In an apparent bid to facilitate a meeting between their Prime Ministers at the SAARC summit, Pakistan today responded to India's three dossiers given to it in February and asked New Delhi to hand over Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive during the Mumbai attacks.
Pakistan's request for access to Kasab was contained in its response to the three Indian dossiers provided to it during the February 25 Foreign Secretary-level talks in New Delhi, official sources told PTI.
It asked India to hand over Kasab to facilitate the trial of LeT's operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six others charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks, in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court.
The Pakistani response was handed over by Foreign Office officials to Indian Deputy High Commissioner Rahul Kulshreshth this morning.
Officials at the Indian High Commission confirmed the handing over of certain information by the Foreign Office but declined to provide details.
Other sources said Pakistan had formally asked India to serve arrest warrants issued by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for Kasab and Fahim Ansari, an Indian national facing trial along with Kasab in a special court in Mumbai on charges of involvement in the attacks.
The sources said Pakistan wanted access to Kasab and Ansari so that they could appear before the Pakistani anti-terrorism court, which was a legal requirement.
Observers said Pakistan's actions appeared to be aimed at ensuring a meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the April 28-29 SAARC summit in Bhutan.
Both sides have indicated that a bilateral meeting has not yet been scheduled but kept the possibility of such an encounter open.
The Pakistani side also made a request for three Indian officials, including two magistrates and an investigator, to be allowed to travel to Pakistan to testify that they had recorded Kasab's statement.
Dawn News channel quoted unnamed sources as saying that the Foreign Office had provided six dossiers to Indian Deputy High Commissioner Kulshreshth.
The channel also reported that the dossiers contained Pakistan's responses to queries raised by India in its dossiers.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik yesterday raised the issue of the arrest and handing over of Kasab during a meeting with Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal.
During the Foreign Secretary-level talks in February, India provided Pakistan three dossiers -- one on individuals linked to the Mumbai attacks, another on threats issued by Pakistan-based militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri and the third on fugitives from Indian law who are in Pakistan.
Sources told PTI that Malik informed the Indian envoy that Pakistani prosecutors would need to have access to Kasab once he was declared a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive by the country's courts.
The sources quoted Malik as saying that once Kasab was declared a fugitive, he would become part of the trial being conducted by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court.
The sources said Malik had not referred to the "extradition" or "deportation" of Kasab during his discussions with the Indian envoy.
The sources acknowledged that Pakistan's request involved complex legal and diplomatic issues as the two countries do not have an extradition treaty.
Malik's request was more in the nature of Pakistan being granted access to Kasab so that he could testify in the trial of the seven suspects, including Lakhvi, by a Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court, the sources added.
The special court in Mumbai is scheduled to deliver its verdict against Kasab on May 3.
The Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court is currently conducting the trial of the seven suspects, including Lakhvi, who have been charged with planning and facilitating the Mumbai attacks.
The prosecution has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court asking for Kasab to be declared a fugitive so that his confession can be used in the anti-terrorism court.