Pakistan PM Imran Khan breaks silence on Dawood, Hafiz Saed: ‘Can’t be held responsible for inherited issues’

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New Delhi | Published: November 30, 2018 11:51:32 AM

Prompted about the presence of Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan, Imran Khan said that there is already a clampdown on the JuD chief

??not in our interest to allow use of Pakistan?s territory for terror outside,? he said. (file image)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has finally broken his silence on terror emanating from the Pakistan’s soil to wage war on India. Addressing Indian journalists in Islamabad on Thursday, Khan said that issues like the presence of Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan are ones that he has inherited and should not be blamed for.

“We can’t live in the past. We also have a list of wanted in India… It is not in our interest to allow use of Pakistan’s territory for terror outside.”

When the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader was prompted about India’s ‘Most Wanted’ terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and Mumbai terror attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, both of whom continue to stay free in Pakistan and evade arrest, he said that there is already a clampdown on Hafiz Saeed.

“There are UN sanctions against Hafiz Saeed. There is already a clampdown on the Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief. These are the issues we have inherited”.

Khan’s statement on Saeed came a day after Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told Indian scribes that there is no “tangible evidence” against Hafiz Saeed.

In the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, Hafiz Saeed was kept under house arrest, but was soon released by a Pakistan court in the year 2009. India’s claim was verified when US announced a reward of $10 million for Saeed while 1993 Mumbai blast accused Dawood Ibrahim was listed as a global terrorist by a committee of the UN Security Council.

Nevertheless, the Pakistan PM has called for peace between the two neighbouring countries. After the much talked about groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur corridor on Wednesday, Khan had said that all leaders in Pakistan want a “civilized relationship” with India, and said that the Kashmir conflict needs to be addressed and it can only be resolved through peaceful talks.

“Kashmir needs to be seen differently, there are no easy solutions for Kashmir. But I believe there is a solution. But solutions will come when there is a dialogue… We always get stuck in the past, let’s not live in the past, and learn from it,” he said

The former cricketer said, “I said the two steps on Day 1 but I got such a bad response when meeting at the UN was cancelled. Why have such conditions for talks? As if there is no intention for peace. We will now wait for April after elections for talks.”

“After the Parliament attack, I saw the two armies come face to face. And then after the Mumbai attack, it went back to square one. Aman ki khwaish tab se hai (I have wanted peace since then),” he added.

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He also cleared the air about his tweet that had said that “small men occupying big offices” after the cancellation of the bilateral meet at the UN. Khan made it clear that it was not an attack on anyone but also expressed his disappointment over the cancellation.

A day ahead of the Kartarpur corridor project ceremony, Khan had said that the Pakistan government and army are on the same page for improved ties with india.

However, on Thursday, Khan emphatically said that peace gestures can’t always be one-sided and there has to be a response after elections in April. “We are willing to wait for (general) elections to get over in India for a gesture from New Delhi,” he said.

Back in India, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said that merely starting the Kartarpur corridor project will not lead to talks unless Pakistan stops sponsoring terror through its soil. Pakistan had said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited for the SAARC summit, but India made it clear that the Prime Minister will not attend.

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