Pakistan has ruled out the possibility of handing over to India any of its nationals linked to Mumbai terror attacks and made it clear that such persons would be brought to justice within Pakistan.
Asked about warrants issued for the arrest of 22 Pakistanis by a special court in Mumbai, Interior Minister Rehman Malik made it clear that Pakistan would not hand over "any individual to India" simply on the basis of such warrants.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan too has said, "no Pakistani national would be handed over" to India. He said Pakistan would bring people involved in the Mumbai attacks "to justice but in our own country" provided India gave more evidence on the terror strikes.
The comments by the two ministers came in the wake of a court in Mumbai issuing warrants on Tuesday for the arrest of 22 Pakistanis in connection with the terrorist attacks.
Asked about the warrants issued by the special court in Mumbai, Interior Minister Malik said Pakistan would not hand over "any individual to India" on the basis of the warrants.
"Yes, there are international obligations. However, the government would decide if any request is sent by Interpol," he told a news conference in parliament yesterday.
"We have told the international community that the world must recognise Pakistan and must deal with us at par with India," he added.
Malik said the government will "carefully examine" any request received from Interpol as Pakistan is ready to cooperate with India in probing the Mumbai attacks.
Speaking in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament yesterday, Minister of State Khan said the Indian government had demanded the extradition of people allegedly involved in the Mumbai attacks but President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had rejected this demand.
The government had acted on evidence related to the Mumbai attacks that was provided by India and "more evidences were required from New Delhi for further action", he said.
India has been asked to provide this evidence and Pakistan "would bring the people involved in the incident to justice but in our own country, not in India", Khan said.
Khan made the comments during a debate in the National Assembly on the performance of the foreign ministry in connection with allocations made for it in the current budget. Opposition members criticised the ministry for not taking steps to protect Pakistan's image after the Mumbai attacks.
The special court in Mumbai has issued non-bailable arrest warrants for 22 Pakistanis, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, who was recently released from detention on the orders of the Lahore High Court.