ISLAMABAD, Jan 19: Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar said on Saturday that the government would hand over to India a list of people involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan for their extradition.
Speaking at a joint press conference along with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley here at the Foreign Office, he said: “We have names on our list and we will forward the list to the Indian government in due course of time so that the exchange of criminals is done on reciprocal basis.”
The foreign minister did not disclose the names or the number of terrorists who had reportedly fled to India after committing acts of terrorism in Pakistan.
Reiterating government’s resolve not to extradite any Pakistani to India, Abdul Sattar said among those wanted by New Delhi included six Pakistanis and there was no question of handing them over to India.
“As far as extradition of non-Pakistanis is concerned, it involves a complex legal and political procedure,” he said.
The government, he added, had been examining background information about these criminals, which was provided by India only on Friday night through the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi.
When asked whether the government was considering extradition of non-Pakistanis as indicated by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, he said the government was examining the background information carefully and the decision would be taken only on merit.
Mr Sattar said the government was tracing these criminals as it had not yet checked how many of them were in official custody.
The foreign minister said the Indian list contained names of some criminals who had been involved in cases as old as the hijacking case of 1981.
The Indian authorities just picked up the old files and made the demand for their repatriation, he said.
Mr Sattar, however, said in principle no country should provide refuge to the people wanted in criminal cases in other countries.
Earlier, speaking at the press conference Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley said that Canada supported implementation of the UN Security Council resolution which called for holding plebiscite in Kashmir.
“Canada did support the resolution and still it does,” Mr Manley said and added that Canada historically supported UN resolutions and participated in the peace-keeping operations in different parts of the world.
Mr Manley who arrived here this morning paid a call on President Pervez Musharraf before holding talks with Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and Commerce Minister Razzak Dawood. He will leave for New Delhi on Sunday.
The Canadian deputy prime minister said Canada would encourage India to hold dialogues with Pakistan for resolving all outstanding issues including Kashmir.
When asked to comment on the concern voiced by the United Nations and Britain over the inhumane treatment to Al Qaeda members recently shifted to the US base in Cuba, he said they expected the US to observe the norms of justice. He said there was an issue on the application of Geneva Convention over these prisoners.
To a question about trade with Pakistan, he said Commerce Minister Razzak Dawood made a strong case during the talks earlier in the day. Mr Dawood, he added, had visited Ottawa last year and expected to visit again shortly.
Mr Manley said that on his return to Ottawa he would discuss the issue with his colleagues.
Earlier, Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar welcomed John Manley and conveyed to him Pakistan’s appreciation to Canadian government’s decision of converting Pakistan’s entire debt of 447 million Canadian dollars into grant for development.
“We feel encouraged by Canada’s understanding and appreciation of the efforts of President Pervez Musharraf’s government to improve economic and fiscal management and good governance,” he added.
“Pakistan and Canada are cognizant of the necessity to root-out international terrorism. We are both participating in world community’s effort to eradicate this scourge,” he added.
He said recent tension between India and Pakistan also came under discussion with the Canadian leader. “We apprised the Canadian deputy prime minister of Pakistan’s commitment to a policy of restraint, de-escalation and dialogue for settlement of Kashmir and other issues,” he added.