Mumbai Terror Victims Lawyer: ISI Lawsuit Will Improve US-Pakistan Relations
In a recent brief filed to a New York court, Kevin Walsh, representing Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), urged federal Judge Dora Irizarry, to drop the case which was filed by Jewish relatives of the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages and alleges that the ISI has worked closely with the terrorist organization behind the attacks. It also cites claims that the ISI has worked in collaboration with Kashmir based terror group Lashkar-E-Taiba (LeT).
In his letter, Walsh said that the effects of judicial involvement in a political forum could have ‘disastrous’ effects on international relations between the United States and Lashkar-E-Taiba, and could provoke a potentially dangerous response. “The intrusion of these actions into the politics of Pakistan will fuel violence and extremism, directed against the government that the US intends to support,” says Walsh.
The lawsuit was initiated last year by relatives of Rabbi Gavriel Noach and Rivka Holzberg who were massacred in the Chabad Lubavitch centre in Mumbai in November 2008. The couple was gunned down and killed as terrorists raided the centre. Rivka Holtzberg was pregnant at the time of the attack. Their two year old son, was rescued by his Indian nanny and now lives in Israel with his grandfather.
In an exclusive interview with the Algemeiner, James Kreindler, who represents the relatives of victims of the attack said that he believes Walsh’s concerns to be unfounded. On the contrary, he states that in addition to providing the surviving family members with some form of compensation and the moral satisfaction that justice has been served, the process of the case will eventually lead to an “improvement in international relations between Pakistan and the US”. He reiterated that the case is not against the Pakistani government. “We have sued both the LeT, the leaders of LeT, the ISI and top ISI people, who have been identified as being involved in providing support to LeT” he said.
James Kreindler is known for leading the civil case filed against the Libyan government and their secret service, following the Lockerbie bombing case in 1988.
The ISI has previously been accused of being “a state within a state “, executing decisions autonomously and independent of the political authorities. Kreindler posed the question: “Why should the ISI be granted sovereign immunity when they are clearly not acting in accordance with their government?” He points out that under the United States’ anti-terrorism law, the plaintiffs have the right to sue defendants in the U.S., thereby refuting Walsh’s suggestion that the matter has no place in court and should be dealt with on a political level.
In light of the recent capture of al-Qaeda founder, Osama bin Laden, in a residential area in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the ISI has been under more stringent surveillance and Kreindler told the Algemeiner that he feels this will make his case “many times stronger”.