M A I N   N E W S

Ample evidence on 26/11, now act, Krishna tells Pak
Ashok Tuteja in islamabad
Tribune news service

Flying into Islamabad on the most significant assignment of his career as the Foreign Minister, SM Krishna today firmly told the Pakistani leadership that it must act on confessions made by 26/11 suspect David Coleman Headley, clearly suggesting that it can’t be business as usual between the two neighbours until Islamabad took the Mumbai massacre probe to its logical conclusion.

A day before he holds talks with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmud Qureshi, he said: “Headley’s interrogation has revealed many things. The whole world is aware that he has been interrogated not in India but by the FBI. India expects some response. I am here to find just what that response is.”

Home Minister P Chidambaram, during his Islamabad visit last month for the SAARC Interior Ministers’ meeting, had shared details of Headley’s confession with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.

Krishna said India expected “some movement from the Pakistani side” on the basis of what Headley had told the Indian interrogators as well as the FBI.

He said the Pakistan “will have to act” because it has been presented with “such irrefutable evidence” on Headley’s involvement with the Mumbai attacks that left 166 Indians and foreigners dead.

Headley, who is now in a US jail, has reportedly admitted to acting as a scout for Hafiz Saeed to determine which spots in Mumbai needed to be attacked by the Lashkar.

Talking to reporters shortly after his arrival on a three-day ‘peace mission’ to Pakistan, Krishna indicated that terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil and the existence of terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan would be India’s core concern at tomorrow’s meeting, which will be the first formal dialogue at the political level between the two neighbours since the Mumbai massacre.

He was quite candid in saying that inflammatory anti-India statements being made by JUD chief Hafiz Saeed, said to be the brain behind the assault on Mumbai, were not contributing to improving ties between the two nations.

Asked what would be India’s response if Pakistan raised the issue of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir in the context of the onging unrest, Krishna asserted that it was an internal matter of India.

Earlier, in a statement made to the media on his arrival at the Chaklala Air Base near Rawalpindi on a three-day visit to Pakistan, Krishan also expressed New Delhi’s firm commitment to resolve all issues with Pakistan through a peaceful dialogue, based on mutual trust and confidence. “I would like to convey our best wishes for a 
peaceful, prosperous and stable Pakistan.”

“I am looking forward to my meeting with Foreign Minister Qureshi and his delegation. We hope to discuss all issues of mutual interest and concern that can contribute to restoring trust and building confidence in our bilateral relationship,” he said.

Krishna said he was carrying a message of peace and friendship from the people of India and hoped to undertake this voyage of peace, however, long and arduous, jointly with the and people of Pakistan.

Indian officials accompanying the minister said New Delhi was going into tomorrow’s talks with an open mind. “We are not shying away from discussing any issue with Pakistan but they must show sincerity in punishing those who attacked Mumbai,” they said.

The sources regretted that nothing tangible had been done so far by Pakistan on the issue.

The Pakistani side, meanwhile, is said to be looking at a positive outcome of the meeting. A Pakistani official was quoted as saying in the local media that a sustained engagement could be the best result of the talks.

Islamabad appears to have accepted the Indian view that the composite dialogue could not be revived. Instead of that, the two countries could hold comprehensive, serious , sustained and result-oriented dialogue on all issues. The Pakistani side may also not raise the Kashmir issue in a big way at the meeting, apprehending that India would turn the heat on it over the Mumbai incidents.

The two sides could announce a roadmap of future meetings, some cross-border confidence building measures (CBMs) and revival of the judicial commission. The two foreign ministers will hold a joint press conference after their meeting tomorrow. Krishna will also call on President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Reza Gilani tomorrow.

He will meet a MQM delegation, Awami National Party president Asfandyar Wali Khan and Pakistan Muslim league (N) president and Chief Minister of Punjab province Shahbaz Sharif on Friday before returning home.





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