New Delhi, May 12: Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seemed to admit on Saturday that homegrown terrorist outfits were responsible for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. In an interview to Dawn, he said, “Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors. Should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Why can’t we complete the trial?” Sharif was referring to the 2008 terrorist attack-related trials in a Rawalpindi court. An anti-terrorism court is trying seven accused in the 2008 terror attacks has been going slow, and that is what was Sharif alluding to during his interview.
On November 26, 2008, ten armed Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists forced their way into Mumbai and carried out coordinated shooting and bombing. Commonly called the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the city was under siege till November 29. Coordinated attacks on landmarks like the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Hotel, and Leopold Cafe killed 166 and injured over 300. Only one of the terrorists, Ajmal Kasab, could be caught alive. On May 3, 2010, he was found guilty of 80 offences and sentenced to death on four counts and to a life sentence on five counts. He was executed on November 21, 2012.
Sharif’s outburst comes at a time when he himself has been mired in controversy. Early in April, the Pakistan Supreme Court had disqualified him for life from holding any public office. In February, Pakistan’s Supreme Court disqualified him as the president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), saying that all the decisions taken by him as the party chief stood “null and void”. The three-time prime minister was earlier disqualified by the apex court for failing to declare his assets while being the Prime Minister.