Islamabad: Pakistan must admit its mistakes for allowing Pakistani terrorists to sail to Mumbai in 2008 and carry out a massacre, a retired Pakistani official said in remarks published on Tuesday.
"Pakistan has to deal with the Mumbai mayhem, planned and launched from its soil," Tariq Khosa, a former director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), wrote in the Dawn newspaper.
"This requires facing the truth and admitting mistakes," he said. "The entire state security apparatus must ensure that the perpetrators and masterminds of the ghastly terror attacks are brought to justice."
Khosa said the case had lingered on for far too long.
He said dilatory tactics by the defendants, frequent change of trial judges and the assassination of the case prosecutor as well as retracting from original testimony by some key witnesses had proved to be serious setbacks for the prosecutors.
Ten Pakistani terrorists sneaked into Mumbai from the sea in November 2008 and massacred 166 Indians and foreigners in an attack that almost brought the two countries to war.
Terror attack at Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on November 29, 2008. Pic/ AFP
One of the terrorists, Ajmal Kasab, was caught and later hanged in India. Security forces killed the others. Islamabad initially denied any links with the attackers but later admitted that Kasab and the masterminds were Pakistani nationals.
Khosa pointed out that Kasab was a Pakistani and that the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who attacked Mumbai were trained near Thatta in Sindh and launched by sea from there.
"The training camp was identified and secured by the investigators. The casings of the explosive devices used in Mumbai were recovered from this training camp and duly matched.
"Third, the fishing trawler used by the terrorists for hijacking an Indian trawler in which they sailed to Mumbai was brought back to harbour, then painted and concealed. It was recovered by the investigators and connected to the accused.
"Fourth, the engine of the dinghy abandoned by the terrorists near Mumbai harbour contained a patent number through which the investigators traced its import from Japan to Lahore and then to a Karachi sports shop from where an LeT-linked militant purchased it along with the dinghy. The money trail was followed and linked to the accused who was arrested.
"Fifth, the ops room in Karachi, from where the operation was directed, was also identified and secured by the investigators. The communications through Voice over Internet Protocol were unearthed.
"Sixth, the alleged commander and his deputies were identified and arrested. Seventh, a couple of foreign-based financiers and facilitators were arrested and brought to face trial," Khosa said.
The retired official said that the Mumbai case was unique, and that proving conspiracy in a different jurisdiction was more complex and required a far superior quality of evidence.
"Therefore, the legal experts from both sides need to sit together rather than sulk and point fingers."
Khosa asked: "Are we as a nation prepared to muster the courage to face uncomfortable truths and combat the demons of militancy that haunt our land?"