MushAt the latest MEA breifing, Navtej Sarna answered some interesting questions regarding Pakistan’s involvement and Musharaff’s empty promises.

Can I ask you for a response on the statement made by President Musharraf last night? He had asked India for proof….

We have seen the remarks made by President Musharraf in his address on television yesterday. We are disappointed at Pakistan’s continuing denial of the presence of and failure to take action against jihadi groups threatening to operate against India from Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

President Musharraf’s offer to help in investigations in the Mumbai blasts if evidence is provided to him gives us no cause for satisfaction in view of Pakistan’s refusal to cooperate in the past, most recently at the Home Secretary level talks in May this year, when substantial evidence was provided to Pakistan of the presence on its territory of terrorist groups and fugitives.

Nevertheless, in view of President Musharraf’s assurance, we will continue to provide to Pakistani authorities all available evidence and await practical action on their part.

Let me add that India remains committed to the dialogue process with Pakistan but this can be sustained and can yield results only if Pakistan acts against terrorist groups operating from territory under its control, in accordance with its solemn commitments enshrined given in the Joint Press Statement of January 6, 2004.

Has there been any formal contact with Pakistan after the blasts?

I do not know what you mean by formal contact. You know that there were talks that were scheduled to be held and they did not take place.
I want to ask if the peace process with Pakistan will go on or it has been rescheduled?

As I have told you we remain committed to the peace process which can take place and yield results only if Pakistan acts against the terrorist groups operating from territories under its control.

You are not convinced by President’s Musharraf’s…
If Pakistan really wants to convince the people of India that we are working together with India against terrorism then it can take some action immediately and they can. For example, the self-styled chief of Hezbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin, who is freely roaming about in Pakistan and PoK and has appeared on the same stage as many Ministers of the Federal Government, should be arrested and handed over to India.

Instead of their saying that Jamaat-Ud-Dawa is being kept under close watch, the organization should be banned and its leader should be arrested. Besides that of course, Dawood Ibrahim, who has been listed in the UN Security Council’s 1267 Committee as an individual associated with the Al Qaeda, should be apprehended and deported to India. If Pakistan takes action to implement the directives of the UN Security Council, then it will give credibility to its assertion that it is willing to fight terror.

Are these not preconditions?

I did not say that. I was asked a question what it would take to convince us. I have listed here some examples of practical actions which will add credibility to Pakistan’s claim that they are willing to fight terror together with India.

In the context of Mumbai blasts, Pakistan has asked us to provide evidence. Have we provided any fresh evidence?

This claim that provide us evidence and we will cooperate gives us no cause for satisfaction because in the past when we have provided evidence, there has been no practical action on Pakistan’s part.

After the blasts why does not India take stronger action? Why…….the dialogue process? You know they are backed by Pakistan.

Yes, we have had the Mumbai blasts.The Government of India is fully looking into the entire situation. We are also looking at all the implications in political and security terms and we are taking considered action step-by-step.