India asks Pakistan to honour anti-terror pledge (Roundup)

December 17th, 2008 - 9:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Islamabad, Dec 17 (IANS) With Pakistan denying any link with the Mumbai attacks, India Wednesday intensified pressure on Pakistan to honour the anti-terror pledge given by two of its presidents and asked Islamabad to back expressions of intent with action. “Mere intentions or expressions of intention is not adequate,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here on the sidelines of a function organized by a business body.

“We expect Pakistan to act as per old commitments given by two presidents,” Mukherjee said.

He was referring to the Jan 6, 2004 joint statement in which then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf pledged not to allow Pakistani territory to be used for launching terror attacks against India. This pledge formed the basis of the resumption of the peace process between the two countries which was stalled after the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament for which New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

The pledge was reiterated again by President Asif Ali Zardari in a joint statement Sept 24, 2008 when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

“I explained to them in my speaking note on Nov 28 and in subsequent demarche (Dec 1) what we expect them to do,” he said while alluding to India’s formal representation to Pakistan asking it to act against anti-terror outfits based in Pakistani territory and to return 40 fugitives from Indian law who are wanted in various criminal and terrorist activities.

“Pakistan is obliged to implement UNSC resolutions,” he said when asked why Pakistan is not implementing UNSC resolution declaring Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit and declaring four of its leaders terrorists subject to assets freeze and travel ban.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar Tuesday, Mukherjee had asked Pakistan to fulfil its anti-terror pledge by dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism and renewed calls for returning 40 people wanted by New Delhi for various crimes and terrorist activities.

He also made it clear that bilateral relations would not be normal until Islamabad takes “credible action” against terrorists operating from its soil. Mukherjee asked Islamabad to show its seriousness by handing over Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar, suspected of plotting the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.

Mukherjee’s remarks underscored growing exasperation in India at Pakistan’s perceived “tokenism” in taking action against terrorists and terrorist outfits that New Delhi believes are linked to the Mumbai terror attacks.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani, however, said that his government has taken action against JuD following the recommendations of the UN Security Council Committee that imposed sanctions against certain leaders of the outfit.

He said that schools and mosques belonging to JuD will be opened after primary investigations. However, the accounts and offices of JuD will remain under government control.

Denying any link with the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has demanded evidence from India and offered a joint probe into the attacks. New Delhi has contended that it has overwhelming evidence linking Pakistan-based elements to the attacks and will share evidence after the investigations are complete.

Gilani Wednesday also reiterated his government’s offer to cooperate with India in investigating the Mumbai attacks and to resume early the peace dialogue with India.

Chairing a cabinet meeting to discuss India-Pakistan tension following the Mumbai attacks, the prime minister briefed the cabinet on the talks the government have had with American, British and other international leaders on the situation.

“The prime minister has said that the international community… stands by Pakistan in its offer of cooperation to India for investigating the Mumbai attacks,” a participant at the meeting told IANS.

The officials from the foreign and defence ministries also briefed the cabinet on Pakistani preparedness to fight any aggression, the source said.

He said the prime minister was confident that India will not go for any offensive but “if it does, Pakistan is capable of defending itself against any aggressions”.

He said that the cabinet also discussed “Indian demands, measures taken by Pakistan to ease tension and visits of world leaders in Pakistan”.

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