Dawood not in Pakistan: Pak High Commissioner
Lucknow: India’s most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim is not in Pakistan, Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit said today, rubbishing Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Lok Sabha.
“Uskey baarey mein yehi kehna hai ki woh sahab Pakistan mein nahin hain (The only thing I have to say about that gentleman is that he is not in Pakistan),” Basit said.
He was responding to a question at a “Meet the Press” event organised by UP Press Club here.
Basit was asked to comment on Singh’s statement in Lok Sabha earlier in the day that the 1993 Mumbai blast mastermind was in Pakistan and the government will do everything to bring him to justice.
“Whether we have to pursue Pakistan or pressurise it, we will not rest till Dawood Ibrahim is brought back,” the Home Minister said in Lok Sabha and averred that India has maintained pressure on Pakistan at all levels over the issue.
He alleged that Pakistan has “failed” to track him down despite being provided with “overwhelming evidence” about his presence there, based on “credible information”.
Asked about 26/11 Mumbai blast mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s release from jail, Basit said Pakistan had arrested eight persons in connection with the blast and the government was pursuing the case seriously in court.
“He (Hafiz) has been granted bail by the court. He has not got clean chit from it. There should not be any premature conclusions. Whatever verdict court gives, we have to accept. You all should respect our court,” Basit said.
“The prosecution has put all evidences including those provided by India (before the court). The matter is subjudice and I will not make comments on it,” he said.
Maintaining that killing of innocent people cannot be justified, Basit said Pakistan had sufferred a lot after 9/11 with around 50-60 thousand civilians having fallen prey to terrorism, besides six thousand security personnel.
“We have suffered economic losses of 100 billion dollars due to terrorism in past 11 years. We are fighting it and will surely get rid of it,” Basit said.
About sectarian conflict in that country, Basit said there were different dimensions to violence in Pakistan which, he claimed, had come down.
“The government of Pakistan is determined to end violence,” he said.
On continued infiltration in Kashmir by Pakistan, Basit said, “It’s your view point.”
“The issue of Jammu and Kashmir is not new. Whatever is going on there is not terrorism. We also have our concerns. The issue is to be resolved through talks. Whatever people there want would happen. Let the talks begin between two countries. We want talk on all issues besides this,” he said.
“There are forces on both sides of border that could pressurise governments. Government side should not be held hostage to such forces,” he said.
Basit rejected allegations of ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
“We have opened a big front on Western side and all our forces are engaged there. Why will we open two fronts?” he asked.
About elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Basit said, “Elections are not substitue for plebiscite. We believe so.”
He said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took a “huge step” and came here with focus on peaceful development but unfortunately momentum of dialogue could not be maintained.
“We want peace through talks. Whenever India wants, dialogue will be resumed. We are not in a hurry, we are waiting,” he said when asked when talks between the two countries could be resumed.
On when Pakistan would grant India Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to facilitate enhanced bilateral trade, Basit said the matter could progress once the dialogue process resumes.