Indian newspapers on Thursday called for the Pakistani masterminds behind the Mumbai attacks to be brought to justice as they welcomed the execution of sole surviving gunman Mohammed Kasab.

“A puppet's life ends on a string,” The Times of India headline read

after Kasab, a Pakistani national, was executed on Wednesday morning. “Kasab hanged, India rejoices,” declared The Pioneer.

New Delhi blames the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group for the 2008 attacks in which 166 people were killed, and it has also accused elements of the Pakistani state - notably the ISI intelligence agency - of involvement.

The Hindustan Times said in an editorial that the government “did well to execute him swiftly and with secrecy”.

But it said: “Kasab was only a pawn in the greater game of proxy terror that Pakistan has been playing. The shadowy handlers who controlled the whole grisly operation from Pakistan are still around.”

The government in Islamabad was tight-lipped after Kasab's death, though spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan was quoted as denying Pakistan had rebuffed a letter from India notifying it about the execution.

Pakistan charged seven men in 2009 over the Mumbai attacks, but insists it needs to gather more evidence in India before proceeding further. Its failure to convict anyone over the Mumbai carnage continues to bedevil efforts for a lasting peace agreement between the nuclear-armed rivals.

“It is important to remember that Kasab was merely a foot soldier of the LeT,” the Mail Today said. “What we need now is to bring to justice the real perpetrators of the Mumbai outrage.”

Fearing a backlash from the LeT or demonstrations, India upped security for its diplomats in Pakistan after the execution, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid told reporters. - AFP