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Will Pak punish 26/11 masterminds?


Sanjeeb Mukherjea,CNN-IBN
May 07, 2010 at 10:06am IST

New Delhi: Kasab's sentence has certainly brought some closure for the victims of Mumbai terror attacks but the case remains pending until Pakistan does its bit by bringing the masterminds of these attacks to justice.

It was the end of a trial watched equally closely on both sides of the border as Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was sentenced to death in the Mumbai special court.

However, Pakistan doesn't seem forthcoming on the issue.

"First communicate the detailed judgment to us. Our legal experts will examine it and then only will I be in a position to comment. Certainly, we would want to see the case come to a close. We would want the logical conclusion of this trial and the earlier the better," said Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN.

Six men including Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi are under trial at Rawalpindi's Adiala jail.

Lakhvi's latest plea for acquittal will include the Mumbai verdict that acquitted 2 Indian accused co-conspirators Sabauddin and Fahim Ansari. And despite arresting Hafiz Saeed twice the Pakistan government doesn't seem able or willing to charge the Lashkar founder for the attacks.

The larger question is now what impact the verdict could have on talks between India and Pakistan that have been suspended since the Mumbai attacks. In parliament on Thursday External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said India was willing to accept the latest assurances by Pakistan on terror to move ahead in the next few weeks.

"We certainly will have to keep engaging Pakistan that is the light of this sentence. And the light of the investigations that has preceded this trial," says Union External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

The two Foreign ministers are due to speak on Friday to discuss the next date for talks that are coming back on track even as the 26/11 trial in India came to a close. However, the trust deficit in India against Pakistan is likely to remain until the 26/11 trial in Pakistan is brought to a successful close as well.

Meanwhile the Maharashtra government will decide on Friday whether to keep the death convict in Mumbai or shift him out. Ajmal Kasab is currently lodged in a high security cell at the Arthur Road Jail. State Home Minister RR Patil, while welcoming the verdict said, the government would request the centre to fast-track the process of Kasab filing an appeal against the death penalty in the High Court as this is a serious case.

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