Pakistan and India will share intelligence and evidence against Hafiz Saeed – the founder of banned group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) – on April 16, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani revealed on Sunday.
“We are in the middle of talks with India and on April 16 both countries’ interior secretaries will share their evidences against Saeed,” said Gilani, while talking to the media at his Lahore residence.
“And on the basis of these evidences, which would be sufficient for the courts, further action against Saeed will be taken.”
The exchange of evidences between India and Pakistan’s interior secretaries in the upcoming talks was a policy unanimously adopted, said Gilani, adding that all opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), were on board with regard to policy on Saeed.
Regarding the announcement of the $10 million bounty, announced by the US on the LeT chief last week, the prime minister seemed sceptical.
“The US should have directly contacted and provided us [Pakistan] evidences against Saeed instead of using other options.”
Gilani was of the view that according to government policy, the issue of Saeed – who is primarily accused of plotting and executing the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai – is an issue between India and Pakistan which does not concern America.
Zardari’s India visit
Regarding President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to India, Gilani said that after the president’s meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, both countries have taken a step forward in the implementation of the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India.
He disclosed that both the federal commerce and trade ministers have almost finalised their work on the issue of bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan, and it was discussed in the meeting between Zardari and Singh.
This trade agreement seeks permission for Afghanistan to import goods from India through the Wagah border under the Pakistan-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement.
“Progress on balance of trade with India, Pak-Afghan Transit Trade and energy projects with Iran will help the country achieve its cherished goal of stability in the region,” he said.
He said that Singh’s acceptance of invitation to Pakistan has enhanced the relationship between the two neighbours.
Regarding the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) tense relations with the Sharif brothers, Gilani said that he met Nawaz Sharif twice in the last few days and Nawaz displayed “cordial gestures”. On Monday, Gilani will attend the energy conference which is being hosted by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and is hoping that after his meeting, the relations with the opposition party will be “settled”.
On the role of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the politics of the country, the premier said that he had included new director general of the ISI in the two recent political party meetings which were held in Islamabad. However, he asserted that according to his opinion, there shall not be any political cell in the ISI.
While talking about the country’s energy crisis, Gilani said that his technical team has advised him that India has around 500MW extra electricity which could be imported by Pakistan — a move that will be discussed with India.
He added that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will also be implemented as planned.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2012.