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Pak must take 26/11 probe seriously: Sonia
Published on 3 Aug. 2010 11:18 PM IST
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In a rare foreign policy intervention, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has asked Pakistan to attach greater seriousness to investigations into the terror attack on Mumbai.
“We must continue to insist that Pakistan takes the investigation into the Mumbai terrorist attack seriously and bring all the perpetrators of that terrible crime to justice,” she wrote in the latest issue of party mouthpiece `Congress Sandesh’.
Outlining the Indian approach to the issue of relations with Pakistan, she said, “While we strive for peace, we cannot and will not be soft on terrorism.”
Coming soon after foreign minister S M Krishna’s visit to Pakistan, Sonia’s comments on India’s ties with its neighbour have acquired considerable significance.
Her pronouncements on the sensitive foreign policy issue are being invested with some meaning because of Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s `hawkish’ approach during Krishna’s visit.
A perceived ambivalence in the high echelons of the Indian government over the ties with Pakistan could have been another cause for the intervention.
The disconnect between the foreign office and home ministry as demonstrated by the utterances of Krishna and home secretary G K Pillai is being seen as another reason.
Welcoming Krishna’s visit she said, “It is important that we engage our neighbour to address outstanding issues, in particular the issue of cross-border terrorism.”
Sonia pointed out that India had made it clear in no uncertain terms that “effective action by Pakistan against terrorism is central to restoring good relations between our countries.”
She, however, described the recent visits by home minister P Chidambaram and Krishna to Pakistan as “welcome steps forward”.
Sonia’s remarks on ties with Pakistan seem to have unfolded a `hardline’ approach needed to remove any impression that India has gone soft to accommodate Pakistan without a corresponding response from Islamabad.
Meanwhile, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said that elements instigating violence in Jammu and Kashmir must be identified and brought to book and the state government should continue to push the development agenda as this would bring jobs and livelihood opportunities.
In her letter to Congresspersons in the latest issue of Sandesh, the mouthpiece of the party, Gandhi said the party was pained by the upsurge in violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
“My deepest condolences to those who were killed in this mindless violence. I understand there were elements with ulterior motives that were instigating these attacks. These elements must be brought to book and identified,” she said.
Gandhi said the state government’s endeavour was to do everything to restore normal life.
The Congress is part of the ruling coalition in Jammu and Kashmir along with the National Conference.
Referring to the foreign-minister level talks with Pakistan, Gandhi said it was important to engage the western neighbour to address outstanding issues, particularly cross-border terrorism.
Violence again swept through the Kashmir Valley on Monday, claiming the lives of eight people, including six in police firing on angry mobs, taking the toll in the new wave of violence since Friday to 22. Embattled Chief Minister Omar Abdullah met central government leaders in New Delhi and sought help, including more troopers, in tackling the worsening situation.

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