Pakistani Punjab’s Law Minister Rana Sanaullah claims the evidence provided by India in the Pathankot terror attack is not enough for his country to launch an investigation. Elaborating on the reasons why no arrests have been made by Pakistan in the Pathankot attack case, Sanaullah said that the people named by India were not involved in carrying out the strike. According to Sanaullah, India has not given adequate evidence despite the JIT visit. He also admitted that in the past, the Pakistani state offered support to terrorist organizations like the Jaish E Mohammad and the Jamat Ud Dawa.
CNN News18: Why is there double standards in dealing with Zarb-e-Azb? You are going after groups like TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhanghvi but no action against Jaish-E-Mohammad or Jamat-Ud-Dawa?
Rana Sanaullah: My simple answer is that we are taking action against those who indulge in terror attacks against my citizens, my markets and my buildings. If anyone is not involved in those incidents I can't arrest them because I have to produce evidence in the anti-terror court. There is no Jaish or JuD attack in Punjab. Both have been banned and the persons who were with these organizations previously, but are now out of it, say they don't support terrorism anymore.
CNN News18: Why is there no arrest in the Pathankot case despite the strong evidence by Indian Government and the visit by Pakistani JIT to India?
Rana Sanaullah: How I can arrest them without any evidence? Those persons whom you are hinting at are not involved in terror attacks in Pakistan. If they are involved in terror elsewhere, we have to get enough evidence. Be it Pathankot or Mumbai, we are telling India to provide us with evidence. When Mumbai attack happened, India had accused Hafiz Saeed of being behind it. So we arrested him and produced him in court, but the court adjourned the matter. India was not able to provide any evidence. Eventually Hafiz Saeed was freed following the court order.
CNN News18: Recently in an interview you had said action can't be taken against JuD or JeM because state was involved with these groups in the past. Can you explain what you mean by “state involvement”?
Rana Sanaullah: I think the stance of all Pakistani governments was that we do support Jihad and war of independence in Kashmir. But morally and politically, we don’t agree to any militant activities. But the people, non state actors or otherwise, they were involved in Kashmir and it is an open secret. You may remember when General Zia ul Haq visited India, his visit left a bad impression. Then Parvez Musharraf made a public statement that you call them terrorists, but for us they are Mujahideen. So support for terror has always been there.
CNN News18: Recently Hafiz Saeed addressed students at a prominent engineering college in Lahore. How and why does a global terrorist address the future of Pakistan? Doesn’t this worry you?
Rana Sanaullah: Yes. We have banned all such persons. They can't address any university, nor can they gather a crowd. As far as this particular incident is concerned, I will cross check and get back to you.
CNN-News18: Recently Lashkar has started courts in Punjab to arbitrate on petty personal matters, property disputes etc. Doesn’t this worry you? One day, they can pass strictures on the government or even the judiciary in Pakistan?
Rana Sanaullah: I asked the people concerned when such reports were published in the media. I even asked the person in JUD for further details. He assured me categorically that no such court exists. Once, three persons in JUD had asked a local fakir to decide on a matter. Since panchayat culture is very strong in Punjab, these incidents do happen. Thereafter, I repeatedly tried to locate the man who made the initial complaint but I couldn't trace him.