The importance of this trial concerns what David Headley will testify about the Pakistan ISI complicity in the Mumbai massacre. It seems that Pakistan has been playing a double game, and now that OBL is dead the Pakistanis want to take their bat and ball and go home. There are many who are irate about the drone attacks in Waziristan (the Pakistan Govt know about the attacks but pretend otherwise). The anger is being stirred up by Islamists, members of the Pakistan Taliban and others.
The Mumbai massacre was extremely deadly and India certainly believed that members of the ISI were complicit. Headley, a Pakistani born American citizen is being called as a prosecution witness:
Mr. Headley told Indian investigators that the officer, known only as Major Iqbal, “listened to my entire plan to attack India.” Another officer with the intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, “assured me of the financial help,” Mr. Headley said.
As the United States presses Pakistan for answers about whether the ISI played a role in harboring Osama bin Laden, Mr. Headley is set to recount his story of the Mumbai attack in a federal courthouse in Chicago. What he discloses could deepen suspicions that Pakistani spies are connected to terrorists and could potentially worsen relations between Washington and Islamabad.
India, the site of the November 2008 attacks, will be monitoring the trial for evidence of the ISI’s duplicity. Pakistan will also be listening to — and is likely to deny — Mr. Headley’s every word. Islamabad has been dismissing his accusations against the ISI as little more than a desperate performance by a man hoping to avoid the death penalty.
Any new evidence of ISI malfeasance that emerges from the trial will reverberate in Washington, with the relationship between the United States and Pakistan at its most tenuous in years.
A growing chorus on Capitol Hill argues that the discovery of Bin Laden’s hideout and the evidence in Mr. Headley’s case leave no doubt that the ISI and its Pakistani military overseers have played a cynical double game with the United States. Pakistan has received $20 billion in military and development assistance since 2001, and its military, they say, has sheltered Bin Laden, supported Afghan Taliban who kill American troops and guided the militants who attacked Mumbai.
Mr. Headley himself is not on trial. But he will be the main witness against Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Chicago businessman who is accused of providing financial and logistical support for the 2008 siege in Mumbai. The attack, a barrage of gunfire and grenades, killed at least 163 people, including six Americans. Mr. Rana’s defense is that he agreed to support Mr. Headley’s activities in India because he was led to believe he was working for the ISI, and therefore the Pakistani government.