Rana trial-India to wait and watch

As the much hyped Tawwahur Rana trial gets underway in Chicago, India poses an optimistic note since they expect answers to a lot of their questions. Sources both in the NIA and the Intelligence Bureau say that they have decided to adopt a wait and watch policy during the course of this trial and would prepare their next move only once the trial is complete.

A draft of the questionnaire is already ready and the Indian agencies ie the NIA will head to the United States once they are accorded permission to probe Rana. Sources say that an extradition of Rana is highly unlikely and one must not get too optimistic about the same. Pressure and requests through diplomatic channels will be made to secure him, but at the moment it appears that the extradition is a distant possibility. Hence the Rana case would be on the lines of the David Headley one. This would again mean that Rana would be convicted in India, but in absentia.

Although India would have preferred having Rana in their custody they are still optimistic since this trial is not just about one case, but it would put a cloud on Pakistan’s claims that it does not support terror. If at all Rana sticks to his statement that he was working for the ISI and not the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, then it would generate immense heat on Pakistan. Moreover it will also compliment the most wanted list that India has just prepared which makes a mention of several members of the Pakistan establishment who played a part in the 26/11 attack.

Indian agencies say that this trial is more important for them when compared to the US. We have lost more citizens in that attack and more importantly it has been carried out on our soil. However there are various laws which prevent an extradition and hence we need to make the best use of whatever information that we get.

Although during the trial, the main focus would be on the links between the ISI and terror, India would still go ahead with its own set of questions. The likes of Sajid Mir, Major Iqbal and the rest all need to be exposed and these were the persons who were part of the horrific plan since day one. In addition to this the testimony by Headley who would be a witness in this case is also very important since he will need to substantiate his claims as to how Rana had helped him scout targets while he was in India.

The IB says that this trial will be a big headache for the ISI in particular which will need a face lift after this trial. The process to shift/change a lot of senior officials in that outfit has already commenced and once implicated Pakistan would not want any of them to part of the establishment. Pakistan at any cost cannot afford the questioning of these men since the lid of the entire establishment could be blown off. This country would make it look as though it has entered into a cleansing act to keep the rest of the world quiet but in reality would be protecting these men.

However Indian agencies also wonder whether the trial may live up to all the hype. On one hand Rana may speak, but then it would be hard to establish his testimony due to the numerous aliases that have been used by these ISI officials at the time of the operation. Take the case of Sajid Mir who continues to be a mystery man for all investigating agencies. He is without a doubt the most important man in this entire case and the Pakistan version of Mir continues to be that he is nothing but a cleric and no such person exists in the army or the ISI. In addition to this one cannot expect much of a testimony from David Headley to strengthen the Rana case. He has a plea bargain in place and one can say with a certain amount of confidence that he will not divert even an inch from what he has already spoken before to both the Federal and Indian authorities.

Top 50 on India’s most wanted list

From Left: Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim and Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi
Dawood Ibrahim may be number 2 on the worlds most wanted list, but for India the top man is Hafiz Saeed. He tops the list today of being India’s most wanted and has been termed as India’s Osama Bin Laden post 26/11.

Dawood Ibrahim, the primary financer of the ISI and its terror affiliates figures 8th on the list of India’s most wanted. The list of the top 50 remains the same, but the order has changed. The new inclusions in the list are the Pakistan majors who had aided David Headley. Apart from this the list finds the regulars from the D gang, Indian Mujahideen and also those involved in spreading terrorism in Punjab. The list of fugitives on this list are either hiding in Pakistan, Bangladesh or the Gulf.

Hafiz Mohammed Saeed: The big boss of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, he is the main person behind the 26/11 massacre. A blue eyed boy of the ISI, Hafiz Saeed is a provocative speaker and it is said that a large chunk of the recruitment process in Pakistan is dependant on his speeches which are fiery in nature. His names figures on top of every chargesheet that has been filed in India for terror attacks carried out by the Lashkar.

Sajid Majid: An unheard of name, this man came into the limelight post 26/11. His name came up repeatedly during the David Headley interrogation and it was established that he was the handler with whom Headley stayed in touch during his India operation. A red corner notice has already been issued against him by India.

Syed Hashim Abdur Rehman Pasha: The main coordinator in the Headley case, he retired from the Pakistan army in the year 2007 following which he was on the rolls of the Lashkar. Although Pakistan continues to deny that this man had anything to do with Headley, he has been named by the United States Justice Department during the Headley case. He stayed in touch with Headley during the operation and it is said that the there are telephonic conversations between him and Headley to support the case. Headley too in his interrogation told the NIA about the role played by Pasha.

Major Iqbal: Charged now by the United States for taking part in the 26/11 attack, this man is said to be an officer in the ISI. During the Headley operation, he was said to be the main handler and guided Headley through the operation. He is currently in Pakistan and his name will come up once again when the Rana trial takes place on May 16th.

Illyas Kashmiri: The Chief of the Al-Qaeda’a 313 brigade. Primarily dedicated to the cause at Afghanistan, he had a falling out with the ISI when they wanted him to stay away from India and continue his war against the US. However Kashmiri came to the limelight when he claimed that the 26/11 plot was initially hatched by him but hijacked by the ISI to help the Lashkar. His name once again cropped due to his association with Headley and the latter had said that the two had planned on staging more attacks in India.

Rashid Abdullah: This man also goes by the alias Rehan and is an operative of the Lashkar. His primary job was to arrange for local contacts during terrorist strikes on Indian soil. Currently hiding in Bangladesh, it is said he was sent there to mobilize forces to carry out strikes on Indian soil.

Major Sameer Ali: An officer in the Pakistan army, his name cropped up during the Headley case. He is believed to have worked closely with Major Iqbal during the 26/11 operation and had helped Headley too.

Dawood Ibrahim: India’s fugitive don is number 2 on the world list. Termed as a terrorist by the United States of America, Dawood is currently in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI. His primary role is to raise funds through fake currency and the drug trade. Also he is wanted in the 1993 serial bombings at Bombay. He is also primarily responsible for creating routes for Lashkar operatives which are already in use for his drug trade.

Memon Ibrahim: A close aide of Dawood Ibrahim and was one of the key accused in the 1993 serial blasts. He is said to be hiding in Pakistan and furthering the business of the D gang.

Chota Shakeel: Dawood’s right hand man, Shakeel is more wanted for extortions in India. He also has a major role in all D company related operations in India.

Memon Abdul Razak: Known as Tiger Memon, he alongwith other co accused persons hatched a criminal conspiracy to cause terrorist acts in India. In pursuance of the said conspiracy, he arranged weapon training for co accused persons in Pakistan. Arranged smuggling of RDX, chalking of plans for explosions in 1993.

Anis Ibrahim: Brother of Dawood Ibrahim hiding in Pakistan today. He is a key member of the D gang and has control over the business in the Gulf areas.

Abu Hamza: His name first cropped up during the Indian Institute of Science attack at Bangalore. Following this attack, he was packed off to Pakistan and was put in charge of organizing attacks from there. He came into the limelight once again post 26/11. He was one of the handlers who was on the phone with the terrorists who carried out the attack. He was made a handler after the Lashkar realised that his skills on the field were not up to the mark. Today he continues to be in Pakistan and is one of the primary handlers of the Lashkar since the outfit found him to be a better motivator and a planner when compared to a foot soldier.

Zaki-ur-Rehman-Lakhvi: The number two on the Lashkar hierarchy, he goes by the name of Lakvhi chacha for all his cadres. While his boss Saeed is the ideological face of the Lashkar, Lakvhi is more in charge of operations and recruitments. He was the one who personally oversaw all aspects pertaining to recruitments and training for the 26/11 attack.

Maulana Masood Azhar: A key figure in the valley, this Jaish-e-Mohammad. He focus had always been on Kashmir and is accused of carrying out mass killings in the valley. However his name came to the limelight during the Khandahar hijack case where the hijackers traded passengers for his release.

Syed Salahuddin: The supreme commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen and runs the all powerful United Jihad Council. His war has been primarily in Kashmir and latest reports suggest that he is becoming a menace to the US also. Under the HM, he organized forces to fight in Kashmir and later he formed the UJC which is said to be closely associated with the Al-Qaeda. There is not much spoken about this man since he always maintains a low profile. He is extremely close to the Pakistani establishment and more or less does exactly what they want. There have not been any reports of any rebellion from his side which puts him on par with the likes of Saeed and Lakhvi who are the blue eyed boys of the ISI in Pakistan.

The rest of them:

Anwar Ahmed Haji Jamal
Mohammed Dosa
Javed Chikna
Salim Abdul Ghazi
Riyaz Khatri
Munaf Halari

Mohammed Salim Mujhahid
Khan Bashir Ahmed
Yakub Yeda Khan
Mohammed Memon
Irfan Chaugule
Feroz Rashid Khan
Ali Moosa
Sagir Ali Shaikh
Aftab Batki

Maulana Mohammed Masood Azhar
Azam Cheema
Syed Zabiuddin Jabi
Ibrahim Athar
Azhar Yusuf
Zahur Ibrahim Mistri
Akhtar Sayeed
Mohammed Shakir
Rauf Abdul
Amanullah Khan

Sufiyan Mufti
Nachan Akmal
Pathan Yaqoob Khan
CAM Bashir

Lakhbir Singh Rode
Paramjit Singh Pamma
Ranjit Singh
Wadhawa Singh
Abu Hamza
Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi
Amir Raza Khan

The ISI story today

Photo caption:http://www.opinion-maker.org
India has a lot to smile about as these are troubled times for the ISI. The killing of Osama and the forthcoming high voltage Tawwahur Rana trial has put the ISI in a spot of bother. On one hand, the Prime Minister of Pakistan terms the ISI as the pride of the nation and on the other a major revamp of the ISI is being planned.

Indian agencies such as RAW and the Intelligence Bureau are keeping a constant watch on the developments across the border. Sources say that there will be a revamp without a doubt since at least for the time being Pakistan would like to show that it has moved out some of the terror tainted officers as they have been targeted by the United States of America.

One on hand, the US has accused some officers of the ISI of shielding Osama Bin Laden and on the other the US chargesheet in the Rana case mentions the name of several officers in the ISI. The IB says that this does put the ISI and the Pakistan establishment in a spot of bother, but also adds that any drastic changes within the ISI can have horrific repercussions on that country.

The last thing that Pakistan would want is a rebellion within the ISI which is extremely close to big terror groups in that country. If the Pakistan administration is found to be making these sweeping changes at the behest of the United States of America then the members of the ISI themselves will order attacks within their own country, intelligence bureau officials point out.

The road ahead for the ISI is a tough one as it faces one of its biggest ever crisis’. Sources say that at least to show the rest of the world that Pakistan is acting on some elements in the ISI they would go for a shake up in the system. There is likely to be a major face lift in the ISI and the likes of Kiyani and Pasha are the likely targets of the Pakistan establishment. The new faces in the ISI would be largely unknown ones who have not been dealing directly with groups such as the Al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and this would be done primarily to keep the heat out of the ISI.

The name of Major General Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi is already doing the rounds to succeed Pasha. A cousin of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, he is considered to be a liberal face of the ISI and he is likely to step in to keep the heat on the outfit low.

Experts say,” let us face it that Pakistan cannot do without the ISI and would do everything under the sun to protect it. It would be hard for anyone to prove any direct involvement between the ISI and terror groups on the basis of the Osama Bin Laden encounter. Pakistan too is sure that it would wriggle out of that situation. However the real test would be the Rana trial. Rana will take the defence that he is not a terrorist and he was working for the ISI which is a national organization. However as the trial progresses and the dots are joined it would become almost certain that the ISI had used Rana to undertake terror activities and this would put them in a spot of bother.

The name that is going to bite the ISI the most is that of Major Iqbal, since during the trial that name is bound to come up several times. He was an officer of the ISI in the year 2007 posted in Lahore and had provided money to David Headley as per the second chargesheet filed by the US. An explanation regarding the antecedents of this man would be sought. Sources say that Major Iqbal is a blue eyed boy of both Kiyani and Pasha and at any cost Pakistan would not want the trail leading up to these chiefs. Pakistan will make the changes within the ISI before the trial is complete so that it could take the defense that some rogue elements have been ousted and they had undertaken such an operation without the knowledge of the establishment.

For the Pakistan government the road ahead is a tough one. On one hand it will have to show the world especially the US that it is acting on some rogue elements in the ISI and on the other will need to prevent a backlash from its own premier agency. The talk of change in the set up is not going to go down too well with a majority of the ISI and also the terror groups which it nurtures. If Pakistan is seen tinkering too much within the ISI then a backlash is not ruled out since all the terror groups nurtured by the ISI appear to be loyal to ones that Pakistan plans on ousting.

Can India undertake Osama like operation?

Photo courtesy: tntmagazine.com
The killing of Osama Bin Laden has raised one primary question- will India which is one of the biggest victims of Pakistan sponsored terrorism be able to undertake an operation of this magnitude and bring to justice the likes of Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim.

Although Al-Qaeda has never been much of a concern for India, it is the Lashkar-e-Tayiba whose growth and reach which worries our country.

We speak to former boss of the Research and Analysis, C D Sahay and expert on matters pertaining to the Lashkar, Stephen Tankel to find out more on this.

C D Sahay was the chief of Research and Analysis Wing – India’s external intelligence agency – from April 1, 2003 – January 31, 2005:

Can India undertake such an attack?

Without being Indo-Pak specific, any professional security outfit should be able to carry out such tasks. One would, of course, need accurate and actionable intelligence on all aspects of the target, an operationally fit and trained team of commandos, state of the art logistic support, real time electronic monitoring to update intelligence and totally secure communication link between the Command Center and the operational team. The list of course is not exhaustive. Great deal of careful planning and rehearsals under near identical scenario will facilitate quick and surgical strike.

The impact of Osama’s death on India:

Bin Lahden and Al-Qaeda did not have direct role in execution of terrorist related violence in India. It’s affiliates and entities sponsored and promoted by the ISI, like the LeT, Jaish-e-Mohammad etc. have been largely responsible for major acts of terrorism in India. The role of Indian Mujahideen have also been significant. Therefore, the pattern and intensity of terrorist violence in India is unlikely to witness any significant change. However, the intelligence and security apparatus would need to exercise extra vigilance to deal with any back-lash of the event in the immediate context. Osama is gone but the culture of violence, the philosophy of Islamic Jihad, the network of global terrorism established over the years, would not disappear so easily. I do not think that the world is any safer today than it was a few days earlier. However, bin Laden’s extraction through and immaculately planned and executed operation is a huge boost to the US-led war and terror and should cause some anxious moments, sleepless nights to the Pak security/Intelligence machinery that continues to provide support and sanctuary to a large number of ‘wanted’ men, including all of India’s most wanted.

Is it the end of Al-Qaeda after Laden?

The question has been partly answered under the previous heading. The short answer is that Al Qaeda had not ended with Osama’s killing. Over the last many years, he was not playing any direct role in guiding Al-Qaeda’s operations. Most of the regional and affiliated networks where operating under a decentralized system. This would continue with the regional units playing more assertive and independent roles. The succession issue in Al-Qaeda will hugely impact the future course of the movement. Indeed, in the short term perceptive, there would revenge attacks particularly in Pakistan, parts of Afghanistan and against softer US targets worldwide.

Should the photos have been released?

To my mind this is not really and important issue. No one doubts the death of Osama, and, despite some initial contradictions in the operational details, a fairly clear picture had emerged on the kind of operation carried out leading to Osama’s killing. The US has, perhaps, done the right thing by not releasing the photographs, which would have surely inflamed anger amongst bin-Laden’s followers and supporters.

What should India do now?

It’s rather strange that every time an event takes place, the strategic expert’s community and the media tend to go ballistic on Indo-Pak issues. There is need to delink this debate from the US operations in Abbottabad. There is qualitative difference between US-Pak and Indo-Pak relations. The situations are incomparable. Our friends across the border may not like this but Pakistan has, over the years, reduced itself a ‘client state’ role vis-a-vie the US, surviving on it;s economic largess and doing it’s biding, although in a typically dubious Pakistani style and character, they continue to follow the policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound as far as it’s role as the key US ally in the war on terror is concerned. And the manner in which the US deals with Pakistan’s protestations is amply reelected in the continuing drone attacks after Osama’s extraction despite Pakistan’s warnings of serious consequences!

What we tend to forget is the fact that India has never followed the policy of deep penetration operations inside other countries to eliminate terrorist operating from their territories. India has not done so, despite decade of terrorist violence inflicted on us by Pakistan. India has not done so against militant camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar. It would be a surprise if the Osama operation were to lead to a total change in our national policy approach on this matter. Having said this, I must add that the recent outbursts of the Pak Army Chief and Foreign Secretary, warning India of all kinds of consequences, is rather immature and unwarrented. It emanates from the deep embarresment and humiliation that Pakistan has suffered and are only trying to divert the focus by raising India bogey once again. They need to instead, while licking their wounded pride, do some deep soul searching and evolve a new vision of their future role and place as a responsible member of the world community.

Stephen Tankel on the growing threat of the Lashkar post Laden:

In its present incarnation Lashkar-e-Taiba is unlikely to supplant al-Qaeda. The two are very different organizations, with different strengths and weaknesses. That said, LeT is viewed as posing a growing global threat, in particular because of its training apparatus in Pakistan and its trasnational networks. These networks stretch across several continents and enable LeT to provide facilitation and support for terrorist plots overseas. This type of coordination may not make headlines, but it is an important component of the global nature posed by the jihadist movement today.

A number of former soldiers joined LeT beginning in the late 1990s and early part of the 2000s. Some still remain with the group, while others have left to join competing outfits in Pakistan or to strike out on their own as freelancers.

Osama dead- Next on the rolls

With Osama Bin Laden gone, the question is who will succeed him. Indian Intelligence agencies say that their structure is in place and this was done a couple of years back when Laden had to take a back seat owing to health reasons. The first name that comes to mind is that of Ayman al-Zawahri who already held the number 2 position in the Al-Qaeda for the past many years.

An Egyptian national and a surgeon by profession, Zawahri will be the face of the Al-Qaeda while Ilyas Kashmiri and Baddaruddin Haqqani will head the operational structure of the outfit.

While Laden took a backseat due to health reasons, Zawahri had already become the popular face of the outfit and in the past few years there were videos of his being put out by the outfit which conveyed the message of Jihad. Zawahri was always close to Laden who considered him to be his most trusted aide. For the past few years Zawahri had come to the forefront and he was the chief of the organizational wing of the Al-Qaeda.

The first association between Laden and Zawahri was in the year 1980 when the two met at Peshawar. Both were in the same place with the same cause and that was to fight the Soviets. They had met at Peshawar when both were garnering support to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

After having done his medicine in the year 1974, he spent two years practicing it and then took to the cause of Jihad. His first operations were in Afghanistan where he felt the need to fight Soviet troops. He had even joined the Eqyptian Islamic Jihad and was part of the operation which assassinated President Anwar Sadat in the year 1981.

Over the years, Zawahri had become a key figure. The first time the world saw his face when he sent out videos of himself speaking in favour of the 9/11 attack and why it was necessary. Only until recently he was once again in the news for sending out a strong message to fight US and NATO forces in Libya.

While it is pretty clear that there will be no confusion who the successor to Laden would be, the Al-Qaeda also has in place the operational structure which would be headed by both Kashmiri and Haqqani.

Kashmiri has played a very big role with the Al-Qaeda when he took over as the Chief of the 313 brigade of the outfit. This is the strike force with the most fierce warriors and the men in this group are personally trained by Kashmiri. The intelligence bureau says that the Al-Qaeda had intentionally bifurcated its outfit so that there would not be a huge vaccum in the event of a death of an important leader. Kashmiri will continue to rally his forces in the Afghanistan region and he has already made it clear that his prime target would be the US troops. He had even had a falling out with the ISI who had asked him to stay away from Afghanistan and invest his resources in India. However now it appears that Kashmiri will continue his battle in Afghanistan and would look to avenge the death of his leader, Osama Bin Laden.

Then comes Baddarduddin Haqqani. The Al-Qaeda had inched closer to the Haqqani network in the past couple of months. The strategy was to groom alternate leaders and Baddaruddin was chosen to head operations alongside Kashmiri. A very recent announcement by both the Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network had claimed that he would be the most fierce and feared leader till date. While the Haqqani network would fight to a large extent in Afghanistan, it would have its eyes on India as well as per the wishes of Bin Laden who had always maintained that Kashmir is an important battle to wage. Under the Al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network there was a recruitment of nearly 26000 youth in the past few months and according to intelligence sources they have been rearing to go.

The 26/11 lawsuit, India must tread with caution

Has India taken the right step in deciding to implead itself as a party in the law suit filed in the United States by the relatives of two Americans who died during the 26/11 attack? Speaking to a couple of legal experts and also sources in the Intelligence Bureau, it appears that this exercise may become counter productive if the impleading application does not specify or touch upon a couple of important issues.

This exercise has been planned by the Indian government following the revealations by Tahhawur Rana who had nailed only the ISI and the government of Paksitan while leaving out the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. India feels that they could ride on the Rana confession in order to nail the Pakistanis who have always maintained their establishment had nothing to do with it. A suit had been filed in the US court by the relatives of Rabbi Gavriel Noah Holtzberg and his wife Rivka. In the suit they have sought action against Hafiz Saeed, the ISI chief among others. Substantiating their claim they had quoted the David Headley confession in which the ISI’s role is spoken about at great lengths.

India now feels that it would better their chances of proving a point against Pakistan if they implead themselves as parties in this suit.

Legal experts say that such action could swing both ways. India will need to take the judgment as it comes and will have to accept a verdict that has been delivered as per the laws in America. Moreover in case the accused persons are acquitted or a lesser sentence awarded, then they could always object to another proceeding in India. Moreover the weightage of a verdict by an Indian court would always carry lesser weight when compared to a one delivered by an American court in the eyes of the international community. It is also a known fact that the US being a super power can always exercise more might over Pakistan in comparison to India in issues pertaining to international laws and also extradition.

Experts say that the application in such a case needs to be drafted with extreme care. The application must read that India is not submitting to the jurisdiction of the US court and the role India needs to play is more of a witness. Moreover India would do well to manipulate proceedings to an extent that the US court suo motu summons us as witnesses in the case. Moreover in the application we must mention that we are not becoming a party to the proceeding or submitting to the jurisdiction. We should state that we are there to provide inputs since that case directly concerns us. In other words the Union Carbide case ought to be taken as an example. In that case the prosecution was taking place in the US on class action (representative suit for more than one person). India had however taken a stand that such prosecution cannot continue since the incident has occurred on Indian soil and it is submitted to the Indian jurisdiction.

However if at all the suit is decided in favor of the petitioners in the US, then India will really have nothing to worry about. The problem arises if they lose the case or even a lesser sentence is handed out, since India has stuck to the stand that these accused should be punished with the maximum sentence. If this case does not go in favor of the petitioners and India stands there as a party, then it would become very difficult to raise any further claims against the Pakistani establishment.

Sources say that India would wait a while before making the next move. The US court has already issued summons to Major Genral Ahmed Shuja Pasha, Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. India says that it could provide valuable inputs based on its own investigation only to make the case stronger against these people. The ISI has however been trying to convince the US to go slow on the summons since it could turn into a major embarrassment. India would however do its best to lend support to the petitioners in the law suit and could also provide inputs through a back channel as it is believed that with the Rana confession and trial round the corner, this is the best attempt to put the Pakistanis on the back foot.

The Rana trial- What India wants

There is more trouble for the Pakistan based ISI with both David Headley and Tahawwur Rana likely to admit to their roles in the 26/11 attack which was carried out with the support of the Pakistan based spy agency.

The trial in the Rana case which was postponed last February at the behest of his lawyer will now commence on May 16th at a court in Chicago. Going by the reports it becomes evident that Rana is likely to confess to his crime before court in order to bargain for a lesser sentence. He was associated with Headley during the 26/11 attack and investigating agencies say that he lent support to Headley while the survey was conducted and also helped him with his paper work with which he traveled in India.

The National Investigating Agency which is handling this case is keeping a very close watch on the trial of Rana in particular. The trial would be a full fledged one and both India as well as Pakistan will keep a very close watch on the proceedings before the court. Rana is expected to underline and describe in detail the manner in which the ISI was behind this attack. Sources in the NIA say that the trial would largely also revolve around the role and the confession of David Headley who is one of the key accused in the 26/11 case. The prosecution would look to ascertain the association between Headley and Rana and the latter would have a lot to tell the court about this. The statements made by Rana will act as a document from where the Indian as well Pakistani agencies would proceed further with the case.

However the bigger worry for Pakistan is that the there are certain names of persons within their establishment which Headley speaks about. Sajid Mir, a colonel and a Major are part of Headley’s confessional statement which was made as part of a plea bargain. Following this confession, a team of the NIA left for the US and managed to interrogate Headley. Basically at the end of the questioning the Indian team got pretty much the same amount of information which Headley had already given in his confession. While a lot of the information was documented and would form part of the chargesheet there were still some missing links which Indian agencies have not been able to connect. The role of Sajid Mir and the rest of the members of the Pakistan establishment is what Indian agencies were trying to find out more about. However Headley stops shot of giving out more details claiming that is all he knew.

Once Rana comes into the box during the trial, he will be cross questioned on the basis of the Headley’s confession and all those involved in the investigation hope that he would reveal more about the details which Headley had left off half way.

Pakistan on the other hand would wait with bated breath for each statement made by Rana. As per the information available it is said that Rana would commence the trial by saying that he believed that he was working for Pakistani spies. It may be recalled that Rana had also said that he was a Pakistani patriot who believed that the ISI wanted his help. He is expected to reiterate that statement before the court as well.

Now this is a statement with a lot of implications since it would mean that Rana, before being given the brief was told that he was part of the Pakistan establishment. India is bound to act aggressive with Pakistan on this particular issue and that country would have a lot of explaining to do. Moreover Pakistan could also come under pressure to reveal the identities of those persons who were part of the establishment when the 26/11 attack was planned.

As far as the Indian agencies are concerned they would have to wait a while longer before they could interrogate Rana. While a copy of Rana’s statement before the court would be made available to them, they would seek permission to interrogate Rana once the trial is complete. Once the statements of Rana are corroborated with the one given to them by Headley, will a chargesheet be filed by the NIA, sources also informed.