Courtesy: New York Times, July 15, 2009, 2:05 pm
Video of Mumbai Attacker’s ‘Confession’
By Robert Mackey
The Times of India reported on Wednesday that a court in Mumbai turned down a request by Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving gunman of the attacks there last November, to obtain a copy of security camera footage that will be screened at his trial tomorrow. According to the Indian newspaper, the court pointed out that Mr. Kasab does not have a video player in jail and so refused to provide him with a copy of the video, “saying it would serve no purpose.”
While Indian prosecutors say that Mr. Kasab, a 21-year-old Pakistani national, can be seen in this security camera footage of the attacks aired by India’s NDTV last year, video of what appears to be his confession came to light just weeks ago.
Late last month, Britain’s Channel 4 News broadcast the video report embedded below, which includes new footage of Mr. Kasab speaking with members of India’s security forces from his hospital bed after his capture. In the video, Mr. Kasab can be seen saying that he had joined the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba for money, at the urging of his father. Mr. Kasab’s lawyer says the confession was made under duress, and the video is not being used as evidence in his trial, but it may explain why India said so quickly that the attacks were planned in Pakistan. The report also includes from intercepted cellphone calls Indian sources say prove that the attackers were directed from afar during the operation.
As the BBC reported, the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan met on Wednesday on the sidelines of a summit meeting in Egypt, one day ahead of a meeting between the prime ministers of the two countries. A report by Barkha Dutt of NDTV speculated that the meetings might “possibly set the stage for a thaw between India and Pakistan.” Ms. Dhutt added that “some key differences remain unresolved. Sources say Pakistan is pushing for the composite dialogue process to be resumed whereas India is keener on a more specific terrorism-only agenda for now.”
Last month, my colleagues Lydia Polgreen and Somini Sengupta reported that the first meeting since the Mumbai attacks between India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, which also took place on the sidelines of an international summit meeting, had led to similar hopes for a thaw in relations, despite some blunt language:
“I am happy to meet you, but my mandate is to tell you that the territory of Pakistan must not be used for terrorism,” Mr. Singh told Mr. Zardari when they met before the meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional group of nations, in Yekaterinburg, Russia, Reuters reported.
Yet beneath the frosty surface and well beyond the for-the-cameras pleasantries, a slow but perceptible thaw between the countries has been taking place.
Former senior diplomats close to the foreign policy establishment here say that back-channel negotiations on Kashmir — the contested border territory that is the central dispute between the nations — are set to begin again, something the United States has quietly urged.