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India should focus on building a foolproof case against Hafiz Saeed: Suhasini Haidar


Updated: December 17, 2012, 5:34 PM IST
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India should focus on building a foolproof case against Hafiz Saeed: Suhasini Haidar
CNN-IBN's senior editor Suhasini Haidar joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Rehman Malik visit.

Gauging the Pakistani establishment's mood from the statements of Rehman Malik during his recently concluded India visit, Can New Delhi actually expect Islamabad to act on the 26/11 planners and to clamp down on terror? CNN-IBN's Senior Editor Suhasini Haidar joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. So all in all we are now supposed to play the Big Brother by ignoring all that Pakistan does in order to move forward. My question is...What do we look forward to? Asked by: @Vipul_Bagga

A. Look forward to a better future Vipul...the past has been far from satisfactory, and we now live in a world where our children don't think of visiting most of our neighbours...Pakistan, Bangladesh, even Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Whereas all know US, UK, Singapore, Dubai. So no 'big brother', and no 'ignore', one has to be able to forge better ties. At the same time, be tough, keep up the vigil, and be prepared (that includes being prepared for more visits like this one). It is important India keeps its focus on what we need, whether it is justice for the victims of terror, or how to better the lives of people here.

Q. The visiting minister did make some positive sounding noise on Sarabjit's matter. Is it really going to give the family a relief ?? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Pak President Zardari has announced a moratorium on executions, so it is unlikely to carry out the death sentence on Sarabjeet. However, he is convicted of an act of terror, and in the past, when Pakistan has released Indian prisoners like Kashmir Singh, Surjeet Singh etc, they have returned and admitted to being Indian spies. That makes it more difficult for any government to actually release such prisoners.However, it may still happen.

Q. Why Indian foreign gurus have never used the Shia killings in POK, plight of Hindus in Pakistan and ethnic cleansing of Baluchistan? Do we only know of giving carrots and taking sticks? or Did we just learn the first para of Gujral doctrine? Asked by: saurav

A. As an effective tool of coercive diplomacy, or simply as a tit-for-tat measure?

Q. Don't you think problem lies with way US deals with Pakistan? Only US pressure can work on Pakistan and both countries need each other. Asked by: Anvesh

A. You have a good point Anvesh, it is the US's original backing of Islamic radical groups to fight in Afghanistan that gave Pakistan encouragement that it would not be held to account. It is the US's responsibility today to help quell the problem too.

Q. Why we want to develop relation where every blast takes place? What you're thought on today's blast in Khyber Agency and killed 17? Asked by: ketan. from Gujarat

A. India has tried to cut relations in the past....and then returned to talks.

Q. Why is UPA hell bent on relations with Pakistan and neglecting all the other neighbours? We are on the back foot in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives..All SAARC is in disarray because of the attitude of Pakistan! Why India does not have a coherent foreign policy? Asked by: saurav

A. I agree that we need to focus on our other neighbours too...but I do think dealing with Pakistan is not a matter of choice. India has too long cut itself off from the benefits of opening up our horizons to the west and east.

Q. Do you think Pakistan will act on Hafiz Saeed even if India provides them with more evidence? Are they not acting on him because they fear an extremist backlash if they do so? How will Pakistan's action on terror, change with a new government? Asked by: Arjumand

A. I answered this in a previous question Arjumand, but India should focus on building and advertising its fool-proof case- nailing Saeed, while keeping the pressure up on Pakistan. Another government would have the same constraints, but the fact that 7 senior Lashkar e Toiba members are on trial in Pakistan, quite likely to be convicted, and that Pakistani officials have testified that LeT training camps exist in Pakistan, should be proof that Pakistan can be made to change its habitual resistance to Indian concerns.

Q. The only way to move forward it seems is to say let bygones be bygones and we start afresh. Of course we can but then how do we take the political class aboard on such a plane? Asked by: @Vipul_Bagga

A. Not bygones Vipul. I think it is important to pursue justice. What we failed to recognise in this visit is what was the purpose of the visit. The governments of both sides should have had a plan, a strategy to take the process forward. In the past, when they have gone into visits without an advance plan, it has ended like this- from Agra to Sharm el Sheikh. Yet there have been many instances of relations being taken forward, expectations understood when it comes to the talks in Thimphu, Islamabad (Home Ministers meet 2010), and even the Musharraf visit of 2005. You cannot have a minister come to Delhi for essentially 2 meetings, no follow-up, and atleast 36 hours of unstructured time. As I said, wasted opportunity.

Q. Almost all channels gave space to the visiting minister from Pak. Why was he given a chance to ridicule and humiliate us using our Media? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Sundar, as I said in another answer, we need to become more clinical in such matters. No one can "Ridicule/ humiliate us" unless we feel ridiculed or humiliated. In fact, some of the things Mr. Malik said were plain ridiculous. But he is a visiting minister from a neighbouring country, invited here for important negotiations- it is necessary the media covers him. You may be surprised to know, that atleast 2 of his public events weren't carried by most channels. 'Giving space' makes it seem like an act of charity, which it is not.

Q. On Hafiz Saeed the remark of the visiting minister was that there is no sufficient proof as required under Pakistan Judicial system to arrest & proceed for his involvement in 26/11. Imran had said differently that action on him will do no good. So both rulers & opposition in Pakistan are one on this. Does this mean going further Pakistan will be more towards Islamic Clerics guidance than any Civilian democratic aspirations? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. There is no questions that any Pakistani government will find it difficult to take on Hafiz Saeed, given his religious clout,and despite his incendiary messages of hate.But that shouldn't deter India and the US from building a fool-proof case against Saeed, and keep the pressure on Pakistan to take action against him. One of the ways is to match his voice to the tape transcripts India possess during the Mumbai attacks from the Karachi 'control-room'-- if that were possible, it would be incontrovertible proof.

Q. Was the visiting minister ill meaning in his remarks or are we as people over-reacting? Do we not need to display a larger thought process? Asked by: Shirish

A. Shirish, that is an interesting way of putting it. I believe you can only be insulted with your own permission, and sometimes one has to be more clinical. It is too easy to take offense and then work off it.For eg. when Mr Malik referred to the weather as a possible cause for Capt Kalia's death in an insensitive way, everyone was outraged. Yet that has been Pakistan's position since 1999, that Capt Kalia was part of a group that strayed across the LoC, got caught in a storm and fell into a crevice and died. India has done nothing at an international level to provide evidence against that claim. The ICRC was denied access at the time of post-mortem. And till today, both the NDA and UPA governments have insisted on taking up the case only bilaterally. Yet in the noise that followed, no one will ask those questions. The minister was ill-advised and ill-mannered, but he didn't say something new from the Pakistan pt of view.

Q. The Int Minister of Pakistan visited India to inform that they have no intentions to assist in 26/11 prosecutions of their citizens and a big no the voice samples requested for. He was blunt on this point. Was this the tone expected by our MEA and MOH on his visit? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Thanks Sundar, nice to chat again. In this entire visit, it seems our government was completely unprepared for Rehman's Malik visit. Despite the fact that the visit had been resisted for month, put off atleast once, one would have expected the government to know what to expect. It would seem the only achievable outcome of the visit was the visa liberalisation agreement, which frankly, did not need the visit.

Q. The visa normalisation facilities extended were ostensibly for the MNF status to be accorded,which will necessitate more of business travellers. Has the MNF status been officially declared by Pakistan? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. No, a year after the original announcement. But Pakistan has said it will accord MFN in the next month...

Q. Is it not perfect case of fooling ourself, when we start expecting Pakistan will do iota of things to stop terrorism in India. Asked by: Renuka

A. Renuka, it isn't a perfect world, so yes I guess if you go by past record, you would be right to wonder. However, it is possible to exact results if we are more focused about it. Malik's visit was as much of a wasted opportunity on our behalf as it was a completely frittered away opportunity for him and Pakistan.

First Published: December 17, 2012, 5:34 PM IST
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