Following the Pakistan Interior Ministry’s statement that India should provide concrete evidence against Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the man behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and whom Islamabad put under house arrest earlier this week, India on Thursday said all evidence against the terror mastermind was available in Pakistan itself.

“The entire conspiracy in the Mumbai terror attack case was hatched in Pakistan,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in a weekly media briefing here.

“All the terrorists came from Pakistan. All the planning was done in Pakistan. All the support was rendered from Pakistan. So, all the evidence to implicate the mastermind of the Mumbai terror attack is already available in Pakistan,” he said.

Pakistan on Wednesday snubbed India’s demand for a “credible crackdown” on militant groups following the detention of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, saying it does not need New Delhi’s endorsement for its actions.

“Pakistan does not need any certification or endorsement from India over the recent actions it has taken in relation to Hafiz Saeed,” a spokesperson for the federal Interior Ministry said in a statement in response to Tuesday’s statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The spokesperson said the actions taken by the government were carried out as per “obligations vis-à-vis listing of JuD under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December, 2008”. He, however, said various actions that needed to be taken under the relevant resolution i.e. arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze were not taken for some reason by the previous regime.

“India has constantly been using Hafiz Saeed’s political activities as a tool to malign Pakistan,” the spokesperson said, adding that the international community should take note and understand that Pakistan is a democratic country. “In Pakistan judiciary takes free, independent and transparent decisions.”

The Interior Ministry urged New Delhi to come up with undeniable evidence against the JuD chief if it were serious about the allegations.

“India should come up with concrete evidence against Hafiz Saeed which is sustainable in court of law in Pakistan or for that matter anywhere in the world,” the statement said.

The ministry warned New Delhi against “casting aspersions and levelling allegations without any corroborating evidence”, saying it would not help the cause of peace in the region.

The firebrand leader, who has a $10-million bounty on his head, was taken away by police on Monday and escorted to a house where he is now under house arrest. Four other JuD followers were detained in the same operation.

India said JuD was a front for the militant Lashkar-e-Taiba group, which it accuses of carrying out the attacks on India’s financial capital Mumbai in November 2008 which killed 166 people. Islamabad briefly detained Saeed in the aftermath of the attacks but he was later released on court orders.

Swarup on Thursday said Hafiz Saeed has himself confessed to masterminding multiple acts of terror directed at India.

“So the so called concrete evidence that Pakistani establishment is looking for is already available in Pakistan. All they need is to find the requisite political will,” he added.

First Published | 2 February 2017 8:13 PM
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