Wednesday, March 23, 2011

India Cables: Views 0f Pakistani Punjabis about 'Who conducted Mumbai Attacks?'

181158: Most Punjabis believe Indian groups are behind Mumbai attacks
The Hindu, March 23, 2011

CLASSIFIED BY: Clinton Taylor, Acting Principal Officer, Consulate Lahore, U.S. Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (d)

1. (C) Summary: Although a few Punjabis see the possibility the Mumbai attacks could have been launched in Pakistan, overall politicians and lawyers in Punjab province believe that India should look to internal insurgent groups as the sole actors of the Mumbai attacks. After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's initial reaction blaming Pakistan, which angered Punjabis, they welcomed the December 1 statement from the White House, saying that the U.S. government had found no evidence implicating the Pakistan government, which they saw as absolving Pakistan of any responsibility. The innocence felt by most Punjabis will make it difficult for the government to crack down on Pakistani perpetrators. End Summary.
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4. (C) Several PML-N opposition politicians also interpreted the U.S. government announcement as a vindication of Pakistan. In a December 2 meeting with Poleconoff, MPA Mehr Ishtaq Ahmed, a senior vice-president in the PM-LN Lahore chapter, doubted that Pakistanis had any role at all in the Mumbai attack. He and fellow PML-N MPA Rai Ejaz Ahmed Khan, an attorney, believed that India's intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), had incited the riots in Karachi as retaliation for the Mumbai attacks, sustaining a policy that aims to destabilize and break up Pakistan. [Note: See Karachi septel. The unrest in Karachi, which has resulted in over 50 dead since November 30, most likely stems from ethnic conflict. End Note.]
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Pakistani Groups Capable, Say Others
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5. (C) Chaudhry Fawwad Khan, a prominent attorney affiliated with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PMLQ), in a December 1 conversation with Poleconoff, recognized the likelihood that a Pakistani group based in Punjab had sponsored the attack. He theorized that a group such as Lashkar-e-Taiba or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had cooperated with the Taliban, which wanted to use the attack to spark a conflict between India and Pakistan, which would then prompt the Pakistan Army to shift its troops from the northern areas back to the Indian border. If true, this would be a good sign of the pressure felt by the militants, he offered. Asked whether other Pakistanis might feel similarly, he and his law partner Raja Amir Khan, who had contested a Pakistan People's Party (PPP) MPA seat in the February elections, said that the Urdu press had spread conspiracy theories that led people to blame India. Pervaiz Malik, the PML-N Finance Secretary and advisor to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, also acknowledged December 2 the possibility of a Pakistani group's involvement in the attacks.

‘No doubt that attackers were Pakistani’ - Nawaz Sharif - The Hindu
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