NEWS DESK: The Foreign Office (FO) has rejected the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) statement regarding the conviction of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and said that the Indian attempt to link Islamabad’s due legal process with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) review is unfortunate.
FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said, “Pakistan categorically rejects the malicious statement by India regarding conviction of a UN-designated individual by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan. India has no locus standi to comment on the independent judicial mechanisms of Pakistan. In this regard the only ‘compliance’ that interests Pakistan is abiding by its own statutes and fulfillment of its international obligations.”
“Investigations, prosecutions and subsequent convictions, through due process, are a reflection of the effectiveness of Pakistan’s legal system, which operates independent of any extraneous factors or influences. India’s assertions to link Pakistan’s due legal process with FATF are unfortunate. It is yet another Indian attempt to politicise FATF and use its processes against Pakistan. Pakistan reiterates its commitment to impartiality, confidentiality and technical nature of the FATF process,” he added.
“As for the hypocritical Indian assertions regarding the ‘terror infrastructure’ and ‘individual terrorists’, irrefutable evidence has already been provided by Pakistan to the international community of the active aiding, abetting, planning, promoting, financing and execution of terrorist activities by India against Pakistan, with impunity. India would do well to put its own house in order and rein in its terror infrastructure that is aimed at destabilising India’s neighbouring countries in order to fulfill the extremist agenda of the RSS-BJP regime.”
“We also expect the UN counter-terrorism bodies to proceed on the basis of concrete evidence provided by Pakistan, urge India to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, and play their part in securing the dismantling of the Indian terrorist infrastructure,” he concluded.
A day earlier, India had questioned the timing of action against Lakhvi, who was convicted of terror financing by a Lahore anti-terrorism court on Friday. The MEA had said that UN-proscribed entities and designated terrorists act as proxies for Pakistan’s establishment to fulfill Islamabad’s anti-India agenda, adding that the action to convict Lakhvi was taken by Pakistan at this time to project a sense of compliance ahead of the upcoming Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) meet.
Meanwhile, the United States said it was encouraged by Lakhvi’s recent conviction. “However, his crimes go far beyond financing terrorism. Pakistan should further hold him accountable for his involvement in terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks,” the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said on Twitter.