Nation special report
Washington US offers new $5m reward for identify, arrest Mumbai attackers,
———————————————————————————————–Pompeo urges Islamabad to take action against culprits and uphold SC obligations, India welcomes initiative
WASHINGTON: In a new move what the analysts describe to annoy Pakistan, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday urged Pakistan to take action against those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks as Washington offered a new reward of $5 million for helping secure their capture.
The announcement came on the eve of the tenth anniversary of the assault, which left 166 people dead and hundreds injured after Islamist militants from Pakistan unleashed a wave of violence across India’s financial capital lasting three days.
“It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after ten years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have still not been convicted for their involvement,” Pompeo said in a statement.
“We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates.”
“We stand with the families and friends of the victims, whose loved ones were lost in this act of barbarism, including six American citizens,” he added.
The Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program meanwhile said it was offering up to $5 million “for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired to commit, or aided or abetted” the execution of the attack.
It is the third such reward offered by the US after the State Department announced bounties of $10 million for Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, another senior leader of the group.
Saeed, who is also designated a terrorist by the United Nations, has denied involvement in terrorism and the Mumbai attacks. A party linked to the charitable wing of the LeT contested Pakistan’s national elections in July, failing to win any seats but winning more than 435,000 national and regional votes.
According to another report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against terrorists responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
“We call upon all countries, particularly Pakistan, to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) and its affiliates,” said the US secretary of state on the tenth anniversary of the attack.
“It is an affront to the families of the victims that, after 10 years, those who planned the Mumbai attack have still not been convicted for their involvement.”
Indian politicians and officials routinely condemn Pakistan for not taking action against LeT leader Hafiz Saeed. Pakistan says that evidence provided by India against Saeed is too vague.
Six Americans were among the Mumbai victims and the US State Department announced a $5 million prize for the capture of the remaining planners of the attacks.
The US already has a $10 million bounty offered for Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, another senior group leader.
India marked the tenth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks with ceremonies at sites across the city that became battlegrounds in the wave of violence that killed scores and dealt a critical blow to relations with neighbouring Pakistan.
Armed with AK-47 assault rifles and hand grenades, ten militants killed 166 people and injured hundreds more in a three-day rampage through India’s financial capital which started on November 26, 2008.
Ten years on, the United States offered a new $5 million reward for the capture of the remaining attackers and called on Islamabad to cooperate with the hunt for the planners of the assault. The attackers allegedly belonged to LeT.
While Mumbai staged its own solemn ceremonies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the attacks “gruesome” and said: “A grateful nation bows to our brave police and security forces who valiantly fought the terrorists during the Mumbai attacks.”
Played out on TV news channels around the world, the bloody events – widely known as 26/11 – have been compared in India to New York’s suffering on September 11, 2001.
The co-ordinated attacks on the city of nearly 20 million people hit luxury hotels, the main railway station, a restaurant popular with tourists and a Jewish centre. Mumbai’s police remembered more than a dozen officers killed in the operation against the militants while relatives of the victims laid wreaths at a police memorial honouring the dead.
Residents were also to pay respects at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station where Mohammed Kasab, the only gunman caught alive, and another attacker killed almost 60 people and wounded at least 100 others.
The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel will hold a private service to remember the 31 people who died there. Over 60 hours, four attackers shot dead guests and hotel staff, detonated explosives and set ablaze parts of the building — including its famous dome.
Dramatic scenes of Indian commandos battling the heavily armed gunmen, and guests tried to escape from windows down bedsheet ropes were beamed around the world on live television.
Indian security forces only retook control of the hotel on the morning of November 29.
More than 30 people also died at the Oberoi and Trident hotels in a 42-hour siege involving shootings, explosions and hostage-taking.
Six hostages — including a rabbi and his pregnant wife — were killed at Nariman House, a Jewish cultural and religious centre. The current rabbi is to unveil a new memorial at the centre to all those who died in the 26/11 attacks.
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the gunman caught at the railway station, was executed by India in 2012 after being found guilty of charges including murder and waging war against India.
On the 10th anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, India has hit out at Pakistan for allowing those responsible for the strike that left 166 people dead to roam free. Pakistan has shown little sincerity in bringing perpetrators to justice, the centre said.
“The planners of 26/11 still roam the streets of Pakistan with impunity. The 26/11 terrorist attack was planned, executed and launched from Pakistan territory. We once again call on the Government of Pakistan to give up double standards and to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of the horrific attack to justice,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
India welcomed the statement by the United States calling on Pakistan to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for the 26/11, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates.
On November 26, 2008, 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists had sailed into Mumbai from Karachi and carried out coordinated attacks, killing 166 and injuring over 300. The terror operation was masterminded by Lashkar’s Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi. Nine of the attackers were killed by the police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was captured and hanged in 2012. “It is a matter of deep anguish that even after 10 years of this heinous terror attack, the families of 166 victims from 15 countries across the globe still await closure,” it said.
The centre promised to continue its efforts in bringing justice to the families of the victims and the soldiers who lost their lives fighting the terrorists.
Senior lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, who appeared as special public prosecutor in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, has also accused Pakistan of protecting the masterminds. “The Pakistan government is responsible for delay in the trial (against the masterminds),” he said.