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Dec 14, 2012 at 11:56pm IST

Malik calls Pakistan a victim of terror, says need proof to arrest Hafiz Saeed

New Delhi: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who arrived in New Delhi on Friday evening, said that he has come to India to take the peace process forward with the country. Malik condemned terrorism and said that Pakistan doesn't want a repeat of attacks like 26/11 in India.

He, however, said that Pakistan cannot act against Hafiz Saeed - the alleged mastermind of Mumbai terror attacks - because it does not have evidence against him. Malik said Ajmal Kasab's statement was not enough for Pakistan to arrest Saeed. He also alleged that the dossiers handed over to Pakistan by India did not have any proof against Saeed. Kasab, the lone arrested terrorist of the Mumbai terror attacks, was executed at a Pune jail on November 21.

On terrorism, Malik said: "Non-state actors have played havoc with ties between India and Pakistan...We have categorically stated that Pakistan and India have to respect court orders (in Mumbai attack cases)." He arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Friday evening.

Malik said that Pakistan has also been a victim of terrorism and therefore it understands the pain of the families of terror victims. "Pakistan has lost 40,000 innocent people to terrorism. I want to pay condolences to the families who suffered due to terrorism. India has also suffered due to terrorism. Pakistan and India have to be friends," insisted the Pakistan minister.

Talking about relationship between the two countries since the Mumbai terror attacks, Malik said it has improved with time. "Situation has changed for the last five years. Our achievement is that we have agreed for a new visa policy. This will help increasing interaction between the people of two countries," he said. Malik described the visa accord as a gift from the leadership of both countries to future generations as peace and stability between the two sides would usher in a new era of progress and development.

Malik claimed his visit to India was a "victory for peace and those who wanted to see an improvement in Pakistan-India relations". He said that during his visit, he would give message to the world that Pakistan and India are peace-loving nations that believe in coexistence and want to live as peaceful neighbours.

Answering questions over Kargil war hero Captain Saurabh Kalia, who along with five other soldiers was allegedly kept in captivity and tortured by Pakistani Army, Malik said that they have not investigated the matter yet. "Don't know about the case of Kalia but I would love to meet his father. I don't know if a Pakistan bullet killed Kalia or weather," he said.

Malik is scheduled to meet Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde over dinner on Friday night. He would also reiterate his government's invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had already invited Singh to visit Pakistan, Malik had told the media before leaving for Delhi. "I would also invite the Indian Prime Minister for a visit on behalf of our leadership," he had said.

Malik is visiting New Delhi for the operationalisation of a new visa agreement signed by the two countries in September. Earlier in the day, Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal had met Malik ahead of his visit to Delhi. Malik and the Indian envoy discussed "bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest", Pakistani officials said. They also discussed the new visa pact.

Ahead of Malik's arrival in Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India had seen "little progress" as far as accountability by Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks is concerned. Pakistani authorities arrested seven men, including Lashkar-e-Toiba operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, for alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people. However, their trial has been hit by several delays.

(With additional information from PTI)