New Delhi, Dec. 14: Upset over the release of Anees Ibrahim by the United Arab Emirates, India today turned its anger on Pakistan, where the Bombay blasts accused is suspected to have fled and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar was set free.
Anees figures on India’s list of 20 that was handed to Pakistan about a year ago. Delhi had sought his extradition.
Anees, who had arrived in Dubai on a Pakistani passport, is reported to have gone to Karachi after his release on bail. “This clearly shows Pakistan has now become a safe haven for all terrorists,” foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.
India took the opportunity to express its disappointment with the US for its continued support to Pakistan. Without naming the country, the spokesman said any serious strategy to fight global terrorism cannot be selective.
The Jaish had reportedly executed the terrorist attack on Parliament last year.
So the Centre did not miss the import of Islamabad’s pointed decision to release Masood, barely 24 hours after the December 13 attack’s first anniversary.
During the memorial service in Delhi, India had reaffirmed its resolve to fight terrorism.
“Masood Azhar has been released following the court order in Lahore,” Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the Punjab (in Pakistan) government’s adviser on religious affairs, was quoted as saying. He said the high court had rejected a Pakistan government request to extend Masood’s detention.
India, however, is not impressed. It knows that according to the new law the Musharraf regime has brought in, terrorist leaders such as Masood can be jailed for a year without trial.
Sarna called Pakistan the “epicentre” of world terrorism and said: “There can be no good terrorist and bad terrorist.” India, he said, was against any country that used double standards to fight terrorism.
“It is quite clear that Pakistan is continuing with the policy of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, in violation of international law and its publicly declared commitments,” he said.
He doubted Pakistan’s seriousness in investigating the charges against Masood. When Masood was picked up in Pakistan, he was allowed to remain in touch with his cadre. He was detained in his own home and Pakistan paid for his family’s maintenance, Sarna said.
“Though both the outfits (Jaish and Laskhar-e-Toiba) have been banned in Pakistan, they are allowed to continue their activities in another name, hold conventions and bring out proscribed publications,” he said.
India was as bitter about Anees’ release but the anger was directed more at Pakistan than Dubai. Sarna said Musharraf had said earlier that no Indian national would be allowed to hide in Pakistan. Yet his government, Sarna said, was helping Anees and Dawood Ibrahim to stay on in Pakistan. They have been given Pakistani passports.
He emphasised the point when he referred to a Sikh jatha from India that recently visited Pakistan and saw there at least three Khalistani militants who figure on the list of 20. “Whether Pakistan has an unvarnished military dictatorship or an electoral varnish has been put on it, their mindset and policies, as evidenced by the putting back in circulation of Masood Azhar, remain unchanged,” Sarna said.