London: For the first time, Pakistan has admitted to the presence of one of India’s most wanted terrorists Dawood Ibrahim but said he has been “chased out” and could be in the “Gulf”.
“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 Shahryar Khan, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s special envoy for improving relations with India.
The former diplomat said he stressed that if Dawood was in Pakistan he would have been arrested by now.
He was speaking to reporters at a pre-launch event organised by the Indian Journalists’ Association for his latest book ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ in London.
“I think he is in the UAE. The Nawaz Sharif government is very much in favour of taking action against criminals who not only affect Pakistan but also any other countries, whether it is India or Afghanistan or wherever. We cannot allow criminals to flourish in the country. If they come to us, we will take action. That is why I think he (Dawood) has left Pakistan,” Mr Khan said.
The former Pakistani foreign secretary also re-iterated the newly-elected Pakistan government’s commitment to hold talks with moderate elements of the Taliban.
“Pakistan has been in favour of discussions with the Taliban of the more moderate ilk. But a large number are not moderate. There are those operating in Pakistan who are not moderate. However, Pakistan remains inclined to talk to the reasonable ones,” he said.
Pakistan has till now denied the presence of Dawood on its soil though Indian security agencies have repeatedly mentioned his name and details in dossiers handed over to Pakistani authorities.
According to reports, Dawood was based in Karachi, where he had fled after the 1993 Mumbai bombings.
Besides the 1993 bombings, he is wanted in numerous terror and criminal cases in India. In 2003, the US government had designated him as a “Foreign Terrorist”.