Mumbai: Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria on Friday said India has expressed its readiness to share material evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks with Pakistan. The Indian Foreign Secretary, in his letter of 6th September 2016, expressed India’s readiness in reply to his Pakistani counterpart’s letter, dated 8th September 2015, a foreign office spokesperson said on Friday.
New Delhi’s latest move — in the form of a letter from Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar to his Pakistani counterpart last week — comes at a time when Islamabad is preparing to raise Kashmir at the UN this month, with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif leading the charge.
Sources said the move is also a response to Pakistan’s attempts to place the onus of the delay on India after it recently sought to examine Indian witnesses in the case. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Thursday that Jaishankar wrote the letter to Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry on September 6. It was hand-delivered by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad on September 9, he said, adding that Pakistan is yet to respond. Swarup said that if Pakistan is serious about acting against the perpetrators of the attack, it must act on India’s suggestions.
“In order to bring the guilty to book, our Foreign Secretary has recently written to his counterpart in Pakistan suggesting ways in which the trial could be expedited through cooperation through the legal channel,” said Swarup.
He said the step was prompted by the delay in bringing to book the people in Pakistan responsible for the attack. “As you know, the entire attack was planned from Pakistan, was perpetrated by Pakistani nationals, all the evidence is in Pakistan. But eight years have passed and trial is happening at a snail’s pace,” he said.
Asked if India had got any response to the letter, he said, “No”. While India has always been critical of the slow pace of trial in Pakistan in the case, this diplomatic move is also aimed at garnering international support, since many foreigners were among the 166 killed in the attack.
So far, Pakistan has jailed six suspects in the case on charges of abetment to murder, attempted murder, and planning and executing the attacks. However, the alleged mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, has not been seen in public since getting bail over a year ago.