[stextbox id=”info”]Excerpts from an interview with Pakistan Federal Interior Minister Rahman Malik.[/stextbox]
Iftikhar Geelani: What is state of trials into Mumbai terror incident?
Rahman Malik: Within hours we got in touch, and offered unconditional support. The world has seen our commitment and how openly we came forward. Investigation was immediately ordered even without waiting for dossiers. I personally supervised the investigations. And its result is in front of you. Seven accused are facing trial. Another 15 have been declared absconding. And trial is on. It is on fast track. The accused have exhausted all legal remedies to get bail or cancellation of FIR.
I think, my friends from India must realize that when matter goes to court, it no more remains in control of investigation or prosecution or government. We also want things to go in a transparent way. With the kind of credible evidence we have put forward I am quite confident they (accused) will get heavy dose (heavy sentences).
I think Pakistan and India need to cooperate on matters relating to terrorism. Because what we suffered and what we are suffering is a lesson for India and if there is any chance of Talibanisation of any extremism it should be taken care of.
Some of your ministers have rightly pointed out that there are signs of Talibanisation in India and, moreover, if you recall my press conference. This act of terrorism could have not taken place unless there were (support of) some groups or individuals within India.
IG: We often hear, India should share intelligence and information with Pakistan. What kind of nformation do you need to act against terrorists?
RM: If India had shared the information on Ansari and Bhauddin with us, and as one of geo-map was recovered, indicating terrorists were going to attack at such and such places, we would have taken action. I recall a statement of prime minister in which he stated, there could be another (Mumbai like) incident. And I request him, through you, to give us that information. I have said it in past as well. Share (information) with us and I will get back. And we will do whatever we can.
Share information and intelligence about any terrorist activity on Pakistani soil, even if it is in developing stage, we will definitely cooperate. No way will we allow Pakistan soil to be used against any country, be that India.
IG: You have been asking for Ajamal Aamir Kasab to be handed over to you for further trial. Is it justified?
RM: A person against whom a case is registered is needed to appear in the court to carry on trial. When you go to court, you name an accused. We told the court that these are people accused of carrying out a terrorist act and one of them Ajmal Kasab is alive and under-trial in an Indian court, who has either been declared PO or will be declared proclaimed offender. Once his trial ends in India, we would like he be handed over to us to face trial in Pakistan. Both countries can sit down and decide that.
This is legal requirement, we can sit together brotherly and decide. If Ajmal Kasab is required by our court, there should be no harm in handing him over for the trial. Moreover, I think according to existing law, statement before Indian court should be acceptable to our court.
It is imperative for both countries to give a befitting punishment to the ones who spread terror and indulge in acts of terror.
IG: You have been alleging that evidence provided by India is not enough?
RM: Earlier the evidence provided by India was not sufficient to prosecute the accused. But with combination of information we received and which we developed here, I can say, the courts have enough evidence to convict them. Yes, there was some information that should have come to us. But we have not seen the proper statement of Ajmal Kasab. Where did he reside before launching attack? Similarly no full details of Ansari and no full information of Bahaudin were given to us. Besides we had requested information on Samjhota Express, which was not provided.
IG: Why you are not acting against Hafiz Sayeed, a main grouse of India?
RM: On Hafiz Sayeed, there is no evidence provided by India. Only some information has been privately shared with us. He is being investigated and investigators are still demanding evidence (against him). If you say, Sayeed came and did something, there are-