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India’s to-do list to Pak: Give us Dawood, Syed Salahuddin

It is still not clear exactly who has been placed in preventive detention by Pakistan in the face of global pressure following the Pulwama suicide bombing of February that was claimed by JeM.

india Updated: Mar 16, 2019 23:23 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
pakistan,india,dawood ibrahim
Pakistan can demonstrate its seriousness about cracking down on terror by handing over proscribed Indian nationals based on its soil, such as Dawood Ibrahim and Syed Salahuddin, people familiar with developments said on Saturday.(Dawood Ibrahim)

Pakistan can demonstrate that it is serious about cracking down on terror by handing over proscribed Indian nationals based on its soil,like Dawood Ibrahim and Syed Salahuddin, as all actions taken so far by Islamabad have been cosmetic, people familiar with the Indian government’s thinking said on Saturday.

At the same time, India is prepared for the long haul on the effort to get Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar listed as a “global terrorist” by the UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee, despite being disappointed with the hold placed by China on the latest effort by France, the US and Britain to sanction him, the people said on condition of anonymity.

It is still not clear exactly who has been placed in preventive detention by Pakistan in the face of global pressure following the February 14 Pulwama suicide bombing that was claimed by JeM, and Islamabad could show it is serious about reining in terror by handing over Indians wanted for terrorism and major crimes based on its soil, including mob boss Ibrahim and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Salahuddin, they added. Indian officials say Ibrahim, designated a global terrorist by the US and the UN and wanted for the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people, lives in Karachi. Salahuddin, also a designated global terrorist, operates from bases in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Rawalpindi.

The people further said Pakistan can work with third countries for international verification of terrorist camps on Pakistani soil, whose precise coordinates have been shared by India.

They described all the action taken by Pakistan since it launched a crackdown onMarch 5 as cosmetic, with authorities only changing the signs outside facilities run by groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, both fronts of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and appointing so-called administrators.

While expressing disappointment with China’s hold on the latest move to sanction Azhar, the people said this was not a block and India is cautiously confident that the JeM chief will eventually be listed by the UN Security Council. India will be patient because even China is aware that terrorism originates from Pakistan and there are terror groups on Pakistani soil working against Chinese interests, they added.

The support for listing Azhar from all but one of the 15 members of the UN Security Council also reflected Pakistan’s lack of credibility, and India will not make any compromises or cut any deal for the sanctioning of the JeM chief, said a person familiar with the negotiations on this matter. India is hopeful that the listing will eventually go ahead in days or months, and not years, the person added.

During their recent interactions with foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, key members of the Donald Trump administration and members of the Senate and House of Representatives had conveyed strong support for India and accepted New Delhi’s contention that it had acted in self-defence and with restraint after the Pulwama attack that killed at least 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers , the people cited above said. Gokhale was in the US during March 11-13.

At the same time, there was acknowledgement from American interlocutors that Pakistan hadn’t taken adequate steps in the past to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and that it usually resorted to the same pattern on conducting a crackdown and then letting off terrorists when international pressure had eased, the people added.

On February 26, Indian Air Force (IAF) jets bombed a JeM camp in Balakot in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan in what New Delhi described as a non military pre-emptive action. On February 27, after an air skirmish over the Line of Control in which the two countries lost one fighter plane each, Pakistan captured IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whom it released on March 1 in the face of pressure from the international community to lower tensions.

Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, said the Indian government may need to a rethink its efforts to get Pakistan to crack down on terrorism.

“India’s ability to get Pakistan to comply in relation to cracking down on terror groups that attack India is limited and the recent Chinese action was a case in point,” he said. “The challenge of terrorism is going to be increasingly determined by political filters and India will have to go back to the drawing board,” he added.

First Published: Mar 16, 2019 14:17 IST