New Delhi, Aug. 10: India does not see any change in Islamabad’s approach towards Bombay blasts mastermind Dawood Ibrahim despite the alleged statement by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s aide, diplomat Shahryar Khan, that the fugitive don “should be hounded and arrested” if hiding in Pakistan.
Speaking to Indian journalists in London, Khan was quoted in reports on Friday confirming a long-time claim made by India — that Dawood had sought refuge in Pakistan after the deadly blasts that killed over 200 people.
“Dawood was in Pakistan, but I believe he was chased out of Pakistan,” Khan, once Pakistan’s top cricket administrator, was quoted as saying at an event ahead of the release of his new book on Pakistan cricket.
He was also quoted as saying he believed Dawood may be in the UAE now.
Khan today said he had been quoted out of context and had talked about the don’s whereabouts based on news reports. “…I am only reflecting what the press has been saying, the Pakistani press have been saying about the gentleman,” PTI quoted him as saying. “The ministry of interior would have probably known but the foreign ministry does not. I have no idea whether he is in Pakistan, if he ever has been (there).”
Officially, Khan’s purported comments extracted a response from India’s ministry of external affairs. Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the blasts dossier had never been closed. “Therefore, now that we have received more information about it, we will not rest till those responsible for the 1993 attack against our citizens in Mumbai are brought to justice wherever they are,” the spokesperson said. “We will continue to pursue this.”
Dawood is wanted in India for co-ordinating the bombings through one of his subordinates, Tiger Memon.
Pakistan has till now denied Dawood’s presence on its soil, though Indian security agencies have repeatedly provided details of his alleged whereabouts in dossiers handed over to Pakistani authorities.
But although the former Pakistan foreign secretary, who is Sharif’s special envoy for relations with India, did not retract the strong words he used to describe Dawood, New Delhi is convinced Khan’s views do not reflect that of the establishment in Islamabad.
A first cousin of Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Khan was born in Bhopal and went to school and college in India before he moved to Cambridge University to pursue law.
Khan enjoys respect in India for his diplomacy and his ability to build bridges over seemingly insurmountable differences. He has been a strong votary of better ties between the neighbours.