Pakistan can show seriousness by handing over Dawood, Salahuddin: Sources

Pakistan can demonstrate its seriousness about cracking down on terror by handing over proscribed Indian nationals based on its soil, such as Dawood Ibrahim and Syed Salahuddin, as all actions taken so far by Islamabad have been cosmetic, people familiar with developments said on Saturday.

At the same time, India is prepared for the long haul on the issue of listing Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar with UN’s Islamic State and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee despite being disappointed with the hold placed by China on the latest effort by France, the US and Britain to sanction him, the people said.

It is still not clear exactly who has been placed in preventive detention by Pakistan in the face of global pressure following the Pulwama suicide bombing of February that was claimed by JeM, and Islamabad could show seriousness in its actions by handing over Indians wanted for terrorism and major crimes based on its soil, including mob boss Dawood Ibrahim and Hizbul Mujahideen chief Salahuddin, they added.

Indian officials say Ibrahim, designated a global terrorist by the US and the UN and wanted for the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people, lives in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Salahuddin, also a designated global terrorist, operates from bases in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Rawalpindi.

The people further said Pakistan can work with third countries for international verification of terrorist camps on Pakistani soil, whose precise coordinates have been shared by India.

They described all the action taken by Pakistan since it launched a crackdown on February 5 as cosmetic, with authorities only changing the signs outside facilities run by groups such as Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, both fronts of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and appointing so-called administrators.

While expressing disappointment with China’s hold on the latest move to sanction Azhar, the people said this was not a block and India is cautiously confident that the JeM chief will eventually be listed by the UN Security Council. India will show patience as even China is aware that terrorism originates from Pakistan and there are terror groups on Pakistani soil working against Chinese interests, they added.

The support for listing Azhar from all but one of the 15 members of the UN Security Council also reflected Pakistan’s lack of credibility, and India will not make any compromises or cut any deal for the sanctioning of the JeM chief, said a person familiar with the negotiations on this matter. India is hopeful that the listing will eventually go ahead in days or months, and not years, the person added.

During their recent interactions with foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, key members of the Trump administration and members of the Senate and House of Represenatives had conveyed strong support for India and accepted New Delhi’s contention that it had acted in self-defence and with restraint after the Pulwama attack, the people said. Gokhale was in the US during March 11-13.

At the same time, there was acknowledgement from American interlocutors that Pakistan hadn’t taken adequate steps in the past to dismantle terrorist infrastructure and that it usually resorted to the same pattern of conducting a crackdown and then letting off terrorists when international pressure had eased, the people added.

First Published:
Mar 16, 2019 14:17 IST

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