Pakistan’s admission that “a part of the conspiracy” of the Mumbai terrorist attacks was hatched in the country has a catch. It wants India to hand over Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive for the attacks in November 2008.
Hasan told CNN-IBN Pakistan wanted from India evidence against Kasab so that it could prosecute and punish him. “We have already asked for Kasab because you say he is a Pakistani national. We will investigate him here and try him here (in Pakistan),” said Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to UK.
“There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan. We need you to apply our laws to these people and give them a fair chance to defend themselves,” he said.
Hasan was evasive on whether Pakistan would prosecute Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Toiba, and Maulan Masood Azhar, the founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed. The leaders of the two militant groups are among the 20 fugitives that India had asked Pakistan to hand over.
“You must first give credit to Pakistani intelligence and law enforcement agencies for unearthing so many people who have been conspiring against various countries and planning terrorist activities. If all the people you have mentioned are in any way connected (to terrorism) they will not be spared,” he told CNN-IBN.
Hasan denied that Pakistan had a record of releasing people accused of terrorism in India after detaining them for a while “Pakistan’s stand from Day One was very clear. We said we are sincere and want to investigate these cases. Pakistan has kept its word; we have maintained our stance that give us information and we will act.”
Back to the talking table?
“It is in the interest of both India and Pakistan to cooperate and join hands against this common scourge of terrorism,” he said while urging that both countries resume the composite dialogue process.
Pakistan Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, too, urged India to resume full ties and insisted no state agencies were involved in the Mumbai attacks.
Former Indian Foreign Secretary M K Bhadrakumar said it was “extraordinary that Pakistan had admitted that that the Mumbai attacks were plotted in its territory but was pessimistic about talks between the countries starting soon.
“We must welcome what has happened. This is extraordinary. I don’t think I have ever heard of these kind of words—Islamabad owning up a mistake and (accepting) the credibility of what India alleges.”
Bhadrakumar said the trust between India and Pakistan built up in recent had been “fractured” “What is fractured is not easy to put together but as we move on this path a certain acquisition of trust takes place. (Indo-Pak) relationship has taken a setback but I believe it can be put back on track if there is a sincerity of purpose on the part of Pakistan,” said Bhadrakumar.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday that the terrorists, who killed some 170 people in Mumbai in November, were "non-state actors and "a part of the conspiracy" was hatched in Pakistan.