Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Monday told Parliament that Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik had been making false claims that the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed was arrested for the carnage. On the contrary, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief was never tried for 26/11 in Pakistan, he noted.
“Mr. Malik has been telling us repeatedly that he had arrested Saeed thrice and on each occasion, he was let off by the courts for lack of evidence. We had been given to understand by Mr. Malik that Saeed had been arrested on the charges of being a conspirator of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” the Home Minister said in a statement in both Houses of Parliament on Mr. Malik’s controversial visit to India.
However, the papers given by Pakistan pertaining to the detentions of the Lashkar-e-Taiba founder in 2002 and 2009 clearly state that the detentions of Saeed were for other reasons and “not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks… I can only say that Mr. Malik appears to have been misinformed in the matter,” Mr. Shinde added.
The Home Minister, who faced vociferous protests from MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha for not strongly rebutting Mr. Malik’s controversial statements on various issues, noted that India had clearly told Pakistan that bringing to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks was of “paramount importance” to ensure that the peace process proceeded in an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence.
Mr. Shinde told the MPs that he especially mentioned to his Pakistani counterpart the fact that India’s investigations had shown that Saeed was one of the masterminds of the 26/11 attack conspiracy and Pakistan was yet to take effective action to charge him. He reiterated the value of the voice samples for establishing the identity of those who were audacious to be caught on tape while directing the attackers.
He also took up the non-compliance of Red Corner Notices against the absconders of the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, including Dawood Ibrahim who has been recently designated as a “specially designated global terrorist” by the U.S., and stated that it was a blot on bilateral cooperation in bringing fugitives from law to justice.