Pakistan drew first blood on Saturday — a day before the bilateral dialogue process resumes here — accusing India of “lacking the courage to unearth the guilt of Hindu extremists and their links with some Indian Army personnel”.
Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and her Pakistan counterpart Salman Bashir, who are here for the SAARC meeting of foreign secretaries and council of ministers, will meet on Sunday to resume the process that received a severe jolt after the November 26, 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit said India had been using “terrorism as a propaganda against Pakistan”, although it still had not been able to complete the probe into Samjhauta Express blast that killed 42 Pakistani nationals.
“New Delhi needs to bridge the gap between what it says and what it does.”
But observers interpret Pakistan’s tough talk as a cover for softer steps towards restarting the dialogue process. New Delhi, however, maintained that in the Mumbai terror attacks, the leads “were hot, direct and pointed” while the Samjhauta case investigators had to delve much deeper to come up with a cohesive picture. The two cases cannot be compared.
Earlier Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari offered “full moral, diplomatic and political support” to Kashmiris in their struggle and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani urged India for a meaningful dialogue on Kashmir in their Kashmir Solidarity Day speeches on Saturday.
But despite pressures, India plans to relentlessly push for speedy trail and unraveling of the conspiracy behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
India is also not keen on following a timeframe for resolving contentious issues — one of Pakistan’s demands that marred the outcome of the foreign ministers’ meeting in Islamabad in July 2010.
Indian officials hope that Pakistan will not use its “high-decibel rhetoric” again at the Thimpu talks. While progress is expected on the proposals relating to humanitarian and trade issues, terrorism will still be a major roadblock.