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Jan 15, 2009 at 11:21pm IST

26/11 suspects handover demand climned down

New Delhi: Pakistan should prosecute people suspected of terrorist attacks on India if handing then over to New Delhi isn’t possible, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said.

"It would be ideal if they (Pakistan) can hand over the fugitives from India to us. If that is not possible, there should at least be a fair trial of these fugitives in Pakistan," Mukherjee told the Aaj Tak news channel on Thursday. It should not be a "mock trial" but a "transparent and demonstrated" one.

Mukherjee’s statement is softening of India’s demand that Pakistan hand over suspects unconditionally. "We do hope that the material and evidence that we have given, Pakistan will act on it and fugitives violating the Indian laws, who have taken shelter in Pakistan, will be handed over to India for their proper justice," Mukherjee had said.

CLIMBING DOWN: India seems to have climbed down on its demand for the handover of 26/11 suspects.

Pakistan claims it has detained important leaders of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the militant group suspected of organising the Mumbai attacks, and is questioning them.

Pakistan too seems to be placating word opinion and on Thursday said it was taking action against Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD), the Islamic charity group banned by the UN for being a front for the Laskhar, and persons suspected of terrorism.

Rehman Malik, chief Pakistan’s Interior Ministry, said 71 members of outlawed militant groups had been detained and five "training camps" of the Jamaat had been shut down.

Pakistan is "fully convinced...that it is our duty as a responsible nation to get to these militant groups so that such an incident does not happen in future anywhere in the world," Malik said.

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