Senior Pakistan official admits to presence of Dawood Ibrahim

After admitting the presence of one of India’s most wanted terrorists, Dawood Ibrahim, on its soil, Pakistan has now played down its statement. Shahryar Khan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s special envoy for improving relations with India, said yesterday Dawood was in Pakistan but has been “chased out” and could be in the United Arab Emirates. This was the first time, a Pakistan official has admitted to Dawood’s presence in the country.

“Dawood (Ibrahim) was in Pakistan but I believe he was chased out of Pakistan. If he is in Pakistan, he should be hounded and arrested. We cannot allow such gangsters to operate from the country,” said Mr Khan. The former diplomat added that if Dawood was still in Pakistan he would have been arrested by now.

However, hours later came the U-turn. Speaking to NDTV in London, Mr Khan said, “I have never, not in the past as foreign secretary, not now, have known where Mr Ibrahim lives. I was only reflecting what the Pakistani press has been saying. I have no knowledge nor is it my remit.”

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Pakistan till now has denied the presence of Dawood on its soil though Indian security agencies have repeatedly mentioned his name and details in dossiers handed over to Pakistani authorities. According to reports, Dawood was based in Karachi, where he had fled after the 1993 Mumbai bombings.

Besides the 1993 bombings, he is wanted in numerous terror and criminal cases in India. In 2003, the US government had designated him as a “Foreign Terrorist”.