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Don't forget your promise: Pranab to Islamabad

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday asked Pakistan to keep its promises of reining in terrorists responsible for carrying out attacks on India.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 17, 2008, 04.56 AM IST
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SRINAGAR: External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday asked Pakistan to keep its promises of reining in terrorists responsible for carrying out attacks on India.

���We expect Pakistan to fulfil promises , made by Pervez Musharraf and Asif Zardari, that its territory would not be used against India. We want infrastructure made available to terrorists in Pakistan to be dismantled,��� Mr Mukherjee told a crowded news conference here.

Asked if war was still an option, the minister said: ���There are assurances from the established government of that country. We expect good sense will prevail and words will be followed by action.��� India wanted conducive atmosphere to prevail in Pakistan, he said and reassured J&K that though the composite dialogue with Pakistan was on hold, there would not be a rollback of Kashmir-specific CBMs.

Terrorism has no religion, ideology or respect for human life, he said. The foreign minister said he was not accusing Islamabad but some elements operating from Pakistan.

���Attacks by terrorists in Mumbai have nothing to do with India-Pakistan vis-��-vis Kashmir. Kashmir is not the issue; nor is it a mere issue between India and Pakistan. It is part of global action and global war on terrorists ,��� he said.

The minister said a list of 40 mostwanted were handed over on 10 earlier occasions to Islamabad. ���There are certain individuals who committed crimes and are sheltered in Pakistan. Then there is a gentleman who was exchanged in lieu of passengers of an aircraft that was hijacked from Nepal to Afghanistan,��� Mr Mukherjee said.

���He was on TV in Pakistan and when international pressure mounted, Islamabad said he was under house arrest.��� Hijacking being an international crime, he said, there should be no problem for Pakistan to hand him (Masood Azhar) over to India. He said if evidence was given, it should be acted upon.

In his 40-minute news conference, the minister said Jammu and Kashmir will not suffer because of the pause in composite dialogue. Do not look at Indo-Pak relations though the J&K prism. ���J&K is an integral part of India and internal dialogue will keep going on,��� he said, adding that recommendations made by the roundtable would be taken to its logical conclusion and would be expeditiously pursued.

He asked his ���younger friends��� (read militants) to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream, an appeal that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too made on Sunday.

Mr Mukherjee reiterated that though two trans-LoC routes have been opened, the government was willing to open more. ���We may not have the capability to erase borders but we will reduce restrictions associated with them,��� he said, echoing what Mr Singh said here on Sunday.

On the new national investigation agency to tackle terror, Mr Mukherjee said it would not be extended to J&K because Article 370 had overriding powers. ���All acts passed by Parliament are not automatically extended to J&K , as is the case with other states,��� he said.

Mr Mukherjee praised the Congress-led coalition government, which had to quit office following the incidents related to the Amarnath land row earlier this year. Enumerating on a number of initiatives of the Azad government, the minister said the coalition offered stability to the state, pursued development and strengthened the peace process.
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