Par­ties’ cri­te­ria to award BMC tick­ets: Winnabil­ity over work 26/11 at­tacks case: Pak­istan blames In­dia for slug­gish pace of their trial

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dents ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Harinder Baweja harinder.baweja@hin­dus­tan­times.com

From field­ing turn­coats to old guards of the party and hand­ing out tick­ets to fam­ily mem­bers, the list of fi­nal can­di­dates of ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties on Fri­day showed that winnabil­ity was the main cri­te­ria for mak­ing the cut for the BMC elec­tions.

The last day of fil­ing nom­i­na­tions for the cru­cial Mum­bai civic polls saw chaos, with the three main par­ties in the mix — BJP, Shiv Sena and Con­gress — un­able to re­lease their list of can­di­dates un­til late evening, much af­ter the dead­line for nom­i­na­tions had ended. The last-minute scram­ble was to en­sure that a re­bel­lion within the party was stymied, but po­lit­i­cal ad­just­ments and in­trigue are likely to con­tinue over the weekend, un­til the last date to with­draw can­di­da­ture.

The three main par­ties gave merit, grass­roots cadre and loy­alty a miss and went with com­mu­nity arith­metic, money and mo­bil­i­sa­tion power while zero­ing in on their can­di­dates. All three went with a ma­jor­ity of Marathi can­di­dates. The Sena led the pack by field­ing nearly 85% or 190-odd can­di­dates from the com­mu­nity. The BJP gave tick­ets to 120-odd Marathi can­di­dates while Con­gress has fielded 111 Marathi faces.

Pak­istan has blamed In­dia in writ­ing for the weak pros­e­cu­tion and slow progress in the on­go­ing 2008 Mum­bai at­tacks trial in Is­lam­abad, even sug­gest­ing LeT com­man­der Zak­iur Rehman Lakhvi got bail be­cause New Delhi couldn’t pro­vide in­crim­i­nat­ing ev­i­dence.

In July 2015, for­eign sec­re­taries of In­dia and Pak­istan ex­changed let­ters af­ter a meet­ing be­tween PMs Naren­dra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, Rus­sia.

The con­tents of the let­ter from Pak­istani for­eign sec­re­tary Aizaz Ah­mad Chaudhry — a copy of which is with HT — haven’t been pre­vi­ously re­vealed and the tone and sub­stance sug­gests that Is­lam­abad isn’t se­ri­ously pur­su­ing the trial. Chaudhry’s let­ter dated Septem­ber 8, 2015 ac­cepts that the meet­ing be­tween Modi and Sharif “pro­vided us a di­rec­tion to move for­ward”. It points out that “the gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan has as­signed a ded­i­cated high level team of ex­perts to closely mon­i­tor the de­vel­op­ments in the case.

But the let­ter goes on to add: “So far the pros­e­cu­tion ev­i­dence re­mains weak and in­com­plete due to the fail­ure on the part of the In­dian au­thor­i­ties to pro­vide in­crim­i­nat­ing ev­i­dence that they claimed was in their pos­ses­sion.”

The doc­u­ment puts the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing ev­i­dence on New Delhi. “It is nei­ther rea­son­able nor ac­cept­able to blame Pak­istan for the slow pace or lack of progress. It was In­dian au­thor­i­ties’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide all the ma­te­rial ev­i­dence which has not been done.”

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