Hafiz Saeed is under investigation for his alleged role in the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan said on Saturday, but also underlined that there was not yet enough evidence to implicate him in the case or arrest him, and that it would not be rushed into acting against him on Indian “dictation.”
The Pakistan government also briefed Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal on its investigations into the Mumbai attacks. The Foreign Office later handed over a dossier containing an update on the investigations, along with a demand for additional information from New Delhi on certain aspects of the case.
The effort seemed aimed at positioning and preparing the ground for the upcoming Foreign Secretaries and Foreign Ministers meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month.
Minister of Interior Rehman Malik told a press conference on Saturday that Pakistan was pursuing the leads provided by India on Hafiz Saeed. “I have not rejected the leads. I would like to announce that Hafiz Saeed is being investigated. He is included in the investigations. He is under investigation,” Mr. Malik said, promising “if there is evidence against [him] during our investigations, I assure you, he will not get out of the clutches of law.”
He appeared to distance Pakistan’s federal government from the two cases filed against Mr. Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act in Faisalabad earlier this week. These cases had been registered by the Punjab government, which was also carrying out the investigations, Mr. Malik said, adding that he had asked the provincial government for a report on the cases.
Mr. Malik, who briefed the Indian envoy earlier, said the information provided by New Delhi about Mr. Saeed’s alleged involvement in the Mumbai attacks were mainly statements from the accused on trial in India -- Ajmal Kasab, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin.
A court would not accept these statements, Mr. Malik said, stressing the point that the Pakistani judiciary was free, and India must respect the decisions made by the courts in this country. “If Hafiz Saeed has been bailed out by my court, it should be accepted by India,” Mr. Malik said. “We are a sovereign state. We can be given information, but we cannot take dictation.”
The Minister said Pakistan had already done a lot towards bringing seven arrested suspects in the case to trial. In camera proceedings against the seven were held in an anti-terorrism court in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail on Saturday.