Musharraf was ‘really upset’ when asked to hand over Dawood: Advani (Lead)

October 4th, 2008 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez MusharrafNew Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had “got really upset” when he was asked, during the 2001 Agra summit, to handover mobster Dawood Ibrahim to India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani recalled Saturday of his talks with Musharraf on the occasion.Speaking here at a seminar on “War on Terrorism”, Advani said he had made his request to Musharraf even before reaching Agra for the summit. “I told Musharraf that I had just signed an extradition treaty with Turkey, and India and Pakistan should think about it. Musharraf agreed.

“I then added that even if there is no extradition treaty you should hand over Dawood Ibrahim to India, because the court and intelligence reports charged him him for his role in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. After this, he (Musharraf) got really upset,” Advani narrated.

At least 257 people were killed in the 1993 Mumbai serial bombings.

Elaborating on the reason why the Agra summit had failed, he said: “When Musharraf took a stand that there is no terrorism in India and in Jammu and Kashmir, there could be no agreement (with Pakistan). The step was justified and showed the government’s zero tolerance approach towards terrorism.”

Advani also said that calling Musharraf over was a political decision, taken by Advani and by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He added that terrorism has been the strategy of Pakistan to “destabilise and debilitate” India for the past 30 years.

“Pakistan knew that it could not defeat India in conventional warfare, so it started funding terrorism in the country, which is much cheaper and a lot more effective,” he pointed out.

Infamous for his quote that “Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims” while he was home minister in the National Democratic Alliance government, Advani Saturday said that it was “wrong to malign a particular religion and it was also counterproductive”.

“Even if the Quran is quoted in threatening emails by terrorists, we should not malign a religion. It is the particular interpretation of Al Qaida type of groups,” Advani said.

He added that Hindu scriptures could also be misinterpreted and it would be “intolerable if people malign Hindutva because of that”.

Advani defended the party’s repeated demand for reviving the anti-terror law Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), and said: “We accepted the Supreme Court’s directions and precautions to check misuse of the law. This shows the determination of the BJP to make proper laws.”

He said that in normal conditions the accused does not have to prove his innocence, the liability is on the prosecution to prove him guilty. “But these are different situations and it is totally justified that the accused has to prove his innocence.”

“The attitude to fight terrorism is more important than the law,” he remarked and accused the Congress-led UPA government of lacking in it.

“The government cannot provide security to its citizen and Delhi’s chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s remark about the murdered journalist of being ‘adventurous’ is totally outrageous,” Advani said.

He also condemned the writings of authors like Omar Khalidi in “Khaki and Ethnic Violence in India”, and Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy. According to Advani, Khalidi’s book accuses the police force in India of being deeply prejudiced against the minority community while Arundhati has blamed the government for the 2001 parliament attack in her writing.

“What kind of obnoxious writings are these? How can you have books of these kinds being published?” asked Advani.

The BJP has intensified its campaign for the general election due next year and is attacking the United Progressive Alliance government on the issue of terrorism. The seminar is one of many planned to mobilise people against the UPA government on its main election plank - to fight terrorism.

The seminar was organised by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a BJP-sponsored think tank.

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