'Hoax' call almost took nuclear powers to war: Officials
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Sunday December 7, 2008


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During the recent terrorist assault on Mumbai, India, an alleged 'hoax' phone call to the Pakistani government had the two countries on the razor's edge of war.

According to reports Sunday, a man posing as India's foreign minister called Pakistani President Asif Zardari on Friday, Nov. 28, and threatened military action if Islamabad did not hand over those behind the attacks, Pakistani newspapers reported on Saturday.

"I had made no such telephone call," Mukherjee said in a statement explaining how India rushed to clarify that the call was a hoax.

"I can only ascribe this series of events to those in Pakistan who wish to divert attention from the fact that a terrorist group operating from Pakistani territory planned and launched a ghastly attack on Mumbai."

Some in the Indian media, however, placed blame directly at the feet of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI.

While refusing to comment on the claim, the thinking within the Indian Foreign Office is that such disinformation stories could only mean that the Inter-Services Intelligence’s dirty tricks department is very much at work," reported The Hindu. "The ISI and the Army are trying to divert internal and external attention from their complicity in Mumbai terror and thereby clawing their way into public acceptability in Pakistan.

Pakistan's public stance on the incident has been quite to the contrary.

Wajid Hasan, Pakistan's ambassador in London, told UK's Guardian that the call was traced directly to the Indian government.

"They did it," he said. "It was not a hoax call, but an instrument of psychological warfare. They were trying to scare Pakistan, test the waters for our reaction."

The US sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India and Pakistan last week to keep a lid on tensions between the neighbours, who have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.

Pakistan has repeatedly called for " concrete proof " from India, which says the only gunman captured alive has admitted that all the attackers had come from across the border.

The following video is from CBS News, aired Sunday, Dec. 7.


With wire reports

 
 


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