NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s former national security advisor (NSA) Maj Gen Mahmud Ali Durrani on Monday said the 26/11 Mumbai attack was a “classic example” of cross-border terrorism, carried out by Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), a front for Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba, and hoped that its chief Hafiz Saeed is punished.
Durrani made the remarks while speaking at the 9th Asian Security Conference at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) here. Despite admitting that the attack had its roots in Pakistan, the former NSA reiterated the incident was not state-sponsored. “He is of no use to Pakistan, I hope he is punished,” Durrani said, when asked about Saeed’s usefulness for Pakistan.
India holds Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hafiz Saeed responsible for orchestrating the dastardly attack where 10 armed terrorists created mayhem in the commercial capital of the country.
In February, Pakistan, after years of dilly-dallying, had listed Hafiz Saeed under the Anti-Terrorist Act. He already carries a $10 million US bounty on his head. India had hailed it as a ‘logical’ first step in ridding the region of the “twin menaces of terrorism and violent extremism”.
Durrani expressed his regret for the “unfortunate attack” and denied that it was the handiwork of Pakistan’s intelligence agency.
“I can say with authority no one on the ISI — Pakistan’s intelligence agency — or establishment was aware of the plan to strike in India… I felt very bad, the moment this (terror attack) happened. I called up Narayanan (then Indian NSA), told him if he allowed us, we would send 2-3 investigators to help to reach the root cause, but mistrust prevailed,” Durrani added.
The former Pakistani official had lost his job after he acknowledged the involvement of Pakistan-based non-state actors in the Mumbai attack. Islamabad also came under attack from visiting Afghanistan NSA Mohammad Hanif Atmar, who obliquely hinted at Pakistan as he said his country was the victim of a terrorist war and an “undeclared state to state war”.
He urged the international community to at least take action against individuals if it was not feasible to designate states.