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Kasuri for ‘meaningful cooperation’ on terror
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 20
There were positive vibes from the Indian and the Pakistani leadership about the ongoing peace process as Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri arrived here this afternoon on a four-day official visit.

Kasuri’s visit assumed all the more importance in view of the February 18 blasts in the Lahore-bound Samjhauta Express.

The incident near Panipat would take centrestage at Kasuri’s talks with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow.

The tragedy would also enliven the India-Pakistan joint mechanism on countering terrorism, holding its maiden meeting in Islamabad on March 7.

Shortly after arriving here, Kasuri visited the Safdarjung Hospital, where the injured were being treated.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Mukherjee also visited the hospital today, all of them separately.

Mukherjee visited the hospital before Kasuri.

He said the Indo-Pak peace process must continue despite incidents like the Samjhauta Express blasts.

Kasuri thanked doctors of the hospital for taking good care of the injured.

As the word spread of his visit to the hospital, the entire place began swarming with journalists.

Kasuri said Pakistan was a victim of terrorism because it had supported the West in the Afghanistan war.

He said India and Pakistan needed to cooperate with each other meaningfully on fighting terrorism.

“Incidents like these, which are heart-rending and which affect both countries and people, can add to the urgency for the need for this cooperation”, he said.

“It goes without saying that Pakistan is as interested as the Indian authorities to get to the bottom of this very unfortunate criminal act”, he stated.

Kasuri added that Pakistan was still waiting for a report from the Indian government on the Samjhauta Express blasts.

New Delhi’s sense was that the Indo-Pak peace process must be insulated from terrorist incidents and the Panipat tragedy demonstrated that both sides understood the need clearly.

Far from the July 11 Mumbai train blasts, which gave a serious jolt to the peace process, the Samjhauta Express was likely to see the two neighbours united in their respective struggles against terrorism.

Ten of the injured, eight of them Pakistanis, were being treated in Safdarjung hospital here.

They were Rukhsana (40), Aksa (1), Rana Shaukat Ali (46), Haris Mohammed (15), Nadeem (25), Ramesh Kumar (48), Ashok Kumar (21), Mohd Shakeel (10), Abdul Qayyum (56) and Shamim Mohd (9).

It was still not clear as to how many Pakistanis were among the 68 killed in the Panipat incident.

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