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Pakistan probes Advani’s role in plot to ‘kill’ Jinnah

Pakistani court officials are re-examining a 50-year-old criminal case against the Indian Home Minister, LK Advani, but the government of Pakistan has refused to confirm reports it would demand his extradition.

Senior officials of the Sindh High Court in the southern port city of Karachi confirmed that they were reviewing charges against Advani over his alleged involvement in a plot to kill Pakistan's founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, soon after the partition of the sub-continent in 1947.

"Such a case does exist, we have received instructions from higher authorities to send the file," a senior high court official told AFP. "We are collecting the record and trying to dig out the file of this very old case."

Pakistan has said it is preparing a list of terrorist suspects it wants India to hand over in response to a similar list of 20 names issued by New Delhi after the attack on Parliament last December. India has accused two Pakistan-based groups of launching that attack and threatened war unless Pakistan ends what New Delhi calls "cross-border terrorism" in the restive Himalayan state of Kashmir.

Court sources said Karachi police registered a case on September 10, 1947, against 18 Hindu hardliners, including LK Advani, over the alleged plot to kill Jinnah and other leaders of the Pakistan movement earlier that year. Jinnah was the first governor general of Pakistan and is now revered as Quaid-e-Azam, or the Great Leader of the nation.

Six people were convicted in the case and were extradited to India in 1948, but 12 absconded, including the Karachi-born LK Advani.

Pakistani daily newspaper, The News, claimed on 30 Jan. that Pakistan may include the 72-year-old LK Advani on the list of suspects wanted in Islamabad, but an interior ministry official refused to confirm the report. "We have not seen the file and we are not in a position to comment," the official said.

LK Advani, one of the most strident critics of Pakistan support for militancy in Kashmir, remained in Pakistan for 10 years after the partition of the Subcontinent, moving to India only in 1957, according to BJP's website.

India on 30 Jan. dismissed the Pakistani newspaper report that LK Advani will be in the list of "criminals" Pakistan would like India to hand over to it as "juvenile posturing" by Islamabad.

"If true, such reports are suggestive of little more than juvenile posturing by Pakistan," an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said. But there is no clear cut denial yet from Mr Advani that he had no hand in the alleged plot to kill Jinnah. 

If true, this episode will add to the other skeletons in Mr Advani’s cupboard. His name earlier figured in the hawala case of the infamous Jain Hawala Diary and his rath yatra for the Temple led to communal riots which resulted in the killing of thousands of innocent people. His role in the demolition of the Babri Mosque is also under probe. In fact these scandals are directly responsible for the number two post he now holds. He was projected by the BJP as the next prime minister until the eruption of these scams which led to his eclipse.

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