December 2001 News

India says Lashkar responsible, asks Pak to arrest leadership

14 December 2001
The Daily Excelsior

New Delhi: India today blamed Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba for yesterday’s terrorist attack on Parliament saying it has ''credible evidence'' and formally asked Islamabad to arrest the leadership of LeT and another militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad freezing the organisations’ assets. Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and made out a demarche setting out the three demands which included stopping of the activities of the two organisations. A day after the terror strike, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told reporters ''India has technical evidence that yesterday’s terrorist attacks on not only the symbol but also the seat of Indian democracy and sovereignty was the handiwork of a terrorist organisation based in Pakistan—LeT''. Declining to go into the ''credible evidence'' Government has on LeT’s involvement, Singh said there were ''obvious difficulties'' in making it public as Government agencies had many means of obtaining intelligence. ''This is technical intelligence, entirely credible'', he said. Singh emphasised that the demands made out in the demarche were also in accordance with necessary international obligations and commitment in countering terrorism. He said alongwith the US, some other countries have been given information about the technical intelligence. Asked about demand by some BJP MPs (to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that the time has come for hot pursuit of terrorists in J and K and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and destroying camps in PoK, he said Government’s position was reflected in the cabinet resolution adopted yesterday. In the resolution, Government had declared that it will liquidate terrorists and their sponsors wherever and whoever they are. To a question whether India would pass on the credible evidence to Pakistan if it is sought, he said ''it really is a decision that will have to be weighed against the requirements and the interest of the agencies that collect technical intelligence. I don’t think any country reveals the methodology etc. Unless the intelligence collected has no further use there. That is the standard procedure''. Asked whether India would consider military retaliation, he said New Delhi’s position was outlined in the cabinet resolution and ''it is not open for me to speculate''. On whether New Delhi has received any response from pakistan to its demands, Singh said the demarche had been made out only this evening. About reports that Pakistan has put its troops on high alert, he said ''we have no reports on this'', and added that he has been in regular touch with the Defence Minister and the service headquarters. To a pointed question on whether India has any evidence of Pakistan Government’s involvement in any manner in yesterday’s attack, he said one had to reflect on the origins of LeT, its funding and patronage of both LeT and JeM. Asked what would be the next step if Islamabad chose to ignore the demarche, he said diplomatic demarche are not ignored. ''Pakistan asserts that it is with the rest of the international community in its fight against terrorism. That it does not promote or encourage terrorism. It is our expectation that it will certainly abide by what it says itself,'' he said. Later, asked about the response of the Pakistani High Commissioner after the demarche was made out to him, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told reporters that Qazi said he would refer its contents to his Government. To a question whether the Indian Government had set a deadline for Islamabad to act on the demarche, she said, ''we have not set a deadline but we expect them to act early.'' Clarifying that it was a verbal demarche, she recalled that a similar demarche was given after the October one attack on J and K Assembly complex in Srinagar. Asked whether a team of federal bureau of investigation had come to Delhi in connection with yesterday’s attack, she said ''no FBI team has come.'' India is in touch with a number of countries on the terrorist attack in Parliament, she said when asked about the support from various nations on the issue.


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