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India, Pak discuss 26/11, terror
New Delhi, Mar 28 (IANS)
Published on 29 Mar. 2011 12:03 AM IST
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: India Monday sought voice samples of the suspected Mumbai terror attack plotters believed to be in Pakistan as home secretaries of the two countries met in New Delhi for two days of broad-ranging talks on issues like counter-terrorism and relaxation of visa rules.
Informed sources said the Pakistani officials “assured” the Indian delegation that they would look into the possibility of challenging a court ruling that prevented Islamabad from sharing with New Delhi voice samples of those being prosecuted for the Nov 26-29, 2008, attack.
India since long has been demanding voice samples of seven Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists - including top leader Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu al-Qama and Zarar Shah - suspected to have masterminded the Mumbai carnage that killed 166 people, including foreigners.
Indian investigators want to match the voice samples with taped telephone calls between the 10 terrorists who unleashed the Mumbai mayhem and their Pakistani handlers. Only one of the 10 terrorists - Amjal Kasab - was caught alive, and has been tried and sentenced to death by a Mumbai court.
Monday’s meeting between Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Qamar Zaman is the first between the home secretaries of the two countries since the attack. Another key issue debated at the meeting was the dates and procedures for a judicial commission from Pakistan to visit India and interview some of the witnesses in the Mumbai attack. India has already agreed to allow a Pakistani team to question them.
New Delhi also wants to send its own judicial commission to Pakistan to interrogate the suspects there but there has been no response from Islamabad on this front.
India pulled out of formal peace talks with Pakistan following the Mumbai attack that is blamed on militant leaders based in Pakistan.
The two nuclear armed rivals decided to restart the stalled peace process last month. Keeping up with that spirit, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani to India to watch the semi-final of the cricket World Cup between the two countries Wednesday in Mohali.
Other issues which India raised during the talks, the sources said, included speedy prosecution of the terrorist leaders in Pakistani prison.
“They also discussed the issue of fishermen (in Indian and Pakistani jails),” an official said.
Special Secretary, internal security, U.K. Bansal and senior home ministry officials were present during the meeting at a luxury hotel in the heart of the capital. The first round of talks began around 11 a.m. and ended at 4.30 p.m. The talks will continue Tuesday.
S.C. Sinha, the chief of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which is probing the Mumbai attack, was also present at the meeting.
From the Pakistani side, High Commissioner Shahid Malik and senior interior ministry officials were present.
Tough visa rules is part of the agenda for the talks, and the sources said the officials of the two countries would discuss ways to ease travel restrictions and enhance people-to-people contact.
The home secretary-level meeting will be followed by a similar meeting of commerce secretaries in April and then by water resources department officials.
The foreign ministers of the two countries will meet in July in New Delhi.

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