New Delhi/ Nagpur, Aug. 10 (ANI): Cutting across party lines, politicians on Saturday expressed their dismay and a degree of resentment over former Pakistan foreign secretary Shahryar Khan's statement admitting mafia don Dawood Ibrahim's presence in Pakistan.
They were unanimous in their view that Pakistan has become a haven for terrorists, but at the same time said that this could just be another tactic to divert India's attention from the recent LoC killings.
Congress leader Meem Afzal said that Pakistan cannot be trusted, because earlier they were denying the presence of Dawood in their country, and added that they are trying to divert the attention from the LoC issue.
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders also expressed their dismay over Pakistan's activities and intentions to genuinely strengthen Indo-Pak relations.
BJP spokesperson Captain Abhimanyu Sindhu said Pakistan should be declared a 'terrorist state'.
"We had been constantly giving notice as a nation to Pakistan that Dawood Ibrahim who is a prime accused in the Mumbai blasts in 1992 is residing in Pakistan. Each time we got a response that he is not there. This is an admission, confession from the Pakistani authorities and United Nation Organization (UNO) should take cognizance of the fact and declare Pakistan as a terrorist state. Pakistan has become a nursery of terrorist organizations in the world," he said.
BJP General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said every issue of terrorism raised by Pakistan should be looked upon with suspicion.
"We cannot take a Pakistani leaders statement so seriously. When Pakistan had Osama Bin Laden for almost ten years and America had no clue, there is no surprise that it can hide any person. If Pakistan had Dawood, why didn't they inform India? I believe any issue that Pakistan raises over terrorism should be looked upon with suspicion," Rudy said.
Defense Analyst Captain (Retired) Bharat Verma said that there is a high possibility that India's most wanted Dawood Ibrahim could be hiding underground in Pakistan and urged Indian intelligence agencies to monitor and verify
"I personally believe Pakistan is misguiding India, so that the discussions are diverted from the tension on the border Dawood Abrahim is given a new personality, new passport and is hiding underground in Pakistan possibly somewhere in Karachi and has not shifted. This, the intelligence agencies must monitor and verify,' he said.
He also urged India to raise questions on Shahryar Khan's statement that Dawood was in Pakistan but has been 'chased out' and could be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"The fact that they have accepted that Dawood was in Pakistan, India must ask these questions to Pakistan straight away from when did he arrive in Pakistan, where was he staying, why was he staying these despite international red corner notice, why was Pakistan overlooking the international laws, why was he not handed over to India back because he is known to be carrying many rackets in India including fake currency notes and killing people," he said.
"But when they say that Dawood has gone to UAE, then the second question is who helped him to go to UAE because you cannot travel without a passport and it can only be given by Pakistan government," he added.
According to reports, Shahryar Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's special envoy for improving relations with India, said on Friday that Dawood was in Pakistan but has been "chased out" and could be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
While speaking to reporters at a pre-launch event for his book "Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan" in London, Shahryar Khan said: "Dawood (Ibrahim) was in Pakistan, but I believe he was chased out of Pakistan. If he is in Pakistan, he should be hounded and arrested. We cannot allow such gangsters to operate from the country," said Khan. The former diplomat added that if Dawood was still in Pakistan he would have been arrested by now.
However, he later told an Indian television channel that he had never known where Dawood lived and his earlier statement was just reflecting what the Pakistani media has been reporting in the past. (ANI)