Pakistani officials have asserted that the so called "hoax"
phone call to its President Zardari on November 28, which threatened
war in response to the Mumbai attacks, was in fact real and that
Indian High Commission officials have since circulated a report
in the media suggesting it was false.
Pakistan Information and Broadcasting Minister Sherry
Rehman has stated that the call was put out from "a verified
official Phone Number of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs".
"The identity of this particular call, as evident
from the CLI (caller identity) device, showed that the call was
placed from a verified official Phone Number of the Indian Ministry
of External Affairs", Rehman claimed in a written
statement issued in Islamabad and also circulated
According to reports, the caller, said to be Indian
Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, told Pakistan’s President
Asif Ali Zardari that India
would take military action if Islamabad did not hand
over the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.
Zardari found the call to be so threatening that
he responded by putting Pakistan's air force on high alert, triggering
a flurry of intense diplomatic activity, as some world leaders
feared the row over the attacks could lead to war.
The call, which was made while the Mumbai attacks
were still ongoing, was reported
as a hoax by the Western mainstream media this weekend.
However, Sherry Rehman claims that this version
of events, which first appeared in Pakistani English daily 'Dawn',
was "based on a briefing given to a few journalists by a
responsible senior official of a neighbouring country based in
Rehman stated "it is not possible for any call
to come through to the President without multiple caller identity
verifications," she said the call under reference too was
"processed, verified and crosschecked under the same procedure."
The 'Dawn' report did not reflect this as it said
the caller somehow managed to bypass the standard procedures and
was transferred directly to Zardari after introducing himself
as Pranab Mukherjee, India’s foreign minister.
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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.”
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday
denied that he had made any such threatening call and told reporters
that the affair was unworthy of comment.
The Indian media, without providing any evidence,
has fingered the Pakistani ISI as the source of the call.