New Delhi, March 21: Noting there was a Pakistani hand in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, the Supreme Court Thursday said the neighbouring country was violating its international commitment to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from its territory and inflicting injuries to other states.
“It is devastating to state that Pakistan being a member of the United Nations, whose primary object is to maintain international peace and security, has infringed the recognized principles under international law which obligate all states to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from their territory and inflicting injuries to other states,” the court said.
A bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan made the comment in their judgment confirming the death sentence of Yakub Memon and commuting the death sentence to life imprisonment of 10 others for their involvement in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts.
“This duty to prevent acts of terrorism stems from the basic principle of sovereignty, which entails both rights and obligations”, the court said while pointing to the role played by Pakistani authorities and ISI in the training and arming of the perpetrators of the Mumbai blasts.
“A host-state that has the capability to prevent a terrorist attack but fails to do so will inherently fail in fulfilling its duty under Article 2(4) since terrorism amounts to force by definition.”
A careful reading of the confessional statements of convicted accused “exposes that large number of accused including the absconders received training in making of bombs by using RDX and other explosives, handling of sophisticated automatic weapons like AK-56 Rifles and handling of hand grenades in Pakistan”, the court said.
The court referred to the confessional statement of convicts that “they were taken to Dubai from where they were taken to Islamabad Airport and were received by (spy agency) ISI operatives, who took them out of the Islamabad Airport without observing any immigration formalities after completion of training”.
“These events unveil the tolerance and encouragement shown by Pakistan towards terrorism,” it said.
Pointing to some of the passports seized during investigation carry two arrival stamps of Dubai but the details of their journey during the intervening period are not reflected in the passports, the court said: “Pakistan took precautions not to bring its involvement on record.”
The absence of Pakistani arrival and departure stamps meant that the accused had a “green channel entry and exit in Pakistan”, it said.
The training received in Pakistan, which was organized and methodically carried out by Dawood Ibrahim and others “materialized in the unfortunate serial blasts in Bombay, India on 12th March 1993″.
Holding that an effective anti-terrorism campaign would require a substantial strengthening of the international regime of state responsibility, the court said: “A responsible state owes an obligation not only to another state but also to the international community as a whole. We sincerely hope that every State will strive towards the same.”