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Pakistan 'not obliged' to arrest Hafiz Saeed: Interior Minister

world Updated: Sep 02, 2009 21:40 IST
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Pakistan has said it is "not obliged" to immediately arrest Lashker-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed even if an Interpol Red Corner notice has been issued against him and claimed that evidence provided by India in three dossiers was "not sufficient" to link him to the 26/11 attacks.

"Pakistan needs to examine the evidence provided by India on the basis of which Interpol issued a Red Corner notice against Hafiz Saeed. Certain procedures are required to pursue the notice," Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

In an interview to Saudi daily Arab News, Malik said even if a Red Corner notice has been issued against Saeed, the
government was "not obliged to immediately arrest him".

"We are free to make our own investigations against the man, and then take steps accordingly," he said.

Malik claimed that the evidence provided by India in three dossiers "is, in our considered view, not sufficient to
link Hafiz Saeed to the (Mumbai) attack and to punish those who are guilty."

"We appeal to India to share information with us, and also to keep faith in our legal system and judiciary," he said
and reiterated his claim that India could have averted the Mumbai attacks by sharing information with Pakistan.

"Let me tell you, India could have prevented the terror attacks in Mumbai if they had shared intelligence with us
after the arrest of two terrorists -- Fahim Ansari and Sabah Uddin," he said.

Pakistan is doing its part to bring the Mumbai attackers to justice, but India is yet to provide "concrete
information", the interior minister maintained.

"As far as the much-trumpeted Indian dossiers are concerned, they are nothing but information based on the
statement of a lone surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab.

"We have asked them to provide us with SIM card information, the transcript of the conversation between the
attackers and their handler, certified statements from officials involved in various aspects of the investigation,
and so much other information, but as of now they have not given us any concrete information," he said.

He also raked up the issue of Samjhuta Express blasts. "I also urge India to provide dossiers regarding the Samjhota
Express tragedy, which is as significant as the Mumbai attacks," he said.

Turning to the operation against the Taliban in Pakistan, Malik said their chief Baitullah Mehsud's killing is a "body
blow" to the group.

"Al-Qaeda is trying to install a new 'chief terrorist' in Pakistan's tribal regions after Mehsud's killing. Hakimullah
Mehsud is said to have taken over, but there are reports, though unconfirmed, that he has also been killed, which means
they are in disarray and will be soon defeated conclusively," he said.