If Pakistan can hand over Dawood Ibrahim to India, Indian public perception of the neighbouring country will change overnight, senior BJP leader L.K. Advani has told Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani.

Mr. Advani made these remarks in his latest blog on the hour-long meeting he had with the Foreign Secretary and his delegation. Mr. Jilani was here for talks with his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai.

In the blog entry, ‘If Saudis Can Surrender Abu Jundal, Why Can’t Pak Hand Over Dawood Ibrahim?,’ Mr. Advani said he had a detailed and frank exchange with Mr. Jilani. But he did not say anything about the Pakistani delegation’s response. Whenever New Delhi raised the issue, Islamabad’s stock response had been that Dawood Ibrahim was not in Pakistan.

“Today, I said to him, there are numerous terrorist outfits active in Pakistan. There is no denying that lately more people are dying in Pakistan at the hands of terrorists than they are dying in India. And so, the Government of India as well as the people here are conscious that Islamabad is today proactively fighting terrorism within its own borders.

“But the shared view here also is that while Pakistan is taking head on terrorist groups such as Tahreik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP), which has been targeting Pakistan, it continues to provide assistance to groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) whose target is India.

“An even more distressing aspect of the continuing Indo-Pak tension on the issue of terrorism is the safe haven Pakistan still provides to declared terrorists and absconders like Dawood Ibrahim,” Mr. Advani noted.

“Distinguished visitor”

Describing the Foreign Secretary as a “distinguished visitor,” Mr. Advani recalled that Mr. Jilani had earlier worked in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi as Deputy Head of the Mission.

He was declared persona non grata by the NDA government in February 2003 on the charge of making payments to Hurriyat leaders. Islamabad followed suit, expelled his Indian counterpart Sudhir Vyas.

Mr. Advani said Mr. Jilani was all praise for the NDA government’s earnest efforts at restoring goodwill between both countries. “I said to him that for us, the greatest regret has been that the joint statement issued by Gen. Musharraf and Shri A.B. Vajpayee at Islamabad after the SAARC Conference affirming that Pakistan would not allow any part of its country or any area under its control to be used for terrorist operations against India has not been sincerely followed up.”

Keywords: Indo-Pak ties

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