Unhappy with the slow pace of the 26/11 case trial in Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday asked the visiting Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, to ensure that all those behind the attacks were brought to justice soon.
Mr. Malik, who called on Dr. Singh at his official residence, invited him to visit Pakistan. He told him that soon a Pakistani judicial commission would come to India, a process that would fast-track the trial.
“His [Dr. Singh’s) point of view was that my people here ask what you have done for the people who suffered during 26/11. We have given him a commitment to send a judicial commission here...It was a very good meeting,” he told journalists.
It is learnt that Pakistan has agreed to let a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which probes the case, visit the country early next year. Mr. Malik, who met National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Friday, said: “Whatever trust deficit was there, it was removed.”
“Let the Director-General of the FIA [Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency] and the NIA sit together and resolve the issues,” he said.
The NIA wants to visit Pakistan to examine the evidence collected by its agencies against the accused, including the mastermind of the attacks and Jamaat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Saeed.
Similarly, a Pakistani judicial commission is likely to visit India later this month to cross-examine the witnesses, so that their statements could be presented as proof against the accused.However, Mr. Malik said Saeed could not be arrested until India gave “hard” and “substantive” evidence. The Pakistani government was trying to “fast-track” his case, as an application had been filed in the Lahore High Court.
Referring to India’s demand for the voice samples of terrorists who directed the attackers from a control room in Pakistan, Mr. Malik said that as per Pakistan’s law, the voice sample could not be given unless permission was given by the accused himself. “We have moved the High Court in the matter of [Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zaki-ur Rehman] Lakhvi’s voice sample, and it is pending there.”
Government sources say that when he was Home Minister, P. Chidambaram refused to host Mr. Malik until Pakistan handed over the voice samples and showed signs of fast-tracking the trial. As a result, the formalisation of new visa regime was delayed. This time too, some senior ministers were not happy with Mr. Malik’s visit, especially because of the lack of cooperation in the 26/11 case.
Referring to the invitation to Dr. Singh, Mr. Malik said: “We have already invited him. Today also, I told him that the people of Pakistan want to see him, especially the people of …Chatwal, where he was born. The people there want to see a boy who was there and who has become the Prime Minister of a nation and a global leader. We said if you don’t come, we, the people of Pakistan, will be disappointed.”