No response from Pakistan for over two years on signing MLAT

New Delhi, Aug 17: Pakistan has failed to respond to an Indian proposal to sign a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), under which Islamabad would be obliged to provide information on underworld Dawood Ibrahim and other fugitives. Pakistan has remained silent for more than two years on the Indian proposal despite its assurance to sign it.

“The issue was flagged during the Home Secretary level talks held in Islamabad on May 24-25, 2012 when an Indian standard draft of the treaty was handed over to Pakistan. It was agreed that Pakistan would examine the draft and revert with its comments. However, no specific response from Pakistan side has so far been received,” a Home Ministry official said.

The MLAT is an agreement between two countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public laws or criminal laws. This assistance may take the form of examining and identifying people, places and things, custodial transfers, and providing assistance with the immobilisation of the instruments of criminal activity.

“Had MLAT been signed, Pakistan would have been obliged to provide information on Dawood Ibrahim and other fugitives who are taking shelter in that country,” the official said.

Despite repeated efforts by India to bring back Dawood to face the law here, Pakistan has been continuously denying his presence within its territory. On August 11, Home Minister Rajnath Singh informed Rajya Sabha that the government is making every effort to arrest the fugitive underworld don, believed to be hiding in Pakistan.

India’s most wanted terrorist, Dawood is the mastermind of the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai that claimed nearly 300 lives. The government believes Dawood has the active support of the ISI and continues to be involved in anti-India activities. India has so far signed mutual legal assistance treaties in criminal matters with 38 countries, including the US, the UK, Australia besides others.