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India, Pak anti-terror panel meets

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
Last updated on: March 06, 2007 12:35 IST
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The India-Pakistan Joint Mechanism on Terrorism on Tuesday held its first meeting in Islamabad with India focusing on the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in incidents of terrorism on its soil, including the Mumbai blasts.

A three-member Indian delegation headed by K C Singh, Additional Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry, held talks with the team led by Tariq Usman Haider of the Pakistan Foreign Office.

The JMT consisted of officials from Foreign Offices, Home and intelligence services of both the countries.

This is the maiden meeting of the counter-terrorism panel since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf decided on setting it up on the sidelines of the NAM summit in Havana in September.

The JMT helped to ease tensions arising out of the last year's Mumbai train bomb blasts which Indian officials blamed the Pakistani militant groups. India has forwarded the details of investigations in different cases of incidents of terrorism to Pakistan during the Foreign Secretaries meeting last November and Pakistan was formally expected to respond to the details forwarded by India during the meeting.

India was also expected to forward details of the investigations into the Mumbai blasts. Pakistan has said it expects India to formally share the progress of investigations into the recent bomb blasts in Samjautha Express in which 68 passengers, mostly from Pakistan, were killed.

But New Delhi is unlikely to share much details on the probe, which is still in progress, except on how the blasts occurred and what kind of explosives were used.

Pakistan said the JMT will not be one-way traffic and it would take up allegations that India backed the Baloch nationalist rebels fighting for autonomy in southwest Balochistan. Officials were expected to devote considerable time during the two-day meet to workout modalities and broad parameters of their functioning.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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