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India, Pakistan anti-terror meet on Oct 22
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September 17, 2007 22:26 IST

The second round of Indo-Pak Joint anti-terrorism mechanism will be held on October 22, an External Affairs Ministry statement said in New Delhi.

Meetings on conventional and nuclear confidence building measures will be held on October 18 and 19 respectively, it said.

During the meeting, India is likely to raise the issue of the recent Hyderabad blasts with Pakistan.

Investigators suspect involvement of terrorists based in Pakistan and Bangladesh in the August 25 explosions in Hyderabad in which 44 people were killed and several others injured.

Shahid Bilal, a key suspect in the Hyderabad blasts, was reportedly killed in Karachi on August 30 and Indian officials are expected to raise the issue in the discussions considering that the ATM has been established for coordination between the two countries on fighting terrorism.

The Indian side will be represented by K C Singh, Additional Secretary (International Organisations) in the External Affairs Ministry.

The second meeting, which should have taken place in June, had been delayed as Pakistan's pointsman for the discussions -- Tariq Osman Haider -- Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, had retired.

The developments in Pakistan, including the Lal Masjid incident and the sacking of the Chief Justice of Pakistan is also understood to have been the reason behind the delay in finalising dates for the talks.

The first meeting of ATM was held in March, in a follow up to the decision taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf [Images] in Havana in September last year.

The two sides had decided to hold the meetings every three months but it did not materialise.

India is also expected to seek from Pakistan a response to its demand for tracking down and handing over of those responsible for terror acts here.

New Delhi had hinted at involvement of elements based across the border in the Samjhauta Express blasts as it handed over to Islamabad a photo of a suspected Pakistani national believed to be involved in terror attack.

India also gave evidence of involvement of Pakistan-based terror groups in the blasts in Delhi, Hyderabad and Varanasi and attack on makeshift temple in Ayodhya.

The names of six people, including that of a suspected killer of BJP leader Haren Pandya, were also given to Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan was given a list of 35 wanted terrorists, including Dawood Ibrahim [Images].

The two countries had agreed to make ATM 'more meaningful, substantive and significant, involving the framework for durable cooperation on terrorism.'

Favouring a joint system to tackle terrorism, they had discussed ways to share intelligence to prevent terror acts and steps to deal with a situation that may arise due to some such incident.

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