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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

26/11 still biggest hurdle before India-Pakistan talks

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 26, 2011
First Published: 23:56 IST(26/3/2011) | Last Updated: 00:37 IST(27/3/2011)

The two-day India-Pakistan home secretary-level talks on March 28 and 29 will focus on a memorandum of understanding on tackling narcotics smuggling and evolving a mechanism to handle counter-terrorism, including information sharing on the November 26 Mumbai terror attacks.

But the difficult areas for the two countries to handle will be Islamabad's concerns about India's demand that a judicial commission be allowed to visit Pakistan on the Mumbai attack case as it had allowed a Pakistani commission to visit India.

India agreed to allow a Pakistani commission to come to India to record the evidence of the investigating officer in the 26/11 case, the magistrate who recorded statements and the doctors who conducted the autopsies of the terrorists and their victims.

But on India's demand for a visit by an Indian judicial commission, Pakistan said unlike the Pakistani commission's visit, which is a "judicial requirement" in that country, New Delhi wanted its commission to do the job of investigators.

What's more, India proposed to invoke the principle of comity in the case. Comity is a legal doctrine under which countries recognise and enforce each other's legal decrees.

Pakistan wants this reciprocity of law proposal to be based on bilateralism.

An Indian official said: "The law of comity on a bilateral basis is a tough call, considering that the two countries don't have the best of ties."

India will also demand speedy trial in the Mumbai attack case, as conviction rate in Pakistan's anti-terrorism courts was very low. Pakistan, on the other hand, will raise the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast issue.

Indian officials, however, said New Delhi would try to get the "deliverables" done and, at the same time, ensure that there was "forward movement in the 26/11 case."

Government sources said the differences are likely to be "narrowed down" during the talks.


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