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Saeed release disturbing, Pakistan envoy told
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 3
An unhappy India today officially conveyed to Pakistan its disappointment over the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafeez Saeed and regretted that Islamabad had not done anything concrete so far to bring to book the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon met Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik at the South Block here and told him that it was regrettable that Saeed had been allowed to go scot-free by the Pakistani authorities, notwithstanding his background and the fact that the JuD had been blacklisted by the UN Security Council.

Talking to reporters shortly after the meeting, Menon said Malik explained to him the actions taken by Islamabad to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai mayhem. He also wanted India to give to the authorities in Islamabad the English translation of the Mumbai court documents, which are in Marathi. These documents would be handed over to Pakistan soon.

Asked if Malik had been summoned to the foreign office, Menon said the Pakistani envoy had sought an appointment with him two days back.

Surprisingly, Menon was not harsh in his criticism of Pakistan as he usually has been since the Mumbai attacks. India wanted a stable, peaceful and prosperous Pakistan. “A stable Pakistan is in our interest… we did not stop people-to-people contact even after the 26/11 attacks because we don’t hold the people of Pakistan responsible for the attacks.”

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna termed the “release of Saeed as disturbing”, saying “India was closely monitoring the situation”. He, however, hastened to add that India wanted to normalise relations with Pakistan and would try to do so through diplomatic channels.

Meanwhile, official sources said the Pakistan high commissioner told Menon that his country was considering legal options in the wake of the release of Saeed but gave no commitment on challenging the Lahore High Court’s decision.

The sources ruled out the possibility of normalisation of relations until Islamabad brought to justice the handlers of the terrorists who attacked Mumbai and dismantled the terrorist hubs on its territory. “People like Hafiz Saeed represent the terror infrastructure… their (Pakistan’s) credibility depends on what they do and not all the fine words they have been speaking.”

Saeed’s release was discussed at a meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with the foreign minister and the foreign secretary last night. It was decided that India would mobilise the international community to exert more pressure on Pakistan to deal with forces of terrorism.

The issue of Saeed’s release will be taken up by India with the American authorities when US under secretary of state William Burns visits India next week. The matter was also discussed at length at a meeting the foreign secretary had with US charge d’affaires Peter Burleigh.

The sources sought to dispel the impression that Washington had been pressing New Delhi to resume the composite dialogue with Pakistan. Never in the past four months since Barack Obama was inaugurated as the US President have the authorities in Washington asked New Delhi to start the dialogue process though it might be their desire.

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Did India falter by giving 26/11 proof in Marathi?

New Delhi: India may well be justified in expressing its disappointment with Pakistan over the release of Jamat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Saeed, but part of the blame for allowing one of the key plotters of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks to walk free lies on New Delhi too.

A number of documents provided to Pakistan as part of the dossier of evidence on the Mumbai mayhem were in Marathi. To be fair to Pakistan, Islamabad did ask New Delhi to provide it the English translation of the Mumbai court’s proceedings. Since India could not give the translated version of the court documents to Islamabad well in time, Pakistan claims it could not build a foolproof case against Saeed, which led to his acquittal by the Lahore High Court.

Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik today met Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon and asked him for expediting the delivery of the translated version of the court documents to the authorities in Islamabad. — TNS

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