Sunday, January 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Pakistan prepares wanted list for India

Islamabad, January 19
Pakistan today gave a new twist to the issue of handing over 20 criminals and terrorists sought by India saying that it is preparing its own list seeking extradition of its wanted men allegedly sheltered in India for extradition and dismissed as background material the additional evidence given by New Delhi.

“We have names on our list. We will forward it in course of time to the Government of India,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said at a joint press conference here with visiting Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley.

Mr Sattar termed as background material and “not evidence”, the latest information provided by India for the extradition of 14 of its nationals figuring in the list of 20.

“The Government of India has provided to us the names and background of most of these 20 persons which was given to us earlier. I saw the list this morning that gives the background of some cases going back to 1981. We shall of course study that information carefully,” he said.

“We shall, as President (Musharraf) said, examine the cases of Indian nationals who are alleged to be in Pakistan and try to trace them, study the information that is provided to us by the Government with regards to these persons and then take further action in accordance with the merits.”

Stating that extradition was a complex, political and legal issue, Mr Sattar said, “Let us say that neither country has any reason whatsoever to protect criminals who have committed crimes in one country or the other.”

Mr Sattar’s comments followed President Musharraf’s interview with CNN in which he said “I do not know anybody in the list. We do not have them.”

To a question, he said US Secretary of State Colin Powell was continuing with his peace mission to de-escalate the situation and kickstart a dialogue between India and Pakistan, he said.

Earlier, The News said Pakistan might be willing to consider handing over the Indians figuring in the list of 20, if New Delhi was prepared to send many wanted Pakistani terrorists, specially those belonging to ethnic organisations from Karachi currently hiding in India.

Pakistani pre-condition had been conveyed to US Secretary of State Colin Powell when he was here for talks two days ago, the daily said, quoting sources.

The Pakistan Government was of the view that any extradition could not be done unilaterally as India would also be required to reciprocate the move and should hand over the most wanted Pakistanis who were now living in India after carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan, it said.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada said his country would like to encourage both India and Pakistan to start negotiations for resolving their dispute peacefully.

“If India and Pakistan indicate to us if there was anything for us to do, we will be too glad to do that,” he said.

Asked if India would welcome the appointment of the United Nations Peace-keeping Force in Kashmir, he said, “You cannot force anyone to accept the peace force”. PTI

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