T V Parasuram in Washington DC
In a reversal of its earlier position, the US State Department has said New Delhi and Islamabad
should solve all their issues through dialogue including the list of 20 terrorists sought by India from Pakistan.
Last week Director of South Asia at the National Security Council Harry Thomas, dealing specifically with the list of 20 terrorists, said Pakistan should hand over the wanted men to India or try them herself.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker, at a press conference at the Foreign Press Centre on Thursday, changed that position by saying that this and other issues are matters for a dialogue between India and Pakistan.
"We have encouraged both sides to work together on this. I think this was a subject when the Secretary (of State Colin Powell) travelled in the region, where we said that we thought
both sides could resolve all the issues that they have through dialogue, and that includes this one. We made that view very clear again to both sides," he said.
Reeker was replying to a correspondent who equated New Delhi's demand with the US extradition request for Sheikh Omar Saeed, prime accused in kidnap and murder of journalist Daniel
"What the difference is, is that they are two entirely different situations. So, that is the simple answer to that," Reeker said.
"Those who have been charged, indicted in Pakistan, as well as those who have been indicted in the United States for Pearl's brutal murder .. we want to see justice done. Pakistan obviously has legal requirements as well. So we will continue to see and work that as a legal process.
"In the Indian situation, the demand for the 20 people was made following the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament -- who were accused of being involved in terrorist activities," Reeker said.
"Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has spoken out quite strongly against terrorism. He has called upon -- as he put it -- the 'silent majority' of the Pakistani people to stand up against the external minority who perpetrate these types of things," Reeker said.
"So, the specifics of that issue (the list of 20) are something that India and Pakistan have to work out together, just as we and Pakistan will work out together the judicial processes for the murderers of Daniel Pearl," he said.
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