Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik is of the opinion that the trial of the seven Pakistanis accused of plotting the 26/11 Mumbai gun-and-grenade attacks could be concluded in the next “three or four months”.
In an exclusive interview to the BBC’s Hindi service, Malik claimed that instructions had been issued to go forward with the day-to-day trial of the seven accused, which includes alleged mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
“Now, India should show patience and wait for our court process. We have received one more dossier from the Indian government…I still haven’t seen it so I am unable to comment on it further,” Malik said.
According to him, India had given Pakistan most of the information that had been sought. “If any information gaps remain, then I will write to them (the Indian government) again,” the Interior Minister stressed.
“We are trying our best to expedite the (court) procedure. From our end, we are ensuring that there no delays like in presenting witnesses…but India must wait. We respect and trust India’s courts and they should do the same.”
“According to my understanding of the situation, the matter should be over in the next three-four months,” Malik claimed.
Declaring that nobody would be allowed to use Pakistani soil for terrorist acts, Malik stated that India, so far, had given only information and no “tangible evidence” about Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed’s involvement in militant activities.
Saeed, it may be recalled, was put under house arrest, only to be bailed out by the high court in Lahore.
The Interior Minister stated that Pakistan would be happy to receive tangible evidence from India about Hafiz Saeed and his activities.
“There is a free and independent judiciary in this country and we have to have evidence to back his (Saeed’s) arrest else he will be bailed out by the courts and that will be more embarrassing for us, which is something we don’t want,” Malik took the view.
He, however, said Pakistan would not act under any kind of pressure from India. “Like if India tells us to arrest Hafiz Saeed and put him behind bars, then the answer is no. We will only go according to facts and evidence.”
Malik reiterated charges that India had links with the Taliban. “We were of the opinion that the Taliban working for themselves, but we came to know that they work for India. They have become contract killers and work for money.”
In a rather dramatic statement, the Interior Minister said children had been snatched from their mothers in order to turn them into suicide bombers. Now, however, the Taliban were running like rats and Pakistan was determined to go after them.