|To India, Samjhota lesser terror than 26/11|
25 May 2012
ISLAMABAD – Indian Home RK Singh on Thursday said his country had provided fresh evidence against Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed and other accused of the Mumbai terror attacks that was to be used by Pakistani authorities to prosecute them.
He expressed concern at the slow pace of proceedings in the case, but said they had briefed the Pakistani side on the progress made in the investigation in Samjhota Express bombing.
At the same time, Singh said the 2008 Mumbai attacks should not be equated with the 2007 bombing of the Samjhota Express. He described the assault on Mumbai as an incident of cross-border terrorism, while the train bombing an act committed within India.
Singh was talking to media at the conclusion of the first day of two-day talks with Interior Secretary Khawaja Siddique Akbar. Singh said the Indian authorities had provided their counterparts additional proof against Saeed, while the Pakistani judicial commission that visited Mumbai in March had gathered evidence against the perpetrators of the terrorist assault on India’s financial hub in 2008. The fresh proof should be presented in the Pakistani court and used to prosecute the terror suspects, he added. Singh claimed that the Indian authorities had already arrested and charge-sheeted those responsible for the bombing of the Samjhota Express.
Before the beginning of the talks, the Indian official had expressed concern over what he called the tardy prosecution of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. “It seems that the progress in judicial proceedings against them (persons charged with involvement in the Mumbai incident) is very slow. Many persons who are the actual accused have not been brought before the courts,” he told reporters in the morning.
Earlier, secretary-level talks began at the Interior Ministry. The issues like terrorism, smuggling, drug trafficking, immigration, liberal visa policy, exchange of prisoners, Mumbai attacks, Samjhota Express blast and others are on the agenda of the dialogue. The last round of the talks was held in New Delhi.
During the first day, both side agreed to form three separate working groups on terrorism, visa relaxation policy and exchange of prisoners, which have started working to present recommendations in the two-day dialogue. Official sources said the Indian side argued for early conclusion of the Mumbai terror attacks investigation; however, Pakistan took the plea that the matter was being considered by the court of law.
India side also raised the issue of release of Sarabajit Singh, an Indian citizen facing death sentence on charges of terrorism in Pakistan. A joint declaration is to be announced at the end of the talks today. However, both sides will not be able to sign the much-awaited 'liberal visa policy' as the Interior Ministry could not bring the matter before the federal cabinet for approval. Pakistan and India are working to change their decades-old visa regime to normalise the mutual ties. Under the new proposed policy, businessmen from both the countries will be able to get one-year multiple entry visa through their respective chamber of commerce.
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