“Abu Jundal’s statement was taken in Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, he was brought here. We have all the information. And in his own statement, Abu Jundal said he is a criminal, having been charged in many cases, and that he also worked as one of the sources of a very elite (intelligence) agency of India. Now, see, he has used the agencies also and went rogue,” Malik said.
He did not specify when and in which statement Ansari had said he was working as a “source” for an Indian intelligence agency. India, which maintains Ansari is a Pakistani citizen and had recovered a Pakistani passport from him, rubbished Malik’s statement as “ridiculous”. “Such a statement is ridiculous. Jundal was working with the Lashkar-e-Toiba on Pakistan’s soil when the Mumbai terror attack was carried out,” Home Secretary R K Singh told PTI.
On Malik’s remark that Indian agencies could have prevented the attack, the Home Ministry in a statement said that the main issue was that 26/11 was conceived, planned and directed from Pakistan. Pakistan did not take any action against these terrorist elements then, it said.
During a lecture at the Observer Research Foundation here, Malik underlined that Pakistan alone could not be blamed for 26/11, pointing out that Indian “non-state actors” were involved.
Pakistani-American David Headley had conspired with al-Qaeda terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri, a retired major of Pakistan army and three Indian terrorists — including Ansari — and “roamed freely” and plotted the Mumbai attack, he said.
“So it is not a state-sponsored drama, state-sponsored action. It is action by non-state actors. Triangular nexus between Headley, (Ilyas) Kashmiri, the enemy of Pakistan, a major who deserted the Pakistan army, having joined the LeT, and of course three Indians,” he said.
It has come to be known that they carried out a recce of the targets and shot films uninterrupted and without the notice of law-enforcement agencies. “If you put things together, there are three guys, one coming from the US, and he has that money, he has got credit cards, he has moved all over, he had created franchise, he had created a social circle. All these should have come to the attention of some agencies. Now the agencies failed. Both here and Pakistan. So, we have failed. Why? Because, there was no interaction between Pakistan and India,” Malik said.
“So what I am emphasising is that if we had interaction at the intelligence level, at ministerial level, at the government level and diplomatic level, then there would have been opportunity to share such information. Maybe then we could have found about the travels and interactions of Abu Jundal and Headley. Maybe we could have stopped the attack from happening,” Malik said.
On Ansari specifically, he added, “Put it another way, you become a source, then you become a double agent. While he is working, living in India, he might have met somebody and then these three individuals go to Pakistan...”
Telling India not to hide anything, Malik said: “I have to tell the truth to your country, to your people, so that we find a way forward. If you hide things, the things will continue to move in the same way and a time will come when we will not be able to handle and control (these things).”
According to a PTI report from Islamabad, on arrival back home from his visit to India, the Interior Minister said India had provided “insufficient information” against Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.
Speaking to reporters at the airport in Rawalpindi, Malik said that the “greatest pressure” was exerted on him on the issue of Saeed, whom India accuses of masterminding the 26/11 attack. “I said the insufficient information you have given, which you call evidence, will not stand the test of our courts... I took a clear stand that India has given only information and not evidence against Hafiz Saeed.”
Speaking to The Indian Express on his way back from Myanmar, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid expressed “disappointment” at the stand Malik had taken on Saeed. “That’s not fair because we have given more than enough evidence to begin the process. If he were to say that you can’t conclude the process on this, that’s another matter. But I think there is more than enough evidence to begin the process of making them accountable,” he said.
About other controversial remarks made by Malik, Khurshid said: “These are not remarks that should be taken beyond a particular level. I think we should take the important things that he said, that are relevant, and leave the rest of the packaging, which sure was avoidable. But you know, if he felt he wanted to make a point, that’s for really him to take a call.”
Choosing to look at the positive side of Malik’s visit, the minister said that he saw it as significant that Malik wanted to come and came. “If you don’t want to engage on certain topics, certain issues, then you would avoid a meeting. He was anxious and literally persuaded the Home Minister for an early date.”