Cablegate: Charge Urges Fm Qureshi to Send Isi Mg Pasha to India
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RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY 9480
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RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 6434
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 5292
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 003718
DEPT FOR MGIN01 MUMBAI TASK FORCE
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/04/2018
TAGS: PREL PTER PGOV PK
SUBJECT: CHARGE URGES FM QURESHI TO SEND ISI MG PASHA TO INDIA
Classified By: CDA Gerald Feierstein, for reasons 1.4 (b)(d)
1. (S) Summary. In a November 29 meeting with FM Qureshi, Charge urged Pakistan to send ISI Director MG Pasha to India, as agreed publicly, to participate in investigations of the Mumbai terrorist attacks. If Pasha did not go to India, this would be seen as a bad sign that Pakistan was retreating from its promises of cooperation. He advised Qureshi that the U.S. was passing to ISI November 29 the name of an individual in Pakistan who was associated with the attacks; he urged that Pakistan arrest this individual. Qureshi repeated his public pronouncements: the attacks in Mumbai were "barbaric," the GOP was committed to improving relations, and it was best to avoid "knee-jerk" reactions and unsubstantiated accusations against Pakistan. He had received a note from FM Mukherjee in which India alleged the attacks had been planned and launched in Pakistan, and Mukherjee indicated it would be impossible to proceed with the Indo-Pak Composite Dialogue without positive steps from Pakistan. Qureshi reported that President Zardari had called a cabinet meeting for later in the day and said he would convey the USG concerns at that meeting. End Summary
2. (C) Charge and Polcouns met November 29 with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to discuss Pakistan's reaction to the Mumbai terrorist attacks; Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, South Asia Additional Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and MFA Spokesman Mohammad Sadiq also attended.
Qureshi: Attacks Were "Barbaric"
3. (C) FM Qureshi, who arrived in his office from India just minutes before the meeting, reiterated the points he had made publicly. He called the terrorist actions in Mumbai "barbaric" and noted that both Pakistan and India were suffering at the hands of terrorists. "We have a common enemy and must adopt a common strategy to combat them." But, he cautioned, the blame game and "knee-jerk" reactions were not helpful, and the Indian media should stop jumping to conclusions.
4. (C) Prior to the attacks, Qureshi said his meetings with FM Mukherjee had been excellent; they had discussed expanding trade, people-to-people exchanges and increased anti-terrorism cooperation. Qureshi had proposed establishing a hotline for the two intelligence chiefs that was based on the successful hotline now used by the two Directors General of Military Operations. The Pakistani and Indian Interior Secretaries had met, first in New Delhi and then in Islamabad, and the GOP supported strengthening all these exchanges.
5. (C) Upon hearing the news of the attacks, Qureshi said he immediately condemned them, reiterated that the GOP supported increasing normalization of relations and said it was in neither country's interest to undermine progress towards rapprochement. But, the hawks "on both sides" then started commenting publicly.
6. (C) FM Mukherjee called Qureshi while he was still in New Delhi and also sent a diplomatic note, which Qureshi had just received. According to Qureshi, the note alleged that the Mumbai attack was planned and launched from Pakistan. It also said that it would be "impossible" to proceed with the Indo-Pak Composite Dialogue without positive steps from Pakistan. Qureshi said he would discuss all of this with President Zardari during a cabinet meeting called for November 29.
7. (C) Charge recalled the exchanged of phone calls, beginning with Mukherjee's call to Zardari in which Mukherjee indicated that India was prepared to go to war with Pakistan over this incident; Qureshi said there were no such threats in the note from Mukherjee Charge noted that Zardari had
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called him, and he had called Washington to relay Zardari's concerns. The Secretary had called Mukherjee to urge calm, and during that conversation Mukherjee had backed off from threats but still said that the Indian government's view was that Pakistan's response to the attacks had been insufficient. He told the Secretary that India was looking for specific steps (nfi) from Pakistan and had passed the names of suspected militants to Pakistan. Qureshi said the note from Mukherjee contained no names and no specific requests.
8. (S) Charge said there was an individual in Pakistan that the U.S. believed was associated with the attackers; we would pass that information to ISI later in the day and were looking for Pakistan to arrest this individual. We believed this person was linked to the Deccan Mujahideen group. Qureshi asked if this information came from the U.S., and the Charge confirmed that it was independent information and that the individual was associated with the group responsible for the attacks.
9. (C) Charge noted that the core issue was whether the GOP was directly implicated in the attacks; we had seen no direct evidence of this to date. It would be important for the GOP to investigate whether there was any linkage.
10. (C) Pakistan already publicly accepted the Indian request to send ISI Director MG Pasha to New Delhi to participate in the investigation, said the Charge, and it was important that Pasha go. The announcement was a positive step by Pakistan, but since then we had heard that the GOP was stepping back and sending one of Pasha's lieutenants. If Pasha goes to India, this will be seen as a sign of GOP seriousness to carry through on its pledges of cooperation; if not, it will be seen as a retreat and will send a very negative signal. The Secretary will try to call Zardari today and likely will deliver that same message. Ambassador Patterson delivered a similar message to Zardari in a phone call last night. Qureshi said he had received a call from Assistant Secretary Boucher last night as well.
11. (C) Qureshi said he agreed it was important to defuse the situation but was non-committal on Pasha's participation in the investigation. He said he would convey the USG concerns at the upcoming cabinet meeting.