Rehman Malik clears air on Babri remark, says no comparison with 26/11, invites PM to Pak

Rehman Malik

On his statement on Kalia's death, he said he was caught unaware by the question and still did not know how Kalia had died. He said it was unfair for the media to ask him to apologise on behalf of the Pakistani Army for an incident that he was not fully aware of.

He said: "India has never taken up the issue with me or with any of the component of my government bilaterally... And I was not expecting it. So if a 15-year-old incident is put before me and I am asked to apologise on behalf of Pakistan Army... had your Home Minister been in my position what would he have said?"

"If the Pakistani Army has tortured him, why would have they given his body. Yesterday, during the (bilateral) meeting, for the first time I was asked to look into the matter... I will return and look into the matter and revert with detailed information."

The clarifications, however, did little to clear the air around Malik's visit, with the BJP terming his comments as "unfortunate" and "provocative" and questioning the government's response to it.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, currently campaigning in Gujarat, and Chief Minister Narendra Modi used Malik's remarks to criticise the Centre. "The Union government in Delhi is so weak that Malik comes to India and states authoritatively that the 26/11 attack is similar to the Babri Masjid demolition. The Babri Masjid demolition is an internal matter. If the Indian government had guts, it should have asked the visiting delegation to say sorry for its comments," Modi was quoted by PTI as saying at Prantij.

In Ahmedabad, Jaitley termed Malik's remarks as "strange and unfortunate".

Malik, meanwhile, reiterated his country's position on the seven accused of the 26/11 attack who are currently on trial in Pakistan. He said the trials had been fast-tracked and urged India to allow another judicial commission to cross-examine the witnesses. He said if the first judicial panel which visited India earlier this year had been allowed to cross-examine a few key witnesses, the trial would have been over by now.

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