Archive for July 20th, 2009

Lone Surviving Mumbai Attacker Pleads Guilty

Mumbai, India- The only surviving gunman from last year’s Mumbai attacks in India’s financial and entertainment capital which killed at least 173 people and wounded more than 300, pleaded guilty today in an Indian court. The confession of guilt from Pakistani citizen Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, 21 years of age, took many in the court by surprise including the lead prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam.

“He pleaded guilty in court today “a senior police officer told the Associated Press reporter. “He has confessed to his role and the fact that he was involved in the attacks that killed so many people during the attacks. He admitted to both being a part of the planning as well as the execution of the attacks”, stated the officer who was present in court.

Kasab, had earlier pleaded not guilty in May prior to the start of the trial, now faces a  possible death sentence as the court can proceed to the sentencing portion rather than continue with the trial in bringing about a guilty verdict.  During a routine interrogation of the witnesses in his trial, Kasab got up and told the court he had something to say and proceeded to confess his involvement in the attacks.  He also admitted that the closed-circuit video was of him, and he narrated the entire of sequence of events in detail to corroborate his involvement in the crime.

Analysts believe the guilty plea will help Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari’s stance that the country must confront the truth about its militant ties and organizations that operate within its borders. Zardari himself is a victim of such terrorist attacks as his wife, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto too was killed by suspected militants in December of 2007 while campaigning for office and running on a platform of wiping out the militant threat inside Pakistan.

This admission of guilt on the part of Kasab also should allow Pakistan to press the individuals in its custody that are believed to have been a part of Kasab’s network to be brought to justice as well. One hopes that Pakistan is able to secure guilty pleas against the individuals in its custody and brings some justice to the hundreds of families who have lost loved ones or who were seriously injured by the cowardly attackers preying on innocent civilians. A just and fair trial with guilty pleas and full cooperation is needed on the part of the Pakistani government before India would agree to move ahead with the now stalled peace process between the two nuclear armed hostile nations.

 by Manzer Munir for

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