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Pak dials Dawood, draws blank

Islamabad, Oct. 21: Pakistan today said it has asked the US to rectify “unsubstantiated” linkages of Dawood Ibrahim with the country while designating him a “global terrorist”.

“We have cross-checked contents of the determination, including the Karachi address and telephone number of Ibrahim, and found them incorrect,” foreign office spokesman Masood Khan said at a regular press briefing.

Following Dawood’s designation as global terrorist having links with al Qaida, a notice had been posted on the US treasury department’s website giving his location as Karachi and identifying him by his Pakistani passport bearing the number G869537. The notice also listed his Karachi phone number as 021-5892038.

President Pervez Musharraf had recently denied that Dawood was in Pakistan and that he held a passport issued by Pakistani authorities.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani asked Islamabad to acknowledge the presence of Indian criminals, including Dawood, in Pakistan and hand them over to New Delhi. This, he has said, would improve the relations between the two countries.

“This is a false premise,” Khan said today. “Relations cannot improve on the basis of such premises.” He emphasised there was no Indian suspect on Pakistani soil and Delhi had never provided evidence of such criminals’ existence in Pakistan.

The treasury department had also made the assertion — that should have pleased Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi – that they have information that Dawood has been helping finance “increasing attacks in Gujarat” by the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba.

US deputy assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crimes Juan Zarate had earlier said, “Ibrahim’s designation signals our commitment to identifying and attacking the financial ties between the criminal underworld and terrorism. For the Ibrahim syndicate, the business of terrorism forms part of their larger criminal enterprise, which must be dismantled.”

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