Pakistan ‘terror culture’ cited in Mumbai attacks trial

The Islamist militant attacks on Mumbai were the product of Pakistan’s “strategic terror culture”, an Indian court was told on Friday as the prosecution opened its case against one of the alleged gunmen.

Public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam said Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national and the only alleged gunman to survive last year’s attacks, was part of a “meticulously planned and ruthlessly executed” plot hatched across the border.

“All the accused persons, including the wanted and deceased persons, are the products of a strategic terror culture,” Nikam told the court.

“This terrorist culture has penetrated deep into Pakistan by terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). It is institutionalised there. It has taken a firm root … Pakistan has indeed become a hotbed of terrorism,” he said.

Nikam said there was “sufficient evidence on the record to conclude that this criminal conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan” by the LeT and unnamed “supporting agencies” — a veiled reference to Pakistan’s spy service.

“This is a multi-headed dragon capable of asserting itself in various forms,” he added.

The 21-year-old Kasab, said to belong to the banned Pakistan-based LeT, faces a string of charges including “waging war” on India, murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.

He faces the death penalty if convicted of taking part in the bloody rampage in November 2008 in India’s financial and entertainment capital, which saw 10 gunmen land in the city by boat and murder more than 160 people.

A railway station, a café, two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre were targeted in the 60-hour attacks, while hundreds were injured. — AFP

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