‘Pakistan has taken some steps against terror’

By Minu Jain, IANS,

Paris : Pakistan has taken some steps to curb anti-India terrorism but “what they amount to is too early to tell,” Indian sources said here ahead of the meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in Egypt.

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India was meanwhile studying the dossier on the probe into the Mumbai terror attack handed to it by Pakistan, a senior official travelling with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said here. The dossier was handed by Pakistan’s Internal Security Mnister Rehman Malik to Indian Charge d’ Affaires Manpreet Vora in Islamabad late Saturday, the sources disclosed.

Terrorists and terror attacks against India would top the agenda when Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon meets his Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in the Egyptian town of Sharm-el-Sheikh on the sidelines of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit Tuesday evening, an official said.

This would be followed by a meeting of the two prime ministers Thursday morning – July 16, the last day of the NAM summit. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will call on Manmohan Singh for talks that would set the tenor for the future course of India-Pakistan relations. Declaring that the situation could not be prejudged, officials said Pakistan had taken some steps but “what they amount to is too early to tell”.

“Those who are perpetrators or masterminds should be tried for their offences,” the sources said, adding that it would be a starting point. “With or without a UN resolution, Pakistan was obliged to catch anybody who indulges in terror,” they said in a reference to alleged 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Muhammad Saeed who was described as a “big part” of the terror infrastructure.

Hours before the talks between the foreign secretaries of the two countries in Sharm el-Sheikh, the Punjab government sprung a surprise, telling Pakistan’s Supreme Court in Islamabad that it wanted to withdraw its petition challenging a lower court’s order that freed Saeed from detention.

The Punajb government claimed it did not have adequate evidence against Saeed, a move that raises fresh questions about Pakistan’s claims to act against anti-India terror infrastructure.

Manmohan Singh had told reporters last week that he was hoping for “renewed affirmation” from Pakistan that it would bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre to justice.

“I am looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Gilani (in Egypt). I hope that out of that meeting renewed affirmation on part of Pakistan that it will bring perpetrators of the Mumbai massacre to justice and that Pakistan’s territory will not be used for such activities. If that is done, we are willing to walk more than half the distance,” Manmohan Singh had told reporters last week on his way back from the G8 summit in Italy.

The decision that the two foreign secretaries would meet before the leaders was taken when Manmohan Singh met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. It was agreed that the foreign secretaries would discuss what Pakistan was doing to prevent terrorism against India and report back to the leaders.