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Pak should hand over Dawood: Advani

BJP leader LK Advani also says it is the first time that Islamabad has officially admitted that the notorious gangster is taking shelter in their country.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, Hyderabad
UPDATED ON MAY 17, 2008 08:34 PM IST

Pakistan should fulfil its promise of handing over terror mastermind Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in connection with the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani said in Hyderabad on Saturday.

Welcoming the statement of Pakistan Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gillani that Islamabad would hand over Dawood, provided India furnishes the evidence of his guilt, Advani said the criminal mastermind's guilt had already been proved.

"I am happy about the statement firstly because it is the first time that it has been officially admitted that Dawoood Ibrahim is in Pakistan," Advani told a news conference in Hyderabad during his stopover while going to Karnataka for the party's election campaign.

The prime ministerial candidate of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) argued that there were formidable grounds for Pakistan to fulfil its promise of handing over Dawood.

"A guilt has to be proved before the court of law but in the case of Dawood Ibrahim, the fact that the Interpol has declared him an absconder, the fact that the US has declared him an international terrorist and the fact that the Indian courts, which have punished many others who were behind the 1993 serial blasts, have declared Dawood as an absconder from law, these are very formidable basis for the government of Pakistan to carry out its promise of handing over Dawood Ibrahim to India for trial," Advani said.

The BJP leader did not agree that India-Pakistan relations had started deteriorating in the aftermath of the Jaipur serial bombings and the firing by Pakistani forces on Indian border posts.

"We believe that on cross border terrorism the government should have zero tolerance attitude. This would be my stress. Once the government of India does this, the consequence would be that our relations with our neighbors will improve," he said.

Advani also came down heavily on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for its failure to deal with terrorism.

"Numerous terrorist attacks have taken place during the last four years. It is significant that since 2004 in all the terrorist attacks that have taken place, not in a single case have the culprits been charge sheeted and brought before the courts of law," he said, alleging that the government's failure was threatening national security.

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