India seeks extradition from Pakistan of suspected Mumbai attack mastermind

India is seeking the extradition of a Pakistani militant suspected to have planned the 2008 Mumbai attacks. (File/AFP)
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Updated 28 June 2020

India seeks extradition from Pakistan of suspected Mumbai attack mastermind

  • An Indian official said the government has repeatedly asked Pakistan to hand over Sajid who is charged with serving as chief planner of the attacks
  • Pakistan has repeatedly rejected US allegations that it is a safe haven for militants

NEW DELHI: India is seeking the extradition of a top Pakistan militant suspected to have planned the 2008 Mumbai attacks after the United States said last week he was living freely in Pakistan, government officials said on Sunday.
India and the United States have both indicted Sajid Mir of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba group for the three-day attacks on hotels, a train station and a Jewish center in which 166 people were killed including six Americans.
While Pakistan took action against the Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed last year, it continued to provide safe harbor to other top militant leaders, the US State Department’s 2019 country report on terrorism said.
One of them was Sajid, the “project manager” of the Mumbai attack, believed to remain free in Pakistan, the US report said.
An Indian official said the government has repeatedly asked Pakistan to hand over Sajid who is charged with serving as chief planner of the attacks, directing preparations and reconnaissance and was also named as one of the Pakistan-based controllers during the attacks.
“We have asked before, and are demanding again, he needs to be handed over,” the official dealing with regional security issues said.
Pakistan’s foreign office did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Pakistan has repeatedly rejected US allegations that it is a safe haven for militants and said it has prosecuted the leadership of several proscribed groups.
Another Indian official said the lack of action against Sajid was in conflict with Pakistan’s assurances to international organizations including the Financial Action Task Force, the global watchdog on terrorism financing. Pakistan is trying to get off the FATF grey list of offending nations.
The FBI has posted a reward of $5 million for information leading to the capture of Sajid who is also wanted for a 2008/2009 plot against Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten newspaper to avenge its publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that enraged many Muslims.

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Philippines to charter flight to bring home citizens from Lebanon

Updated 45 min 7 sec ago

Philippines to charter flight to bring home citizens from Lebanon

  • Remains of four who died in Tuesday’s massive blast in Beirut also to be repatriated

MANILA: The Philippines will soon be sending a chartered flight to Lebanon to bring back Filipinos impacted by a massive explosion at the port of Beirut as early as next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday.

“The DFA is paying P15,000,000 ($305,643) from its funds for a chartered Qatar Air flight to repatriate from Beirut. The Philippine Embassy in Beirut is negotiating it and disbursing the amount. Aug. 16 is [the date set for] arrival,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said, adding that the flight will also bring home the remains of four Filipinos who died in Tuesday’s blast.

Around 400 Filipinos from Lebanon are expected to return following the catastrophic explosion, which decimated the Lebanese capital.

On Friday, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Sarah Lou Arriola said that President Rodrigo Duterte was responding to the “clamor of Filipinos in Lebanon” and that the “chartered flight is the most concrete, immediate and timely assistance” that the DFA could provide given the current situation there.

Reports state that the deadly explosion was caused by a cargo of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored at a warehouse in the port of Beirut for years. 

The odorless chemical is commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer but is also used to make powerful bombs.

“With ground operations clearing more area and embassy personnel receiving additional reports, the department is taking in new inputs with regard to the status of the Filipino community in the country,” the DFA said in a statement. 

Data released by the DFA placed the number of Filipinos impacted at 48, with 42 wounded, four dead, and two missing.

“By day’s end yesterday, the number of injured oversees Filipino workers stands at 42, an increase of 11 from the previous report,” Arriola said.

Two of the wounded remained in critical condition and were being monitored at the Rizk Hospital.

“We were also alerted that another Filipino was reported missing, increasing the number to two. The number of Filipino fatalities, meanwhile, remains at four,” she added.

The DFA said that, earlier, it had expected the number of affected Filipinos to increase considering the magnitude of the Beirut destruction.

Even before the onset of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the DFA had begun its repatriation activities from Lebanon to limit the worsening condition of Filipinos in the country due to economic woes. It has repatriated at least 1,508 Filipinos from Lebanon since December 2019.