Hafiz Saeed is not fiction, India reminds Pakistan

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) India Thursday said it has given ‘enough evidence’ about the involvement of Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the outlawed Jamaat-ud-Dawa, in the Mumbai carnage, but Pakistan sought to treat it as ‘literature’ and insisted that it does not need a lecture from New Delhi on terror.

‘We have once again reiterated the need for strong action against Hafiz Saeed, who has ranted and raved about a violent agenda against India,’ Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters after talks with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir.

Rao said that India has stressed on the need for effective action against such individuals ‘who certainly do not contribute to building an atmosphere of trust between the two countries’. India regards Saeed as the chief mastermind of the Mumbai carnage in which 166 people, including foreign nationals, were killed.

Rao said that the Pakistanis responded by saying that they can’t take action against him on the basis of mere speeches. Rejecting this argument, Rao said: ‘We believe that under new anti-terror laws, such action can be taken.’

In his press conference later in the day, Bashir, however, sought to dismiss India’s evidence about the involvement of Saeed in the Mumbai carnage as ‘literature’. ‘We got a brief paper which sought to provide evidence against Saeed,’ said Bashir. ‘It was more literature than evidence,’ he remarked.

Saying that Pakistan has taken action against Saeed by banning JuD, freezing its assets and arresting Saeed under preventive detention laws, Bashir said a court in Lahore set him free last year, citing lack of sufficient evidence against him.

‘Hafiz Saeed does not speak for the government of Pakistan or the people of Pakistan,’ said Bashir, while exhorting India not to allow the bilateral relationship to be held hostage to the single issue of the Mumbai attack.

‘We have suffered hundreds of Mumbais,’ he said, adding that 5,366 civilians were killed in 3,043 terror attacks in Pakistan in the last two years.

‘Pakistan does not need a lecture from India over terrorism,’ he said.

Reacting to Bashir’s assertion, Indian sources said India was a victim of Pakistan’s creations – a veiled reference to terror outfits which allegedly enjoy support of a section of the Pakistani establishment. The sources added that India was not giving any lecture to Pakistan, but merely voicing its genuine concerns over issues that directly impact on the security of Indian citizens.

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