Tue, 25 Jun 2019

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar 20 (ANI): Pakistan on Wednesday summoned the Indian High Commissioner over the acquittal of four accused persons in the 2007 Samjhauta blast case.

Earlier today, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Haryana's Panchkula acquitted Swami Aseemanand and three others in the matter. Besides Swami Aseemanand, the others acquitted were Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary.

"All the four accused persons were acquitted as the prosecution (NIA) failed to prove any of the charge against them," defence lawyer Mukesh Garg told reporters.

According to a statement by Pakistan's Foreign Office, the Acting Foreign Secretary "stressed that Pakistan had consistently raised the lack of progress and the subsequent, concerted attempts by India to exonerate the perpetrators of this heinous terrorist act in which 44 innocent Pakistanis lost their lives".

"The issue was raised repeatedly, including at the sidelines of the Senior Officials, Heart of Asia Meeting in 2016. Formal demarches were also lodged regularly with India on the lack of progress and acquittal of the accused in other cases," the statement said.

On February 18, 2007, explosions hit the India-Pakistan trans-border Samjhauta Express in the Panipat area of Haryana and 68 people died in the blast. Among those, scores of Pakistanis were killed in the blasts.

Out of the deceased, 33 were male, 19 female and 16 children. Later, two unexploded bombs were also found from the site, the National Investigation Agency had said.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commissioner rejected Pakistan's assertions. He highlighted that the due process of law was followed by the Indian courts and judicial system in a transparent manner, sources said.

The High Commissioner called out the lack of cooperation from Pakistan government including in serving court summons to Pakistan witnesses in the case. These summons were returned by Pakistan's Foreign Office and not served, they said.

The High Commissioner asked for an expeditious trial in 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in which detailed evidence has been given to Pakistan. He expressed disappointment that progress in these trials is held up and the perpetrators and prime accused continue to roam freely in Pakistan, sources further said.

He shared India's concerns at the lack of progress in investigations in Pathankot airbase terror attack even when JIT visit was arranged to India and detailed evidence shared, they added.

It was also pointed out that Pakistan is yet to take credible and irreversible steps against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) other terror entities and individuals, despite a detailed dossier having been shared after Pulwama attack, sources said. (ANI)

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