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'Don't look at Mumbai attacks through prism of Kashmir'
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December 16, 2008 14:46 IST
Last Updated: December 16, 2008 17:16 IST

With pressure mounting on Pakistan to act against the sources of terror responsible for the Mumbai attacks, India on Tuesday said Islamabad [Images] should follow up its promise to the global community with action.  

"I have already said this in Parliament. Words (by Pakistan) must be followed up with action," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told media persons in Srinagar [Images].

"We expect that good sense will prevail and we expect that the assurances that are coming (from Pakistan) will translate into action. Because assurances are coming from established leadership of that country, we expect conducive atmosphere will prevail to act on the promises made," Mukherjee said, responding to questions.

Asked if the Mumbai terror would affect Indo-Pak relations vis-a-vis the Kashmir issue, the External Affairs Minister categorically stated that the attacks had nothing to do with the bilateral relationship on matters relating to the border state.

"It is not a Kashmir issue. It is not merely an issue between Pakistan and India. It is about global war against terrorism," Mukherjee said, referring to the 60-hour-long siege of Mumbai landmarks beginning November 26 that claimed 183 lives.

"We should not look at the issue through the prism of Indo-Pak relations or the prism of Kashmir," he said.

Pointing out that both previous Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf [Images] and present President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] had given assurances to dismantle the terror networks in their territory, Mukherjee said: "We want these assurances to be fulfilled".

"In a joint statement issued after his dialogue with then Prime Minister Vajpayee on January 6, 2004 by Musharraf and later in a joint statement issued on the margins of the UN General Assembly by Zardari along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on 24 September 2008, the two leaders have given assurances.

"We want that the infrastructure and facilities available in their territory should be dismantled," Mukherjee stressed.

In the demarche handed over to the Pakistan High Commissioner in Delhi [Images] after the Mumbai terror attacks [Images], the minister said India expected Pakistan to fulfil its assurances given from time to time by their two political leaders.

"We also expect that we should deal with the problem of terrorism through the joint mechanism such as the joint anti-terror mechanism, the joint Home Secretaries level and Foreign Secretaries level dialogue as part of the larger composite dialogue and it should show results. It should not merely give assurances and expression of intent," he added.

"I do believe with compliance of these, it will be possible for us to resume normalcy," Mukherjee stated.

Mukherjee said the political dialogue process format of round table and working groups should work towards weaning away youth from violence and make them join the mainstream.

Stating that India had after every terrorist violence given evidences to Pakistan and sought action, Mukherjee said the evidences should be followed up by Islamabad by taking it to the logical conclusion.

"Problem of terrorism is everywhere. Terrorists have no ideology, religion or no respect for any territorial boundary," the minister said.

Stating that President Zardari's family had been a victim of terrorism, Mukherjee said nobody could deny that Pakistan's tall leader Benazir Bhutto [Images] was a victim of terrorism.

"I sympathised with Zardari immediately after the assassination, but my plan to visit Pakistan immediately after to express condolences could not materialise. In fact, no foreign minister or foreign visitor could go to Pakistan due to the situation prevailing there," Mukherjee said.

However, soon after the present democratically elected government took over there, he was the first to visit Pakistan to express condolences to Zardari, Pranab added.

To another query, Mukherjee said he had never named any agency for the terror strikes in India, but had only pointed out "some elements" in Pakistan were responsible.

He said the large turn out of voters in the first five phases of Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Assembly elections had clearly shown peoples' confidence in democracy and the ballot.

"The turn out has been larger than in previous elections to the State assembly. It is a significant development," he said.


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