India intensifies pressure on banning JuD, wants fugitives back (With India seeks ban on Jamat-ud-Dawah; Pakistan talks of war )

December 10th, 2008 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Islamabad/New York, Dec 10 (IANS) With Pakistan dilly-dallying over banning a militant outfit suspected of plotting the Mumbai attacks, India Wednesday intensified pressure on Islamabad to proscribe the Jamat-ud-Dawa and to hand over fugitives from Indian law accused of major terror strikes in the country. “There is already a pending request with the UN Security Council. It’s a successor organisation to Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT),” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters in New Delhi when asked about Pakistan’s response to India’s demand for banning JuD.

“Let’s hope they respond positively to our request,” Menon said referring to India’s request Tuesday to the UN Security Council to declare the Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) a terrorist group.

The JuD is widely considered a new incarnation of LeT, which is suspected of having a hand in the Dec 13, 2001, attack on the Indian parliament and of masterminding the Nov 26, 2008, Mumbai terror strikes. Pakistan banned LeT in 2002, but it has since resurrected itself as JuD, which serves as its public front and manages Islamic charities and schools.

Menon’s response signalled India’s wariness with what it sees as Pakistan’s “token” strikes against some militant operatives like LeT commanders Zakiur Rahman Lakhwi and Zarrar Shah, who are seen as top masterminds behind the Mumbai carnage.

New Delhi wants Islamabad to take concrete action that will show its political will to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in that country, top Indian government sources, who did not wish to be named, said in New Delhi.

Days after Islamabad rejected New Delhi’s demand for handing over fugitives from Indian law suspected of plotting major criminal and terrorist activities, India Wednesday put Pakistan to “sincerity test”. If Pakistan was really serious about cracking down on anti-India terrorists, it should ban terror camps and hand over most wanted criminals to be tried under the Indian law, New Delhi said.

“The Indian government is not satisfied with the steps taken by Pakistan to deal with terrorism so far,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan told reporters in Jammu.

“We want terrorist activities, like running of training camps, to be shut down in Pakistan and will pressurise Islamabad to deport criminals who were involved in terrorist activities on our soil,” he said.

“The criminals will be tried in India and they will be allowed to defend themselves,” he added. “As a measure of goodwill, they must hand over criminals who are wanted in India for crimes like terrorism and against whom legal processes are going on,” he added.

“These criminals must be returned,” Chavan stressed.

Chavan also repudiated Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s assertion that such terrorists would be tried in Pakistan if India provided proof of their involvement in terrorist activities. New Delhi has given enough proof and now wanted them to be deported to this side, Chavan said.

India has asked Pakistan to hand over at least three fugitives - mob boss Dawood Ibrahim, suspected of masterminding the 1993 Mumbai violence; Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JuM) and a top suspect in the Dec 13, 2001, attack on Indian parliament; and Hafez Mohammed Saeed, the LeT chief who is suspected of having masterminded the Nov 26 Mumbai carnage.

Ruling out any possibility of war with Pakistan, the minister said the confidence-building measures (CBMs) have been affected between the two countries after the Mumbai terror strikes.

Confirming the arrests of Lakhwi and Shah, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Wednesday said they “have been detained for investigation.”

On Tuesday, India made a forceful pitch at the UN Security Council special session for declaring the JuD a terrorist group.

“The Jamat-ud-Dawa and other such organisations need to be proscribed internationally and effective sanctions imposed against them,” Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told the 15-member council in New York.

Bowing to India’s demand and pressure from the international community, Pakistani Ambassador to the UN Abdullah Hussain Haroon told the Security Council that his country would proscribe the Jamat-ud-Dawa.

“The government of Pakistan has already initiated investigations on its own pertaining to the allegations of involvement of persons and entities in the Mumbai attacks,” Haroon said.

“After the designation by the Indian government of the Jamat-ud-Dawa under 1267, the (Pakistani) government upon receiving this instruction shall proscribe the JuD and take consequential action as required, including the freezing of assets,” he added.

Pakistan Wednesday took a defensive stand with National Security Advisor (NSA) Mahmud Ali Durrani stating that action would be taken against the Jamat-ud-Dawa if it was found guilty of terrorist activity after investigations were over and not because India said so.

But soon Pakistan showed signs of prevarication. “If they (Jamat-ud-Dawa) are involved in terrorist activity, we will surely take action against them but only after investigations are over and not because India says so,” Durrani told an Indian news channel.

Gilani, too, struck a defensive note saying that Pakistan would not act under India’s pressure and would decide on banning the JuD only after conducting an independent probe into the organization’s activities.

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