The SAARC Home Ministers’ meet attended by P. Chidambaram last week resulted in two positive developments which will push Pakistan to address terror — including a legal framework under which India can demand the handing over of persons like LeT founder Hafiz Saeed in the absence of an extradition treaty.
Equally important is Pakistan being part of the statement adopted at the meet that calls for early adoption of the United Nations’ Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism — an initative India has been pushing for while Pakistan and countries such as Syria have been resisting.
However, government officials are approaching the developments cautiously.
Though Pakistan hasn’t come around in full measures, it has little option but to be positive now about the ratification of the SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters that also has extradition provisions.
India, having ratified it, managed to get Abu Salem from Portugal as both nations were party to the UN Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, say officials.
If Pakistan ratifies the SAARC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, sources say it would “act as a legal framework” under which India can ask for the wanted. Islamabad can’t cite absence of agreements as this convention has provisions for extradition and all countries who ratify the agreements have to abide by it.
Nepal and Afghanistan, the two other countries that haven’t ratified this convention have indicated their willingness to do so. With pressure mounting, Pakistan cannot afford to be the lone spoiler of the SAARC joint efforts, officials hope.
The Islamabad statement reiterated all SAARC nations “shall contribute to efforts in the UN General Assembly for early adoption of the UN Draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism”.