Sunday, July 8, 2012

Give Jundal proof to us, not to media: Pak to India

-Times of India
NEW DELHI: The spate of disclosures about the involvement of Pakistani state agencies in 26/11 attacks from the terror strike handler Abu Jundal, who was held in Saudi Arabia and brought to Delhi recently, did not put Islamabad on the defensive as perhaps many here were expecting. On the contrary, the talks this week saw Pakistani foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani accusing Indian authorities of launching a hostile campaign against Pakistan by leaking information to the media. 
Jilani insisted in a meeting with foreign minister S M Krishna, after the delegation-level talks with his counterpart Ranjan Mathai that if India had any evidence it ought to be first presented before Pakistani authorities and not journalists. Jilani was referring to the wave of reports in the Indian media over the alleged disclosures made by Jundal about the involvement of state actors, mainly the ISI. The assertion was made after Krishna reinforced before Jilani the commitment of India's political leadership to bring the Mumbai attacks accused to justice, saying that ongoing trial in Pakistan of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and others must be expedited. 


Krishna also said that the Indian government, despite the re-engagement process currently underway with Pakistan, cannot be expected to ignore what happened in Mumbai because it had occurred in front of the eyes of the entire nation. When Jilani, who also ruled out any insinuation about the role of state actors, spoke about what he described as propaganda against Pakistan, Krishna told him that it was not possible for a democracy like India to gag its media. The foreign minister is likely to make the same point about expediting the Mumbai trial before his counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar with whom he will have a bilateral meeting in Tokyo on Sunday on the sidelines of the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. 


The Mumbai attacks trial may be heading nowhere, but Jilani was not willing to be cowed down. Sources said that Jilani cited the acquittal of all the accused in the Marriott blast case in Islamabad, saying that Pakistan's judiciary was so "independent and aggressive'' that it would do nothing if the charges are not backed up with enough evidence. He also referred to the recent development in which Pakistani PM Yousaf Raza Gilani had to be replaced after he was disqualified by its Supreme Court. 


"Apart from that he also spoke about LeT chief Hafiz Saeed was let off by court as there was not enough evidence against him,'' said a source. While Mathai said after his meeting with Jilani that "information'' had been shared about Jundal with Pakistan, the Pakistani foreign secretary denied having received any substantive evidence to a newspaper in Amritsar, moments before he entered Pakistan. 


Krishna-Khar meeting possible 
Foreign minister S M Krishna arrived in Tokyo on Saturday for the conference on Afghanistan. The highlight of his visit, however, will be his likely bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar. Sources said that apart from reiterating India's commitment to bringing the 26/11 accused to book, Krishna will also convey to her that he is looking forward to visiting Pakistan in early September.He is also expected to call on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and meet the foreign minister of Japan, Koichiro Gemba, who is hosting the Tokyo Conference. Krishna is also scheduled to meet the new French foreign minister Laurent Fabius. 

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