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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2589

India reads riot act to Pakistan, ISI chief to visit Delhi to see 'Mumbai evidence'

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune, New Delhi

New Delhi, 29 November 2008 (Asiantribune.com): Post-Mumbai siege, the relations between India and Pakistan have nosedived. New Delhi has literally read out the riot act to Islamabad with 'evidence of militants' links with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani to send the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, to see the 'evidence'.

Gilani agreed to send Pasha accepted the request. It will be ISI chief's first ever travel to India in connection with investigation into any terror attack. Hitherto every time India made a complaint of ISI and militant involvement in terror incidents, Pakistan denied the charge in a proforma exercise, and pose a counter question: where is the evidence.

Ahmed Shuja Pasha was recently appointed head of ISI by army chief General Ashffaq Pervaiz Kayani, who succeeded former president General Pervez Musharraf as chief of the army staff.

Pakistan's military attaché in New Delhi had been summoned to Islamabad for discussions on the situation in Mumbai, ahead of the spy chief's visit.

An official statement said Manmohan Singh asked for the visit of Pasha when Gilani telephone him to express profound grief over the Mumbai attack that had left at least 125 dead and resulted in 12over the loss of lives in the wake of the terror attack that has left at least 155 people dead and 327 injured.
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Gilani strongly denounced the acts of terrorism in Mumbai and assured the Indian prime minister of his full cooperation.

"On behalf of the people and the government of Pakistan, I wish to express our deep shock and sorrow at last night's terrorist attacks in Mumbai," he said, according to the statement.

Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said initial evidence in the Mumbai attacks showed the militants had links with Pakistan. "Preliminary evidence, prima facie evidence, indicates elements with links to Pakistan are involved," Mukherjee told a news conference after telephoning his Pak counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is in Ajmer Friday as a part of his four –day visit to India. He urged Pakistan to dismantle the infrastructure that supports militants.

On his part, Pakistan Minister suggested the setting up of a direct hotline between the intelligence chiefs of the two countries to bolster counter-terrorism cooperation. "Do not be jingoistic. Understand the sentiments behind it," Qureshi told reporters. "Understand that there are innocent people affected by it. We are fighting the same issue. We are facing the common enemy.

Do not bring politics into it. "This is a collective issue. We have to join hands (to fight terrorism," Qureshi stressed. He added India should not accuse his country for terror attacks here till their investigations were complete and favoured further strengthening of the Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism.

"I proposed to let the intelligence chiefs meet...there should be a hotline between the intelligence chiefs and National Security Advisers of India and Pakistan so that we can share information timely and collectively in dealing with the menace," Qureshi stated. And added 'Let us cooperate and not accuse each other'.

Contending that India is an "important neighbor" for Pakistan, Qureshi said he always advocated friendly co-existence between the two countries and that he has come here to "build bridges".

"I want to turn the tide from confrontation to cooperation," the Pakistan minister said

Mumbai police said the only terrorist to be captured in the Operation Tornado was a Pakistani. Based on his interrogation, police believe that the fidayeens of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) had been trained for months at Karachi. At least 20 terrorists reached Mumbai; the key man has been identified as Imran Babbar. Lashkar operatives left Karachi in a merchant ship early on Wednesday, Nov 26. Late that night, the fidayeen left the ship in an India fishing trawler which was hijacked off Gujarat coast earlier, and rowed some 10 nautical miles to Mumbai's Gateway of India area. Once they reached close to the alighting point near Colaba, where heritage Taj hotel is located, they had lowered themselves into a smaller inflatable boat with a 20 HP engine and split into two groups for their raid.

Only last week India and Pakistan held discussions at the home secretary level and discussed about the joint anti-terror mechanism that was set up over two years ago but did not meet even once so far.

Eminent strategic experts and Pakistan-watchers, too, blamed elements in Pakistan for masterminding and executing the terror strikes in Mumbai; they are not sure whether these elements enjoyed the patronage of the nine-month-old Zardari government. It also appears that Delhi doesn't want to hold the civilian government in Islamabad directly in the present instance since Mumbai siege could be rogue elements or jihadi elements in Pakistan who may not be under the control of the Pakistani government.

-Asian Tribune-

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