ISLAMABAD: Pakistani investigators have unearthed substantive links between the gunmen who attacked Mumbai in November and a banned militant group, a foreign journal reported on Wednesday. It said in an online report that at least one top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader, Zarar Shah, captured in a raid early this month had confessed to the group’s involvement in the attack.“He is singing,” an unidentified Pakistani security official told the newspaper, referring to Shah. Shah’s admission was backed up by the US intercepts of a telephone call between Shah and one of the attackers during the assault, the Pakistani security official told the newspaper.
“These guys showed no remorse,” said the Pakistani official. “They were bragging. They didn’t need to be pushed, tortured or waterboarded” into making their statements.
One Lashkar fighter who left the group several years ago said in an interview that the agency (ISI) was directly involved in planning operations in the disputed Kashmir region. The agency’s officers were “at the table” as missions were being sketched out, the former Lashkar fighter said. However, an active member of Lashkar said in an interview that relations with Pakistani security forces had grown cold. “We always had to hide from the Indian military, but now we have to hide from the Pakistani military as well,” he said.
The ISI has always been a powerful and semiautonomous agency, and its top officers have maintained strong links to Islamist militants. There is some hope that the appointment three months ago of a new spy chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who previously oversaw military operations against militants in Pakistan’s lawless western districts, signaled a move away from sympathies with the Islamist fighters who control much of the region bordering Afghanistan.