Pakistan on Wednesday summoned the Indian High Commissioner to register a strong protest and condemnation of the acquittal of all four accused in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast case. Aseemanand, Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan and Rajinder Chaudhary were acquitted by a special National Investigation Agency court.
“The acquittal of the accused today, 11 years after the heinous Samjhauta terror attacks, makes a travesty of justice and exposes the sham credibility of the Indian courts,” Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. “It also belies the rampant Indian duplicity and hypocrisy where India reflexively levels allegations of terrorism against Pakistan, while protecting with impunity terrorists who had publicly confessed to their odious crimes.”
The explosion, which took place on February 18, 2007, had killed 68 people, including 10 Indians. Most of the dead were Pakistani nationals. In its chargesheet, the NIA said the blast had targeted Pakistani Muslims. The incident happened at Diwani village near Panipat, 160 km from Panchkula in Haryana. The train, which connects India and Pakistan, was heading toward Attari, the last station on the Indian side.
Pakistan’s Acting Foreign Secretary stressed that Pakistan on several occasions had raised the lack of progress and “concerted attempts” by India to exonerate the accused. “Formal demarches were also lodged regularly with India on the lack of progress and acquittal of the accused in other cases,” said the statement.
The acquittal was not only “a gross reflection of India’s callous insensitivity to the plight of the 44 families of the deceased Pakistanis” but also reflected “the Indian state’s policy of promoting and protecting Hindu terrorists”, said the statement. Pakistan’s acting foreign secretary has called upon India to explore judicial remedies to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice, it added.