Its hopes tethered, team heads for Pak
Accompanied by heads of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and National Investigation Agency (NIA), home secretary RK Singh on Wednesday flew to Islamabad to press for action against seven 26/11 accused, including Lashkar-e-Taiba amir Hafiz Saeed, and seek dismantling of 42 terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Singh will hold talks with his counterpart, Khawaja Siddiqui Akbar, over the next two days.
While NIA chief SC Sinha was included in the delegation to address any queries relating to the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, in which Hindu terrorists were allegedly involved, counter-terror expert Nehchal Sandhu was brought in at the last moment to push Pakistan into acting against the 26/11 accused and existing terror camps in PoK.
Though this could be 61-year-old Sandhu’s maiden trip to Islamabad, he has had to deal with terror emanating from Pakistan virtually on a daily basis during his 39-year-old career in IB.
Sandhu had come face-to-face with Inter-Services Intelligence-sponsored terror when he went as part of the Indian team to negotiate the release of 178 passengers on the hijacked IC-814 at Kandahar International Airport in the last week of 1999. The passengers were released on December 31, 1999 in exchange of top Pakistan terrorists.
Sinha’s NIA, on the other hand, handles cases involving Hindu terrorists as well as those pertaining to militants taking shelter in Pakistan.
Sources said besides seeking cooperation as well as information on cross-border smuggling of fake currency, the Indian side will discuss terrorist activities of the LeT.
Keeping its bar of expectations low, New Delhi hopes to bring about a liberalised visa regime and some forward movement in information-sharing on fake Indian currency through this visit.
While India harbours no hope of Islamabad handing over the IC-814 hijackers, exchanged terrorists or Saeed himself, Pakistan is under tremendous pressure from the global community to stop treating jihadist groups as its strategic arm.