M A I N   N E W S

Pak promises action against Hafiz Saeed
Malik says 26/11 attacks, Babri must never recur
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 14
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik began his three-day visit to India on Friday with a reference to the demolition of Babri Masjid. In a way, he equated the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya with terror incidents, saying his country didn’t want incidents such as the Mumbai terror attacks, the Samjhauta train blasts or the Babri mosque demolition.

Sharing dais with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde at a ceremony to operationalise a new visa regime, he said the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, including Hafiz Saeed, would be brought to justice.

The fact that he spoke about the Babri mosque in the same breath as some of the globally decried terror incidents was not lost on the Indian authorities. As soon as Malik ended his 10-minute speech, Shinde retorted by saying that such promises on 26/11 accused had been made in the past also, but these were never honoured.

“We can work together,” said Malik while repeatedly referring to Shinde as his brother. “I have brought a message of peace from Pakistan. We have seen enough on both sides. This is the time we should work together. Forgetting the past, we have to move forward,” he said. “We have taken the Mumbai attacks seriously and arrested seven of them (accused). Another 20 are proclaimed offenders.

Every time your government raises this demand, people in Pakistan ask what happened in the Samjhauta train blast case,” he added. Persons associated with right wing Indian groups had been facing trial, but nobody had been convicted so far, he added.

On Hafiz Saeed, he said, “I can assure the Indian authorities that we will not leave any stone unturned. The day is not far when you will see his conviction and justice being done.”

Saeed routinely spews venom against India while speaking from public platforms in Pakistan. Seven persons, including Saeed, are facing trial in a Rawalpindi court. The authorities had arrested Saeed thrice so far, but every time he was let off for want of evidence. India is relying on the testimonies of David Coleman Headley and Ajmal Kasab.

Referring to the 26/11 trial in Pakistan, Malik said, “We have made every effort to fast track the case.”

Speaking at the airport about Army Capt Saurabh Kalia who was allegedly tortured by Pakistani soldiers during the Kargil war, Malik said while he didn’t know whether a Pakistani bullet killed Kalia, it was regrettable and that he didn’t want such incidents to be repeated. 

Confusion over plane clearance

New Delhi: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik and his entourage arrived after a three-hour delay as the two sides could not coordinate the “last-minute” change in Malik’s mode of travel. He had opted for a Pakistan Air Force C-130-J, which needed IAF’s fresh permission to land at the Palam technical area. Malik landed at 5.20 pm instead of the scheduled 2 pm. It so happened that on Thursday, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad was informed that Malik would travel by a PAF plane instead of a civilian plane, which was granted permission to land at Palam. As per protocol, the IAF has to check the number of crew and type of equipment used in case of a military plane. The plane finally landed at T3 after clearance.





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