Conflict & Justice

Pakistan's Imran Khan pledges to bring 26/11 attackers to justice

He hasn't made any friends in Washington with his dogged opposition to the US drone attacks in Pakistani territory. But former cricketer Imran Khan--a darkhorse candidate for Pakistan's prime minister as head of the Tereek-e-Insaaf party--made some of the right noises in a freewheeling interview with India's Mail Today newspaper this week.

In town to attend the World Economic Forum being held in Gurgaon, Khan made a measured promise to bring the perpetrators of the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai to justice, saying, "India must understand the legal process takes time, but I will bring the Mumbai perpetrators to justice."

"We have to follow the rule of law."

That said, Pakistan has long delayed action with the argument that it lacks sufficient evidence to convict the alleged planners of the attacks--which India and the US have both alleged includes members of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency, as well as Lashkar-e-Toiba's Hafiz Saeed. And Khan reportedly waffled when confronted with a pointed question about how he'd handle a potential prosecution of Saeed if he were elected.

"India puts too much emphasis on it," Khan told the Mail Today. "I will declare jihad to save Pakistan, will disarm all militatn groups in Pakistan."

Yet he added, "Even terror leaders can be transformed. I am sure they can be put into nation building. Human beings can change." -- a possible reference to Saeed's contention that he is no longer associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba, and only operates a charitable Islamic trust.