Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 15. Close on the heels of Nawaz Sharif — who is certain to be the new Pakistan Premier after his emphatic election win —seeking warmer ties with India, Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday said good relations with Islamabad were vital for resolving tricky issues between the two countries.
“When Nawaz Sharif’s party was leading in majority of seats, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had congratulated him and in return Sharif had invited the Prime Minister to attend his swearing-in. It’s a good initiative. Such initiatives can greatly help in resolving tricky issues,” Shinde told reporters here.
On being asked if government agencies have made an assessment of the situation in Pakistan after elections, Shinde said: “It was too early to make a review”.
In December 2012, Shinde had to face an embarrassment when his then Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik during his visit to India had equated Babri mosque demolition to terror attacks. Malik at that time had even claimed that 26/11 mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed had been arrested in Pakistan. Later, it was revealed that Saeed had never been arrested. Shinde had told Malik that it was of “paramount importance” to bring perpetrators of terror strikes to justice for smoother Indo-Pak ties.
The Home Ministry, meanwhile, has asked all states to set up fast-track courts to take up cases of youth jailed for suspicion of being involved in terror cases. The Centre has sent an advisory to states and was also trying to find out how many Muslim inmates (involved in terror cases) were in jail.
“We are trying to ascertain the facts. It will take time. We have asked the states to set up fast-track courts,” Shinde said. Minister of State for Home RPN Singh had informed Parliament recently that under the NIA Act, the Central Government had set up 39 special courts to take up terror-related cases. About three months ago, Minority Affairs Minister K Rahman Khan had expressed concern over “wrong arrests” of Muslim youths in different parts of the country in terror cases. He had taken up the matter with Shinde and had proposed setting up of special courts to ensure speedy trial in such cases.
No decision on Bhullar
On demand for commuting the death sentence of terrorist Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar, the Home Minister said he had received a number of representations but no decision has been taken yet. “We are still looking into these demands,” he said.