"We will also go after Dawood Ibrahim if there is proof of him living in Pakistan"

Satisfied with the progress of investigations into the Samjhauta Express blast, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday said his country would act against Jama'at-ud-Da'awah chief Hafiz Saeed if India provided actionable evidence. Similarly, he articulated Islamabad's willingness to go after underworld don Dawood Ibrahim if there was proof of him living in Pakistan.

Mr. Malik gave these assurances during interviews with Indian journalists here, while articulating the hope that the Judicial Commission – which Pakistan wants to send to India to record statements of those who interrogated the lone surviving terrorist in the Mumbai terror attack – will be constituted soon now that the required documentation has arrived from India.

The final set of documents — English translation of statements given in Marathi — reached the Interior Ministry last week. Asked about the delay in the Mumbai case trial here, Mr. Malik said it was a matter of concern for Pakistan also. “The accused are using every provision available to prolong the process. Each has tried to get bail and we have fought it at every level. Bail has been denied to them because of the evidence we provided.”

As to why Pakistan was not providing India voice samples of suspects in the Mumbai terror attack, the Minister maintained that recording voices without permission was not permissible by law. “We have moved the High Court for permission. When we have shared whatever we have in the case with India, why would we not give voice samples?”

Likewise, Mr. Malik maintained that Pakistan had no reason to protect Hafiz Saeed as was being alleged. “We detained him but the court asked us to let him go. Law does not go by statements but evidence. If we are provided actionable evidence, we will act against him. Haven't we arrested Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi.”

Dismissing statements made by David Headley — the Pakistani-American terrorist in U.S. custody — the Minister said he appeared to be a double agent and much of what he said did not stand scrutiny.

He also disclosed asking India for more information on ‘Major Iqbal' named by Headley.

“Headley should be asked to provide a sketch of Maj. Iqbal. How do we track him down? Iqbal is a common name. Not even his full name is available. No parentage. I have sent a set of questions to India but have not got any reply. Can Headley be trusted? He has changed his statements so many times.”

On the Samjhauta investigations, Mr. Malik congratulated India for bringing out the facts. Mindful of the problems faced in such investigations, he stressed the need to find out who was behind the blast and why they blamed the Inter Services Intelligence and put India and Pakistan on the warpath.

“It is important to identify these forces who would like to keep us in perpetual hostility towards each other. Did Col. Purohit act on his own or was he working for someone? And, did he have a hand in some of the terror attacks in Pakistan?”