Saeed's arrest tops Indo-Pak talks agenda

Saeed's arrest tops Indo-Pak talks agenda

Krishna, Qureshi to review 26/11 probe progress in New York on Sunday

Hafiz Saeed

Less than a week before the meeting between the two foreign ministers, the Pakistani police restricted the movement of Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, and barred him from leading Id prayers in Islamabad citing “security concerns”.

Security was beefed up outside Saeed’s residence in Johar Town area here on Sunday night. Television channels reported he had been placed under house arrest but there was no official word on it.

In Chennai, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram insisted that Saeed be interrogated in connection with the 26/11 terror attacks as Pakistan possessed all evidence to prosecute him in the attacks.

The Krishna-Qureshi meeting will be the first high-level contact between New Delhi and Islamabad after the two prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Yousuf Raza Gilani met in the Egyptian city of Sharm-El-Sheikh on July 16.

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said that Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao too would meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in the same city on Saturday to do the spadework and set the agenda for the meeting between Krishna and Qureshi. The meetings in New York are intended to review progresses made by Islamabad in the probe into 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and bringing the Pakistan-based masterminds of the Mumbai carnage to justice.

But no major breakthrough is expected as New Delhi is unlikely to resume the composite dialogue with Islamabad unless Pakistan took credible and concrete action against the 26/11 masterminds and other terrorist outfits inimical to India. The Indo-Pak joint statement issued from Sharm-El-Sheikh had de-linked the composite dialogue from action on terror. Singh had drawn flak from the opposition BJP-led NDA in Parliament.  

Congress sources said Krishna had been advised to be cautious while dealing with his Pakistani counterpart in order to make it sure that the UPA government did not find itself in a political crisis like the one triggered by the Sharm-El-Sheikh statement.

Security reasons

Lahore division superintendent of police Sohail Sukhera said Saeed’s movements had been restricted due to concerns for his security.  “We have only stopped Saeed from offering Id prayers at a ground near Gaddafi Stadium to ensure his safety and his people. We have information in this regard and that is why we cannot allow him to move freely,” Sukhera said.

The move came three days after the police in Faisalabad city registered two First Information Reports under the Anti-Terrorism Act against Saeed for making speeches last month in which he incited people to wage jehad against infidels.

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