Political uncertainity in Pakistan aiding terrorists: India

June 26th, 2008 - 10:19 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) The political uncertainty in Pakistan leading to “multiple centres of power” is giving terrorists more room to maneuvre, a senior Indian official said Thursday, a day ahead of Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s three-day visit to India. “There is much more room for all the (terrorist) groups to work because the political uncertainty in Pakistan has led to multiple centres of power,” the official said.

At the same time, he made it clear that India was committed to the peace process with Pakistan and would continue to engage in a dialogue to resolve amicably all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

“We would try to see how to take forward the engagement that we formally started with the new government in Pakistan last month and see how our composite dialogue could be taken forward,” the official said.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukehrjee, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, visited Islamabad last month to hold talks with the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government that came to power in the country earlier this year.

Though Qureshi has been to India a number of times in the past, this would be his maiden visit to Delhi as Pakistan’s foreign minister.

“We want to hear more from them. We want to see how far they are willing to move,” the official said.

He also admitted that the political uncertainity over Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s fate was creating some difficulties. “Obviously, it reduces their ability as a state to deliver.”

The Pakistani foreign minister will hold wide-ranging talks with the Indian leadership. Soon after arrival Friday, he will meet his Indian counterpart, who will host a lunch for him at Hyderabad House.

Qureshi and his delegation members will also visit the shrine of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Aulia here during the day.

Qureshi will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and in the evening attend a dinner hosted in his honour by Pakistani High Commissioner Shahid Malik.

On Saturday, the Pakistani foreign minister will meet Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh and will call on former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Qureshi will Sunday leave for Jaipur, from where he will travel to Ajmer to pay homage at the dargah of the famous Sufi saint Moinuddin Chishti. Later in the day, he will leave for Chandigarh for interactions with leading intellectuals of Punjab at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development. He will return to Pakistan Monday.

India has made it clear that the peace process and the composite dialogue with Pakistan was predicted on three key planks - an atmosphere free of violence and determined action against terrorists, to discuss all outstanding issues - including Jammu and Kashmir - that divide the two sides, and to build up a cooperative relationship on the economic and social fronts.

The Indian establishment is hopeful of making some progress with Pakistan on the trade and economic fronts since the new government in Islamabad has also shown its keenness on this.

The two sides recently agreed to introduce five new trains along the Wagah-Atari sector that could help in enhancing economic and trade ties between the two countries.

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