NEW DELHI: The Pakistani Taliban vowed on Thursday to avenge the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Kasab was hanged in western India on Wednesday after being convicted of “waging war on India” for his role in the three-day assault on India’s commercial capital in which 166 people were killed.

The Pakistani Taliban said they wanted Kasab’s body returned to Pakistan otherwise they would unleash reprisals, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. “We will take revenge of Kasab’s martyrdom,” Ehsan said. “We strongly demand that his body be returned to Pakistan.

If the body is not handed over (to the family) our reaction will be more severe.” “If they don’t return his body to us or his family we will capture Indians and will not return their bodies,” he said, adding the Taliban will try to strike Indian targets “anywhere”.

Indian officials said efforts had been made to contact Kasab’s family in Pakistan before his death and added no request for his body had been received from his relatives or the government.

A former labourer and small-time criminal, Kasab admitted to being a member of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, but had no known links to the Pakistani Taliban.

India notified Pakistan shortly ahead of Kasab’s execution and asked for higher security for its embassy in Islamabad due to the risk of demonstrations or possible reprisals.

Kasab, who had his final appeal for clemency from the president turned down on November 5, was buried in grounds of the prison in Pune where he was executed. His death prompted little official reaction from the Pakistan government, which issued only a short statement condemning terrorism.

 

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