‘Will India ever hand over Purohit to Pakistan?’

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Photo: Shailendra Pandey

In a sudden turnaround, Pakistan PM Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan is committed to peacefully resolving all issues with India. What is the reason for this shift in stance?
There is no turnaround. In fact, from day one, Pakistan has offered India full cooperation. But the Indian intransigence got in the way. There was the U-turn from India, obviously under international pressure. India first refused to share evidence with Pakistan. Finally, it relented after the visit of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Is there pressure on Pakistan to act from US President Barack Obama?
There is pressure on both India and Pakistan to reduce tension and focus on the common threat of terrorism.

Obama has said that the US is not an enemy of the Islamic world. But in the same breath he talks about Afghanistan and Pakistan being “the central front” in the fight against terrorism. What are your views?
This stand of Obama is contradictory. He talks of change but stands for continuing the wrong policies of former president Bush in the case of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sending more troops to Afghanistan or continuing drone attacks on Pakistan is counter-productive and self-defeating, as it undermines US support in both countries.

Members of a Pakistani peace delegation, which visited India, have said that the Pakistan Government should have admitted on day one that Ajmal Amir Kasav was a Pakistani. What is stopping the Pakistan Government from doing so?
The Government of Pakistan could only take a step once the Indian Government presented the evidence. In any case, even the status of the evidence is dubious, as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has now admitted.

The former NSA Mahmud Ali Durrani and Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman acknowledged that Kasav is a Pakistani. And yet the Pakistan foreign secretary insisted that he is not. Why this flip-flop?
This is part of what I call South Asian nalaiqi (incompetence) and absence of coordination.

Why is Pakistan refusing to accept that the accused in the Mumbai terror attacks were its nationals?
India has presented evidence only on Kasav, not the nine others. We have to follow due legal processes in this regard.

Pakistan claims that it has cracked down on Jamaatud- Dawa (JUD). Yet Jamaat leaders have been addressing a protest rally in Lahore, and reports now say the Jamaat is back in business under a new name.
If any former JUD office bearer issues statements in a personal capacity, he can’t be charged or arrested unless there is any specific allegation.

India has been asking Pakistan for 20 criminals to be extradited. What’s stopping Pakistan?
If Pakistan asks for Lt Colonel Purohit, will India ever hand him over? We can’t hand over Indian nationals who are not in Pakistan.

Union Home Minister Chidambaram is now talking of slowly snapping diplomatic and economic relations with Pakistan. How seriously would Pakistan view this?
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