Pakistan reacts cautiously to South Asian anti-terror force

February 17th, 2009 - 12:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Feb 17 (IANS) Pakistan has described Bangladesh’s proposal for a South Asian task force to combat terrorism as “a new and good idea”.

“We have discussed the issue. Right now it is just an idea. We have to discuss the subject with the concerned persons now,” Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s special envoy Mirza Zia Isphahani, on a five day visit here, was quoted as saying by New Age.

The proposal was discussed at some length last week during the brief visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who welcomed the proposal.

Part of the pre-election pledge of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s Awami League, it is now a major foreign policy plank of her government.

But the opposition has trashed it saying that it could end up being a bilateral arrangement with India, fraught with security risks.

Quoting unnamed diplomatic sources, media reports here last week said that Pakistan may not warm up to the idea.

US has said it would await reaction of other South Asian nations.

Mukherjee’s parleys with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Dipu Moni and then with Hasina centred on a regional approach to combating terrorism, in the context of the Mumbai terror attacks of November last year.

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