Pakistan charges 7 held in deadly Mumbai attacks
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan charged seven men yesterday in last year’s Mumbai attacks, its first indictment in a case being monitored by India and the United States to see if Islamabad makes good on promises to bring those responsible to justice.
Despite a crackdown in the months following the attacks, analysts say Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani militant group blamed for the three-day assault on the financial center that killed 166 people, remains active and largely untouched by Pakistani authorities.
The Mumbai attacks halted a slow-moving peace process between Pakistan and India - which have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947 - aimed at resolving their core dispute over Kahsmir, which they both claim.
The charges were disclosed in a closed-door court located inside a high-security prison in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, on the eve of the first anniversary of the attacks. They came after months of delays in the case against the seven men, who all are in custody. A judge adjourned proceedings against the defendants until Dec. 5, when prosecutors will present their opening arguments.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later issued a strong warning to Pakistan, saying it must do more to punish those behind the attacks. India has sent Pakistan dossiers of what it says is evidence linking Pakistani nationals with the attack, including Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, who remains free.
Washington is pressing Islamabad to turn away from its traditional enemy India and focus more on its fight against the Taliban and other extremists along the Afghan-Pakistani border.