No terror dossier from Pak

Joint statement not policy paper, says minister

Shashi Tharoor

“Ultimately what matters is not the perception of words on paper, but the conduct of the government,” Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor told journalists outside Parliament. He was asked to comment on the Indo-Pak joint statement that triggered murmurs of criticism within the ruling Congress and drew flak from the principal Opposition party, the BJP. “It is not the language of the statement alone that writes policy,” said Tharoor.

The minister’s remark appeared to be an attempt to play down the joint statement, which many top Congress leaders believe had the potential to undo the gains made by New Delhi’s post-26/11 diplomatic offensive against Islamabad.
While the BJP strongly criticised the government in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, the Congress is yet to formally welcome the Sharm-el-Sheikh statement that effectively de-linked the composite dialogue between the two countries and Islamabad’s actions against terrorists based in Pakistan.

No room for confusion
Tharoor said the PM had made his stance on talks in the joint statement “very clear”. “We have said that India cannot go for a Composite Dialogue with Pakistan, until and unless we have absolute assurances and we have seen credible action by Islamabad (to bring the 26/11 masterminds and perpetrators to justice and to dismantle terror facilities in Pakistan),” he said.

Sources in the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said: “We have not received any such dossier,” a day after media reports in Pakistan claimed that a dossier was given to India on its alleged involvement in terrorist acts, including one on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore as well as on the unrest in Balochistan.

The dossier, with proof of ‘India’s involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan’ was handed over by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh during their recent meeting at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, The Dawn, a leading Pakistani English daily, reported on Tuesday quoting sources.

In Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit did not confirm or deny the media reports saying the issue involved intelligence matters which cannot be discussed in public.

Basit evaded several pointed questions on the matter saying only that Pakistan's position was amply reflected by the Egypt joint statement. “All I can say is that whatever was discussed and handed over is contained in the joint statement,” Basit told a weekly news conference.

Asked about the issue, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in Phuket, where he is attending an ASEAN meeting, that if there were any unwanted problems being created in Balochistan, Pakistan has “tabled” them in the spirit of solving them. “It is important for us to make Balochistan stable. Pakistan is concerned about Balochistan. We only want to solve issues, not complicate them,” he said. In Islamabad, diplomatic and other sources said the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency have launched concerted efforts to be involved in talks with India.

They said the two organisations believe they can play a role because they are intrinsically linked to policy-making in Pakistan. ISI chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha, a trusted aide of powerful army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has been involved in the move and reportedly brought up the matter during a meeting with the three defence advisers in the Indian High Commission earlier this month, sources said.

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