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Home > News > PTI

'Anti-terror mechanism must be a serious forum'

September 22, 2006 16:39 IST

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Dismissing apprehensions that the intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan cannot trust each other, Islamabad has said the new joint mechanism to fight terror should become a 'serious, quiet and real-time' forum for cooperation.

Pakistan is ready to 'seriously' address India's concerns on terrorism emanating from its soil under the joint mechanism if New Delhi provides 'serious and concrete evidence', Pakistani High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan said.

"The intention is that there should be serious, quiet and real-time sharing of intelligence and cooperation so as to combat terrorism," Khan told CNBC's India Tonight programme. "Let us not do this (joint mechanism) as an act of posturing."

His comments came after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said there was 'unease' in intelligence agencies in both countries over the creation of the new mechanism.

Khan was also non-committal on providing access to persons wanted by India and believed to be in Pakistan, including Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Mazood Azhar, 'global terrorist' Dawood Ibrahim and Lashker-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed.

The purpose of establishing the joint mechanism was that there should be a forum where the concerns of one country about the other or actions emanating from the other side can be discussed in a serious and quiet manner. If there is any evidence it can then be examined, he said.

Khan sought to downplay statements by experts here that the intelligence agencies of both countries cannot trust each other, saying, "In both India and Pakistan, instructions of the heads of the state are going to be followed by all the components of the state."

Experts like India's former high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarthy, former Intelligence Bureau chief A K Doval and former RAW official B Raman have criticised the setting up of the mechanism and questioned its utility.

The mechanism, announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf after their meeting in Havana, will provide a forum where the two sides can sit and seriously discuss each other's concerns, Khan said.

Rubbishing criticism that such a mechanism will not work unless Pakistan stops sponsoring terror activities in India, Khan said Islamabad will stand by its commitment that its land will not be allowed to be used against any country.

"If you have some hard evidence against somebody, please share it with us," he said.

Asked specifically about providing access to persons on India's list of most wanted criminals and terrorists, he said, "I am not going to conjecture on that."

He also dismissed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's recent statement that jehadi groups, the ISI and the Pakistan Army was orchestrating terror in his state, saying, "We have been hearing this for a very long time."

Khan said Pakistan has been acting on information passed on by Indian officials - "At the home secretary-level talks, whenever some information was passed on to us, we investigated it serioulsy and we gave the results of our findings back to India."

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