Pak takes step to book Mumbai attack perpetrators

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SalmanBISHKEK, September 13; Pakistan has indicated some movement in prosecuting its nationals charged with masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks, thus moving a step towards creating the right atmosphere sought by India for a meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries later this month in New York.

The two countries also agreed on effectively implementing measures to ensure peace and tranquillity on the Line of Control (LoC), a formulation that meets mid-way India’s sense of hurt over the killing of its soldiers as well as Pakistan’s claim that both sides are victims when soldiers fire at each other. India claims seven deaths this year while Pakistan says eight of its men have been killed on the LoC.

During an early morning meeting with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz mentioned the appointment of a new public prosecutor for the trial of seven men accused of training and guiding the Mumbai attackers.

He also informed the Pakistan Judicial Commission’s intention to visit India on September 23 – less than a week before the two premiers meet in New York – to cross-examine some officials handling the Mumbai terror case. A Pakistani court had thrown out the evidence collected during the Commission’s earlier visit to India. The panel will now cross-examine officials in Mumbai to correct the lacunae.

Both developments could go some way towards assuaging India’s sense of hurt over Pakistan’s feet dragging over dealing with issues relating to terrorism, as reported by The Hindu a day earlier. Mr. Khurshid had said Pakistan must indicate tangible progress on meeting some of India’s concerns, prime among them being effective and speedy prosecution of Pakistanis behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Talking to newspersons after meeting Mr. Aziz at a dacha both are sharing in the vast Presidential complex here, Mr. Khurshid expressed his satisfaction at the assurance but hoped the evidence would be such that the Pakistani court would be able to do something substantial.

Mr. Aziz welcomed Mr. Khurshid’s expression of satisfaction over the assurances and, quoting the Indian Minister, hoped both sides would muzzle their guns on the LoC to maintain the ceasefire agreed upon in 2003. Mr. Khurshid stressed on more effective utilisation of the mechanism to dampen aggression on the LoC as peace and tranquillity along the disputed border was the most critical confidence enhancing measure between the two countries. “We have a few days, let us see how it shapes up,’’ he said.

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