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India, Pak spar over investigations

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February 22, 2007 23:44 IST
A diplomatic sparring broke out on Thursday between India and Pakistan over access to the injured in the Samjhauta Express blasts for investigations as a plane waiting to ferry them back home was held up at the airport in New Delhi.

India formally asked Pakistan that the seven injured people, who have been allowed to go home, should be made available to "help in investigations" if required in the future, sources said on Thursday.

In a communication from External Affairs Ministry to the Pakistan High Commission, India has said that investigators have not been able to "talk" to the injured people as they were hospitalised.

In case during the investigations some evidence comes up which may require talking to them, these people should cooperate, the communication said. Pakistan is unhappy with this with its Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam saying that access to them made sense only if there is a joint probe as "demanded" by Pakistan Parliament.

"The victims cannot be further traumatised," she told PTI and asked, "Why should anyone interrogate victims?"

Meanwhile, a special Pakistan Air Force Plane C-130, which was allowed to come here to take the injured people home, was still waiting at the tarmac of Palam technical area. An official spokesman said the plane was held up because some technical fault.

Meanwhile, Pakistan High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik said the plane's departure for Pakistan was delayed due to technical fault.

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