Wednesday, December 19, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Attack at ISI behest: Advani
Aim was to wipe out top political leadership
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 18
Home Minister L.K. Advani today charged the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba as those responsible for carrying out the December 13 attack on Parliament at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and that it was aimed at wiping out the country’s top political leadership.

In a statement made in both Houses of Parliament, the Home Minister said: “This time the terrorists and their mentors based across the border had the temerity to try to wipe out the entire political leadership of India as represented in our multi-party Parliament”.

Mr Advani said Pakistan was unable to reconcile to the reality of a secular, democratic, self-confident and steadily progressing India and that is precisely why the terrorists and their backers had attempted to raise the stakes so high when on one side Islamabad was claiming to be part of international coalition against terrorism.

“The only answer that satisfactorily addresses this query is that Pakistan — itself a product of the indefensible `Two-Nation theory’, itself a theocratic state with an extremely tenuous tradition to democracy — is unable to reconcile itself with the reality of a secular, democratic, self-confident and steadily progressing India whose standing in international community is getting inexorably higher with the passage of time”.

Declaring that the supreme sacrifice made by the security personnel in repulsing the attack would not be allowed to go in vain, Mr Advani said “those behind the attack on Parliament should know that the Indian people are united and determined to stamp out terrorism from the country.”

The Home Minister said: “It is now evident that the terrorist assault on Parliament House was executed jointly by Pakistan-based and supported terrorist outfits, namely Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. These two organisations are known to derive their support and patronage from Pakistan’s ISI.”

The question hour in both Houses was suspended to allow the government to make the statement on the terrorist attack followed by discussions on it. Members observed silence for a minute as a mark of respect to the security personnel who lost their lives in the attack.

While Mr Advani read out his four-page statement in the Lok Sabha, the statement was read out by the External Affairs Minister and the Leader of the House, Mr Jaswant Singh in the Rajya Sabha.

Mr Advani said the investigations revealed that all the five terrorists who formed the suicide squad were Pakistani nationals and were killed on the spot. Their Indian associates have since been arrested.

In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition members charged the government with security lapse for the terror strike but said they were firmly behind it in this challenging hour.

They wanted to know why no effective security measures were taken despite Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Advani having spoken earlier of a likely terrorist attack on Parliament.

Raising a discussion on the December 13 attack, Congress leader Manmohan Singh said though the Opposition stood firmly behind the government in this challenging hour, the Centre could have been more alert in preventing such an incident.

Initiating the discussion in the Lok Sabha, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav said the incident was a “shameful example” of government’s failure but maintained that the entire Opposition would be with the government if it took any “well considered” step to tackle the grave challenge faced by the nation.

Recalling the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on December 13, Mr Advani said the fight against terrorism has reached a decisive phase. Mr Advani would reply to the debate in the Lok Sabha.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday night accused India of sparking tension between the two countries through “irresponsible and threatening statements” in the wake of terrorist attack on Indian Parliament.

A Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement said Islamabad rejected Indian Home Minister L.K. Advani’s charge about the involvement of the ISI in the attack and said India was “desperate” to involve Pakistan in the attack. PTIBack

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