Islamabad: The failure to comply with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s assurances at Ufa in Russia over Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi’s trial will be “nothing short of a national embarrassment”, said a daily on Tuesday.
The Nation said in an editorial “Lakhvi’s Non-Cooperation” that a few days after Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi released a joint statement in Ufa, Lakhvi’s lawyer, Rizwan Abbasi has said that his client refuses to cooperate by giving voice samples — “a key element of the joint statement”.
The joint statement had been heralded as a breakthrough in the strained relations between the two countries.
The daily said that resistance from Lakhvi was to be expected, “yet the statements of Chaudhry Azhar, part of the prosecuting team, saying that getting them is unlikely as no legal provision for it exists is far more damaging”.
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind behind the Mumbai terror attacks, is out on bail in Pakistan.
“Already the indignation has started pouring from the other side of the border at this ‘U-turn’, and is damaging whatever little goodwill was created,” it added.
The editorial said that the “spectacular failure of the courts in trying Lakhvi has already been a source of criticism”.
“The failure to comply with the prime minister’s express assurances at an international stage will be nothing short of a national embarrassment,” it rued.
The daily went on to say the previous failures “can be put down to a weak judicial system and a hesitant prosecution, crippled by the ever-present threat posed by extremists. Previous assurances by Pakistani authorities of an expedited trial have also been generalised, and made at diplomatic level”.
Sharif’s “present statement is categorical, and any failure to follow these commitments will only be viewed as an admission of bias”.
“Lakhvi’s trial has already shown that he has friends in powerful places. It would be a hefty blow to the nation’s new anti-extremism narrative if those powerful friends mange to defy the highest executive authority,” it added.
Sharif has taken it upon himself to repair relations with India, “now he must see it through- the first step is the Lakhvi trial”.