Leaked documents showing that a dreaded terrorist wanted by India has been living in Pakistan made headlines in India last weekend, as planned peace talks between the neighbours were called off at the last minute.
A dossier on Dawood Ibrahim that India prepared and which was scheduled to be handed over to Pakistan this week listed nine residences – among them Karachi – of the underworld don in that country.
Dawood is wanted by India for allegedly planning the 1993 blasts in Mumbai, among other crimes.
Last Saturday (22), India’s home minister Rajnath Singh said Dawood was living in Pakistan.
“Such people keep changing their location… but he is permanently living in Pakistan,” Singh told reporters about the gangster.
His remarks came as domestic media published a purported recent photograph of the underworld don, claiming that Indian intelligence agencies have evidence Dawood and his family were living in Karachi.
New Delhi has, for years, insisted Dawood has been living in Pakistan and also accused its neighbour of backing separatist Muslim rebels in India’s part of Kashmir.
Pakistan denies the allegations and blames India for fomenting unrest inside Pakistan.
The gangster is wanted in India for the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in which 257 people were killed and nearly 1,000 injured. He is also accused of masterminding other terror attacks and of money laundering and extortion.
Dawood is said to have more than one home in Pakistan; one is reported to be close to the home of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of the late former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, in Karachi, according to the dossier.
The dossier said a new home that Dawood bought was at Shireen Jinah Colony near Ziauddin Hospital, Cliffton, Karachi.
“This accommodation was purchased in September 2013, and is located near the hospital where medical treatment could be provided to Dawood whenever required. This place is close to the residence of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto,” the dossier reads.
It adds: “Dawood is known to frequently change his locations and addresses in Pakistan. He has amas-sed immense property in Pakistan and moves under the protection of Pakistani agencies.”
According to the file, Dawood has three Pakistani passports – the first issued in Rawalpindi (G-866537), a second in Karachi (C-267185) and a third which was also issued in Karachi (KC-285901).
Dawood’s wife Mahajabeen holds a Pakistani passport (J-589103), and his son Moeen’s Pakista-ni passport number is J-588518. His daughter Mehrukh, who is married to former Pakistani cricket captain Javed Miandad’s son Junaid, has a Pakistani passport (J-563473). Another one of Dawood’s daughters, Mehreen, has a Pakistani passport (J-563439). His brother Anees and Mustaqim also have Pakistani passports (H-144394 and KA-713357 respectively).
An Indian television channel last Saturday (23) played an audio clip of a telephone conversation between a reporter who placed the call and a woman claiming to be Dawood’s wife.
“He is sleeping at the moment,” the female voice said in the call to a Karachi number.
The dossier says Dawood was declared a global terrorist by the US State Department on October 16, 2003. He was included in the UN list as an associate of al-Qaeda on November 3, 2003, under the UNSC resolution 1267.
“Pakistan has failed to issue a red corner notice and take action as per UN notice against Dawood,” the dossier said.
The file was to be handed over to Pakistan’s national security advisor Sartaj Aziz if talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval went ahead as scheduled.
This is the second time India and Pakistan have cancelled talks since Indian prime minister Narendra Modi took office in May last year. Both sides instead choose to engage in a war of words ahead of the planned two-day meeting of their top security advisers.
In the now-cancelled talks, India wanted to only discuss terrorism-related issues and objected to Pakistan’s intentions of meeting separatists from Kashmir. Pakistan wanted the dialo-gue to have a wider agenda.
Since Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, agreed on the talks in the Russian city of Ufa last month, ceasefire violations across the countries’ border have increased. Analysts fear they may escalate.
“(What it means is more) mutual accusations, acrimony, more provocations,” said Siddharth Varadarajan, a political analyst and former editor of the Hindu newspaper in India.
“In other words, continuation of the pattern we have seen in the past few weeks.”
Pakistani National Defence University professor Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema told the country’s Express Tribune newspaper calling off the talks was not good for regional peace, and that Kashmir will always be on the agenda of any India-Pakistan talks.
Pakistan’s decision to pull out followed Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s ultimatum to stick to a terrorism-related agenda.
India called Pakistan’s decision “unfortunate”.
“We have already described the cancellation of NSAs (national security advisers) meet by Pakistan as unfortunate,” a senior foreign ministry official said last Sunday, referring to an earlier Tweet by the ministry.
“Now, the fate of those other two meetings is also not clear… it will take a few days for some more clarity.”
Swaraj said last Saturday (22) that Sharif was under domestic pressure to pull out.
She had given Islamabad until midnight last Saturday to agree to restrict the NSA talks to “terrorism only” after a row over Pakistan’s plan to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders and its insistence on broadening the scope of the talks.
Swaraj insisted that what Pakistan described as Indian “preconditions” were actually “the agenda for the NSAs meet which both leaders agreed to in Ufa”.
In response to Swaraj’s comments, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said “the scheduled NSA-level talks cannot be held on the basis of the preconditions set by India”.
“We have come to the conclusion that the proposed NSA-level talks between the two countries would not serve any purpose, if conducted on the basis of the two conditions laid down by the minister,” it said in a statement.
In the lead-up to the talks, more than six civilians have been killed in an increase in cross-border shootings between their troops in Kashmir.
Pakistan last Wednesday (19) summoned a senior Indian diplomat to protest ceasefire violations and the killing of a civilian from Kashmir in cross-border shelling in the Himalayan region.
The civilian was killed in shelling by Indian troops near the Harpal sector of the Line of Control (LoC) – the region’s de facto border, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Three Kashmiri separatist leaders in India were briefly placed under house arrest last Thursday (20) in the region’s main city of Srinagar. They were later released in what Indian media have branded a government flip-flop on the contentious issue.
India has long argued Pakistan shelters or sponsors militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is accused of being behind an attack on the financial capital Mumbai that left 166 people dead in 2008.
India is angry at Pakistan’s failure either to hand over or prosecute those accused of planning and organising the attacks. Pakistan says India has failed to give it crucial evidence, such as recordings between the attackers and their handlers.