Pak must arrest Hafiz Saeed to improve ties with India: Editorial

Islamabad, Jan. 8 (ANI): The arrest of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed is of utmost necessity in order to improve relations between India and Pakistan, according to an editorial in a Pakistani daily.

The editorial in The Express Tribune said that no matter how much progress Pakistan and India make in improving relations, the spectre of 26/11 will always hang over the two countries. As long as Hafiz Saeed - the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks - is roaming free and the JuD is allowed to operate, India will continue to mistrust Pakistan, it added.

That much was made clear recently by Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who declared Pakistan's response to the 26/11 attacks unsatisfactory, it further added.

Matters weren't helped by Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who once again placed his foot firmly in his mouth and declared there wasn't all that much difference between the Mumbai attacks and the destruction of the Babri mosque. He also claimed that a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, Abu Jandal, had worked for Indian intelligence, thereby reviving the canard that a foreign country, usually referring to one of the US, India or Israel, is behind the Taliban and its affiliates, the editorial said.

According to the editorial, to smooth things over with India, the one obvious step the government needs to take is to stop indulging in conspiracy theorising. Once this basic criterion is met, the government should move forward on a long overdue mission to finally declare the JuD a terrorist organisation, seize its money and track down its donors and operatives, it added.

The half-hearted attempt to hold Saeed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks seemed to be a public relations ploy and not a serious attempt to hold accountable the mastermind of the attacks, the editorial stated.

The civilian government in Pakistan should finally grant India most-favoured nation status so that the country can demonstrate its commitment to peace. The two neighbours may not be able to bury 26/11 forever but we can certainly try to dull its impact through goodwill gestures and continued contact, it concluded. (ANI)

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