New Delhi: In a complete U-turn Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has rejected India’s demand to hand over terrorists like Dawood Ibrahim and Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) chief Hafiz Mohd Sayeed in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks. He has even doubted whether the arrested terrorist is a Pakistani national.
To all those demanding military action against Pakistan, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice underscored one word prevention or as she described it a strategy of prevention.
But the word from Islamabad is discouraging. Two days ago President Zardari hinted that he was ready to explore the idea of deporting fugitives from Indian justice.
“I am ready to go to that mutual assistant agreement if times ask for it,” says Zardari.
But then he took a U-turn in an interview to CNN’s Larry King.
“If we had the proof we would trial them in our courts, we will trial them on our land and we would sentence them,” says Zardari.
Indian diplomats accustomed to dealing with prickly Pakistan are neither surprised nor shocked.
“India has to deal with whoever is in command there and now there is President Zardari. But India can deal with him only in the awareness that his voice may not be final,” says former foreign secretary Salman Haider.
And the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is hopeful that between the American rock and the Pakistani army wall, Zardari will deliver something.
“While Pakistan has said that it wants a leap forward in its bilateral relations, outrageous incidents such as the Mumbai attack are intended to make this impossible,” says External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukerjee.
India's frustrations with Pakistan could be overtaken by the security compulsions of Washington. The latest Congressional report has warned that the US faces a threat of being hit with weapons of mass destruction and the most likely source of that threat is Pakistan.