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Pranab: Pak has much to do besides talks on 26/11

Pranab: Pak has much to do besides talks on 26/11

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 27, 2009

Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the ongoing interaction between India and Pakistan over Mumbai attacks should not be allowed to deflect attention from the larger issue of dismantling terror infrastructure in Pakistan.

In an interview to Khaleej Times, Mukherjee made it clear that Pakistan had to do much more to get the composite dialogue process back on track. "The process should not be allowed to become an end in itself. The wider issue is dismantling the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan. Several questions arise in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks. How did an already banned terrorist group (LeT alias JuD) carry out such an attack? Why did it have the latitude to do so? Are there other such groups? It is for the government of Pakistan to answer these questions and act on them," said Mukherjee.

He added that Pakistan needed to take the ongoing probe to its logical conclusion and this included handing over Indian fugitives in Pakistan. "For us, logical conclusion means perpetrators of terrorist acts are brought to book. Terror network and infrastructure should be dismantled completely to prevent the repetition of attacks in future. Fugitives from Indian law who are in Pakistan should be handed over," he said.

Mukherjee further said India could not bear the brunt of Pakistan's internal situation. "We have shown immense patience and exercised utmost restraint in our response despite tremendous outrage amongst our people. The issue is not of more time or of sympathy. Those factors come into play after a certain policy direction is taken. The issue is of the direction of change in Pakistan. If banned groups are not just tolerated, but allowed to flourish and if even today agreements are being reached with other banned groups, can we take it as an unambiguous position against terrorism," he said.

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