It did not come as a major surprise when a former Pakistan national security adviser admitted that the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was carried out by a Pakistan-based group. Indian investigators have long identified the Lashkar-e-Toiba as the terror group behind the attack. Mahmud Ali Durrani, however, defended the Islamabad government and said that it had no role to play in the attacks. "[The] 26/11 Mumbai strike, carried out by a terror group based in Pakistan, was a classic trans-border terrorist event", said Durrani during an event at the national capital. He also came down heavily on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief. "Hafiz Saeed has no utility, we should act against him," said Durrani, who Pakistan's NSA during the 2008 attacks. These assertions come days after India issued a new demand to Pakistan, seeking a re-investigation into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks case. Saeed is currently under house arrest in Lahore, although no criminal charges have been brought. There is also little clarity on why Pakistan is holding Saeed, besides claims of serving the national interest. New Delhi has rightly demanded that he should be put on trial.
However, it is probably no coincidence that these developments come at a time when the Financial Action Task Force—an inter-governmental body made up of 36 developed countries and regional bodies—has given Pakistan 90 days to act against the finances of terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and their affiliates. Failure to conform to this timeline could have serious financial implications for the country, despite growing ties with China. This apparent change in tack from authorities in Pakistan does not alter the fact that these terror groups are responsible for a host of deadly terror attacks on Indian soil. Terror groups like the LeT and JeM have been central to the Pakistan military-intelligence establishment's plan of using "non-state actors" to fulfil their strategic objectives against India, especially in the volatile Kashmir region. Moreover, these groups continue to organise rallies and raise funds out in the open without fear of arrest or prosecution, despite India's repeated demands for credible action. Durrani's contention that the Islamabad government had nothing to do with 26/11 could be right since it is usually the Pakistan military which dictates foreign policy.