You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pakistan hints at tit-for-tat response to extradition demand

ISLAMABAD, Jan 18: Pakistan will ask India to hand over perpetrators of the Samjhauta Express blast, if the Indian government insists on extradition of "non-state-actors" suspected to be involved in the Mumbai attacks.

"If India (keeps) insisting on handing over the suspects of the Mumbai attacks, we will also ask it to hand over the accused of the Samjhauta Express blast," Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik said on Sunday.

He reiterated Pakistan's commitment to see if there was any evidence in the information provided by India and to try in Pakistan if anyone was found guilty.

An official of the interior ministry said it had been suggested at a Foreign Office briefing a few days ago that Pakistan should also ask India to hand over the people involved in the train blast.The sources said that the government had decided to adopt a tough stand if India continued to demand extradition of some suspects in the Mumbai attacks.

However, Mr Malik said Pakistan would accept a decision if India conducted a fair trial and convicted the people involved in the train attack, and if that happened, India should also accept the decision of Pakistani courts. "It should be reciprocal, he said.

The adviser said that investigations into the Mumbai carnage were continuing under Pakistani laws, and vowed that the government would not succumb to foreign pressure.

"No foreign help would be sought. However, Indian investigators would be more than welcome. Pakistan is very open and inquiry officers have also been bestowed with full powers to fulfil their tasks," he told a private TV channel.

Terming Pakistani investigators "best among the best", he said records showed that they were quite competent to conduct the inquiry.

He said the inquiry could not proceed without legally tangible evidence. "If anyone is found guilty of being involved in the heinous crime, he will be tried under the Anti-terrorism Act."
Pakistan hints at tit-for-tat response to extradition demand -DAWN - Top Stories; January 19, 2009