We need hard evidence against JuD Chief Hafiz Saeed: Malik
By PTI - NEW DELHI
15th December 2012 04:02 PM
Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik today virtually rejected India's demand for action against 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed on the basis of dossiers provided so far, saying "hard" and "substantive" evidence is needed to arrest him.
"There is a difference between information and evidence.
If I am given hard evidence now, if it is substantive, documentary or any material, before I leave for Pakistan, I will order his (Saeed) arrest," Malik, who is on a three-day visit, told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
He said if India had provided hard evidence against Saeed, founder of terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), nobody could have stopped Pakistan from acting against him.
"I have got him arrested earlier on three occasions and if you see the court order which I can also make them public... So, if our court asks us not to arrest him, tell me what is the fault of the executive," Malik said.
He said this does not mean that no action would be initiated against Saeed in the absence of it.
"The investigation is on. The moment we see some kind of connection we will surely act," he said.
On the issue of pending trial against perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Malik said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had forcefully put his point of view during the talks.
Malik said he also agreed that they should be punished swiftly.
Malik said during the meeting with Indian leaders the issue of voice samples of perpetrators of 26/11 terror attack
was raised but Pakistan law restricts taking voice samples
without the consent of the accused.
"The matter of voice sample was raised. Media also raised the issue here. Our law says that we cannot take a voice sample of an individual unless he has given his permission.
Our letter is pending with the High Court there where we have requested that we should be permitted to take voice sample," he said.
Malik expressed satisfaction that the issue of judicial commission, which was pending for quite some time, has been resolved with the help of Shinde.
India has agreed to Pakistan's request for sending a second judicial commission here to cross examine key witnesses of the 26/11 case but wanted Pakistan to allow a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to visit that country.
Malik said once judicial commission examined the witnesses and return, the trial would conclude very soon.
NIA to visit Pakistan in January on 26/11 probe: Malik
India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) probing the 26/11 attacks is likely to visit Pakistan in mid-January while a Pakistani judicial panel could visit India next week, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said here Saturday.
In an interview with NDTV news channel, Malik said that the matter was discussed during his meeting with Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Friday evening. "And yesterday we have worked out a way forward so that the (Pakistani) judicial commission may come next week," said Malik.
He added that he had "even offered to let them go with me." Malik said he has invited the NIA "in the middle of January".
"Let the director general of FIA (Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency) and NIA sit together and resolve issues," said the interior minister, who arrived Friday evening.
Shinde had raised the issue of the NIA team's visit during his meeting with Malik on the sidelines of the SAARC ministerial meeting in the Maldives in September.
The NIA wants to go to Pakistan to examine material evidence against key masterminds and accused in the 2008 attacks that claimed 166 lives.
An eight-member Pakistani judicial commission had visited India in March this year following a bilateral agreement.
The panel, which included prosecutors and defence lawyers, visited Mumbai and interviewed a judge who recorded the statement of terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab during the Mumbai attacks trial, a senior police official and two doctors who conducted the autopsies on the terrorists' bodies involved in the attacks and their victims.
Malik said that Shinde had taken up the matter of voice samples of the 26/11 handlers, which India hopes to match with the ones on tape giving directions during the 2008 attacks.
He said according to Pakistan's law the voice samples "cannot be given unless the permission is given by accused himself".
"We have moved the high court on the matter of (Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zakiur Rehman) Lakhvi's voice sample and it is pending there," he said, adding that the high court was reminded two weeks ago.
"The job of investigators and prosecutors is to bring the matter before court".'
To a question on hastening the trial of the seven people, including Lakhvi in a Rawalpindi court, he said: "We are trying our best to have the trial on a day to day basis. That application is before the court." The hearing is now once a week.
Malik said the petition on former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination has been before the court for the past four years.
"You must see our determination... We have discussed all the matters that in the past brought some irritation," said the Pakistani minister.
On LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, Malik said the Mumbai attacks mastermind had been bailed out thrice by the court and "we have been prohibited to arrest him, these are the orders of the high court".
He repeated his statement of Friday, asking India to provide "substantive evidence (against Saeed) that can stand the test of court".
He said the Mumbai attacks trial was proceeding according to Pakistan's judicial system. "Kasab's trial was according to India's judicial system, and when Kasab was hanged we never said anything," said Malik.
"We have done our best to arrest Saeed, and he was bailed out every time. Do you want me to violate the court? If we respect your courts, we expect you to respect our courts.
"I have said if you have substantive evidence on Saeed give it to me before I leave and I will ensure he is arrested by the time I land.. But if I arrest on hearsay, it will not stand before court," he said. - IANS
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