Caution, anger, sympathy in Pakistan

Rehman Malik

Pakistan reacted cautiously Wednesday to the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, saying that it condemned terrorism "in all its forms" and was willing to cooperate with other countries to eliminate it. But across the country to which Kasab belonged, news of the execution was received with a mix of anger, sympathy, embarrassment and denial.

Islamabad said it had not received any request from Kasab's family to bring back his body even though an aunt of his was quoted as saying that they wanted his body back. Any request from Kasab's family to bring back the body would be handled in accordance with Pakistani laws, Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters in Islamabad.

"No member of Ajmal Kasab's family or relative has requested the government (to bring the body back). When any member of the family makes a request, then we will take it up with the Indian government," he said. Malik reiterated Pakistan's commitment to the war on terrorism, saying any person involved in a terrorist act should meet his "logical end".

"As far as his hanging is concerned, you know the resolve of Pakistan and our stated position that we are against terrorism. If there is a terrorist and if someone has done an act of terrorism, I think that terrorist should meet his logical end," he said.

Leading rights activist Ansar Burney offered to help in bringing back the body if Kasab's family got in touch with his organisation. He said he had no sympathy for Kasab but the family had the right to bury the body in accordance with Islamic traditions.

Pakistan's Taliban movement expressed shock over Kasab's execution. "There is no doubt that it's very shocking news and a big loss that a Muslim has been hanged on Indian soil," Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan told Reuters.

A senior Lashkar commander called Kasab a hero and said he would inspire more attacks."To die like Kasab is the dream of every fighter," the commander told Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location.

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