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No Kashmir link: Pranab
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 11
Ruling out war with Pakistan, India today made it clear to Islamabad that mere expression of intent to fight terrorism was not adequate and that it must take the war against terror to its logical conclusion.

In a restrained but firm tone, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed the sentiments of both Houses of Parliament when he said India expected positive steps from Pakistan to deal with elements misusing its territory to launch terrorist attacks in India, although war was not a solution to the menace.

He clearly de-linked the terror attacks in Mumbai from the Indo-Pakistan or the Kashmir issue, saying these attacks were part of global terrorism, and the world needed to see them as such. International pressure on Pakistan to act against terror was a must and was being built, he said on the day when UN Security Council declared Jamaat-ud-Dawa, LeT’s front organisation, a terrorist organisation. India had raised the demand internationally.

Intervening in the debate in Parliament on the audacious terror attack on India’s commercial capital, which caused immense public outrage in the country, Mukherjee clearly said the epicenter of Mumbai attacks and a series of attacks prior to that was located in Pakistan. One by one, the foreign minister identified the prime terror targets in India - from Jaipur, the centre of tourism, Bangalore, the hub of science and technology; Ahmedabad, the industrial centre, and Mumbai, the financial capital, and mirrored the method behind the strikes.

He appealed for restraint on the part of the country, saying: “Whatever the depth of our anger over terror strikes, we must realise that this is not a phenomenon that can be switched on and off. We must patiently confront the situation.”

From the floor of the the Lok Sabha, Mukherjee strongly dismissed recent hysteria created by Pakistan over the hoax call claimed to have been made by him to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, and told Islamabad that India had no intention of being provoked.

“What worries me, however, is that if the constitution of a duly established government believes in such things and acts on them. If that be the case, it may cause major problems in future,” Mukherjee warned.

The government took the occasion to express deepest concern over the fact that the recent terror strikes in Mumbai were new in that they targeted foreign nationals for the first time; 26 were killed. The external affairs minister told the house today how he apologised to foreign ministers of 13 countries for having failed to protect the guests.

The important message in Mukherjee’s interventions today was that the world increasingly realised that the terrorists who unleashed deaths in Mumbai did indeed come from Pakistan. “Post attacks, I spoke to two dozen foreign ministers and everyone agreed that the terrorists came from Pakistan and had done a long term planning,” said Mukherjee, asking Pakistan to hand over all 40 fugitives of the Indian law, including the 20 mentioned in the lat demarche issued to Pakistan. India has been giving Pakistan the list of 40 fugitives at all home secretary, foreign secretary level meetings as well as the four joint terror mechanism meetings

By clearly spelling out the demands, the government again warned Pakistan against its tradition of denials and asked it to accept problems and solve them. Mukherjee indicated that Pakistan needed to go beyond the custom of placing the most wanted terrorists under house arrest, something it did post December 13, 2001 attacks on Parliament as well.

“These measures must be taken to a logical conclusion by completely dismantling the infrastructural facilities available in Pakistan to terrorists who attack India,” Mukherjee said, asking Pakistan to tame the so-called non-state actors perpetrating terror.

“Are they (non state actors) coming from heaven or some other planet? They are operating from a particular country,” said Mukherjee,” reminding Pakistan of its promise of not allowing its soil to be used for terrorist activities against India.

The promise was first made on January 6, 2004, by the then President Pervez Musharraf to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee; President Asif Ali Zardari reiterated it in September this year.

Mukherjee also made it clear to Pakistan that it would not be business as usual if it did not act now, adding ‘a situation would come which we don’t like.’’ Doubting the sincerity of the Pakistani authorities in acting against Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Mukherjee asked: What do you mean by house arrest?’’ He recalled that in past also Pakistan had taken some wanted terrorists in custody under international pressure but subsequently let them off.



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