Dawood Ibrahim not in Pakistan: Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit
Bengaluru: Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit on Wednesday said that his country was not hiding fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
"He is not in Pakistan. Even your government is not sure about his whereabouts," he said, adding that 'do share information on Dawood if you have any'.
When he was asked about former president Pervez Musharraf acknowledging that his country supported and trained terror groups like LeT, Basit said, "I will talk about this issue later."
Basit further said that since India is a big country, it has more responsibilities on its shoulders to put an end to violence and Pakistan is ready to engage with India with sincerity and seriousness of purpose.
"After 35 years of violence in Pakistan, a fatigue factor has set in after having suffered at the hands of terrorism. We genuinely want violence to come to an end and we are ready to engage with India with sincerity and seriousness of purpose, but India as a big country has more responsibilities on its shoulders," he said.
Basit said Pakistan should not be treated with condescension, but both the countries relationship should be based on mutual interest and respect.
"As a sovereign nation we should not be treated with condescension, but whatever relationship we ultimately have should be based on mutual interest and mutual respect," he said.
When asked how Pakistan viewed Jamat-ud-Dawa, Basit said it is a philanthropic outfit, but it would be proscribed if any reason was found fit to do so.
"It is largely a philanthropic outfit. Yet, we have concerns and we are watching closely. It would be proscribed if any reason is found," he said.
The time has come to make use of the relatively conducive environment when democracy is sustaining in his country, he said.
Basit said Jammu and Kashmir remains the core dispute between India and Pakistan and both the countries should find out ways to convert years of acrimony into a virtual circle, which can happen if civil society contributes towards this process.
"Whether one likes it or not, Jammu and Kashmir remains the core dispute between our two countries and does not allow mutual hostilities to go away. We have been talking for years and now we must see how to convert (years of acrimony) into a virtual circle. It can happen when civil society also contributes towards this process because the vast majority on either side wants only peace," Basit said.
Basit said a complex issue may take many years before a mutually acceptable solution is found, but other issues can be taken up through negotiations.
"A complex issue may take many years to resolve before a mutually acceptable solution is found, (but) there are other issues that can be taken up through negotiations," he said.
He said "the fringe elements do not like both countries to go beyond, but the vast majority wants peace."
Basit said his country also wants an end to violence with Afghanistan because Kabul is the most important capital for Pakistan.
"Pakistan also genuinely wants violence to come to an end on the other side, with Afghanistan. "Kabul is the most important capital for us, after 35 years of violence there," he added.
He also spoke about improving trade between the two countries and revamping SAARC, which will hold its 19th summit next year in Pakistan.
Historian Ramchandra Guha moderated the interaction, which had Bengaluru-based figures Aakar Patel and Narayan Ramachandran speaking on their experiences with Pakistan.