Rebuilding trust – Pakistan allows India to probe 26/11 suspects


ISLAMABAD – In a major confidence-building measure, Pakistan on Tuesday showed willingness to permit Indian officials to undertake a visit to the country for investigation into the Mumbai attacks.
The important decision was made by Pakistan at the end of the two-day interior secretaries talks held in New Delhi on March 28 and 29th — a day ahead of the highly-anticipated Cricket World Cup semi-final between the two states, where Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will host his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in what is seen as a revival of “cricket diplomacy” between Islamabad and New Delhi.
“The Indian delegation was led by Gopal K Pillai, home secretary of India, while the Pakistan delegation was headed by Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, interior secretary of Pakistan,” a Foreign Office statement said. The meeting was held in pursuance of the decision taken in Thimphu (Bhutan) in February 2011 by the governments of Pakistan and India, to resume the dialogue process and in the backdrop of meeting between the home minister of India and the interior minister of Pakistan held in Islamabad on June 25-26, 2010.
Both sides exchanged views on the decisions taken in the last round of talks held in Islamabad in 2008. It was agreed that it was important for both sides to remain engaged on outstanding issues and henceforth the interior secretary-level talks would be held bi-annually. Both sides agreed to set up a hotline between home secretary of India and interior secretary of Pakistan to facilitate real time information sharing with respect to terrorist threats.
Both sides reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reaffirmed the need to bring those responsible for such crimes to justice. “The Pakistani side provided updates on the ongoing trial and investigation in Pakistan on the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
Pakistan conveyed its readiness, in principle, based upon the principle of comity and reciprocity, to entertain a commission from India with respect to Mumbai terror attack investigations,” the statement said. “Modalities and composition in this connection will be worked out through diplomatic channels,” it said.
Dates for the visit of the Judicial Commission from Pakistan in connection with Mumbai attack trial will be conveyed by India within four to six weeks. NIA and FIA will continue to cooperate in the Mumbai terror attack investigations. India provided information on the on-going Samjhota Express blast case investigation.
It was also agreed that after filing of report in the court, updated information will be shared with the concerned Pakistan authorities. Both sides noted and welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen by each other since the last round of talks.
It was agreed that both sides would release by April 15, 2011 those civilian prisoners and fishermen who have completed their sentence, whose nationality status has been confirmed by the respective governments and whose travel documents have been received.
A complete list of prisoners in each others’ custody will be exchanged by both sides on July 1, 2011. Both sides agreed that the problem and issues of the inadvertent crossers should be viewed sympathetically, and in a focused and sensitive manner.
Both sides commended the work done by the Judicial Committee on Prisoners for the release, repatriation and humane treatment of prisoners and agreed on the need for its continuation. The next meeting of the Judicial Committee will be held from April 19-23, 2011 in Pakistan. The two sides shared the concern of the growing menace of narcotics and agreed that cooperation between NCB of India and ANF of Pakistan should be enhanced to ensure an effective control on drug trafficking.
It was further agreed that talks between the NCB DG and ANF DG would be held annually. Indian side accepted the invitation for the NCB DG to visit Pakistan in May 2011 for talks with the ANF DG. The MoU on Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and related matters’ as finalised will be formally signed at the next DG-level meeting of NCB and ANF in May 2011.
It was decided that CBI and FIA will schedule a meeting to work out the technical details of moving forward on issues of human trafficking, counterfeit currency, cyber crimes and Red Corner Notices (RCNs). Both sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group to examine the modalities for streamlining the visa procedure and modalities and for giving a final shape to revision of the Bilateral Visa Agreement.
The interior secretary of Pakistan invited the Indian home secretary for the next secretary-level talks in Pakistan. The invitation was accepted.