Operationalisation of the new Indo-Pak agreement will be delayed as New Delhi has asked Islamabad to postpone proposed two-day visit of Interior Minister Rehman Malik from November 22.
Though senior Ministry of Home Affairs officials say busy schedule of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who is also Leader of the House in Lok Sabha, ahead of Parliament’s Winter session was the main reason behind the rejection, government sources pointed out that Pakistan’s reluctance to punish those responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks was behind this veiled snub.
Significantly, the proposed visit would have been close to the fourth anniversary of the 26/11 attacks. As a result, India was not keen on hosting Mr. Malik close to the anniversary, which could have given the Opposition more ammunition to target the Congress-led UPA government, sources said.
India has conveyed to Pakistan through diplomatic channels its inability to host Mr. Malik later this week and has not yet suggested new dates for the proposed visit. Notably, Mr. Malik had conveyed his willingness to visit New Delhi when he had met Mr. Shinde on the sidelines of the Interpol meeting in Rome two weeks back.
Sources said India might have welcomed the Pakistan government’s role in the ongoing investigations against the Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six others accused in the 26/11 case, New Delhi wants Islamabad to share voice samples of handlers of the terrorists who carried out the Mumbai attacks so that it could make further probe in the case. India has also been asking Pakistan to act against its ‘state actors’ involved in the 26/11 attacks.