|Tuesday, January 1,
2002, Chandigarh, India
India gives list of 20 terrorists
New Delhi, December 31
India also conveyed to Pakistan today that in the wake of the December 13 terrorist attack on Parliament House it would not rest until Pakistan’s cross-border terrorist activities against India came to a complete halt.
The Indian plain talk was evident when Mr Arun Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary (IPA) in the Ministry of External Affairs, called in Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Jalil Abbas Jeelani today and handed over to him a list of 20 wanted terrorists and criminals who are based in Pakistan.
The Vajpayee government has also made it amply clear to Pakistan that though the reported arrests of terrorists by the Musharraf regime were “a step in the correct direction”, if such reports were true, New Delhi would settle for nothing less than the handing over of the arrested ultras to India.
According to well-placed sources here, the chill in today’s meeting of Indo-Pak diplomats was quite apparent. Asked if tea was served to the Pakistani diplomat, MEA sources quipped “The civilities were observed”. The frostiness of the meeting was borne out by the fact that the MEA officials described the meeting as “very brief and business-like.”
It is understood that the Pakistani diplomat kept on harping on “evidence” and stuck to Islamabad’s known position that the Pakistan government would not be able to act on the Indian request of handing over the wanted terrorists to India until and unless the evidence was furnished.
Indian diplomatic sources pointed out that at today’s meeting no “evidence” was furnished. They added that the Pakistani mindset was known too well. If any evidence is to be provided, these formalities are already being taken care of with regard to countries like the USA, the UK and others with whom India is sharing the “evidence of involvement of the wanted terrorists in terrorist acts in India”, sources added.
The list of 20 terrorists, handed over to Pakistan today, significantly includes five Punjab terrorists who have been living in Pakistan for years and plotting to revive militancy in Punjab.
The list also includes some Kashmir terrorists, five hijackers of Indian Airlines’ IC-814 flight, at least half a dozen charge-sheeted accused in the Bombay blasts case (including Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon), LeT founder chief Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, JeM founder chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Syed Salahuddin, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen supremo and Chairman of the United Jehad Council, an umbrella body of 17 terrorist outfits functioning from Pakistan.
Meanwhile, MEA spokesperson Nirupama Rao told reporters today that “Much more needed to be done by Pakistan. The bottomline is that cross-border terrorism needs to be completely eliminated. It has to be a sustained campaign and cannot be cosmetic steps.”
She also said there was no information yet to suggest whether the terrorist camps in Pakistan had been closed down under international pressure. The spokesperson said the current situation along the Line of Control and International Border with Pakistan “continued to be tense” and accused Islamabad of consistently building up tension.
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