Diplomatic Correspondent

India should share information if it has concrete evidence

  • "Groundless" reports appearing on Rupublic Day eve
  • "Pattern of consistency mystifying"

    NEW DELHI: The Pakistan High Commission "strongly resents" Islamabad's name being dragged into a "reported sinister plot" to target Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Apparently responding to a recent report in The Times of India on the "plot," Deputy High Commissioner Afrasiab said here on Saturday that the Pakistan Government had emphasised "umpteen times" that it be provided with "concrete evidence" of incidents of terror in India, in which there were apprehensions of Islamabad's involvement.

    Talking to this correspondent, Pakistani officials said that in case concrete evidence was available with the Government of India on this "latest" plot, the information should be shared with Islamabad.

    India and Pakistan have put in place a mechanism to exchange information and assistance in cases of counter-terrorism, in which cross-country links are found.

    According to Mr. Afrasiab, Pakistan found that in the run-up to January 26 (Republic Day) every year, reports appeared in India on the possibility of terrorist attacks "with some groundless and bottomless relevance" to Islamabad.

    "We are mystified at the consistent consistency with which such patterns are followed. We strongly regret this. There is need to focus on the genuine efforts of the Government of Pakistan and the Government of India aimed at further improving relations between the two countries."

    Unprecedented visits

    Mr. Afrasiab pointed out that visits and exchanges at unprecedented levels took place between the two countries in the recent past. Since the Havana meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf in September, more than 12 high-level visits had taken place, including a trip by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to Pakistan.

    On Friday, the two countries signed a partnership agreement on local governance, even as talks continued to resolve the Sir Creek issue. On December 14, India and Pakistan signed a shipping protocol allowing their ships to pick up third country cargo and international vessels to ply between Indian and Pakistani ports.

    "Both Governments are also eager to reopen their consulates in Mumbai and Karachi. The Government of Pakistan would set up its consulate in the capital of Maharashtra once a suitable property becomes available," Mr. Afrasiab said.