Pakistan refuses to hand over 20 wanted terrorists as Rice lands in New Delhi
President Asif Ali Zardari Wednesday, Dec. 3, rejected New Delhi’s demand to extradite Lashkar e-Taiba chief Hafiz Mohd Sayeed and 19 other fugitives implicated in the Mumbai and other terrorist outrages in India. He said that if evidence were provided, they would be tried in Pakistani courts.
In New Delhi, US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice pledged Washington would work with India and Pakistan to find the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack and bring them to trial. She landed in the Indian capital as Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs, arrived in Islamabad to defuse the war tensions between the two subcontinental nuclear countries.
India’s wanted list includes also Mumbai underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar. In demanding the fugitives’ handover, Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said his country has every right to protect its territorial integrity and would take appropriate action to deal with terror strikes emanating from Pakistan. He did not rule out military strikes against terror camps across the border. India says the Kashmiri Lashkar e-Taiba group is linked to al Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence.
Zardari questioned the claim that the only surviving gunman was a Pakistani. He said the Mumbai attacks were executed by “stateless actors” who want to hold the whole world, including Pakistan itself, hostage and called for a joint investigation.