With India insisting on concrete steps against the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan on Saturday said New Delhi should not hold the relationship back on a single issue as it has done what was “required” in the case.
“The question is how do we move beyond this point. The relationship cannot be held or brought to a standstill because of a trial or one investigation,” Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir told PTI after meeting his Indian counterpart Nirupama Rao here.
Mr. Bashir described the meeting, which came a day before the crucial talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries, as “useful” that helped in understanding the perspectives of the two parties “more clearly.”
“Pakistan has nothing to hide. We have been very forthcoming on the quality of the work that has been done by our experts in terms of investigations and the arrests, and all that has been shared with India,” he said.
“It is now, I believe, time that India recognises, which they have, that Pakistan has done what was required,” Mr. Bashir added.
During the two-hour-long discussions, the Indian side maintained that they want Pakistan to act speedily and in a transparent manner against those responsible for the attacks on Mumbai last year.
The Indian side asked for concerted action and the need to complete the process of investigation of the Mumbai attacks because the conspiracy emanated in Pakistan,” the Indian delegation told PTI.
“There is a need to bring the investigation to a satisfactory conclusion,” it added.
Mr. Bashir said, “What our Indian friends need to realise is that much more than India, Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism so playing the victim does not help really.”
“As far as Pakistan is concerned, I think, I have personally found the meeting useful because we were able to touch upon a lot of issues, which are of primary concern to India, that is the Mumbai investigations,” he said.
The Pakistani Foreign Secretary added, “We seek a meaningful engagement to address all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. We look with a great deal of optimism and confidence for the future of our region.”
The meeting between Ms. Rao and Mr. Bashir marked the first high-level contact between the two countries since the Prime Ministers of the two countries met at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, on July 16.
“The positive momentum of Sharm-el-Sheikh has not been fully registered in India but there is hope that the understanding at the high levels will continue,” Mr. Bashir said.
“We are very sincerely committed to promoting friendly relations with all of our neighbours,” he added
External Affairs Minister S. M Krishna. will meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday.
The meeting takes place amid India’s disappointment over the tardy progress of Pakistan’s probe into the Mumbai attacks and its prosecution of the culprits which has led to the suspension of composite dialogue.
India has been expressing dissatisfaction at the “tardy” steps by Pakistan and has been particularly peeved over the freedom allowed by Pakistan to Hafiz Mohd Saeed despite ample proof of his role in masterminding the Mumbai attack.
Ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that Pakistan must stop using terrorism as an instrument of state policy if it wanted normal relations with India.
The two sides will review the status of common concerns, including terrorism and water-sharing.