Sunday Jan 10, 2021
ISLAMABAD: In a sharp rebuke, Pakistan has "encouraged" the US State Department to reserve its concerns for the active aiding and abetting of terrorist activities by India.
The strongly-worded statement, issued by Foreign Office on Sunday, comes in response to the US State Department's statement on the conviction of Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the alleged founders of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT).
It may be noted here that an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore sentenced Lakhvi to five years imprisonment and a fine of Rs300,000 in a terrorism financing case. In the written order, the court found the LeT leader guilty under three sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), 1997, for running a dispensary in Kot Lakhpat to raise funds for financing terrorism.
Reacting to the verdict, the US State Department had said it was encouraged by the conviction but noted 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, 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."
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 & execution of terrorist activities by India for which sufficient irrefutable evidence has already been provided," it asserted.
India had also questioned the timing of the action against Lakhvi and linked it to the upcoming Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) meet.
However, the FO on Saturday termed the Indian Ministry of External Affairs' statement as "malicious", stressing 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," said FO.
It reiterated Pakistan's commitment to impartiality, confidentiality, and the technical nature of the FATF process.
"Indian insinuations against Pakistan are in fact a vain attempt to conceal its failures to bring to justice those blatantly involved in state terrorism and brutal suppression against the subjugated people of IIOJK and other minority communities," said the FO.
"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."
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.