Pak summons Indian envoy to protest freeing of Samjhauta blast case suspects
Pakistan’s acting foreign secretary on Wednesday summoned the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria to lodge the country’s protest and condemnation of the acquittal of all four accused in the Samjhauta terror attacks by an NIA Court.
On Wednesday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had acquitted all four accused, including Swami Aseemanand, for the deadly firebombing of the Samjhauta Express in 2007. In the attack, 68 people, including 42 Pakistani passengers, had died. The attack had taken place on February 18, 2007.
Lodging Pakistan’s condemnation against he acquittal of the four accused, the acting foreign secretary “stressed that Pakistan had consistently raised the lack of progress and the subsequent, concerted attempts by India to exonerate the perpetrators of this heinous terrorist act in which 44 innocent Pakistanis lost their lives”, a statement issued by Pakistan’s foreign ministry said.
In response, Bisaria rejected Pakistan’s assertions and highlighted the fact that due process of law was followed by the courts and judicial system in a transparent manner, sources said.
Bisaria also called out the lack of cooperation from the Pakistan government including in serving Court summons to Pakistani witnesses in the case, sources said adding that the high commissioner also told Pakistan’s acting foreign secretary that the summons to the witnesses were returned by Pakistan’s foreign office and not served.
Saying that the acquittal of the four accused “makes a travesty of justice”, Pakistan called upon India to explore judicial remedies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
During the course of the investigation, it was found that the terrorists had used improvised explosive devices for the blasts near Panipat in Haryana. The investigators had also found two unexploded suitcase bombs were found in other compartments of the train too.
Over the last two years, Swami Aseemananad had been cleared by courts of terror charges in various cases including of conspiracy in the 2007 bombings at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and Rajasthan’s Ajmer Dargah. The Samjhauta case was the last of the pending cases against the 67-year-old preacher.
Responding to Pakistan’s condemnation in the Samjhauta blasts case, Bisaria urged Pakistan to conduct an expeditious trial in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in which detailed evidence has been given to Pakistan. He expressed disappointment that progress in the 26/11 trial had been held up and that the perpetrators and the prime accused continued to roam freely in Pakistan, sources said.
Bisaria is also said to have shared India’s concerns at the lack of progress in investigations in Pathankot airbase terror attack despite detailed evidence being shared and a visit by the joint investigation team.
Sources said High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria also pointed out to the Pakistan acting foreign secretary that Pakistan is yet to take credible and irreversible steps against Jaish-e-Mohammad, other terror entities and individuals, despite a detailed dossier having been shared after Pulwama attack.