Islamabad: Countering Pakistan's stand that there is no "concrete" evidence against LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, India today insisted that it had provided additional evidence against him and his associates which should be presented in Pakistani court to prosecute the suspects in Mumbai attacks case. On the opening day of the two-day Home Secretary-level talks, India also asked Pakistan to hand over underworld don Dawood Ibrahim besides several Indian Mujahideen leaders who are believed to be based in the country.
Home Secretary R K Singh said that Indian authorities had provided their Pakistani counterparts additional proof against Saeed while the Pakistani judicial commission that visited Mumbai in March had gathered evidence against the perpetrators of the terrorist assault on India's financial hub in 2008. The additional evidence should be presented in the Pakistani court and used to prosecute the terror suspects, he told the media at the conclusion of today's talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Interior Secretary Khwaja Siddique Akbar.

At the same time, Singh said the 2008 Mumbai attacks should not be equated with the 2007 bombing of the Samjhuata Express train. The assault on Mumbai was an incident of cross-border terrorism while the train bombing had occurred within India, he pointed out. Indian authorities had arrested and charge-sheeted those responsible for the bombing of the Samjhauta Express, Singh said. Before the beginning of the talks, Singh had expressed concern at the tardy prosecution of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

"It seems that the progress in judicial proceedings against them (persons charged with involvement in the Mumbai incident) is very slow. Many persons who are the actual accused have not been brought before the courts," Singh told reporters this morning.

During the talks, the two sides discussed a wide range of issues, including terrorism, drug trafficking, a relaxed visa regime, networks involved in circulating fake currency and humanitarian matters, including the release of civilian prisoners and fishermen held in jails in both countries, official sources said. The Indian side also demanded handing over of fugitives allegedly sheltering in Pakistan, including mob boss Dawood Ibrahim and several Indian Mujahideen leaders, sources said.

The Pakistani side raised the issue of action against those responsible for the bombing of the Samjhauta Express, which killed nearly 70 people, including 42 Pakistanis. Singh said he was confident the discussions would be successful "as terrorism affects us all and we are committed to fighting the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestation so that the cost it imposes on our primary objective of rapid economic and social development in the subcontinent is negated".

"This is in the interest of our two countries, the region and beyond," he added.

The two delegations gathered at a hotel in the heart of Islamabad for the talks. The last round of talks between the two secretaries was held in New Delhi in March last year. The inclusion of National Investigation Agency chief SC Sinha and other officials involved in the probe of the Mumbai attacks in the Indian delegation was a clear indication of New Delhi's intention to push for the prosecution of perpetrators of the terrorist assault on India's financial hub.

Seven Pakistani nationals, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, have been indicted for planning, financing and facilitating the deadly attacks that killed 166 people in November 2008.


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