Terrorist camps exist but no action in Pakistan, says Burney

December 11th, 2008 - 6:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Dec 11 (IANS) Pakistani human rights activist and former minister Ansar Burney Thursday said that terrorist training camps existed inside Pakistan but nobody was taking firm action against them. Burney, who is here to gather information about Indian and Pakistani prisoners languishing in jails of either ountry, said the frequent terrorist attacks inside Pakistan were testimony to the fact the training camps existed.

“Sabko pata hai ki woh wahan hain (Everyone knows that they are there). Sadly, no one is taking firm action against them,” he told IANS here.

However, Burney said if any terrorist was caught inside Pakistan, he should not be handed over, as India is demanding, but should be tried in courts there.

“We should not look towards any third party like the US to resolve this problem. Instead, our intelligence should identify the culprits, arrest them and produce them before the court for speedy trials in their own respective countries,” he said.

He said that terrorism cannot be ended by supplying lists of terrorists and demanding they be handed over.

“India has given an old list of alleged terrorists to Pakistan government that they want. They gave the same list some years back and there is no change in the names. But this is just a political gimmick and I am sure that Indian government will soon forget this list also,” Burney said.

He noted that Pakistan had also given a list of suspected terrorists to India which included the names of politicians Lal Krishan Advani and Bal Thackeray.

“One day, the Indian government can also demand some Pakistani political leader from us. No sensible man on this earth will vouch for this option to end terrorism,” he said.

Burney said he found it strange that while the Coast Guards of both countries were arresting scores of innocent fishermen everyday in the sea for enetering their territorial waters, the terrorists who are supposed to have come from Karachi, faced no problem.

“The poor fishermen from both sides keep languishing in prisons. No one cares for them,” he said.

Burney, who played an important role in the release in March this year of Indian prisoner Kashmir Singh after he spent 35 years in Pakistani jails, said he came to Chandigarh to take up the case of Madan Lal (60), a resident of Hisar district in Haryana, who is languishing in Pakistan jails for the last 40 years.

Lal’s family members were in contact with him till 1986 and a fisherman who was released from a Lahore jail in 2007 told them that Lal is languishing there, Burney said.

A petition has also been filed in this regard at the Punjab and Haryana High Court here and Burney will pursue the case in Pakistan.

“According to official figures, around 700 Pakistanis are languishing in Indian jails and an equal number of Indians are languishing in Pakistan’s jails. Nevertheless, I believe the actual number is very high as many of the cases go unnoticed”, he said.

Referring to the case of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is on the death row in Pakistan, Burney said: “I do not know whether he was a secret agent or not, but his report says he is innocent.”

He said he had managed to secure an indefinite stay on Sarabjit’s execution.

“Sarabjit has already spent 17 years in jail, so if the government converts his death penalty into life imprisonment, then he will be out of the jail in the next one or two years”, he said.

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