Taking forward the policy of making the right noise at the right time, Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik said Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving assassin in the November 26, 2008 Mumbai carnage, should be sent to the gallows.
Malik's logic for being unkind: "Kasab is a terrorist. He is a non-state actor."
Kasab has been sentenced to death by the Bombay high court. But he has appealed against the verdict in the Supreme Court.
Rehman also told reporters — when his boss, Pakistan prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, and Indian PM Manmohan Singh were holding bilateral talks here on Thursday — that the Jamat-ud-Dawa, a Lashkar-e-Taiba front, and its leader Hafiz Saeed could not be brought to justice, simply because mere information was not legal evidence.
But Malik speaking about 26/11 and the Samjhauta blasts — carried out by right-wing extremists in India — in the same breath angered both the Indian establishment and the BJP.
BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said Islamabad had always "tried to draw parity with India" on the terror issue. "He is also saying that those involved in Samjhauta Express blast should be hanged."
Home ministry officials in Delhi said they were still waiting for "something tangible" to emerge from Pakistan three years after the Mumbai attacks. A senior ministry official said those convicted for the IC-814 hijack in 1999 were still roaming freely in Karachi and Lahore.