26/11: Nothing on ground despite Pak promises

New Delhi: Nearly three years after the 26/11 attack, Pakistan has not been able to deliver on its promises to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strike to justice and dismantle terror infrastructure despite assurances given at the highest level.

Government officials said despite India consistently raising the issues of punishment to 26/11 masterminds, dismantling of terror infrastructure in PoK and curbing infiltration during numerous bilateral meetings with Pakistani leadership, there has been little progress on the ground.

Officials said all these have been happening despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani three times, President Asif Ali Zardari once, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna meeting his counterpart thrice and Home Minister P Chidambaram meeting his counterpart twice since the 26/11 terror attack.

Singh met Gilani on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Sharm el Sheikh in July 2009, in Thimphu on the margins of SAARC summit in April 2011 and again in Mohali on the sidelines of India-Pakistan cricket match in March 2011. For the fourth time, the Prime Minister met Gilani on Thursday in Maldives on the sidelines of SAARC meeting and again raised the issues.

Singh also met Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on the sidelines of BRIC and SCO summits in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in June 2009. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna met his then Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the G8 outreach meeting in Trieste, Italy, in June 2009, on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York in September 2009, during a bilateral meeting in Islamabad in July 2010 and again in July 2011 he met the new Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in New Delhi.

"In all these meetings, India raised the issue of justice to 26/11 attack, terror camps operating in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and in all these meetings, Pakistan promised action. But on the ground, nothing has happened," an official said. Chidambaram met his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik in July 2010 in Islamabad and again in Thimphu in July 2011 on the sidelines of SAARC interior/Home Minister meetings and raised the issue. On both the occasions, Malik had promised action but little happened on the ground, officials said.

Besides, during several Foreign Secretaries and the Home Secretaries level talks, India has been strongly raising the issue of action against the 26/11 perpetrators but LeT founder and key conspirator Syed Hafiz Sayeed and others were still roaming freely in Pakistan. The trial in the Rawalpindi court has been going on at a very slow pace and the Indian officials are not very optimistic that the guilty will be punished any time soon.

So far, four judges of the court have been changed ever since the trial began in early 2009. Shahid Rafique is the fifth judge to hear the case since the proceedings began. "Trial against seven Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives, including its `operation commander` Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, lodged in a jail there, has been delayed for one or the other reason, showing lack of interests in pursuing the case by Pakistan government machinery," the official said.