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‘Kayani refused to confiscate Lakhvi’s phone in jail’

LeT commander is continuing to direct Lashkar operations while in custody,says a probe report.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai |
November 23, 2011 3:12:32 am

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani reportedly rejected a US request earlier this year that Pakistan authorities take away a mobile phone that Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was using to direct the group’s operations from inside Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail.

A senior,unnamed US official who met the Pakistani army chief expressed concern that Lakhvi,arrested for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack,was continuing to direct Lashkar operations while in custody,American investigative journalism portal ProPublica reported today,quoting a US government memo it has seen.

“Gen. Kayani responded that the… ISI had told prison authorities to better control Lakhvi’s access to the outside world,the memo says. But Kayani rejected a US request that authorities take away the cell phone…,according to the memo to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the National Security Council,” ProPublica said.

“Lakhvi is still the military chief of Lashkar,” ProPublica quoted a US counter-terror official as saying. “He is in custody but has not been replaced. And he still has access and ability to be the military chief. Don’t assume a Western view of what custody is.”

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The eight-chapter ProPublica investigation revisits the 26/11 carnage days before its third anniversary and reveals new details about the ISI’s involvement in the attacks that killed 165 people. It lays bare the role played by Pakistani-American Lashkar operative David Headley,and questions why the US did not get to Headley and possibly prevent 26/11 even though several red flags had been raised.

The ProPublica report quoted former Indian home secretary GK Pillai as expressing doubt whether Washington had come clean fully on Headley.

“Pillai asserted that US authorities know more about Headley than they have publicly stated. Several senior Indian security officials said they believe that US warnings provided to India before the Mumbai attacks came partly from knowledge of Headley’s activities. They believe he remained a US operative,” ProPublica says.

“David Coleman Headley,in my opinion,was a double agent,” Pillai told ProPublica. “He was working for both the US and for Lashkar and the ISI. If they went deep into the records,I think they would find there was enough evidence to show that he was involved in some planning or an attack in India. And I think at some level in the United States,some agencies decided that can be kept under wraps because he’s doing something for [them.”

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