Home India News India, Pakistan ‘positive’ after discussing 26/11, terror

India, Pakistan ‘positive’ after discussing 26/11, terror


New Delhi : India Monday sought voice samples of the suspected Mumbai terror attack plotters in Pakistan as home secretaries of the two countries ended the first day of talks — their first in more than two years — on a positive note.

The day’s discussions – at a luxuy hotel from 11 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. – also covered issues like counterterrorism and relaxation of visa rules.

Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Qamar Zaman met in what is seen as a first step towards advancing the re-initiated peace process stalled after 10 Pakistani terrorists slaughtered 166 people in Mumbai in 2008, almost triggering an India-Pakistan war.

“The talks were positive and things are moving in the right direction. We will update the media (after concluding talks) Tuesday,” Pillai told reporters at the luxury hotel where the meeting took place.

Zaman, leading a 12-member delegation, also sounded positive.

“It has been generally moving on in a good spirit and it has been a result-oriented meeting. Since we have another day for the talks, I am not going into the specifics at the moment.

“But I can tell you with good amount of certainty that its been a very positive attitude displayed on both sides, and I am really confident about tomorrow’s proceedings also,” he added.

Informed sources told IANS that the Pakistani officials had assured India that they would look into the possibility of challenging a court ruling that prevented Islamabad from sharing with New Delhi the voice samples of those being prosecuted in Pakistan for the Mumbai attack.

India has been demanding the voice samples of seven Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists – including its leaders Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu al-Qama and Zarar Shah – who allegedly masterminded the Mumbai carnage.

Indian investigators want to match the voice samples with telephone calls they tapped between the terrorists who hit Mumbai and their Pakistani handlers while the attack was on. Only one terrorist – Amjal Kasab – was caught. He has been sentenced to death in India.

Another issue raised at the meeting was the dates and procedures for a judicial commission from Pakistan to visit India to talk to some of the witnesses in the Mumbai attack.

New Delhi wants to send its team to Pakistan to interrogate the suspects there but Islamabad has given no response.

India pulled out of formal peace talks with Pakistan following the Mumbai attack. The two countries decided to restart the peace process last month.

And so, when India defeated Australia to take on Pakistan in Wednesday’s semi-final, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh grabbed the opportunity to invite his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani to watch the game in Mohali. The two prime ministers will discuss a range of issues.

In New Delhi, other issues India raised included speedy prosecution of the terrorist leaders in Pakistani prison. The fate of fishermen in Indian and Pakistani jails was also discussed.

Senior home ministry officials, including U.K. Bansal, took part in the meeting.

The home secretary meeting will be followed by a meeting of commerce secretaries in April and then by water resources department officials. The foreign ministers will meet in July in New Delhi.