M A I N   N E W S

PM says sorry to Asma Jahangir
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
Significant positive gestures were made by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan today which may not well be purely coincidental.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today telephoned Ms Asma Jahangir, arguably one of the best known names among Pakistani women in contemporary period, and apologised to her for the “ill treatment” meted out to her by the Delhi Police.

Ms Jahangir, who was here briefly on a private visit on the invitation of an NGO, was shocked when a team of Delhi Police personnel searched her room and questioned her yesterday. Dr Manmohan Singh apologised for the conduct of the Delhi Police and flatly told her that it happened because there was an increased surveillance on Pakistanis in India, the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru told this correspondent.

The Prime Minister’s conversation with Ms Jahangir lasted five minutes. Ms Jahangir left for Pakistan this evening. Apart from being a prominent human rights activist, she has also been Special Rappoteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions.

On the other side of the picture, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mr Shaukat Aziz, did not use the K-word during his long speech today at Kuala Lumpur on the occasion of an Extraordinary Summit of the Executive Committee of the Organisation of the OIC.

Not mentioning Kashmir at an OIC forum is indeed a departure from the Kashmir-obsessed Pakistani leadership even if the event in the Malaysian capital was Lebanon-specific.

Today’s twin developments, if juxtaposed, may portray a picture of a thaw that is waiting to take place between the two nuclear neighbours. Whether that actually happens, remains to be seen.

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, who returned today from Dhaka where he had met his Pakistani counterpart Riaz Mohammed Khan on the margins of a SAARC officials’ meet, has spoken positively about the dialogue process between the two countries.

Mr Saran went on record to say at a news conference in Dhaka that “Concerning terrorists, we have agreed that we will remain in touch and there is also a common understanding that the peace process between the two countries is very important and that we should try and take this process forward.





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