Pakistan must question prime 26/11 suspect Hafiz Saeed: Chidambaram

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New Delhi, Sep.18 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said that the Pakistan Government must question 26/11 prime suspect and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, notwithstanding the fact that two cases had been filed against him that were not related to that tragic event.

Speaking to the TIMES NOW television channel, Chidambaram said authorities should avail the opportunity of questioning Saeed on the 26/11 episode also, once he is arrested.

"...I am told that it's (FIRs agaisnt Hafiz Saeed) not related to the 26/11 attacks. Even if they apprehending him on some other charge, and use the opportunity to question him on his involvement in 26/11 attacks, that would be a significant progress in the case. I hope that they question him on 26/22 too," Chidambaram told TIMES NOW after his US visit.

Insisting that Saeed should be tried for his involvement in the 26/11 terror attack, Chidambaram said: "There is no trial there. The trial has not started there. In fact, my complaint has been even before I visited the US, that we don't have a date set for the trial and to best of the my knowledge, the first witness has not been examined.

"By way of contrast, our own trial in Mumbai is about to conclude. At least the recording of the evidences is about to conclude. I think that point has been noticed by a number of world capitals."

On Pakistan stating that India has not given enough evidence nor is there enough evidence to convict Saeed, Chidambaram said that enough proof has been given to Pakistan in various dossiers to establish Saeed's involvement in the Mumbai terror attack.

"...I have said this more than once that anyone reading the dossier, will conclude that Hafiz Saeed in indeed a prime suspect in 26/11 and any government which is committed to the rule of law, is obliged to interrogate Hafiz Saeed and investigate his role in 26/11."

Chidamabaram's views came as Pakistan for the first time charged Saeed under the anti-terrorism act.

However, he was not accused of any involvement with 26/11. Instead, in the two FIRs, Saeed was charged with making anti-state sermons, and collecting donations for a charity that funds terrorists.

In December 2008, Saeed was put under house arrest, but in June this year, he was released after a Pakistani court ruled there was no evidence that linked him to the 26/11 attacks.

Chidambaram described Saeed's release as "atrocious".

Pakistan's move to arrest Saeed could have a significant impact on a scheduled meeting later this month of India and Pakistan's foreign ministers in New York, another television channel said. Both ministers will be attending the UN General Assembly Session.

The United States is also pressurising Islamabad to "go after" Hafiz Saeed.

US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer is said to have told Chidambaram that Pakistan must dismantle its terror infrastructure.

The meeting comes less than a week after Chidambaram's visit to the US when he met the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, armed with evidence of Saeed's role in 26/11 Mumbai attacks.

The powerful statement by the Ambassador comes after he used strong language about the need to punish those responsible for 26/11.

Roemer said: "There are five, probably six, suspects currently being held in Islamabad for 26/11 attacks. It is extremely important that these blood-thirsty perpetrators be brought to justice and put behind bars, and receive sentences commensurate with their crimes against India, US and the world." (ANI)

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