India conveys disappointment, to muster global pressure over Saeed’s release (Roundup)

June 3rd, 2009 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) India Wednesday conveyed to Pakistan its “disappointment” over the release of Hafiz Saeed, the suspected mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and made it clear that normalisation of relations will be difficult till terrorism flowing from Pakistani soil is stopped.
India also underlined that it was in touch with the international community, specially the US, to pressure Pakistan to act against terrorism.

“We conveyed our disappointment at the release of Saeed. We made clear what we thought about it,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters after his meeting with Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shahid Malik.

The Pakistani envoy had sought a meeting with Menon a day after the Lahore High Court released Saeed, the chief of the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamist charity accused of complicity in the Mumbai attacks.

Menon also conveyed to Malik it was regrettable that Saeed, whose outfit has been proscribed by the UN Security Council, has been released despite his background and underlined that such a move raised questions over Pakistan’s sincerity in tacking action against the Mumbai attackers.

Malik told Menon about the actions taken by the Pakistan government against the suspected perpetrators of the Nov 26 Mumbai carnage in which 10 Pakistani terrorists that killed over 170 people.

The Pakistani envoy also requested that some portions of court-certified evidence India had provided in its dossier on the Mumbai attacks be translated into English and handed over to Islamabad.

India agreed to the request as it had given Pakistan documents in Marathi language.

The envoy said the Pakistan government was considering legal options to appeal against the court order to release Saeed, who had been put under house arrest Dec 11 for suspected involvement in the Mumbai attacks.

He, however, said any decision on this issue will be taken only after getting the text of the court verdict.

India made it clear that although it was looking to normalise relations with Islamabad through diplomatic channels, it won’t be possible as long as terrorism directed against it continues from Pakistani territory.

“The developments are disturbing. We are closely monitoring the developments,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here when asked to comment on the release of Saeed, the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba that has morphed into JuD after it was banned in 2001.

“India will work through the diplomatic channels to pursue the objective of bringing about normalcy in our relationship with Pakistan,” said Krishna.

Menon stressed that the normalisation won’t be possible “so long as terrorism directed from Pakistan’s soil against India continues.”

Saeed was put under house arrest in early December after a UN Security Council committee added him and JuD to a list of people and organisations linked to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

India is in touch with its friends in the international community over Saeed’s release. India will also press the UN to include the names of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masoos Azhar, Abdur Rahman Makki (LeT) and Azam Cheema (LeT) in the list of terrorists and terrorist entities.

US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke told the Geo news channel in Islamabad Wednesday that the Obama administration is “disturbed” by the release of Saeed.

Hours after the release of Saeed, Krishna Tuesday met US’ Charge d’Affaires A. Peter Burleigh and discussed terrorism in Pakistan.

The Mumbai attacks and Pakistan’s perceived inaction against plotters and perpetrators of the Mumbai terror spree will figure prominently in discussions between India and the US when Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns comes to New Delhi next week.

The issue will be also discussed when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits India in July.

Under pressure from India and the US over the release of Saeed, Pakistan Wednesday said it will take “appropriate action” if there is anything “objectionable” about the conduct of the JuD chief.

If Saeed’s conduct is “objectionable”, the government will take action, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said.

“The interior ministry and Punjab government will see as to what appropriate action they have to take in this regard,” he added.

Pakistan, however, added that India’s views on Saeed’s release are “misplaced” as it is “best not to comment on a court decision”.

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