Pakistan on Monday assured that the trial against the accused in Mumbai attacks would conclude soon and expressed confidence that they would be convicted. “The trial is on fast track and the accused have exhausted all their rights to get bail and get the FIRs cancelled. We expect the trial will be concluded in the coming months. My friends from India must realise that once the battle goes to court, it no longer remains in the control of the prosecution, administration or the government. The kind of credible evidence we have put forward, we will get conviction and that is what we want,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told a delegation of visiting journalists here.
Pakistan had also sought all the statements made by the lone surviving gunman Ajmal ‘Kasab' to make the case foolproof against one of the accused and Lashkar-e-Taiba leader, Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi.
Mr. Malik offered to visit India to meet his counterpart P. Chidambaram to discuss further anti-terrorism measures. He hoped that an opportunity for interaction would arise during the meeting of SAARC Home Ministers which was postponed but could now be held here in June.
The Minister said investigators had prepared the response to the two dossiers submitted by India during the meeting of Foreign Secretaries in New Delhi in February. These would be formally submitted to New Delhi in the coming weeks.
Instead of a third country persuading the two countries to hold talks, Mr. Malik wanted both countries to resume wide-ranging talks. Even if the Indian leadership was wary of reopening dialogue, Pakistan would continue with the trial of the Mumbai attacks accused and continue with efforts to nab more than 15 who had been declared proclaimed offenders.
Asked about the slow pace of the trial initially, Mr. Malik clarified that “once upon a time” the evidence was not sufficient. But with the combination of the information received from India and the evidence developed in Pakistan, “we now have credible information.”
Mr. Malik was hopeful that ‘Kasab' would be handed over to Pakistan after his trial was completed in India. Pakistan was also hoping for India to meet its request for full information on the Samjhauta Express blast. “The allegations against the ISI for the Samjhauta Express blasts have not been good for our image. May be the Research and Analysis Wing or a non-state actor acted on its own.”
On Baluchistan, Mr. Rehman said Pakistan had received credible signals of Indian involvement.
“Let us be friends and brothers. Let us sort out security issues once and for all. This is essential to ensure peace and stability in Iran, Pakistan and India,” he said.