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India's back channel peace proposal to Pak

By A correspondent in New Delhi
July 23, 2006 21:11 IST
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Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri has said that shortly before the Mumbai bomb blasts, Islamabad received written proposals from India which he described as 'an advance' and 'a step forward' in the peace process.  

In his first interview to an Indian television channel after the blasts, Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri told CNN-IBN's Devil's Advocate in an interview: 'I think the back channels are working and I know what they are doing. They are definitely an advance because for the first time we have received something in writing.'

Kasuri was asked whether the Indian back channel proposals he was referring to were a response to President Musharraf's concepts of self-governance and joint management and whether they had allayed the disappointment the President had expressed at not receiving an earlier response and replied: 'The President was disappointed but now we've got something from India. Of course, this is a step forward because if you won't respond to something how can you go forward?'

The foreign minister also said that he had high hopes that when the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan meet on the 31st of July in Dhaka for the SAARC Standing Committee they might agree on fresh dates for the postponed India-Pakistan foreign secretary talks.

'I definitely think so and hope so. I would like that.'

Kasuri went out of his way to angrily suggest that the blame for the Mumbai blasts lay with organisations within India and that the accusation that Pakistan was responsible for the blasts was an attempt to mislead and distort the investigations.

'You know the biggest problem you now have in India? Let me give you advice in your own interest. Within thirty seconds of anything happening you already know it's happening from something based in Pakistan. Why don't you sometimes look at what your own newspapers are saying? I've been following your newspapers. I've followed The Washington Post and what it's said about the Mumbai blasts. Your own people are pointing fingers inwards. So don't (blame Pakistan). 

'In fact, you are misleading your police and you are misleading your investigating agencies... and please don't try and distort the investigation by the police... your own media is pointing accusing fingers at organisations within India.'


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A correspondent in New Delhi