Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, Pakistan on Sunday dismissed the suggestion that it was conducting a “sham trial” of the accused and said the process is being speeded up.
“The fact is that the executive is doing, the prosecution is doing all that it can. Now this trial is being speeded up. Let me tell you that,” Pakistan’s outgoing High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said.
He made these remarks to Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme when told that the perception in India is that a sham trial being stage in Islamabad.
He said that notwithstanding what people question, “the fact is the legal system, the judicial system is more or less the same on both sides. Both sides need to cooperate more to get this expedited”.
Asked for his reaction over the fact that during the past five years, the judge has been changed six times and court adjourns immediately after meeting, Mr. Bashir said it was “unfortunate” that the whole post-26/11 scenario has not been quite objectively understood in India.
He also sought to dismiss the content in a new book ‘The Siege’ which not only suggests that LeT leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a key person allegedly under trial and in jail, enjoys conjugal visits from his wife but gives evidence against Hafiz Sayed’s involvement in the terror attack.
“I don’t think that is quite an accurate description...The narrative needs to be checked,” he said.
To a pointed question on whether Pakistan will act against the accused, he said, “We like to be considered as a country governed by the rule of the law. If there is something A, B or C has violated, he ought to be picked up.”
Acknowledging that relations between both the countries have not improved much, Bashir said both India and Pakistan need to “leap over the difficulties” and will have to look at the future as their destinies are linked to each other.
“We need to resume contacts, we need to resume the process of dialogue across the board and then things will start improving,” he said.
He also dismissed suggestions that the army and forces opposed to cordial relations with India were coming in the way of the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the sides failing to meet during the past two months to ensure peace along the LoC.
The prime ministers of both sides during their meeting in New York had resolved that the DGMOs will meet and set up a mechanism to ensure peace along the LoC.
Mr. Bashir also appeared to blame the media for the talks failing to take place.
“Once you build up a media hype of sorts, then it restricts the space for everybody,” he said.
Asked if he felt let down by India’s reluctance to take up Pakistan’s offer of talks, he said, “I wished all these could have been handled in a more sensible manner.”