Terror camps jeopardising India-Pakistan peace process: Zardari (With Zardari stories from London)

June 28th, 2008 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

London, June 28 (IANS) Demolishing Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s repeated assertions that there were no terrorist training camps in his country, the co-chair of the party that heads the new civilian government in Islamabad says these groups pose a “very serious danger” to the sub-continental peace process. These camps should be dismantled so that the militants do not hold the foreign policies of India and Pakistan to ransom, Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said.

His address was read out at the two-day Tehelka summit on “India & Pakistan- Designing A New Future” here Friday night.

“We agree that a very serious danger to the peace process comes from militants and terrorists,” Zardari said.

“Therefore, the challenge for us is to dismantle the militant cells so that they cannot hold the foreign policies of two independent nations hostage to their acts of terrorism,” he added.

According to Zardari, the PPP “welcomed the decision by both India and Pakistan to work together on anti-terrorism efforts and to share information in this regard as a positive step forward.

“We have to protect innocent people of our countries by both Pakistan and India working for the dismantlement of militant groups, the elimination of terrorism and the promotion of interfaith tolerance and harmony,” Zardari added.

The statements came on the day Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was in India, his first since assuming office in March, for talks on taking the India-Pakistan peace process forward.

Ahead of Qureshi’s visit, India and Pakistan held the third meeting of their anti-terror mechanism in Islamabad to discuss cooperation in combating, what they have come to see as the “common menace”.

Officials of the two sides discussed various counter-terrorism measures and swapped information to assist in investigations into terrorist acts at the first meeting of the mechanism after the installation of a civilian government in Pakistan. India also conveyed its concerns about the peace deal between the Pakistan government and the Taliban militants in the Swat valley that New Delhi fears may free up these terrorists to plan attacks on Indian territory.

The mechanism was established after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf met on the sidelines of a Non-Aligned Summit at Havana in September 2006.

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