Pakistan moves to build bridges with India

December 8th, 2008 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 8 (IANS) Evidently stung by Washington’s whiplash, Pakistan is to send an “important” message to India through its envoy in New Delhi to defuse tensions in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, a media report Monday said.“Pakistan is sending an important message to the Indian leadership this week pertaining to the heightening of tension between the two nuclear neighbours,” The News said in a report headlined “Pak plan to mend fences with India”.

“The message is expected to greatly help in easing the situation. Pakistan’s high commissioner in India Shahid Malik, who is reaching here mid-week for the highest-level consultations, would carry the message to New Delhi,” the newspaper added.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while on a visit to Pakistan last week, had said she expected a “robust” response from Islamabad in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

She also asked Pakistan to crack down down on “non-state players” acting from its territory. This was in response to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s remark that “stateless” players were behind the Mumbai attacks that killed 172 people and injured more than 250.

Indian and US intelligence officials say that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror group were involved in the Mumbai strikes.

On Monday, there were reports that security agencies had moved against an LeT camp in Pakistani Kashmir and had arrested its commander, Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi, whose extradition India has sought.

Malik confirmed to The News from New Delhi Sunday evening that he would be in Islamabad on Wednesday for a day or two for an “in-depth discussion with the high-ups”.

He will “update the Pakistani leadership on the latest situation, which will enable Islamabad to reassess the whole situation”, the newspaper said.

Malik is also in constant touch with the Indian ministry of external affairs “but without any tangible progress in the efforts to minimise tension between the two countries so far”, The News noted.

It also said that diplomatic observers here were of the view that the bilateral diplomacy between Pakistan and India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks and New Delhi’s “threatening posture” has become “somewhat irrelevant and is not working as India would have liked it”.

The newspaper quoted sources to say that Pakistan’s proposal for a joint commission to probe the Mumbai attacks to be followed by a meeting of the National Security Advisors (NSAs) of the two countries “has attained worldwide appreciation and the world capitals are impressing upon the Indian government to come to terms with it as Pakistan is extending its hand of cooperation”.

Pakistan is also prepared to invoke the four-year-old Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism (JATM) to deal with subversive activities taking place on each other’s soil, The News said.

“The JATM was created with the resolve that the two countries would not allow any subversive act to become a stumbling block in the normalisation of relations between the two countries.

“The three-tier mechanism is not only workable but the world capitals, after careful assessment of the situation, consider it the best way to tackle the deteriorating relations of the two countries in peaceful atmosphere,” The News said.

Pakistan was also hopeful that since the NSAs “enjoy the status of cabinet ministers, they could report directly to their respective chief executives and, as such, they are the most appropriate officials to address such (a) development (the Mumbai attacks)”, the newspaper said.

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