Pvt lawyer to represent govt at global terror meet | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Pvt lawyer to represent govt at global terror meet

delhi Updated: Nov 03, 2011 10:03 IST
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In a rare and surprising move, the law ministry has chosen a private lawyer over its top officials and law officers to represent the country at a crucial international counter-terrorism conference beginning in Washington on Thursday.

The meeting of the newly-created Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) - a major initiative of the United States government and first proposed by US President Barrack Obama - will be attended by over 30 countries.

The law ministry was insistent on sending the private lawyer as its representative, despite being told that the other member countries would be sending their officials.

The law ministry approached the ministry of external affairs (MEA) for clearance for the lawyer to attend the two-day meeting of the criminal justice sector working group of the GCTF, as a "non-official" representative.

The MEA officials pointed out in a note that in the case of a non-official representative, the government would pick up his travel tab only if the Prime Minister approved it.

"Following the MEA note dated October 24, the matter has been reconsidered and it has been decided that the advocate may attend the meeting," stated an internal law ministry note.

"The matter is being processed separately for obtaining necessary permission from the authorities concerned," it stated.

Subsequently, the law ministry got the approval of the Prime Minister's office.

"It is better to send a serving officer or a law officer who specializes in the subject to spell out the government policy on an important issue like terrorism, given the focus of major world players on the issue," said a top government officer.

Law minister Salman Khurshid and top ministry officials were not available for comment.

"This important meeting is about sharing insights and best practices on counter-terrorism among participating countries," said an MEA official.

The GCTF, launched by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in September, is a platform for counter-terrorism policy makers to "take a more strategic approach in dealing with the challenge of terrorism".