London: In a flip-flop, Islamabad`s point man for Track-II dialogue with India, Shahryar Khan, has made a U-turn on his remarks acknowledging the presence in Pakistan of one of India`s most wanted terrorists Dawood Ibrahim.
Hours after saying that Ibrahim had been "chased out" of Pakistan and he may be in the UAE, Khan said he had no idea whether the gangster was in the country.
"I have never, never, when I was in the Foreign Ministry or now... (I) do not know where Dawood Ibrahim lives. I am only reflecting what the press has been saying, the Pakistani press have been saying about the gentleman," Khan told the media.
"The Ministry of Interior would have probably known but the Foreign Ministry does not. I have no idea whether he is in Pakistan, if he ever has been (there)," he said.
Yesterday, Khan had said that Ibrahim had once lived in Pakistan. This was the first time that a Pakistani official had acknowledged the mob boss` presence in the country.
"Dawood 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," Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif`s special envoy for Track-II dialogue with India, had said.
He had said that if Ibrahim was in Pakistan, he would have been arrested by now. Khan made the remarks while talking to reporters at a pre-launch event organised in London by the Indian Journalists` Association for his latest book "Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan".
"The Nawaz Sharif government is very much in favour of taking action against criminals who not only affect Pakistan but also any other countries, whether it is India or Afghanistan or wherever," he said.
"We cannot allow criminals to flourish in the country. If they come to us, we will take action. That is why I think he (Ibrahim) has left Pakistan."
Pakistan has till now denied Ibrahim`s presence on its soil though Indian security agencies have repeatedly provided details of his whereabouts in dossiers handed over to Pakistani authorities.
According to reports, Ibrahim was based in Karachi, where he had fled after the 1993 Mumbai bombings. Besides the 1993 attacks, he is wanted in numerous terror and criminal cases in India. In 2003, the US government designated him as a "Foreign Terrorist".