China proposes to discuss Lakhvi issue with India

RSTV Bureau

Lakhvi_releaseChina has proposed to hold talks with India over blocking India’s move against Pakistan on letting Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of 26/11 attacks, go scot-free.

About 10 days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had taken up the issue with Chinese authorities, after China blocked India’s call for action in the UN against Pakistan over the release of Lakhvi.

After India’s protest, China has now proposed to discuss the issue with India in the joint mechanism on counter-terrorism.

For the first time China has spoken out on the issue in a detailed manner.

“Both India and China are victims of terrorism. We have similar positions on this. We are working quite well in this field. We are opposed terrorism all forms,” said Huang Xilian, Deputy Director General of the Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Xilian also added that specific issues will require further discussions between the two countries in the counter-terrorism mechanism meet that is scheduled later this year.

“We need to have further discussion and conversation so that we can have better understanding and can work closely on it. We are ready to do that. We have a mechanism of counter- terrorism consultation between the two ministries,” Xilian told the Indian media on Wednesday.

“We share similar positions in principle on specific issues. We need to stay (in) close communication for better understanding and close cooperation,” Xilian said.

At the UN Sanctions Committee meeting, India had sought action against Pakistan for releasing Lakhvi in the 26/11 trial in violation of a UN resolution. All members in the Sanctions Committee supported India’s stand except China. Chinese representatives blocked the move saying that India did not provide sufficient information.

The UN Sanctions Committee had met after India’s request in the matter. In a letter to the Chair of the UN Sanctions Committee Jim McLay, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Asoke Mukherjee had said Lakhvi’s release by a Pakistani court was in violation of the 1267 UN resolution. This resolution applies to individuals and entities associated with terror groups including al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba. Lakhvi along with several others have been branded as international terrorists after the 1999 UN resolution.

Lakhvi was the mastermind behind the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai in which 166 people were killed. In the 26/11 trial in Pakistan, Lakhvi was released from jail on April 9, by the Pakistan sessions court. India, at that time had expressed deep concern and conveyed that Pakistan “had eroded the value of assurances.”

Lakhvi and six others Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum were charged with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008 that left 166 people dead. 55-year-old Lakhvi, a close relative of LeT founder and Jamaat-Ud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, was arrested in December 2008 and was indicted along with the six others on November 25, 2009 in connection with the 26/11 attack case. The trial has been underway since 2009.

Beside Lakhvi’s case, China had earlier put a technical hold at the UN Security Council on India’s demand for action against Hizbul Mujahideen Chief Syed Salahuddin and Hafiz Saeed.