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India not impressed by Azhar detention, wants ‘action’

India was not impressed by detention of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi by Pakistan, saying it was ‘nothing’ as compared to what has been demanded by it.

India was not impressed by detention of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar and Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi by Pakistan, saying it was ‘nothing’ as compared to what has been demanded by it.

Looking for ‘concrete’ action by Pakistan in terms of closing down the terror camps and handover of 20 terrorists, India will be watching what further steps Islamabad will be taking.

“It is nothing,” sources in the government said when asked to comment on the detention of Azhar and Lakhwi along with some LeT commanders under US pressure.

They underlined that India wants Azhar, Lakhwi and 19 other faces of terror to be handed over, for which a demarche has already been issued to Pakistan.

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Pakistan has ruled out handing over any of them.

The government sources in New Delhi pointed out that Azhar was detained by Pakistan at least twice in the past, without taking any concrete action to stop his or his group’s activities.

Azhar, who had formed Jaish-e-Mohammad soon after his release by India in exchange for the hostages of hijacked Indian Airlines plane in 1999, was detained soon after the attack on Parliament in 2001.

He was, however, released after a few months when a review board of Lahore High Court examined his case.

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He was detained again in 2003 after a suicide attack on then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf but the restrictions did not last long.

On President Asif Ali Zardari’s pledge to take action against ‘non-state actors’ responsible for Mumbai terror attacks, India feels Pakistan should ‘walk the talk’ and act quickly against the terror groups as desired by New Delhi.

India is also preparing a response to Pakistan’s reply to its demarche. The Indian response is expected in a couple of days, the sources said.

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In its demarche last week, the Ministry of External Affairs had asked Pakistan to hand over 20 terrorists, including Azhar, LeT chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim.

Pakistan on Monday turned down India’s demand for handover of the wanted men, citing absence of extradition treaty and said it would itself take action against individuals if information provided by New Delhi proved they were involved in terrorism.

Pakistan said action against Pakistani nationals, if found involved, would be taken as per its own laws.

Zardari, in an article in ‘New York Times’, said all ‘non-state actors’ found in his country would be treated like ‘terrorists and murderers’ as Pakistan was committed to ‘pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks.’

Zardari said Mumbai attacks were directed not only against India but also against Pakistan’s new democratic government and the peace process ‘we have initiated with New Delhi.’

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“Supporters of authoritarianism in Pakistan and non-state actors with vested interest in perpetuating conflict do not want change in Pakistan to take root,” he wrote.

First published on: 09-12-2008 at 07:30:43 pm
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