Monday, February 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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New Counsellors take charge today
Advaniís hand in Jilaniís expulsion
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 9
The Counsellors of India and Pakistan in each otherís High Commissions would be functioning from tomorrow as Acting High Commissioners, though it depended on the political and diplomatic chemistry between the two countries to appoint regular incumbents for the key posts.

Sources in Pakistan High Commission here disclosed to The Tribune tonight that Mr Syed Ibney Abbas, till now Counsellor here, would now be functioning as the Charge dí Affaires (CDA), though temporarily.

Similarly, Mr Vikram Misri, till now Counsellor in Indian High Commission in Islamabad, would start functioning as the CDA from tomorrow, sources said.

Both Mr Abbas and Mr Misri have been career diplomats. Mr Abbas has so far worked in Pakistanís missions in Australia and Geneva.

As far as the appointment of regular CDAs by India and Pakistan in each otherís country is concerned, it continues to remain a thorny issue as both the countries gave the name of their new CDAs more than six months ago but the incumbents have not been issued visas so far.

It was in July last year when India had given the name of Mr T.C.A. Raghavan to succeed Mr Sudhir Vyas (expelled yesterday by Pakistan) but Islamabad never issued visa for him, indicating its disapproval of the name.

Similarly, Islamabad had proposed the name of Mr Munnawar Saeed Bhatty in November last to succeed Mr Jaleel Abbas Jilani (expelled by India yesterday) but New Delhi has not issued visa for him so far. Mr Bhatty has earlier been posted in India as First Secretary and it is understood that he could not strike a rapport with the MEA here.

The two countries appear adamant as of now on not giving a new name for CDA in each otherís country. Sources said this particular issue continued to remain in a state of logjam and both countries were in a ďYou firstĒ mould.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani had a major role in the governmentís yesterdayís decision to expel Mr Jilani and four other officials of the Pakistan High Commission here, indicating that New Delhiís pro-active diplomatic approach vis a vis Islamabad is going to toughen in future.

It is understood that the Delhi Police had been given a go-ahead signal by the Minist ry of Home Affairs (headed by Mr Advani) after it had swooped on a woman activist of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) carrying a bag containing Rs 3 lakh. The woman had admitted that the money had been given to her by Mr Jilani for the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir.

At that point of time, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) did not inform the Ministry of External Affairs and the next day the MEA officials learnt about the incident from newspapers. The MEA, however, was consulted when the Delhi Police lodged an FIR in the case wherein it named Mr Jilani.

The MHA had submitted a confidential report to the MEA a day after the arrests in which it had recommended expulsion of Mr Jilani and others and the MEA and the Prime Ministerís Office later on concurred with this view.
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