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India hands over suspects's pictures to Pakistan

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
March 06, 2007 20:40 IST
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Hinting at involvement of elements based across the border in the Samjhauta Express blasts, India on Tuesday handed over to Pakistan a photo of a suspected Pakistani national believed to be involved in the terror attack and sought its cooperation in tracking him down.

At the first meeting of the Indo-Pak joint anti-terror mechanism, the photograph of an unclaimed body recovered from the site of the Mumbai train blasts on July 11 last year was also given to Pakistan with the expectation that Islamabad will help in identifying him.

The man is suspected to have been involved in the blasts that killed nearly 200 commuters and injured nearly 800.

The Indian side also gave the photo of a suspected Pakistani national who is believed to be behind the February 18 Samjhauta Express blasts that killed 68 of passengers, travelling from Delhi to Lahore.

New Delhi also gave more evidence of involvement of Pakistan-based terror groups in the blasts in Delhi, Hyderabad and Varanasi and attack on makeshift temple in Ayodhya, officials said.

The additional proof was given after Pakistan responded to the evidence given by India with regard to these four incidents during the Foreign Secretary-level talks in Delhi on November 14-15.

At the two-day meeting which ends on Wednesday, the Indian delegation is led by K C Singh, additional secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, while the hosts are led by his Pakistani counterpart Tariq Osman Hyder.

The names of six people, including that of a suspected killer of BJP leader Haren Pandya, were also given to Pakistan with an emphasis that they be handed over at the earliest.

New Delhi has already given a list of 35 people whom it wants Islamabad to hand over to ensure that they face trial in India for various crimes committed by them.

Pakistan, in turn, claimed nationalist rebels of Baluchistan and Sindh are being helped from across the border and handed over material in this regard to India.

The Indian side promised to look into the Pakistani allegations.

Officials said the meeting was held in a 'cordial and friendly' atmosphere with both sides focussing on modalities to give a permanent shape to the functioning of the mechanism.

"The idea is to make it more meaningful, substantive and significant, involving the framework for durable cooperation on terrorism," they said.

The decision to set up the anti-terror mechanism was taken in September last year when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in Havana on the sidelines of NAM Summit in the midst of a chill following the Mumbai train blasts.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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