Tuesday, January 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Send list, we will act fast, Pak told
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
In an obvious attempt to take wind out of the sails of Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh today asked Pakistan to send the so-called “list” of Pakistani criminals in India as immediately as possible, even by fax, and promised quick action on it.

Participating in an interactive conclave organised by the India Today group, Mr Jaswant Singh said his Pakistani counterpart Abdul Sattar and the Pakistani Foreign Ministry had his office fax numbers. “Send the list to me on my fax, the open fax, there’s no state secret about it, and we would take action on it immediately.”

Earlier in the day, responding to questions along with visiting Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley after the two leaders had had wide-ranging discussions on mutual interests, he said Pakistan has not sent any list to India so far. Later in the evening, Ms Nirupama Rao, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters that no list had come from Pakistan.

“If any such list were to come, I can assure you that the Ministries of Home and External Affairs will work double time to send them promptly back to Pakistan,” the External Affairs Minister said at the press conference with Mr Manley.

“I don’t see why should one indulge in legal quibbling over criminals. If Pakistan thinks there are any Pakistani criminals in India, without citing any treaties or any procedures, I will immediately return them to Pakistan,” Mr Jaswant Singh asserted.

He recalled that when he was holding additional charge as Defence Minister, a Pakistani army regular had crossed over with his weapons after committing a crime in his country. The Pakistanis asked for the soldier and he did not waste any time in sending back the soldier even though there was no extradition treaty with Pakistan even then. “I knew that if I send him back, it is like a warrant of death for that soldier. But I did not wait for any extradition treaty or procedures. He is a criminal and a criminal is to be returned. He was returned instantly. Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, while addressing a session called “India and Pakistan: Can They Ever be Friends?” at the India Today conclave, made contradictory statements.

While in one breath he said both India and Pakistan must embark on a self-sustaining negotiating process instead of sticking to mutually exclusive positions on Kashmir, in the next breath he asserted: “Kashmir is the core issue and Pakistan’s position will not change on that.”

Meanwhile, Mr Jaswant Singh has accepted an invitation to visit Canada. The invitation was extended to him by the visiting Canadian Deputy Prime Minister during their talks here today.

Mr Jaswant Singh struck down Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s suggestion to turn the Line of Control (LoC) into international border, saying that India’s position on the issue was very clear that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was an integral part of India.

He said Pakistan must recognise the fact that it was illegally occupying PoK, questioning Islamabad’s claim over Jammu and Kashmir.

“Religion cannot be made a factor to decide the future of the state,” he said, asserting that “we are not going to re-invent two-nation theory.’’

Also, the External Affairs Minister dismissed Pakistan’s demand to recognise Jammu and Kashmir as a “core issue” in talks with India.


Canadian Deputy PM sees hope
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 21
The visiting Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley said today that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had spoken about nationality and evidence on the list of 20 individuals but there was no flat refusal which meant that “there is a door that is still open”.

Mr Manley, who met President Musharraf in Islamabad before coming here on an eight-day visit, said the list of 20 given by India figured during his discussions with Pakistani leaders. He said during “discussions with President Musharraf he had made Canada’s position very clear on the issue of terrorism.

Mr Manley expressed the hope that “some actions” would be taken by India and Pakistan that would see a gradual decline in the tension.


India must resume talks: Pakistan

Islamabad, January 21
Pakistan has already done enough to show its commitment to peace with India and it is now up to New Delhi to reciprocate by agreeing to talks, a government spokesman said today.

The senior official also said Pakistan would not meet India’s demand for the extradition of 20 alleged terrorists until New Delhi agreed to discuss the matter.

“Pakistan has nothing more to do. Now the next step has to come from India,” the spokesman told AFP, requesting anonymity. “There is no question of further action. Now it is for them to start taking actions and through their responses demonstrate to the world that they are serious about the initiation of a dialogue and peace process. “As long as they do not respond Pakistan cannot do anything else,” he added. AFP


PoK’s no to sealing of LeT, JeM offices

Muzaffarabad, January 21
Prime Minister of Pakistani occupied Kashmir today refused to arrest or seal the offices of militant organisations Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed despite a ban imposed by the military regime and urged Islamabad not to hand over any Kashmiri militants to India as they were “freedom fighters.”

“If members belonging to these groups live peacefully and don’t indulge in criminal activities, we won’t take any action against them,” Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan told the Associated Press.

“But those who indulge in terrorism would be handed over to the Pakistani authorities,” he added.

“I will protest if Pakistan turns over Kashmiri mujahideen (holy warriors) to India,” he said. “I’ll discuss the issue with President Musharraf and urge him not to handover any Kashmiri to India.”

“The UN recognises Kashmir as disputed territory and Kashmiris are waging a legitimate struggle,” he said. “We don’t recognise the Line of Control and no one can block Kashmiris from crossing it.” AP

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