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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Wednesday hit back at India over allegations that Pakistani state institutions were involved in the Mumbai attacks.
Dismissing India’s claim that the arrest of 26/11 handler Sayeed Zabiuddin Ansari, also known as Abu Hamza and Abu Jindal, and the information he has provided to interrogators, proved that Pakistani state actors were involved in Mumbai attacks, Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik said “Hazma is Indian. India is failing to control its citizens.”
Malik reacted sharply, stating, “Each time India has accused the ISI of involvement in a terror attack, it has been proved wrong.” Malik said India’s charges against the ISI were baseless. He said the intelligence agency was protecting Pakistan and was not involved in carrying out terror strikes.
“I told (Home Minister) Chidambaram that Hindu extremism is growing in India,” he told a news conference in Islamabad.
To another question, Malik said all the procedural formalities were being completed on the directions of the Interior Ministry for the release of Indian prisoner Surjeet Singh within next 24 hours while the ministry is looking into the legal intricacies on a mercy petition of another Indian inmate, Sarabjit Singh. Malik said Surjeet was being released as a goodwill gesture towards the neighbouring country.
According to a source in the Interior Ministry, a joint secretary level officer of the ministry will hand over Surjeet Sigh to Indian authorities today (Thursday) at Wagha Border after his release from Kot Lakhpat Jail, Lahore.
However, Mr Malik clarified that neither the government had neither decided to release Sarabjit Singh, also Indian prisoner facing death sentence on terrorism charges in Pakistan, nor to pardon him. He said that the Interior Ministry was looking into the mercy petition of Mr Singh as it contained some legal complexities and it had not even been forwarded to the President for final decision. “However, When PPP came into power, it had announce to suspend the death sentences of all prisoners till further orders,” he informed reporters adding that these legal issues would have to be addressed before his release and a summary would be sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for final decision after due deliberations with Law Ministry.
Agencies add: India’s home minister on Wednesday said Abu Hamza had provided information confirming Pakistani ‘state support’ for the deadly assault. Chidambaram, speaking to reporters in the Indian southern state of Kerala, said police interrogation of Hamza had confirmed Indian accusations that Pakistani state actors were also involved.
“The argument that non-state actors were behind the massacre is no longer valid. He has confirmed that he was in the control room (and) this has confirmed our suspicion that there was some organised effort,” Chidambaram said. “When I say, state actors, at the moment, I am not pointing my finger at any particular agency.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday demanded Pakistan to release Sarabjit Singh on immediate basis. India’s Foreign Minister SM Krishna, while talking to media, said that Pakistan should sympathetically consider Sarabjit Singh’s case. He said that all the Indian prisoners who had completed their sentence should be released by Pakistan.
Indian Foreign Minister said that India welcomed the release of Surjeet Singh.