Bangladeshi group may be involved in Mumbai attacks
Baqir Sajjad Syed & Mohammad Asghar
Tuesday, 03 Feb, 2009 | 01:48 AM PST |
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani investigators probing Mumbai attacks are closing in on a Bangladesh connection to the terrorist strike where they have evidence not only of the involvement of a banned militant organisation Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami Bangladesh (HuJI-B), but also of its part in the planning of the attack and training of the terrorists.
A reference to this regard is likely to be made in the country’s premier investigation agency FIA’s report that would be shared soon with India as findings of the preliminary investigations.
The keenly awaited report is likely to say that the Mumbai attack was handiwork of ‘international network of Muslim fundamentalists’ present in South Asia and spreading all the way to Middle East; and may build the case for regional anti-terror cooperation.
Although, the details of the report are being kept as a tightly guarded secret by the interior ministry, but those privy to it say that it would emphasise that the Mumbai incident is not strictly a Pakistan-India issue.
The investigators are intensely probing if at least one of the Mumbai attackers was of Bangladesh origin.
Although, this Bangladesh connection has recently come up quite prominently in the investigations, but there are also clear indications that some of the planning for the attacks was done in Dubai and there is also an element of local Indian support as well.
Investigators believe that it would have been next to impossible to plan and execute an attack of this proportion and sophistication without the local Indian support – an admission from which India is shying away.
Sources close to the investigations say the two sets of questions given to India by Pakistan also touched on this aspect.
India has responded to only one set of questions and that also indirectly through US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), while reply to the second set of questions is still awaited.
In a recent development, FBI has requested access from Indian authorities to two militants, Fahim Arshad Ansari and Sabbauddin, who had been arrested by Uttar Pardesh Police sometime between February and March 2008 for having done reconnaissance of several sensitive places and had been later questioned for Mumbai attacks.
The investigators further suggest that the attack may be remotely linked to al-Qaeda’s international terror network. It should be recalled the HuJI-B, now being finger pointed for involvement in the attack, had been established in 1992 with material assistance and inspiration from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF).
FIA-FBI COOPERATION: High level exchange of notes between FBI and FIA, copies of which are available with Dawn, reveal that the investigation agencies of the two countries had been actively cooperating in the Pakistani probe into Mumbai attack.
FIA, among other issues, had sought FBI assistance for getting information from Google Inc. and Yahoo! regarding four email accounts used by the terrorists.