‘Pakistan trying to fool the world’: India
India on Thursday rubbished Pakistan’s contention that wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim wasn’t based in the country, saying Islamabad was trying to “hoodwink” the world community with its claims of action against terrorists operating from it soil.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar also played down the booking of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed and 12 other terrorists by Pakistani authorities in cases of terror financing, and reiterated India’s demand for verifiable and irreversible action against designated individuals and groups.
A short while after Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told a briefing in Islamabad that Ibrahim was not in the country, Kumar told reporters in Delhi: “The location of Dawood Ibrahim is not a secret. Time and again over the last few years, India has presented a list of people in their country. We have asked repeatedly that he should be handed over.”
He added, “When it comes to taking action against people whom we have demanded, either you ignore, go into denial mode and even deny they exist in your country. But on the other hand, you try to hoodwink the international community that you are taking some action against terrorists.”
During the extradition trial in London of Jabir Motiwala, an alleged aide of Ibrahim, the US government’s counsel told the judge that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was probing the underworld don’s organisation based in Pakistan. The counsel also said Ibrahim lived in Pakistan.
Ibrahim was accused of masterminding the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed nearly 260 people and Indian officials say he fled to Pakistan soon after. He reportedly lives in the port city of Karachi and has been designated a global terrorist by the US and the UN.
Responding to a question on the booking of Saeed and 12 other operatives of LeT and Jamaat-ud-Dawa in cases of terror financing by Pakistani authorities, Kumar said India won’t be “fooled by these cosmetic steps”.
“Pakistan’s sincerity to take action against terrorists and terror groups will be judged on the basis of its ability to demonstrate verifiable, credible and irreversible action on terrorists and terror groups operating from their soil, and not on the basis of half-hearted measures which it undertakes to hoodwink the international community,” he said.
Kumar said external affairs minister S Jaishankar will attend the Commonwealth foreign ministers’ meeting in London on July 10, but there were no plans for a meeting with his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
According to Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, Pakistan is trying to be seen as a country that is complying with what the international community expects of it in terms of counter-terrorism protocols. “But from whatever one is able to see, these steps appear to be cosmetic,” he said.
“If the Pakistani state wants to, it can move in a very resolute and ruthless manner as we have seen in the past 25 years. Hafiz Saeed is still being treated with kid gloves,” he added.
Referring to the meeting of Indian and Pakistani officials at Wagah on July 14 to finalise modalities for the Kartarpur corridor, Raveesh Kumar said New Delhi and Islamabad still had some differences on the project, which will be discussed at the talks.
India is committed to the cross-border corridor to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan in view of the sentiments and wishes of the Sikh community, and will work to ensure their passage to the shrine in an “easy, secure and free manner”.