Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that he has asked his government to ascertain the status of the 2008 Mumbai attacks case as it is in Pakistan’s interest to resolve the matter.
India repeated its calls for the prosecution of the masterminds and facilitators of the attacks on the 10th anniversary of the carnage blamed on the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), saying Pakistan had shown “little sincerity in bringing the perpetrators to justice”.
“We also want something done about the bombers of Mumbai. I have asked our government to find out the status of the case. Resolving that case is in our interest because it was an act of terrorism,” Khan said in an interview with The Washington Post.
The trial in a Pakistani anti-terrorism court of seven suspects, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, has stalled and Pakistani officials have said more evidence is needed from India to take things forward. India has insisted that there is sufficient proof to prosecute the suspects.
Khan, who spoke about Pakistan taking two steps for peace for every step taken by India in his first speech after his party won the general election in July, referred to the reasons why he believes his peace overtures had been rejected by New Delhi.
“I know, because India has elections coming up. The ruling party has an anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistan approach. They rebuffed all my overtures,” he said.
“I have opened a visa-free peace corridor with India called Kartarpur (so that Indian Sikhs can visit a shrine in Pakistan). Let’s hope that after the election is over, we can again resume talks with India,” he said, referring to the recent launch of work on a corridor that will link Dera Baba Nanak in India to Kartarpur gurdwara in Pakistan.
Khan also dismissed the oft-repeated contention of US officials that the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is based in Pakistan. “When I came into power, I got a complete briefing from the security forces. They said that we have time and time again asked the Americans, ‘Can you tell us where the sanctuaries are, and we will go after them?’ There are no sanctuaries in Pakistan.”
Referring to camps for Afghan refugees, he added: “If there are a few hundred, maybe 2,000 to 3,000 Taliban who move into Pakistan, they could easily move into these Afghan refugee camps.”