Even as India continued to insist that Pakistan bring the orchestrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to justice, Pakistan envoy to India Salman Bashir on Sunday said it was “unbelievable” and “incredible” to allege that state institutions were involved in the incident.
Stating that Islamabad was looking at a new way to strengthen its ties with New Delhi, Bashir said India should also do its part because it takes “two to tango”. “As I said, if our own army headquarters are attacked, if ISI offices are attacked, then I think it is really unbelievable, incredible to allege that Pakistani state institutions have been involved in this (Mumbai attacks). We ought to look at the situation very objectively in our own respective national interests,” Bashir, who was recently appointed as the Indian envoy, told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate.
It was earlier, when Bashir was the foreign secretary of Pakistan, that the country had resumed the dialogue process with Pakistan.
Trying to address the issue of terror, especially in the backdrop of 26/11 handler Abu Jundal’s arrest, Bashir said Pakistan's leadership, state institutions and people have realised that having good relations with India was in the nation’s interest. “I would say there has been a sea change in the Pakistan-India relationship scenario… we realise that it is in Pakistan's self interest, national interest to have the best of relations,” he said.
Bashir said Pakistan was willing to launch a joint investigation with India into the Mumbai attacks. However, when asked if Pakistan was willing to probe the involvement of state institutions in the Mumbai attacks, he argued that his country was itself a victim of terror.
Referring to the recent foreign secretary-level talks, Bashir said there was “very good conversation, good dialogue” on several issues, including the points raised by India on Jundal and terror.
When asked about Jundal’s statement on the role of Pakistan, Bashir said matters reported in the media should not be taken at face value. “You cannot give the word of an individual, or what is being said as public opinion, more credence than actual conversations on official track,” he said.