ISLAMABAD Pakistan on Monday turned down renewed Indian requests for the extradition of three fugitives while reiterating its demand for evidence sharing in connection with Mumbai attacks one week ago, diplomatic sources confirmed to Dawn.
This was communicated to India in a demarche by foreign secretary Salman Bashir to the Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal in response to an Indian request to hand over three men wanted in India in connection with terror activities.
'India has been told that of the three fugitives, Pakistan doesn't know the whereabouts of two of them, who are Indian nationals - the infamous Mumbai crime kingpin, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, while evidence is needed for action against the third wanted man Maulana Masood Azhar, who heads the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad and is a Pakistani,' a source said.
This claim was corroborated by the Defense Committee of the Cabinet (DCC), which met earlier in the day with Prime Minister Gilani in chair and is believed to have approved the response to India's demarche. The DCC had settled on 'taking all actions within the ambit of Pakistani law'.
There is no extradition treaty between India and Pakistan, therefore handing over the three men to India becomes out of question, the source confirmed.
The three men are accused of orchestrating previous attacks in India, but no evidence linking them to the Mumbai incident - in which over 175 people were killed - has been made available, sources say.
Pakistan's demarche noted that it had started its own investigations into the Mumbai attacks, but progress was constrained by a lack of information sharing between India and Pakistan regarding the incident.
'The High Commissioner was informed that the Government of Pakistan had initiated investigations on its own into the allegations that have surfaced concerning involvement of any individual or entity in Pakistan in the Mumbai attacks,' Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said. He added that to carry forward investigations, detailed information and evidence was required.
In this context, the Foreign Office reiterated its suggestion for joint investigations
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice told reporters at Chaklala Airbase in Islamabad that enough information was available and 'it wasn't an issue of information sharing'.
HIGH LEVEL DELEGATION
Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir also proposed that a high level delegation from Pakistan visit New Delhi at the earliest opportunity as part of Pakistan's offer for joint investigations.
The proposed delegation would comprise of FIA officials, intelligence personnel and Foreign Office diplomats.