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Provide access to Kasab, Rehman Malik asks India

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 24, 2010 23:33 IST
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Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Saturday asked India to provide access to Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone terrorist arrested for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, to facilitate the trial in the country of seven suspects charged with involvement in the terrorist carnage.

Malik raised the issue during a meeting with Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal, during which he briefed the envoy on steps taken by Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Indian High Commission spokesman Siddharth Zutshi confirmed the meeting but said he was not aware of the details of the discussions between Malik and Sabharwal.

Official sources told PTI that Malik told the Indian envoy that Pakistani prosecutors would need to have access to Kasab once he was declared a "proclaimed offender" or fugitive by the country's courts.

Sources quoted Malik as saying that once Kasab was declared a fugitive, he would become part of the trial being conducted by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court.

Malik was quoted by the sources as saying that Pakistan wanted India to grant access to Kasab once his trial by a special court in Mumbai was completed. Such a move would strengthen the prosecution's efforts to bring to justice the suspects detained by Pakistani authorities, including Lashker-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, sources

The special court in Mumbai is scheduled to deliver its verdict against Kasab and two Indians for their alleged role in the Mumbai attacks on May 3.

Sources said Malik and the Indian envoy also discussed New Delhi's demand for action against Jamaat-ud-Dawah founder Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Malik briefed Sabharwal on the steps taken by Pakistani authorities against the JuD, including the sealing of the group's offices and action against its bank accounts, websites and publications, sources added.

Malik said Pakistan was keeping a close watch on Saeed and the JuD but ruled out any action till the authorities could build a solid case against founder of the LeT, sources said.

The interior minister also informed Sabharwal that Pakistan will respond tomorrow to three dossiers provided by India in February, the sources said.

During the foreign secretary-level talks on February 25, India provided Pakistan three dossiers – one on individuals linked to the Mumbai attacks, another on threats issued by Pakistan-based militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri and the third on fugitives from Indian law who are in Pakistan.

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