Pakistan Admits Mumbai Gunman Is Pakistani

Jan 7, 2009 7:02am

By NICK SCHIFRIN, ABC News Digital Reporter, ISLAMABAD, Pakistan A month after Indian investigators and multiple reporters identified the surviving gunman of the Mumbai attacks as Pakistani, the Pakistan government today finally admitted that fact. The admission came from both the information ministry and the foreign ministry following weeks of denials by the government. Sources tell ABC News that  Mehmud Ali Durrani, advisor to Pakistan’s National Security Council has been sacked for giving a statement about Qasab’s Pakistani nationality prior to consulting Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani. Government officials’ alternating claims that the gunman wasn’t Pakistani — or that its investigation hadn’t concluded whether he was Pakistani — had incensed Indian and some American officials. Even though on Dec. 11 Pakistan’s interior chief admitted to ABC News that Pakistani soil had been used as a launching ground for the attacks, a Pakistani official blames the long delay on confirming Ajmal Qasab’s identity on the fact that he never received a national identity card. Every male Pakistani over the age of 18 is supposed to obtain one, but the system wasn’t computerized until Gen. Pervez Musharraf took power in 1999. On Dec. 22, Ajmal Qasab wrote to the Pakistani high commission in New Delhi saying he was Pakistani and needed legal help. But many government officials here dismissed that news, going so far as to complain the letter was a copy, not an original, and therefore couldn’t be trusted. The admission comes on a day when the government here has sounded relatively sanguine, saying in a statement that "material received from India is being seriously examined" and that "Pakistan remains fully determined in its investigations to uncover full facts pertaining to the Mumbai incident." That’s a long way from 12 paragraphs of vitriol the foreign ministry released Tuesday following Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s accusation that "some official agencies in Pakistan" were behind the attacks. What a difference a day makes. "Pakistan is conducting its own investigation and will proceed on the basis of our own investigation," the government official writes in an e-mail. "We will not act under pressure. We recognize global threat of terrorism and will fight it in Pakistan’s interest. We will gradually share results of our investigation in accordance with our law and due process." Read more blogs by Nick Schifrin Read more blogs by ABC News staff

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