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Feb 01, 2009 at 03:17pm IST

Pak treating terrorists as guests: Narayanan

The National Security Advisor MK Narayanan has said that he is not at all impressed by the steps that Pakistan has taken so far against Jamaat-ud-Dawa and other terrorist organistaions based on its soil.

Speaking to Karan Thapar, Narayanan also went on to say that terror suspects were being treated as house guests rather than detainees in Pakistan.

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"I am not impressed very much with this. I mean training camps can be closed down and reopened at short notice at any time they like. Taking over of the sprawling Muridke campus and a few acres... it's only a matter of time it will come back or it will come back somewhere else. I mean these are cosmetic exercises," Narayanan said.

Karan Thapar: People like Lakhvi (Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi) and Zarar Shah have been detained. In fact the Pakistan Interior Minister Rahman Malik claims that as many as 71 members of different militant groups have been detained and a further 124 have been put under surveillance. Is that a meaningful step or is that just a charade?

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MK Narayanan: They are house guests, at least Lakhvi and Zarar Shah are house guests. I don't know if it amounts to detention.

Karan Thapar: And what about Hafiz Mohammad Saeed? His detention has been further extended to a further period of two years, but again is he a house guest, there are reports after all that he can visit the Mosque locally whenever he wants.

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MK Narayanan: I would say that he is an honoured guest

Karan Thapar: What about the position that Pakistan has taken on Masood Azhar? They claim that they not only don't know where he is, but that he may not even be in Pakistan. Does the government in India buy that line?

MK Narayanan: They once claimed that they had arrested Masood Azhar, then they said it was not correct. I don't think anybody in Pakistan could make a mistake about the identity of Masood Azhar, so I think that speaks volumes. I would think that Pakistan would certainly be in the best position to know where Masood Azhar is.

However, in an apparent contradiction to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's claim that there has been no response from Pakistan on the 26/11 dossier; the NSA said that Pakistan has reverted to India on the dossier.

"After the receipt of the dossier from India the Pakistan government have reverted to us and have asked a number of questions to which answers are being provided. So as far as we are concerned we believe that," Narayanan said.

"Pakistan is making an attempt to arrive at the truth, and I would presume that they are yet to receive the replies to the second set of queries that they have made but certainly," he said.

Narayanan also said that Pakistan appears to be serious about the investigations.

"They seem to be taking things seriously, at least they are proceeding in a manner that one would expect an investigative agency to proceed, asking queries and not expecting at face value everything that has been given, which is good news from our point of view. Now whether after all this they would accept the truth, which will hit them in the face, I don't know," he said.

"I am suspicious of Pakistan's intent is but I am giving them an opportunity," he added.

You can catch that full interview with the National Security Advisor on Devil's Advocate on Sunday at 2030 hrs IST. This is his first ever interview after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.