Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said it would be his government's constant endeavor and objective not to let any of the accused involved in the November 2008 terror strikes on Mumbai, which claimed 166 lives, off the hook.
Interacting with media on his way back home after attending the XVIth Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Tehran, Iran, Dr. Singh said in response to a question on Jammat-ud-Dawa founder Hafiz Sayeed, who is said to have masterminded 26/11, that "We are not letting any one off the hook. Everybody, who has committed the crimes, has to be brought under appropriate justice mechanisms."
The Prime Minister said that during his interaction with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Tehran on the sidelines of the NAM Summit, he had told the latter that the court trial of the Bombay massacre would be seen as "a crucial test of Pakistan's sincerity to bring the perpetrators to justice."
He revealed that on that point, both President Zardari and Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik, had said that they are doing all they can subject to the vagaries of court processes.
The Prime Minister's response came a day after India had urged Pakistan to conduct the trail of the 26/11 accused residing in Pakistan in an expeditious manner.
Briefing media about Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's bilateral interaction with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Tehran on Thursday evening, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said: "The Prime Minister underlined the fact that trial of 26/11accused should be carried out in an expeditious manner, and said that action in this sphere would be a confidence building measure that would help in building public support, in building relations."
He said that in response, President Zardari had reiterated his commitment to bringing to justice those accused of terrorism, but he also explained the problems that his country faced, and highlighted that terror is a scourge from which both countries suffer.
Mathai further revealed that that processes of courts with regard to the 26/11 trial had started in both countries, but in different manners.
He also confirmed that the Pakistan delegation had brought up the judicial commission issue, and added that they would like 26/11 terror strike witnesses to be interviewed.
The Indian Foreign Secretary said the issue of Ajmal Amir Kasab and the Indian Supreme Court's death sentence verdict delivered on Wednesday did not come up during Thursday's bilateral interaction.
Prime Minister Singh also said that he is keen to visit Pakistan.
"I am grateful to President Zardari for inviting me (to visit Pakistan), but I also mentioned that there must be a proper atmosphere that Pakistan is doing all it could do to deal with terrorism directed against India from Pakistan soil," said Dr. Singh.
He also said that the Sir Creek dispute figured in Thursday's talks, and recalled that President Zardari had told him during his visit to India in April en route to Ajmer, that it a solution was doable.
He said that the foreign ministers of the two countries would be meeting soon and would explore what could be achieved. By Smita Prakash