ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday encouraged the United States State Department to reserve its concerns for the active aiding and abetting of terrorist activities by India.
The Foreign Office (FO) issued a sharp rebuke to the US State Department’s statement on the conviction of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the alleged founders of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Lakhvi was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs300,000 in a terror financing case by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore.
The US State Department said in its statement that Lakhvi’s “crimes go far beyond financing terrorism”. “Pakistan should further hold him accountable for his involvement in terrorist attacks, including the Mumbai attacks,” it added.
Responding to the US State Department’s statement, the FO emphasised that Pakistan “is fully abiding by its own statutes and fulfilment of its international obligations”.
“The investigations, prosecutions and subsequent convictions, through due process, are a reflection of the effectiveness of Pakistan’s legal system which operates independently of any extraneous factors or influences.”
The FO stressed that the legal process in the Mumbai case remains stalled due to India’s reluctance to send over witnesses for cross-examination in the Pakistani court.
“The State Department is encouraged to reserve its concern for the active aiding, abetting, planning, promoting, financing and execution of terrorist activities by India for which sufficient irrefutable evidence has already been provided,” it asserted.
It may be noted here that India had also questioned the timing of the action against Lakhvi and linked it to the upcoming Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting.
However, the FO on Saturday rejected the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ statement and stressed that New Delhi 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 fulfilment of its international obligations,” read the FO statement.
“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.” It reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to impartiality, confidentiality, and the technical nature of the FATF process.
The ministry recommended New Delhi 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 fulfil 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,” it added.