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26/11 terrorists must face justice
Published on 17 Jan. 2009 12:57 AM IST
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A day after he indicated India was willing to accept a trial of fugitives in Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday hardened his posture, saying there was “no question of a climbdown” and reiterated that the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage must face Indian justice. “We have never given up the demand that perpetrators of terror acts should be extradited to India. There is no question of that or climbdown,” Mukherjee told reporters when asked whether there was a shift in India’s demand to Pakistan to extradite the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage. “However, the fact remains that dastardly terror crimes have been committed in India. Therefore, the perpetrators must face Indian justice,” Mukherjee asserted in a bid to counter the impression created by his comments in an interview to Aaj Tak. “This is not an either or situation as these things are not mutually exclusive,” he said on a day Pakistan responded to the 26/11 dossier presented by India that linked Pakistani nationals to the Mumbai attacks. “It would be ideal if (they) can hand over the fugitives from India to us. If that is not possible, there should at least be a fair trial of these fugitives in Pakistan,” Mukherjee told the news channel Thursday. Mukherjee Friday argued that the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries can’t be an excuse for Pakistan as there are many international instruments under which criminals can be extradited. “Pakistan’s Extradition Act of 1972, in fact, specifically provides for extradition even when there is no bilateral extradition treaty between the countries,” he said. “The SAARC convention on terrorism also has the same intent and such provisions are there in other international instruments,” he added. India has asked Pakistan to hand over 40 fugitives wanted in various terrorist activities in India, including the Mumbai attacks. The minister’s stiffening of stance comes on a day when chief opposition Bharatiya Janata Party seized on his comments and accused the government of betraying the victims of terror attack.

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