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Pak NSA's rift with govt | Sacked NSA reiterates stand

Jan 08, 2009 10:36 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Pakistan has sacked its National Security Mahmud Ali Durrani after he said that Ajmal Amir Kasab — the only gunman captured alive during the Mumbai attacks — “could have belonged to Pakistan”. Durrani made the admission on CNN-IBN first on December 30 when asked if some of the Mumbai attackers including Kasab could from Pakistan. He replied, "Could be. I am not saying more than that because we don't have... I hate to say this we don't have proof." It was a revelation that turned around weeks of denial. Despite Kasab’s letter, Pakistan officials denied having any records of him in the country. On Wednesday, the Pakistan Interior Ministry forwarded its preliminary reports confirming Kasab's nationality to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s office. Within minutes of Durrani's confirmation, Pakistan Foreign Office too suggested that there could indeed be a Pakistan link to the terror attack. “It's premature to say whether Kasab is from this country or that country,” Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said. Some hours later, both the Foreign Office spokesman and Information Minister Sherry Rehman said, “Prelim reports suggest Kasab is a Pakistani national belonging to Faridkot village." Reports say during the past few weeks, Durrani's differences with the government over its response to Mumbai attacks had been growing. And while the admission over Kasab may denote a break from the past, old habits, like the continued flip-flops by the Pakistan government seem to die hard.

"There are many versions of what happened doing the rounds. The official statement is that the National Security Advisor was dismissed for irresponsible behaviour and for not keeping the Prime Minister in the loop. However, on the other hand Pakistan's Information Ministry, Sherry Rehman is saying something completely different. At such a delicate juncture, such handling of the situation is not expected from a government"
— PTI Bureau Chief, Rezaul Lashkar