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JuD ban: Proceeding strictly under UN resolution, says Pakistan

Pakistan on Friday said it was proceeding strictly to ban Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the dreaded Haqqani network even as it sought constructive talks with India to resolve the vexed Kashmir issue.

New Delhi: Pakistan on Friday said it was proceeding strictly to ban Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the dreaded Haqqani network even as it sought constructive talks with India to resolve the vexed Kashmir issue.

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit also hoped that US President Barack Obama's visit here beginning Sunday will contribute in injecting some stability in the region.

When asked about Pakistan banning JuD, Haqqani network and other terror groups, Basit without explicitly saying the ban had been imposed, replied, "We are proceeding strictly in accordance with UN resolution and Jamaat's (JuD) bank account has been frozen and there is a ban on the travelling abroad of its leadership...

"If you are referring to Hafiz Saeed as to why he has not been put behind bars, I would like to remind you that the resolution (UN) itself doesn't warrant or require member states to lock up such individuals."

"We are responsible members of international community and understand our responsibility... And, we will not take advantage of any lacuna, if there exists one in the UN resolution," he said at the India Today Round Table.

On the issue of terrorism bedeviling his own country, he said, "We have a strong apprehension that we have internal problems as well but on the other hand we do find that there are some external reasons as well which and encouraging terrorism in the FATA region and the Balochistan region."

"And I think when President Obama visits we hope that will result in further strengthening bilateral relationship between Pakistan-US and Pakistan-India and will contribute to injecting some stability in the region as well," he said.

On the Kashmir issue, he said it was "not a territorial issue" for his country and Pakistan wants to engage India to produce some "positivity" to find a solution.

"Kashmir is an issue and India recognises that we need to resolve that issue... And we have this composite dialogue process and Jammu and Kashmir is part of that dialogue process...

"And Jammu and Kashmir is not a territorial issue, it is about the people of Jammu and Kashmir... So our engagement with them (India) as we look at it is to produce some positivity," he said adding as far as talks on Kashmir were concerned, "it took two to tango".

When asked if Obama's visit here could actually inject improvement in relationship between US and the two Asian countries, he said, "We don't see it as a zero-sum game."

"It's not about US-Pak, India-Pak and US-India relations. It's a very complex relationship and we (Pakistan) don't see it as a zero-sum game," Basit said.

When former Congress minister Manish Tewari said that it was the 1971 Liberation War for Bangladesh that "continued to rankle" Pakistan, he said "it was no more a reference point for us."

On the issue of bringing to justice those involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, he said, "We are trying to put up a strong case, on whatever evidence we got from India to try to bring those to justice. There is no question over our seriousness and sincerity on that issue."

But, compared to Mumbai attacks, he said, people in Pakistan are asking questions on response of the Indian authorities on the Samjhauta Express bombings in 2007.

"People in Pakistan do ask questions as to what happened to Samjhauta Express case... The crime scene was in India, yet we do not see any tangible, concrete progress to bring that case to a closure," Basit said.

Acknowledging the "trust deficit" between the two countries, Tewari said, "India must do its own share of heavylifting its bilateral exercise and should not expect US to do it on their behalf."

Former editor of RSS mouthpiece Organiser, Seshadri Chari, who also participated in the discussion "India, Pakistan, USA: A Question of Trust" said, "Pakistan suffered from Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde syndrome".

"We have thousands of years of common history, of geographical proximity and common linguistic heritage, then why can't we bridge that trust deficit," he asked.