Saturday, December 20, 2008

[FAO] Ajmal Kasab is Pakistani, Says Nawaz Sharif

20 Dec 2008, 0412 hrs IST,
ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Exposing attempts made by the Pakistani establishment to cover up nationality of the surviving Mumbai attacker, former Pakistan primeminister Nawaz Sharif has said Amir Ajmal Kasab is from Faridkot in Pakistan.

This revelation from the senior Pakistani politician and an ally of the ruling party comes 24 hours after Mr Zardari said that there is no evidence to suggest that Kasab is from Pakistan.

Calling Pakistan a `failed state' due to the government's inability to govern, Mr Sharif, whose party is giving outside support to the Zardari government, said that he himself had found Kasab's house and village which have now been cordoned off by security agencies. "I have checked myself. His (Ajmal Amir Iman alias Ajmal Kasab) house and village has been cordoned off by the security agencies. His parents are not allowed to meet anybody. I don't understand why it has been done," Mr Sharif, who is from Punjab, said in an interview to 'Geo News' channel.

"The people and media should be allowed to meet Iman's parents so that the truth could come out in the open," he said, adding that "We need some kind of introspection." Mr Sharif further said that Kasab's parents ``should be allowed to speak out and say the boy has been (away from home) for three or four months or one or two years and we are also very worried about him", Mr Sharif added.

Hinting at the military interference, PML-N chief also said that the military rule had made the country ungovernable. "Since 1977, the army has ruled the country for more than 20 years... A state subjected to frequent military intervention in politics can only become ungovernable," he said.

The Pakistani government has remained in denial mode over Kasab's nationality even though the media had tracked down Kasab's father to a village in Faridkot. Cover-up operations started after Kasab's father, in an interview to Pakistani newspaper Dawn, identified his son through a picture of the surviving gunman that was published and shown in the media. Immediately after the interview, which was picked up by the international media, Kasab's father was shifted out of the village and villagers, who earlier admitted on television that Kasab was from their village, did a U-turn and feigned ignorance about the gunman. The village was subsequently cordoned off by security agencies.

Further Mr Zardari in an interview said that there is no "conclusive evidence" that the Mumbai attackers were Pakistani and that he would ``not jump to a conclusion.'' Earlier Mr Zardari had said that ``non state actors'' in Pakistan could be behind the attacks.

Mr Sharif, who shares a volatile relationship with Mr Zardari and had withdrawn his ministers over reinstating sacked judges, said that the current functioning of the government is making Pakistan look like a ``failed state.''

He further said that Pakistan presents the picture of a failed state due to the absence of the government's writ and the country urgently needs a new roadmap to pull it out of the problems it is currently facing, he said.

Mr Sharif further said that he did not want to stabilise the government but his remarks come as an embarrassment for the Zardari government which has so far failed to show that it is in control of the situation. The attack from Mr Sharif also increase pressure on the Zardari government to show a credible face to the domestic constituency while balancing the international pressures.

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