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Pranab, Antony want Pakistan to act

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Pranab Mukherjee
Pranab Mukherjee

Shujaat Bukhari and Sandeep Dikshit

Against ‘elements’ who orchestrated Mumbai terror attacks from its territory

SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday cautioned that improvement of ties with Pakistan would have to wait until Islamabad took demonstrable action to get to the bottom of the Mumbai terror attacks.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A.K. Antony delivered the same message in Srinagar and New Delhi respectively: Pakistan must follow up on its promise of action against the “elements” which orchestrated the attacks in Mumbai last month and the future of bilateral ties depended on Pakistan sincerely investigating the incident.

“We expect good sense will prevail in the backdrop of these assurances and [hope] a conducive atmosphere can be built up. That is possible only after words are followed by action,” Mr. Mukherjee told newspersons.

The assurances he referred to were given by the former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on January 6, 2000 and by the present incumbent Asif Ali Zardari at a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on September 24 this year. Both had promised to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and vowed not to allow Pakistan’s soil to be used for launching terror strikes in India.

Mr. Mukherjee sought to dispel the impression that the Mumbai attacks were linked to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and called upon the international community not to view things through this prism.

He said evidence of the Pakistani hand in previous incidents of terrorism against unarmed civilians was submitted several times to Islamabad. India also gave a list of 40 persons who had committed crimes in India and taken shelter in Pakistan.

Taking the case of Maulana Masood Azhar, Mr. Mukherjee asked, “What is the problem in handing him over?”

Masood Azhar was in jail in India and released in exchange for air passengers hijacked by terrorists in December 1999, when the National Democratic Alliance government was in power.

The Minister said the internal dialogue on Kashmir would continue and called upon the separatists to join the process and become part of national politics.

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  • Corrections and Clarifications

    * The fourth paragraph in a report "Pranab, Antony want Pakistan to act"(December 17, 2008, page 1) was "The assurances he [External AffairsMinister Pranab Mukherjee] referred to were given by the former PakistanPresident Pervez Musharraf on January 6, 2000 and by the present incumbentAsif Ali Zardari at a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh onSeptember 24 this year. Both had promised to dismantle the infrastructure ofterrorism and vowed not to allow Pakistan's soil to be used for launchingterror strikes in India." It should have been January 6, 2004. It was anediting error.

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