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Pakistan Fires Security Advisor After Mumbai Attacker's Nationality Disclosed

By VOA News
07 January 2009

The Pakistani prime minister's office says National Security Advisor Mahmood Durrani has been fired.

Wednesday's announcement comes hours after private Pakistani television channels quoted Durrani as saying the lone surviving gunman from the attacks on Mumbai, India, is indeed a Pakistani national.

It was the government's first confirmation that Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, who is in Indian custody, is Pakistani, as New Delhi has repeatedly alleged.

A statement released by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's office says Durrani was fired because he issued "irresponsible statements" on national security issues without consulting with the prime minister and others.

In another development, an Indian newspaper published the transcript of a phone call made by gunmen during the Mumbai attacks that left more than 170 people dead in November.

According to the transcript obtained and published by The Hindu newspaper Wednesday, a gunman in one of the besieged luxury hotels said, "We have three foreigners, including women." The response from an unidentified voice was, "Kill them."

The transcript says the exchange was followed by the sounds of gunshots and cheers.

Indian authorities say they intercepted the militants' communication. The Hindu newspaper says the text was part of the evidence India turned over to Pakistan this week.

New Delhi says evidence proves the attacks were carried out by Pakistani nationals armed and trained by the Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

In related news, Pakistan's intelligence chief says there will not be a war with India over the Mumbai attacks.

In an interview with a German magazine Der Spiegel, Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha said that terrorism, not India, is the greatest threat to Pakistan.

Pasha also said that Pakistan's intelligence agency is distancing itself from the escalating back-and-forth with India.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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