Is Pakistan finally ready to bust Lashkar-e-Toiba for the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai?
I'll eat this bite-sized netbook if it does. But according to the Times of India, Islamabad admitted that it has enough evidence to prosecute Lashkar commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi for his involvement in the terrorist attacks during last week's home secretary-level talks.
Officials here termed it as a "significant admission", stressing that Pakistani authorities will be required to produce the evidence in the court trying Lakhvi and six others including Lashkar commanders Zarar Shah and Abu Al Qama, who all are in jail, the paper said.
The development marks a validation of the evidence that India gathered against Lakhvi, Shah, Qama and others and can give satisfaction to the investigators who saw Pakistan cussedly shrugging off their findings as flimsy.
However, because it coincides with the US efforts to gather evidence on Hafiz Saeed -- whom New Delhi and Washington still believe is Lashkar's principal leader, though he claims to head a charitable organization these days -- the paper argues:
Wary Indian officials wonder whether the new stance on Lakhvi's culpability is meant to isolate the Lashkar chief from his junior jihadis and to strengthen Pakistan's case that lack of evidence was the only reason why it was not acting against the Muridke-based hate monger.
Elsewhere, TOI reports that India is willing to match Washington's $10 million bounty for Saeed -- though the offer appears to have been facetious.
At the media conference after the two-day home secretary level talks, a Pakistani journalist tried to needle Singh with a question whether India would 'pocket' the $10 million bounty offered by the United States for providing evidence leading to conviction of Saeed, the paper reported. "India would be more than happy to give Pakistan that amount if they handed over Saeed to India," the home secretary shot back.
Reportedly, India provided new evidence that Saeed was involved in the Mumbai attacks.