India, Pakistan accuse each other
of sponsoring terrorism
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The talks between India and Pakistan today on terrorism and narcotics were marked by mutual allegations of incitement of terrorism on each other's soil. India also told Pakistan again that Kashmir is strictly a bilateral matter with zero scope for third-party mediation.
But while both sides stuck to their positions, they decided to continue the dialogue at a later date.
Union Home Secretary B P Singh headed the Indian team. Interior Secretary Hafeezullah Ishaq led the Pakistanis.
The Indians substantiated their allegations with documentary proof, which included the names of terrorist outfits and Pakistanis inciting terrorism on Indian soil.
Singh, who later briefed reporters along with senior government officials, pointed out that terrorism and drug-trafficking pose a direct challenge to democratic societies and political systems everywhere.
He drew Pakistan's attention to the "incontrovertible and irrefutable fact that it has consistently used terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India".
He said the Indian side underscored Pakistan's sponsorship and instigation of terrorism in India, which includes recruitment, training, funding, arming, infiltration and control of terrorists, foreign mercenaries, and assorted criminal elements.
The Pakistanis were told that such activities violate all established norms of inter-state conduct and are contrary to fundamental rights, civil liberties, and freedom.
But officials of the Pakistani High Commission denied these allegations, and instead charged Indian forces, including the Research and Analysis Wing, with fomenting disruptive activities in Karachi.
Singh stressed that Pakistan's overt and covert involvement in terrorism directed at India is a matter of record. It is well documented and acknowledged by international observers, including the media, and corroborating evidence has been found in the Pakistani media itself, he claimed.
He said the Indian side also presented overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Pakistan's official agencies in inciting terrorism in Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, and elsewhere.
He said the Pakistanis denied their involvement in terrorism in India, saying they were only giving "moral support" to the so-called freedom struggle in Jammu & Kashmir. But Singh said terrorism anywhere cannot and should not be justified by any civilised society on the basis of such definitional squabbles.
The home secretary pointed out that the pretence of providing only "moral support" was exposed by the fact that as many as 243 Pakistanis and 48 residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were in Indian jails for terrorist crimes.
The lionisation in Pakistan by organisations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Al-Badr of mercenaries killed in Kashmir is also proof of Pakistan's involvement, he said.
The Indian side made it abundantly clear to Pakistan that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India. Successive elections in the state to ascertain the popular will and install democratic governments bore testimony to this fact, they pointed out.
Significantly, Pakistan's suggestion to involve the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, or some other international observers, along the Line of Control in Kashmir to verify New Delhi's allegations of Pakistani involvement in terrorism in India was firmly rejected.
Instead, India demanded that Pakistan dismantle its infrastructure to recruit, indoctrinate, and train militants; close down 30 training camps; hand over terrorists and criminals of Indian origin hiding in Pakistan; and deny the use of Pakistani territory to fundamentalist and terrorist organisations.
According to the home secretary, both sides, however, acknowledged that terrorism had assumed menacing proportions through its nexus with drug smuggling.
It was stressed that Pakistan today is a major source of supply and a transit route for narcotics, including heroin.
Both countries agreed to co-operate in tackling the menace and fighting other crimes like currency counterfeiting and cyber crimes.
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