26/11: Court Pardons Headley, Accepts Him As a Witness


Update 08:27 pm: Court pardons David Headley, accepts him as a witness in the 26/11 case.

Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley has confessed his role in the Mumbai attack and agreed to act as a witness for the prosecution in the 26/11 attacks case if the court grants him a pardon. Headley appeared before a Mumbai court via video-conferencing today. He is serving a 35-year jail term in an American prison after being convicted in the case.

Headley has confessed to being a member of the Lashkar-Taiba — the terror group responsible for the attacks — and filming the Mumbai landmarks during an extensive reccee for the attacks. He allegedly visited Mumbai five times to prepare the ground. During his questioning in the US by officers of India’s National Investigation agency, Headley allegedly said three senior Pakistani army officers played a prime role in the 26/11 attacks.

The same Pakistani officers were reportedly named by Lashkar terrorist Abu Jundal, the alleged mastermind of the 26/11 attacks, against whom charges were framed last month in Mumbai.  Pakistan has repeatedly rejected the charge that its army officers were involved in the 26/11 attacks. It put seven men on trial for the attack, including Lashkar commander Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi. The trial has been on for seven years, raising charges of tardiness from India.

Earlier this year, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi was granted bail, creating new tensions between Pakistan and India. On Wednesday, a joint statement issued by Pakistan and India during foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Islamabad said, “The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of the Mumbai trial.”

Headley was arrested in October 2009 from Chicago while on his way to Pakistan. In his memoirs written from jail, he detailed the 2009 attack from the planning stage.