Pakistan claims it 'received and acknowledged' India's letter on decision to hang Ajmal Kasab

Pakistan claims it 'received and acknowledged' India's letter on decision to hang Ajmal Kasab

India's Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde

New Delhi:  Pakistan has rejected India's assertion that Islamabad had refused to accept a letter informing it of the decision to hang Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist who was caught alive during the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. The Pakistan government said that it had "received that note and acknowledged its receipt".

Reacting to India's claim that Islamabad had returned a couriered letter, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson Moazzam Khan said "these reports were baseless and incorrect". The Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan visited the foreign office last evening with the note regarding Kasab's execution and the Director General for South Asia in Paksitan's foreign ministry "received that note and acknowledged its receipt," he said.

According to the union home and external affairs ministers, on November 20 the Indian High Commission in Islamabad informed the Pakistan Foreign office but it rejected accepting the formal communication.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had told reporters in New Delhi immediately after Kasab's execution that Pakistan had refused to acknowledge a letter informing it of the decision to hang Kasab.

"The External Affairs Ministry through our mission in Islamabad had informed the Pakistan government about Kasab's hanging. When they did not accept the letter, they were communicated through fax," Mr Shinde told reporters in New Delhi, hours after the hanging of the terrorist.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh said family members of Kasab, who live in Pakistan, had also been informed by Indian High Commission in Islamabad. "His family members were communicated through courier by our High Commission. We have the receipt of the courier sent and that was later given to the Maharashtra government," Mr Singh said. The executed terrorist had asked for his mother to be informed.

Mr Shinde said so far no one has claimed the body of 25-year-old Kasab and if Pakistan claims it, India would give it to the neighbouring country.

The Home Minister said there should not be any problem if Kasab is buried in India. "I do not think there will be any trouble (if Kasab is buried in India) because India has suffered too much and everyone.... and this country has seen the tragedy. 166 people were killed during three days of the carnage", he said.

Laying out the sequence of events leading to the execution this morning, Mr Shinde said the Home Ministry had recommended to the President that he should reject Kasab's mercy petition.

"The President rejected the mercy petition on November 5. I signed it on November 7 and on November 8, the Maharashtra government had been communicated to take action. It was decided that he would be executed on November 21 at 7.30 AM and accordingly the whole process has been completed today," Mr Shinde said, adding secrecy about the hanging was key.

The official statement by the Home Ministry read: The petition for clemency filed by Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab was rejected by the President on November 5. The sentence was executed today at 7.30 a.m. at Yerwada Central Prison, Yerwada, Pune.

Mr Shinde said there were 10 attackers, including Kasab. While the other nine were killed during the three day crisis in November 2008, Kasab was captured.

"There was a through probe and court proceedings and after that, a mercy petition was filed before the President," he said.

The date for Kasab's hanging was fixed by the court earlier, Mr Shinde said. It was mentioned in Kasab's file, was confirmed by the Home Ministry, he added.

When asked whether the UPA government was trying to get political mileage through Kasab's hanging, Mr Shinde said, "There is no question of mileage-taking. It was already decided."

The Home Minister refused to say anything on when a decision on Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, whose mercy petition is pending before the President, would be taken.

(With PTI inputs)

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