Manmohan's Pak visit unlikely

Even as Pakistan is prodding India to leave 26/11 behind and move on to normalise ties between the two neighbours, New Delhi has made it clear that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unlikely to travel to Islamabad anytime soon, as the ''sense of hurt'' caused by the 2008 carnage in Mumbai persists.

Though New Delhi received “some interesting positive signals” from Islamabad, a highly-placed source in the government pointed out that India still had certain unfulfilled expectations from Pakistan.

“We owe it to our people that it must not appear that we have forgotten what happened in the past. There are things that have hurt us gravely and that sense of hurt is not yet over,” a source told journalists in New Delhi, obviously referring to the November 26-29, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, which left over 174 people killed and countless others injured.

“Whether we are bitter, the answer is no. Whether we have forgotten, the answer is no. Therefore, a little balm is necessary even to give us the strength and courage to move forward and that is all we expect from Pakistan.”

The source, however, said that New Delhi was not seeking to add preconditions for prime minister’s proposed visit to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Salman Bashir, on Thursday said that bilateral ties had moved forward beyond the issues like probe into the Samjhauta Express blast and the 26/11 trial.

A few months after the Lashkar-e-Toiba sent 10 Pakistani terrorists to carry out the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai, intense diplomatic campaign by New Delhi forced Islamabad to carry out a probe that led to the arrest of the outfit’s seven operatives. But the trial of the seven in the Anti-Terrorism Court in Rawalpindi has since been moving at a very slow pace. LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who is suspected to be the brain behind the 26/11 attacks, too continues to live free in Pakistan.

“There must be some delivery. We are ready for some delivery so that we can move forward and all this has to be kept in mind when the prime minister decides what the path will be,” said the highly-placed source.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had last April invited Singh to visit Pakistan and the invitation was reiterated when they met again on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran in September. Singh accepted the invitation, but did not commit any time-frame to embark on the visit.

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