Former Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA) Mahmud Ali Durrani today admitted that 26 November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai was carried out by a group based in Pakistan, but he said his government had no role in the terror strike that left 166 dead and several others wounded.
Durrani's comments came at a conference on combating terrorism at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis in Delhi.
Mahmud Ali Durrani was Pakistan's NSA when 10 terrorists, who arrived via sea route, launched coordinated attacks across Mumbai on 26 November 2008, killing 166 people.
"26/11 Mumbai attack carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan is classic trans-border terrorist event," Durrani said while speaking at the 19th Asian Security Conference being held at the Institute of Defence and Studies and Analyses. However, Durrani stressed that neither the Pakistan government nor the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were aware about the terror plot hatched on its soil.
On the Jammat-ud-Dawah chief Ghafiz Saeed, who is currently under house arrest in Pakistan, the former Pakistan NSA said, "Hafiz Saeed has no utility, we should act against him."
India had earlier this month asked Pakistan to reinvestigate the 2008 Mumbai terror attack case and put Hafiz Saeed on trial. Pakistan only asked India to send 24 Indian witnesses to record their statements in the case.
The Pakistan government on January 30 had put Saeed and the four leaders of JuD and Falah-e-Insaniat under house arrest in Lahore under the country's anti-terrorism act.
Saeed, who carries a reward of $10 million, was also put under house arrest after Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008 but he was freed by court in 2009 after the threat to his life subsided.
Durrani was sacked from the post of national security adviser for confirming Mumbai attacker Ajmal Kasab's Pakistani nationality to the media.
More than 160 people, including many foreigners, were killed in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which was carried out by 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba militants. Nine of the attackers were killed and lone survivor Ajmal Kasab was captured and later hanged in 2012.
American citizen David Headley, who admitted scouting targets for the 2008 assault on Mumbai by Pakistani militants, has testified that the plot was hatched with at least one Pakistani intelligence official and a navy frogman.
New Delhi has provided ample evidence to Islamabad over involvement of top Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders in the 26 November 2008 attacks. However, Pakistan has denied all such allegations blaming 'non-state actors' for the incident.
Lashkar's operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, who India says masterminded the attack, has been in hiding after getting bail over a year ago.