indica Washington Bureau
In a strongly-worded statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Pakistan to take action against the plotters of the ‘barbaric’ 2008 Mumbawrti attacks even as Washington offered a new reward of $5 million for information on those involved in the assault.
A total of 166 people, including Americans, were killed after 10 heavily-armed Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists unleashed a wave of brutality in India’s financial capital in 2008. Nine of the attackers were killed by the police while lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was hanged after he was handed a death sentence by a court.
“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.
LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, the perpetrator of the attack, continues to roam freely in Pakistan and has only grown stronger over the years. In July this year, a party linked to Saeed’s LeT contested Pakistan’s national elections, failing to win any seats but winning more than 435,000 national and regional votes.
“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-Taiba and its affiliates,” Pompeo said.
“We stand with the families and friends of the victims, whose loved ones were lost in this act of barbarism, including six American citizens. The barbarity of 26/11 shocked the entire world,” he added, expressing solidarity with the survivors of the attack.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj welcomed Pompeo’s statement and asked Pakistan to heed the call of global community.
“I welcome the statement made by US Secretary of State @SecPompeo on the 10th anniversary of #MumbaiTerrorAttacks calling upon Pakistan to bring to justice perpetrators of the attack,” Swaraj tweeted.
I urge Pakistan to heed the call of international community and fulfil its international obligations by implementing sanctions against those responsible for this horrific act of terror,” she added.
Meanwhile, the announcement of bounty for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any individual who was involved in planning or facilitating the assault, was the third such cash reward made available by the Department of State Rewards for Justice (RFJ) Program.
“The United States is committed to working with our international partners to identify and bring to justice those responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attack,” it said.
Earlier the department had announced a bounty of $10 million for Hafiz Saeed and $2 million for Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, another senior leader of the LeT.
In May 2005, the United Nations (UN) 1267 Sanctions Committee added LeT to the Consolidated UN Security Council Sanctions List, and in 2001, the Department of State designated LeT as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
The State Department said anyone with information on this incident can contact the RFJ office via the website, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (800-877-3927 in North America), or mail (Rewards for Justice, Washington, D.C., 20520-0303, USA). Individuals may also contact the Regional Security Officer at the nearest US embassy or consulate. “All information will be kept strictly confidential,” it said.
India has thanked the US for pressuring Pakistan to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists behind the dastardly act.
“We welcome statement issued… by the United States calling on Pakistan to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against terrorists responsible for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates,” a statement from India’s External Affairs Ministry read.