Rehman Malik`s visit: Visa accord launched, no headway on 26/11

Rehman Malik stoked fresh controversy by alleging that Indian non-state actors were also involved in 26/11 attacks conspiracy.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik`s visit to India turned futile for New Delhi as there was no assurance from the visiting minister on contentious issues like action against Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and 2008 Mumbai terror attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and crackdown on terror outfits operating from Pakistani soil.

The only positive outcome of Malik’s visit was the operationalisation of a liberalised visa agreement between the two neighbouring countries.

Before flying home Sunday after his three-day visit, Malik stoked fresh controversy by alleging that Indian non-state actors were also involved in the attack conspiracy and 26/11 accused Abu Jundal "worked as a source for (an) elite agency of India" and could have turned into a double agent.

Malik further blamed Indian security agencies for their "failure" to prevent the 2008 Mumbai terror attack and alleged that Indian non-state actors were involved in the massacre.

Malik also said had there been interaction between Pakistan and India and regular sharing of information, the 26/11 attack could have been prevented.

He said Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley had conspired with al Qaeda terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri, a retired major of Pakistan Army and three Indian terrorists -- Abu Jundal, Jabbiullah and Fahim Ansari -- and roamed freely and plotted India`s worst terror attack.

"So it is not a state sponsored drama, state sponsored action. It is action by non-state actors. Triangular nexus between Headley, (Ilyas) Kashmiri, the enemy of Pakistan, a Major who deserted the Pakistan Army, having joined LeT and of course three Indians," he said delivering a lecture at Observer Research Foundation.

Malik said during investigation, it has come to be known that they carried out recce of the targets and shot films uninterrupted and without notice of law enforcement agencies.

"If you put things together, there are three guys, one coming from the US, and he has that money, he has got credit cards, he has moved all over, he had created franchise, he had created a social circle. All these should have come to the attention of some agencies.

"Now the agencies failed. Both here and Pakistan. So, we have failed. Why? Because, there was no interaction between Pakistan and India," he said.

Malik also insisted that Pakistan was in no way involved with the 2008 Mumbai terror that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead and plunged India-Pakistan ties to a new low.

Malik said Pakistan was awaiting "substantial evidence" from New Delhi to act against Hafiz Saeed.

He admitted that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made it clear that his trip to Pakistan would be linked to "effective action" taken against those in Pakistan who bled Mumbai.

The Pakistan minister admitted that there was perception in India about his country not doing enough to bring to book those responsible for Mumbai attack.

He said a proposed visit by Pakistan`s judicial commission to India to cross-examine 26/11 witnesses would help expedite the conviction of the seven accused arrested in Pakistan.

Malik stuck a discordant note on the first day of his visit Friday with his purported comparison of Babri mosque demolition with the Mumbai attack. He later denied making a comparison.

He also clarified on his remarks pertaining to Kargil martyr Captain Saurabh Kalia and said he was prepared to get the information about his torture probed.

On India`s concern about cross-LOC infiltration, Malik said the Pakistan government had no hand in it.

Appearing conciliatory on concerns of Indian leaders on the Hindu minority in Pakistan, Malik said his government will take action against any case of forceful conversion of minorities.

He invited Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj, whom he met Saturday, to visit Pakistan and see that there was "no mass migration" of Hindus from the country.

Dalbir Kaur, the sister of death row convict Sarabjit Singh, got an assurance from the minister that he will provide full assistance in the case related to her brother`s release.

In his interaction with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Malik discussed his assessment about terrorism in the region.

There was no joint statement by Malik and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde during the visit though the two sides discussed a gamut of issues including counter-terrorism, border management, fake Indian currency notes and cooperation among security and investigation agencies.

The Pakistani minister, however, said he had "very good interaction" with Indian leaders and was able to convey the message from Islamabad effectively. "Let us become brothers," he said.

With agencies inputs