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Hopes alive for talks with India: Kasuri

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 15:16 IST
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Pakistan on Tuesday said resumption of dialogue with India, suspended in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts, was in the interests of both sides.

It also dismissed allegations that Islamabad had failed act on the promise to dismantle home-grown terror camps.

Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri called India's decision to postpone foreign secretary level talks following the Mumbai terror attacks last week as a "negative development" and hoped the process would resume soon.

"The postponement of the talks would please those on both sides who have opposed the peace process between the two countries," he told the agency in an interview.

Pakistan, he said, was fulfilling the commitment made by President Pervez Musharraf in the 2004 joint statement of not permitting use of its soil to carry out terror acts against India, and the efforts were being lauded even by the United States and the European Union.

"If Pakistan is actually doing what India alleges, then US and EU countries are not stupid to pay us compliments knowing well that we are maintaining camps, even if not for Afghanistan, but for Kashmir, because ultimately everything gets linked."

While lashing out at the media for "misreporting" him in saying that he linked the Kashmir issue with the Mumbai blasts, Kasuri said New Delhi's reaction to it seemed to indicate it was keen to "latch on to something".

"I was addressing a gathering in US. India-Pak issues came up for discussion during which I was talking about the peace progress."

He said he was "pained" by India's reaction to the "misreported" comments.

"My fear is that they wanted a peg to hang their coat on and somehow to link Mumbai blasts to Pakistan. So they latched on to the statements."

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna on Wednesday had denounced Kasuri's reported statement saying New Delhi found it "appalling" that he should link the "inhuman act of terrorism...To the so called lack of resolution of disputes between India and Pakistan".

The serial blasts in Mumbai's suburban trains during the evening rush hour on July 11 had killed nearly 200 people and injured over 700.

The incident, foreign secretary Shyam Saran said on Saturday, had undermined public opinion and put a "question mark" on the peace initiative with Pakistan.

But Kasuri denied all accusations of Islamabad's involvement in the attacks, calling them "unfortunate". His country, he said, had even offered to cooperate in the investigations if India provided the leads.

"In India itself, police were not able sustain the charge made in different cases in courts," Kasuri said and asked the media to exercise restraint "instead of highlighting whatever is being dished out by sub-inspector level officials".

He claimed that several Indian leaders and officials had acknowledged that cross-border infiltration had come down. "I have about 20 statements with me," he claimed.

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