Advani demands inquiry commission on Mumbai attacks

New Delhi, June 05: Describing the Mumbai attacks as an “invasion of India” launched from Pakistan, Leader of Opposition L K Advani on Friday demanded setting up of an inquiry commission at central level to determine what went wrong and suggest steps to prevent recurrence of such terror strikes.

Speaking on the Motion of Thanks to President’s address in the Lok Sabha, he also asked the government to share with the House the evidence given to Pakistan on 26/11, especially in the wake of release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed apparently on the grounds of insufficient proof.

He also wanted the government to expedite the trial of Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist arrested during 26/11 attacks.

Advani, who was reconciliatory towards government in his tone during the one-hour speech, appreciated the emphasis given to security in the President’s address.

He said terrorism was “proxy war” launched by Pakistan on India after its defeat in three open wars.

Referring to 26/11, he said it was not an ordinary terror strike but an “invasion of India” and “a kind of war”.

He disagreed with reported conclusions of Pradhan committee of Maharashtra government that the Mumbai attacks was a “failure” of the Centre only and there was no lapse on part of the state authorities.

“The Centre should set up a Commission of Inquiry to review the conclusions of Pradhan Committee… The country and Parliament should know what went wrong and where,” he said.

Advani said setting of Commission was not against anyone but to find the lapses particularly as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan had earlier warned that the next terror attack could come via sea.

He said the central probe commission was essential as then Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil had resigned after 26/11.

Home Minister P Chidambaram intercepted by saying that they had taken moral responsibility which had not happened during the NDA rule.

Responding to this, Advani sarcastically wondered who had taken such a step in the UPA government after “numerous” such attacks.

While demanding setting up of the inquiry commission, the BJP leader said the US had taken a similar step after the 9/11 attacks and probe panel had come out with recommendations to prevent recurrence.

Referring to the release of Mumbai attacks “mastermind” Hafiz Saeed by Lahore High Court earlier this week, Advani said he had been set free on “technical grounds of insufficient evidence”.

He noted that Saeed had been arrested by Pakistan under intense international pressure after India’s efforts to get his outfit JuD proscribed by UN Security Council, which had observed that he had links with al Qaeda and Taliban.

“UN Security Council took action but Pakistan government allowed him to go scot-free… Pakistan government will say that it (release) was a court decision. Pakistan government will try to hide behind it,” Advani said.

“I demand that the evidence, which the government has given to Pakistan on Mumbai attacks, should be shared with the House so that the nation knows on what basis Pakistan charged Saeed,” he said.

He also suggested that government should put pressure on Pakistan on the issue.

On Mumbai attacks, the former Deputy Prime Minister said ISI must have been involved in it as it is well-known that the intelligence and Lashkar-e-Toiba have “strong ties”.

– Advani said Vinita Kamte, widow of Maharashtra police officer Ashok Kamte, had levelled certain allegations and cast aspersions over Pradhan Committee’s observations and these need to be examined.