Pakistan foreign minister likely to visit India as goodwill gesture

December 9th, 2008 - 3:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Dec 9 (IANS) Pakistan could send a high-level delegation to India, most probably headed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, “as a positive diplomatic gesture” in the aftermath of the “condemnable” Mumbai terror attacks, a media report said Tuesday.”No dates have been fixed for this visit as the foreign office will await a response from New Delhi in this regard. The proposal has come from Islamabad,” The News said.

The proposal comes even as Pakistan, citing the lack of an extradition treaty, has rejected India’s demand for handing over three terror suspects.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir conveyed this Monday in a demarche to Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal in response to an Indian demarche stating what New Delhi expected of Islamabad in the wake of the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks that claimed 172 lives and injured nearly 250.

“A demarche was made to the Indian high commissioner by the foreign secretary who met him today (Monday). The high commissioner was informed that the government of Pakistan has initiated investigations on its own into the allegations that have surfaced concerning involvement of any individual or entity in Pakistan in the Mumbai attacks,” the spokesman said.

However, as The News noted, “there was no mention of the fact that these ‘investigations’ actually meant the raids in Azad (Pakistani) Kashmir and in some towns of Punjab to nab members of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba”.

LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhwi and 19 of his men were arrested in the crackdown that began Sunday. Indian and US intelligence officials say the terror group was involved in the Mumbai outrage.

The proposal for Qureshi’s visit comes even as 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.

“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 Monday 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.

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