Friday, January 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Jaswant Singh calls Pakistan’s bluff
Says evidence with photos provided to Islamabad
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

Kathmandu, January 3
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh called Pakistan’s bluff by declaring that New Delhi has been providing Islamabad incontrovertible evidence along with photographs for nearly a decade to proceed against terrorists taking shelter in that country.

“Pakistan’s refrain that it does not have requisite evidence to book terrorists who had committed heinous crimes against India is untenable and completely unacceptable,” Mr Jaswant Singh told a press conference here evening.

Even as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee provided Nepali Rs 800 million social sector assistance to this Himalayan kingdom spread over two years, Mr Jaswant Singh disclosed India had been consistently providing evidence since 1993 to Pakistan pertaining to the Mumbai serial blasts, the hijacking of Indian Airlines aircraft (IC 814) and several other violent acts against the sovereignty of the people of India.

The External Affairs Minister stressed that the “evidence of crimes against India” by Pakistan based and aided terrorist organisations could not be wished away. He failed to understand how Pakistan could provide moral support for such an immoral activity like cross-border terrorism.

He was categoric that “India is not interested in escalating Indo-Pak tension” and hoped Pakistan will work “seriously in acting against the terrorists. That must be in deed and not just in words as India has provided enough evidence and proof in the form of affidavits, airline manifestos, photographs etc.” He made it clear he was not interested in getting involved in a “legal slanging match” and that “Pakistan will act decisively in eliminating terrorism from its soil.”

Mr Jaswant Singh was categoric that Pakistan’s tactics brought to the fore “the current subterfuge of seeking evidence which is not acceptable” to India. In this context, he referred to the UN Security Council resolutions on terrorism that no country can render direct, moral or any other kind of support to terrorism.

Pakistan had been consistently given note verbals and demarches right up to December 31 last year and found it bewildering that Islamabad should continue to harp on lack of evidence to act against terrorists.

About the prospects of a Indo-Pak meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC summit, Mr Jaswant Singh said that they had not received any communication in this regard from the Pakistani side.

Further, he said that SAARC “is not a bilateral affair. I am not here to conduct Indo-Pak relations. SAARC is an organisation of seven countries and its charter disallows any contentious, political or bilateral issues being raked up. That is the approach India has adopted.”

He told journalists it was not possible for him to react to newspaper reports and hearsay or talk through the media.

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