SC order on Kasab boosts India's case ahead of PM--Zardari meet



Tehran: With the Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday upholding the death sentence on the Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, India's case for action against others involved in the Mumbai terror attacks got strengthened ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari here tomorrow.

The two leaders will confabulate on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit here shortly after Zardari flies across from Islamabad. The scheduling problems for their second meeting since the Pakistani leader came to Delhi in April, have been resolved and they will meet at 7 pm IST.

Terror remains high on the agenda and India's continuing concerns over lack of action against those in Pakistan believed to have been actively involved in 2008 Mumbai attacks will be flagged by Singh. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who is also here for the NAM meeting, lost no time in drawing attention of the apex court's verdict on Kasab.

"I am sure Pakistan will not fail to take note of it," Krishna said and quickly added that the Pakistani judiciary is also proactive. "The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal in India and when it announces something it becomes law of the land. Other things will follow," he said.

Indian officials pointed out that India had convicted some of those involved in the Mumbai attacks through the same set of evidence which was provided to Islamabad in a trial which was not a "show trial".

Against the backdrop of Pakistan equating the Mumbai attacks with Samjhauta train blasts to project that it is also a victim of terrorism, India has made a clear distinction between the two incidents, saying they were "very different" and at some stage Islamabad needs to "come clean" on this.

Asserting that India has provided enough evidence to show involvement of not only non-state actors but also of official hierarchy in 26/11 attacks, the officials said Singh will raise the issue of terrorism, which is of prime concern to the country, with Zardari.

Pakistan keeps switching judges, and people inside the jails are using mobile phones to run their network, they said, clearly expressing India's unhappiness over the slow progress of the 26/11 trial in that country.

Indian officials here for the NAM meeting had indicated yesterday that Singh was unlikely to raise with Zardari the inflammatory online content linked to violence in Assam since there was no evidence yet to back the allegation.

However, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said in New Delhi today that India will share evidence with Pakistan on morphed images and inflammatory videos uploaded in that country that triggered exodus of Northeast origin people from Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Mumbai.

"We will definitely share evidence with Pakistan," Shinde said. Echoing similar sentiment, Home Secretary R K Singh said New Delhi wanted Islamabad to take action against those who were responsible for such activities on the basis of evidence India will provide to the neighbouring country.

The Home Secretary, meanwhile, said, "I have never said SMSes originated in Pakistan. But yes, majority of doctored, morphed pictures and video on the web uploaded from Pakistan."

He also said India never claimed that Pakistan government or its intelligence agency ISI was responsible for the inflammatory pictures but that it was the handwork of some individuals in Pakistan.

Thousands of people from the Northeast living in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Pune left their work places last fortnight following rumours of reprisal attacks after the ethnic violence in Assam.

The rumours spread after morphed images and inflammatory videos were uploaded in several hundred websites, falsely suggesting that atrocities were committed on minorities living in Assam during clashes between Bodos and Muslims.

Government has already blocked more than 300 web pages where these contents were uploaded.

The Home Secretary on August 18 had said that bulk of the rumours spread through web contents that triggered panic among people of northeastern states were sourced from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan voiced disappointment that the issue of inflammatory messages and videos and India's accusation that they were generated across the border, was highlighted in the media rather than being conveyed through official channels to it.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said 'more maturity' was needed to handle such issues, and such suspicions can directly be discussed between officials of the two governments.

"I think we need to find a more mature way to be able to handle all these issues, and they will continue to emerge.

"In my opinion, every time, it is disappointing (when) something reaches Pakistan through the media, because we believe we have been able to invest in this relationship enough to get a call from any government official, if any such concern, suspicion arises.

"Indian media needs to really become more positive," she told the media on the sidelines of the NAM summit when asked to comment on the issue of the Indian charge that some of the inflammatory online content on Assam riots was uploaded in Pakistan.

PTI