Expressing “surprise” over Pakistan’s claim that the issue of arrest of Hafiz Saeed, one of the masterminds of the Mumbai terror attacks, was not taken up during Foreign Secretary-level talks, India on Sunday said it has been demanding action against him since attacks and the matter was raised “strongly” during the parleys.

“Saeed’s activities including his recent vitriolic and venomous statements aimed at fomenting further acts of terrorism against India and the unhindered public space and freedom he enjoys in Pakistan was raised strongly by India during the Foreign Secretary-level talks,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman said in a statement here.

Talking to reporters in Multan, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had claimed that India never demanded the arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Saeed nor discussed the issue at the talks between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir here on February 25.

In response to queries regarding the reported statement of Mr. Qureshi, the spokesman, while expressing surprise, said that India has been demanding action against Saeed since the Mumbai attacks took place.

“A dossier containing a compilation of evidence on the involvement of Saeed in the terrorist attacks was handed over to Pakistan on August 21, 2009 and his name featured prominently in yet another dossier handed over to the Pakistan Foreign Secretary during the talks on February 25, 2010,” the statement said.

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