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India concerned over developments in Pak
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 12
As the political uncertainty in Pakistan reached a feverish pitch with a coup not being ruled out, a worried Indian leadership today reviewed the situation in the neighbouring country and how the disturbing developments there could seriously affect Islamabad’s capability to fight terrorism.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) at his residence after which External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said New Delhi hoped all internal matters in Pakistan would be resolved by its leadership amicably and peacefully in its best interests.

The CCS meeting, also attended by Defence Minister A K Antony and Home Minister P Chidambaram, took stock of the situation in Pakistan, amid reports of strains in ties between the powerful army and the civilian government and the stand off between President Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) over the ‘Long March’ to Islamabad to demand the reinstatement of Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other sacked judges.

According to sources, India fears that the increasing political instability in Pakistan could have ramification on security in the entire region and embolden the Taliban and other terrorist groups, which have been operating without the fear of law inside the Pakistani territory. The Pakistan government has already struck such deals with the Taliban in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which clearly indicate that the civilian government’s writ does not run in most parts of the restive province.

In a statement after the CCS meeting, Pranab was quite cautious lest India was seen to be interfering even remotely in the internal affairs of Pakistan. “The recent developments in Pakistan are an internal matter of the country. We never comment on internal matters of any sovereign nation.”

Pranab went on to add: “Pakistan is an important neighbour, I hope that all internal matters will be resolved by its leadership amicably and peacefully, in its best interests. We have always been interested to see strong and stable regimes, more so in our neighbourhood, so that the entire region can grow and develop together for the common good of its people.”

This, he said, was even more relevant to Pakistan, to enable it to fight against elements in the country, which were utilising the terror infrastructure there and engaging in terrorism within Pakistan and outside.



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