India's 'no' to Pakistan bid to de-link Kashmir and terror
By Manish Chand,
Islamabad, March 15 (IANS) Pakistan may want to de-link violence in Jammu and Kashmir from the joint anti-terror mechanism with India, but New Delhi is determined to keep raising "Kashmir-related terror" in official meetings.
"They may try to back away. But all terror incidents in territories of India are very much within the scope of the joint mechanism," a high-level official source told IANS.
"We will like to remind Pakistan to honour the Jan 6, 2004 pledge it has given not to allow its territory to be used for terrorism against India," the source added. "Infrastructure of terrorism still exists in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. And we will raise Kashmir incidents in the mechanism."
"Investigation of past incidents will lead to the prevention of future attacks," the source explained, when pointed out that Islamabad's emphasis on focusing on preventing future terrorist attacks instead of the ones that have already taken place in which India suspects the involvement of Pakistan-based nationals.
"The emphasis is on preventing future attacks and to share specific information on the basis of which both sides can help each other," Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan said at a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Shivshankar Menon here Wednesday after the two countries decided on launching a cross-border bus and truck service.
For the first time since the two countries agreed in Havana in September last year to set up a joint working group on stepping up counter-terrorism cooperation, Pakistan publicly stated its opposition to discussing the violence in Jammu and Kashmir within the ambit of the mechanism.
Khan said Wednesday that since Jammu and Kashmir was "disputed", it should not be "mixed" up with any initiative between India and Pakistan.
But Pakistan has made politically correct noises about bolstering the anti-terror mechanism, whose mandate is to identify and implement counter-terrorism initiatives and investigations and prevent future terror attacks in India.
In a sign that both countries want to give the mechanism space to be effective, the foreign secretaries also stressed that confidentiality on evidence about terror attacks exchanged between them holds the key to the success of the joint framework.
"Exchanges would be of a confidential nature. The mandate is quite clear. Its first and foremost objective is to prevent future terrorist attacks," Khan said.
In his reply to BJP leader L.K. Advani asking him about the course of India-Pakistan peace process, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also stressed on "not conducting diplomacy in public". He also said in New Delhi that the dialogue with Pakistan could make no meaningful progress unless Islamabad honored in "letter and spirit" its January 2004 commitment on checking terrorism.
India Wednesday gave Pakistan a list of 19 passport numbers of those killed in the Samjhauta Express train blast last month and sought details about them, saying some of them might be involved in the crime.