Efforts to bring Pakistan’s former spy masters before a New York court to face charges filed by relatives of American victims in the Mumbai terror attacks are getting nowhere with the US Government taking the stand that the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence and its top brass enjoy immunity under the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
In response to a civil case filed on behalf of the American victims, a top official of the Department of Justice said the United States strongly condemns the 26/11 attacks and believes that Pakistan "must take steps to dismantle Lashkar-e-Taiba and to support India's efforts to counter this terrorist threat".
But the ISI and its former chiefs Shuja Pasha and Nadeem Raj cannot be proceeded against in a US court because of immunity conferred under the American law. In a 12-page affidavit, the State Department has determined that Pasha and Taj are immune because the allegations by the plaintiffs relate to actions taken by them in their official capacities as directors of ISI, which is a fundamental part of the Government of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Obama administration has notified US Congress that the Pentagon would reimburse Pakistan $688 million towards support for American forces stationed in Afghanistan.
The sum is in addition to $2 billion that the US provides to Pakistan in annual security assistance. Release of the amount is being projected as a sign of normalization of relations after more than a year of turbulence that had included Pakistan shutting down NATO supply line to Afghanistan and ordering CIA to close an operational base.