New Delhi: Asserting that the U-turn made by former diplomat Shahryar Khan about the presence of Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan is predictable, security analyst Commodore (Retd) C Uday Bhaskar on Saturday highlighted the inflammatory speech delivered by 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed on the occasion of Eid at Lahore, and said at this stage one has to put a question mark on the Nawaz Sharif Government`s ability to deal with this kind of a fervor evident in that country.
"This whole reference to Dawood having been in Pakistan and then having been chased out is a statement that has been attributed to General Shahryar Khan, who was formerly the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. But in the last 12 hours, he has made what might be called a U-turn saying that it was not what he was trying to convey that the Foreign Office in Pakistan has no connection with Dawood. Even anybody would know about Dawood being in Pakistan, it would be the interior ministry," said Commodore (Retd.) Bhaskar.
"And basically, I think he is distancing himself from the report that had been put out late night on Friday. Now, this is very predictable because Pakistan has always denied that Dawood has been in any part of Pakistan. But then many security people make the point that this is a bit like Osama bin Laden," he added.
Commodore (Retd.) Bhaskar said the only silver lining if there is one to Shahryar Khan`s statement is that he has repeated the commitment of the Nawaz Sharif Government to hound and apprehend gangsters and terrorists.
"Now, whether the Nawaz Sharif Government will be able to do this is a big question mark because on Friday, on Eid day, Hafiz Saeed gave a very inflammatory speech in Lahore. So, I would say that at this stage one has to put a question mark on the ability of the Nawaz Sharif Government to deal with this kind of a fervor, which is so evident in Pakistan," he added.
Hafiz Saeed led Eid prayers at Lahore`s famous Gaddafi stadium on Friday. Posters of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks mastermind dotted Lahore, and he tweeted Eid greetings with a strong anti-India message.
Despite India`s repeated requests that he be brought to justice and a 10 million dollar US bounty on his head, Hafiz Saeed remains a free man in Pakistan.
According to reports, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif `s special envoy for improving relations with India, Shahryar Khan, said yesterday that Dawood was in Pakistan but has been `chased out` and could be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"Dawood (Ibrahim) was in Pakistan, but I believe he was chased out of Pakistan. If he is in Pakistan, he should be hounded and arrested. We cannot allow such gangsters to operate from the country," he said, while speaking to reporters at a pre-launch event for his book "Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan" in London.
The former diplomat added that if Dawood was still in Pakistan he would have been arrested by now.
However, he later told an Indian television channel that he had never known where Dawood lived and his earlier statement was just reflecting what the Pakistani media has been reporting in the past.