of Indian involvement in the attack that killed six policemen and wounded eight members of the cricket team, the Press Trust of India reported. Malik also said the Sri Lankan-based Tamil Tigers and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba were not involved in the attack. He would not rule out al Qaeda involvement.

Malik had previously said “the involvement of foreign hands in the incident cannot be ruled out,” and reports indicate he had directly accused India in a report to the FBI.

“Pakistani officials claim that their Indian counterparts organised the attack in a plot to isolate Pakistan and exclude it as a joint host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup,” the Telegraph reported.

Pakistani intelligence sources told The Nation that the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s intelligence service better known as RAW, funded and trained the attackers.

The terrorists were imparted training by Indian Agency RAW at the Indian Consulate in Afghanistan,” The Nation reported. “The terrorists were provided highly sophisticated and deadly weapons in large quantity by RAW though its agents in Pakistan.” Three Nigerians, three Uzbeks, and an Afghan were reportedly among those captured who had links to Indian intelligence.

India’s home minister said the accusations were “complete rubbish” and urged Pakistan to act against the multitude of terror groups operating on Pakistani soil.

Pakistani police have since released sketches of four of the 12 attackers. One of the rickshaw drivers whose vehicle was used by some of the attackers to flee the scene of the attack said the men “were local people, who were communicating in Punjabi.”

Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer told reporters that the government knows who conducted the attack and would release the information on March 6.

“We have identified the people who did the operation,” Taseer said, according to Geo News. “We have a lot of information. We have arrested many people, rounded up some suspects, but the final investigation will be presented to me tomorrow (Friday); till then I am not in a position to say more.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack; however, the strike is similar to a wave of military-styled assaults by al Qaeda-linked terror groups against civilian targets in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Yemen. The most recent attack took place in Kabul, where what is believed to be a Haqqani Network cell assaulted the Justice and Education ministries as well as the Prisons Directorate headquarters. The deadly November 2008 terror assault on the Indian financial capital of Mumbai also was carried out by a well-armed, well trained assault squad from the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The Taliban, al Qaeda, the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harakat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, and a host of Pakistani jihadi terror groups have joined forces to battle both the Pakistani military in the Northwest Frontier Province and the NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has revived its paramilitary army, formerly known as the 055 Brigade and now known as the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army. The Shadow Army contains fighters from each of these terror groups, and trains in camps in the Northwest Frontier Province and the tribal areas.

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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  • KnightHawk says:

    Pakistan’s ministers or spokesmen backtracking or getting caught in fibs, who would have guessed?

  • TLA says:

    “Pakistani officials claim [that there was a] plot to isolate Pakistan and exclude it as a joint host for the 2011 Cricket World Cup.”
    Well, if that was the case, then I suggest that this foreign agency has won. Alternitively, a loss of every sort of sports venue would pay the Pakistanis back quite nicely for their inactive security measures. Time to ‘pay’ the price boys….

  • Neo says:

    It looks like the investigation of the Lahore bombing is looking closely at ties to LeT.
    “Sketchy details of the initial probe suggest that a group of headstrong Lashkar activists, who went underground and remained in hiding in Rawalpindi after the crackdown on Lashkar and Jamaatud Dawa in December, had acted on their own and carried out the attack.”

  • indus says:

    to flee the scene the terrorists used a rickshaw!
    This is indeed hilarious. A rickshaw travels slower than a bicycle. One can even run as fast. Does not seem like they were fleeing at all. Simply sauntering over to their next destination.
    And how is it that no cops could catch up with the rickshaw when the entire travel route of the Sri Lankan team was lined up with cops (from another story).


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