Expressing “deep anguish” that families of 26/11 victims still await closure, India on Monday said that Pakistan is showing “little sincerity” in bringing perpetrators to justice since the planners of 26/11 still roam on the streets of Pakistan with “impunity” – a reference to Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and Jamaat-ud Dawa’s founder Hafiz Saeed.
The US too mounted pressure on Monday, as it announced a USD 5 million reward – about Rs 35 crore – for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual who committed, conspired, aided or abetted the 2008 Mumbai attack. Six Americans were among the 166 victims of the assault.
New Delhi welcomed the US move, and said, “We welcome the statement issued today by the United States calling on Pakistan to uphold their UN Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, including Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and its affiliates.”
New Delhi also asked Islamabad to give up “double standards” and expeditiously bring the attackers to justice, and reminded that it is not just a matter of Pakistan’s accountability to the victim’s families, but is also an “international obligation”.
The MEA statement said, “The 26/11 terrorist attack was planned, executed and launched from Pakistan territory. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan had earlier this year admitted that the terrorists were sent from Pakistan’s soil. We once again call on the Government of Pakistan to give up double standards and to expeditiously bring the perpetrators of the horrific attack to justice. This is not just a matter of Pakistan’s accountability to the families of the innocent victims who fell to terrorists, but also an international obligation.”
The MEA reference to a former Prime Minister’s admission was based on Nawaz Sharif’s comments. In a May interview to Dawn, a leading daily in Pakistan, Sharif had said, “Should Pakistan allow militants/non-state actors to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?…Why can’t we complete the trial?”
The victims of the three-day attack hailed from 15 countries, and Delhi has tried to strike a chord with the international community through the 10th anniversary statement. The MEA had not issued statements on previous anniversaries of the attack.
Interestingly, this comes at a time when there is a hint of a thaw in the bilateral ties, after Pakistan agreed to an Indian request to build a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib for easy movement of Sikh pilgrims to the shrine, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev.