A militant arrested in Pakistan has confessed involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks and is giving investigators details of the plot, a senior Pakistani government official said Wednesday.
The revelation could add to pressure on Islamabad to either bring Zarar Shah and other suspects to trial or extradite them to India.
“(Shah) has made some statement that he was involved,” said the government official, without providing specific details. “I can tell you that he is singing.”
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the disclosure, which was first reported in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday
A senior intelligence officer said Shah and another suspect, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, were cooperating with investigators, but cautioned that authorities had not reached a definite conclusion as to their involvement yet.
He too asked for anonymity. Indian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Gunmen targeted 10 sites including two five-star hotels and a Jewish center during the November siege on Mumbai‘s financial capital, killing 164 people in a three-day reign of terror.
India and the United States say the militants who planned and carried out the attacks were Pakistani and are demanding Islamabad root out and punish those responsible.
The official also told The Associated Press that India has shared some evidence of its suspicions but he said it was “very very little.” Pakistan’s president and other top officials have said India has yet to provide any evidence.
The intelligence officer also said the country had received “information” on the attacks from other, unspecified, nations.
“They (India) gave us a list of numbers and phone calls, most of them useless,” the official said.
Shah and Lakhvi have been identified as members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned militant group accused by India of carrying out the Mumbai attacks and others on its soil.
They were taken into custody soon after the attacks.
India says both were involved in planning the siege but hasn’t made any evidence public or provided many details about their role in the plot.
Accusations of Lashkar-e-Taiba’s involvement have put Islamabad in a difficult position because the group is widely believed to have been created by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to battle Indian-rule in Kashmir, a Himalayan region claimed by Pakistan and India.
The United States and its Western allies are concerned Pakistan will lose focus on the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban if tensions with India persist.
Washington has called for calm on both sides, but has made it clear it wants to see Pakistan crack down on the attackers. On Wednesday, President George W. Bush called his counterparts in India and Pakistan to discuss the situation.
“All three leaders … agreed that no one wanted to take any steps that unnecessarily raise tensions,” White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters.
President Asif Ali Zardari told Bush that Pakistan would not tolerate any one using its territory to launch attacks on other countries, said Zardari spokesman Farhatullah Babar.