David Headley deposed for the second consecutive day yesterday from an undisclosed location in the United States divulging more and more explosive details about the diabolic 26/11 attack in the city of Mumbai.
Accused turned approver, Headley was sentenced to a 35-year jail term after he agreed to testify and provide classified information to the Indian government on the condition that he would not be given a death sentence or extradited back to India.
In the first deposition, Headley told prosecution lawyer, Ujjawal Nikam, about the way the attack was hatched and the key players involved. It has now become clear that Hafiz Saeed was definitely involved in the case and that the attack was his brainchild.
During the second deposition, Headley further went on to make the following revelations:
- Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI provides “financial, military and moral support” to terror outfits LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahideen.
- Headley reveals that LeT planned to attack a defence conference attended by top Indian scientists at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
- Headley testified that he was working for ISI and the Pakistan army besides Lashkar-e-Taiba.
- He said he knew about ISI official Brigadier Riyaz being the handler of LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhwi – the key man involved in the 26/11 attacks.
- When asked whom he knew in the ISI, David Headley named Brigadier Riyaz, Colonel Shah, Lt Colonel Hamza and Major Samar Ali: Ujjwal Nikam.
- Before 26/11, Siddhivinayak temple was one of the planned targets.
- Headley admits that LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen are working under United Jihad council and are all working against India.
— Samir Dattopadhye (@samirsinh189) February 8, 2016
While several statements implicating that the Pakistan army has been involved are reported to have been made in the past, Headley’s statements assume significance as they have been made before a court of law rather than to a police officer, and are admissible as evidence.
The trial for the 26/11 probe took place in three countries, viz. India, USA and Pakistan. Seven years later, there has been rather substantial action taken in India and USA, but there is little progress in the case in Islamabad.
Headley’s fresh testimony put a spotlight on the role played by Pakistani state actors in the Mumbai attacks, who were not even arrested or put to trial by the neighbouring country.
The Pathankot attacks are sufficient to prove that terror outfits like Jaish-e-Mohammed and the LeT are still operational in Pakistan even after all that has happened.
We have said it before and we are saying it again- the lax attitude that Pakistan has shown towards the trial of these terrorist is abysmal and bewildering, to say the least. The sham that they have put up in showing genuine concern over the attacks falls flat on its face after this deposition.
India now faces the heat to confront Pakistan on Headley’s revelations and demand answers and actions. (Read an open letter to then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh by a young woman)
At last, all we can say is that the phrase, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, has never made more sense than it does today.