In­dia cites 26/11 at­tacks trial as test of Pak­istan’s sin­cer­ity

DRAW­ING A LINE Delhi, Is­lam­abad yet to find mu­tu­ally con­ve­nient date for for­eign secy-level talks

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Correspondent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The shadow of the 2008 Mum­bai ter­ror at­tacks fell on the In­dia-Pak­istan peace process on Thurs­day even as the neigh­bours are yet to find a mu­tu­ally con­ve­nient date to hold for­eign sec­re­tarylevel talks post­poned af­ter the Pathankot air­base at­tack this month. “We see the Mum­bai ter­ror at­tack trial in Is­lam­abad as a test of Pak­istan’s sin­cer­ity in com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism di­rected against In­dia. The plan­ning, train­ing and fi­nanc­ing of the Mum­bai ter­ror­ist at­tack was done in Pak­istan where 99% of the ev­i­dence is,” ex­ter­nal affairs min­istry spokesper­son Vikas Swarup said.

Swarup was re­act­ing to re­ports about the Is­lam­abad high court turn­ing down a re­quest for get­ting voice sam­ples of seven sus­pects charged with the 26/11 at­tacks on ac­count of the pros­e­cu­tors not pur­su­ing the mat­ter. Though the spokesper­son qual­i­fied his state­ment by say­ing the govern­ment did not re­ceive “any word on this through the of­fi­cial chan­nel”, the court or­der is seen as a set­back.

The Mum­bai ter­ror at­tacks launched by Pak­istan-based ter­ror­ists that killed 166 peo­ple had brought ties be­tween the nu­clear-armed neigh­bours to a new low in 2008.

The Pathankot at­tack has been blamed on the Pak­istan­based mil­i­tant group Jaishe-Mo­hammed and In­dia wel­comed the “ini­tial first steps” the neigh­bour took on its leads in hunt­ing down the at­tack­ers. “It is Pak­istan’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to un­earth and present the req­ui­site ev­i­dence in the on­go­ing trial so that the per­pe­tra­tors are brought to jus­tice,” the spokesper­son said about the Mum­bai at­tacks case.

The Pak­istani govern­ment had filed an ap­pli­ca­tion in the Is­lam­abad high court seek­ing voice sam­ples of the sus­pects to com­pare with the com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­ter­cepted by In­dian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and present those be­fore the anti-ter­ror­ism court as ev­i­dence. But the court dis­missed the pe­ti­tion. “As of now, we don’t have a mu­tu­ally con­ve­nient date,” Swarup said when asked about the sta­tus of the for­eign sec­re­tary-level talks.

“It is not in­cor­rect to say that for­eign sec­re­tary-level talks will hap­pen in the first fort­night of Fe­bru­ary. I see no rea­son why talks should be dis­con­tin­ued de­spite the Pathankot at­tack,” Pak­istan’s en­voy to In­dia Ab­dul Ba­sit told a TV chan­nel.

CON­TIN­UED ON P9

RE­LATED RE­PORT, P8

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