Pakistan could seek Kasab’s custody, India rejects idea (Roundup)

February 14th, 2009 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad/New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Pakistan said Saturday it might seek the custody of Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist captured during the Mumbai mayhem, if its investigations require this, but India immediately nixed the idea.

“If Ajmal Kasab is needed for the investigation process, then India could be asked (to hand) him over,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Karachi.

India was quick to react, saying there was no way this could happen.

“The crime was committed in India. There is no question of handing Kasab to them. In fact, Pakistan should hand over to India the other suspects they’ve arrested because they were responsible for this terror attack. It can’t be the other way around,” sources in the Indian external affairs ministry said in New Delhi.

“On what basis do we send Kasab out there? The crime was committed out here (in Mumbai), therefore logic and reasoning demands that the suspects who they’ve rounded up be sent here (to India),” the sources said.

According to Malik, “we first had to register an FIR (first information report on the Mumbai strikes). This has been done. Now, if our investigators recommend, we will ask for access to him (Kasab),” Malik added.

“So far, we have not asked for Kasab’s custody,” the minister pointed out.

He said Kasab was one of the eight suspects named in the FIR registered by the Federal Investigation Agency on the Mumbai strikes. Six of the suspects have been arrested while two are at large.

Kasab is currently in the custody of the Mumbai police. More than 170 people, among them 26 foreigners, were killed in the Nov 26-29, 2008 carnage that New Delhi says was conducted by 10 terrorists who came from Pakistan. Indian security forces killed nine of the attackers after an operation that lasted for more than 60 hours.

Reiterating what he had stated Thursday when he admitted that the Mumbai attacks were “partly” planned in Pakistan, Malik urged India to respond to the queries it had raised on the dossier New Delhi had submitted Jan 5 pointing to the involvement of elements from this country in the Mumbai carnage.

“We have asked India for more information so that we can go to court. We are accountable to the people of Pakistan and to the courts and we want to ensure justice is delivered,” Malik maintained.

“We have to protect the interests of the nation. We have to ensure that the interests of our people are protected,” he added.

Pakistan has previously been in denial mode on Kasab’s nationality, with both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani doubting he belonged to this country.

However, after media investigations proved that Kasab belonged to Faridkot village in Punjab province, then National Security Adviser Maj. Gen. (retd) Mahmud Ali Durrani Jan 7 owned up to his nationality.

Gilani promptly sacked Durrani for his “irresponsible behaviour”.

Pakistan has also turned down an Indian demand for extraditing two commanders of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group - Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah - whom New Delhi has accused of planning the Mumbai mayhem.

Pakistani security forces had arrested the duo in December 2008 during a raid on the offices of the Jamatud Daawa that the LeT had morphed into after being banned in the wake of the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament that New Delhi has blamed on the terror group.

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