New Delhi: Pakistan's sudden U-turn on expediting the 26/11 trial and its demand for more 'concrete evidence' related to the Mumbai terror attacks evoked sharp reactions on Monday from several quarters, including former Home Secretary and now BJP MP RK Singh, who accused Islamabad of behaving irresponsibly on the issue.
According to ANI, the former Union Home Secretary Singh said, “The entire 26/11 conspiracy was planned in Pakistan, we have provided enough proof to the country in the past.”
Hitting back at Islamabad, Singh said, “The Pakistan Government is controlled by ISI, however, we will stick to the Modi-Sharif joint statement (on expediting the 26/11 trial.”
Singh went on to say that “Pakistan's notorious spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) knows that if a proper investigation is done in the Mumbai attacks then many of its officers will be indicted.”
Reacting to Pakistan's National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz's remarks that they need more information to take the Mumbai terror attacks trial forward, Singh said, “This statement is addressed to their (Pakistan) domestic audience, it defies all logic.”
RK Singh's reaction came three days after Pakistan agreed to expedite 26/11 Mumbai attacks trial and later backtracked to its old position of oscillation on the issue.
Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan needs more information to take the Mumbai terror attacks trial forward.
“We need more evidence and information to expedite the trial,” Aziz said. He was quick to add that Pakistan's Prime Minister had also raised the Samjhauta blast case during talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and sought details on the progress in the case.
Aziz also stressed that no dialogue process will take place with India unless Kashmir issue is not included in it. Pakistan stays firms on its principled stance on the issue with dignity and honour and no compromise will be made on it, he said.
Aziz took the new line on the 26/11 case hours after Pakistan did a U-turn stating that voice sample of LeT operations commander and Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is not likely to be provided, two days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave a commitment in this regard to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Importantly, PM Sharif had faced criticism for no mention of the Kashmir in a joint statement that mentioned terrorism and the need to expedite the Mumbai trial.
Prosecution team's chief Chaudhry Azhar said that four years ago, a Rawalpindi court, handling the Mumbai terror attack case, had dismissed an application for obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi on the ground that no such law exists in the country that allows obtaining of voice sample of an accused.
Azhar said that the Pakistan government will not file a fresh petition in the anti-terrorism court requesting for obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi in the 26/11 case. Lakhvi is presently out of bail due to lack of evidence.
Lakhvi's lawyer Rizwan Abbasi too said his client cannot be forced to give a voice sample as it is against the Constitution of Pakistan. "There is no as such law in Pakistan which can force anyone to submit voice sample. If my client wishes he will not submit sample of voice," said Abbasi.
Reacting to the development, 26/11 case prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, “The attitude of Pakistan shows that its does not want to move against the perpetrators of 26/11 attacks. I am surprised that he (Aziz) asks for such evidence when it is abundantly clear that the conspiracy was hatched on Pakistani soil.”
Meanwhile, downplaying Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz's remarks that no dialogue with India will take place without including Kashmir issue, BJP also today said that such statements are intended for domestic audience and bilateral talks will proceed on the lines of Ufa joint statement of the two countries.
BJP, which had termed as "game-changing" the outcome of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, asserted that the joint statement will guide bilateral engagements.
"A lot of statement coming from others are also possibly intended to address their domestic constituencies. As fas as we are concerned, the discussion, engagement will largely happen on the lines of the joint statement," party spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said.