Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik has claimed that India has not provided any "credible evidence" against 26/11 mastermind and LeT chief Hafiz Saeed. Prasanna D Zore reports.
While India and Pakistan seem to have started a journey on their way to "create history", one crucial issue, among many others, that could possibly stem this progress is the trial of 26/11 terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Kasab and Pakistan's inability to take action against Lashkar-e-Tayiba chief Hafiz Saeed.
And the bone of contention here, in bringing to justice the masterminds of the ghastly terror attack in Mumbai, is the obstinacy shown by Pakistan in not taking substantive action against LeT chief Saeed.
Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai reiterated India's stand that they have given Pakistan enough information that could give them leads to take action against India's terrorist number one, Saeed.
Interestingly, it is exactly this contention of the Indian side that the Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik is contending.
"The Indian side is giving us only information and dossiers but no 'credible evidence,'" Malik told rediff.com at the sidelines of the inaugural session of the 17th SAARC Summit in Addu city, Maldives.
He defended the Pakistani position by saying that even if the Pakistani government arrests Hafiz Saeed, they won't be able to prove his complicity in Pakistani courts based on "information" given by India.
"We have provided a great deal of information to Pakistan which should give enough leads to the Pakistani authorities to be able to take the case forward," India's foreign secretary said during a press briefing responding to rediff.com's question whether the two sides have decided upon what could possibly constitute "credible evidence" for Pakistan.
Knowing fully well that an incarcerated Kasab is no threat to the Pakistani establishment, Malik, earlier in the day, had admitted that Kasab was a terrorist and must be sent to the gallows.
"If the Pakistani interior minister thinks that Kasab must be sent to the gallows then he is saying this based on the information we provided to them," Mathai said indicating that the Pakistani side considers that proof enough to send Kasab to the gallows.
Kasab's confessional statement, that formed part of evidence in the Indian courts that convicted Kasab, is among other information that India gave Pakistan to nail Kasab and his mastermind Hafiz Saeed.
In fact, Malik had earlier stated that the criminal procedure code and penal codes in both India and Pakistan were almost identical. This could, perhaps, give some hope to the Indian side that the information they handed over to Pakistanis is enough for them to take action against Saeed and LeT.
In this context the visit of the Pakistani judicial commission to record statements of 26/11's chief investigating officer, metropolitan magistrate who convicted Kasab on various counts of IPC and the two doctors who examined Kasab could become crucial in a war of words and semantics that Malik and the Pakistanis have so deftly built into their strategy to protect the Let chief.