India to share Jindal evidence, Pakistan to pitch Kashmir
New Delhi: A day before talks, India Tuesday prepared to share a dossier on 26/11 plotter Abu Jindal’s links with Pakistani state actors even as Pakistan’s foreign secretary met Kashmiri separatist leaders in a bid to deflect attention from terror to the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani arrived here via the Wagah border and stressed that he has been given the mandate to carry forward the dialogue process with India. He asked India to share evidence about Abu Jindal’s role in the Mumbai attack and offered help in the fight against terror.
In a move calculated to provoke India, Jilani, however, met leading Kashmiri separatists, including Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik later. He assured them that he will take up the Kashmir issue in talks with his Indian counterpart Ranjan Mathai Wednesday.
Mathai and Jilani will begin two-day talks Wednesday that will focus on issues like peace and security including confidence-building measures, Jammu and Kashmir, and the promotion of friendly exchanges.
The agenda of the foreign-secretary talks had been fixed well in advance, but in the wake of the disclosures made by Abu Jindal, an Indian key 26/11 plotter with suspected links to Pakistani militants and Pakistani state actors, terrorism is set to become the main focus.
India upped the ante and is preparing to share a dossier on Abu Jindal, including a copy of his passport and identity card, at the talks, said informed sources in the home ministry.
The home ministry is understood to have briefed the external affairs ministry on the involvement of Pakistani state agencies role in the Nov 26, 2008 Mumbai mayhem, as revealed by Jindal.
India is expected to ask Pakistan to find out how a Pakistani passport and a domestic Pakistani identity card was issued to Jindal in the name of Riyasat Ali.
Jindal’s passport shows his present and permanent address in Pakistan and his visa for Saudi Arabia had been also issued on the Pakistani passport. Islamabad has been predictably in denial, with Interior Minister Rehman Malik calling the passport fake.
India is likely to give Pakistan Jindal’s Pakistani contacts who helped him plan the 26/11 terror strike and renew demand for providing voice samples of key 26/11 accused, including LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and the LeT operational commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
The sources said that India will share only a portion of information and evidence that has surfaced during Abu Jindal’s interrogation as it does not want the ongoing probe to be hindered in any way.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram had Friday pressed Pakistan to admit facts relating to Jindal having set up a “control room” in Karachi and having trained the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai in November 2008.
He also underlined that the disclosures made by Jindal, who was arrested here June 21 after being deported from Saudi Arabia, point to the involvement of Pakistani state actors in the carnage that left 166 dead.
Pakistan tried to set a positive tone about the talks by offering cooperation in the struggle against terrorism.
“I am looking forward to a very constructive dialogue with my counterpart Ranjan Mathai. We would discuss issue related to peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir,” said Jilani after arriving in New Delhi.
“We have seen press reports regarding Jindal, we will extend all possible help to India. Criminals are criminals in Pakistan and in India. We condemn any terrorist,” he said here when asked about stunning revelations made by Jindal.
However, upsetting India, Jilani met Kashmiri separatist leaders, with Geelani asking Islamabad to press India hard for resolution of the Kashmir issue.
“Pakistan should press India hard to resolve the Kashmir issue,” Geelani told reporters after the meeting. According to Geelani, the Pakistani foreign secretary assured him that he will take up the Kashmir issue at the talks.
The meeting has not gone down well with New Delhi which feels that it is not conducive to creating a positive atmosphere or reducing trust deficit between the two countries.