India presses Pakistan for voice samples of 26/11 suspects
India has once again pressed Pakistan to provide it with voice samples of the Mumbai terror suspects, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba's Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, to nail them for their involvement in the November 2008 carnage.
The demand was reiterated by Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde when he met his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik at Bandos Island in the Maldives Tuesday on the sidelines of the eight-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) meet, according to Indian officials.
The two leaders met over lunch. This was the first time they were talking after the telephonic conversation they had had on Aug 19. This was following the exodus of Indians of northeastern origin from south Indian cities, reportedly caused by rumours spread over social networking sites by people based in Pakistan.
"The Indian home minister referred to the requests made by the home ministry, some of which remain pending with the Pakistani side since the last meeting between the home ministers of India and Pakistan," a press statement issued here Wednesday said.
Among the Indian requests pending with Pakistan include action against Hafiz Saeed, who is suspected to be an architect of the Mumbai terror strike that claimed 166 lives.
India had also asked for action against 50 of its most-wanted, including 1993 Mumbai bombings suspect Dawood Ibrahim, for which a dossier was given to Pakistan in 2011.
"Malik reiterated Pakistan's commitment to ensure that the trials in Pakistan with regard to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai would be taken to their logical conclusion," it said.
"In this regard, he (Malik) mentioned the need for India to receive a visit by the judicial commission of Pakistan. The Indian home minister assured his counterpart of an early response to this request," it added.
The two ministers also expressed their satisfaction on the resumed India-Pakistan home secretaries' dialogue and agreed that the newly-signed bilateral visa agreement earlier this month would be operationalised at a mutually agreed date, after the notification of the visa rules and regulations by the respective governments.
The visa agreement was signed when Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna was in Islamabad earlier this month for a bilateral meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.
Shinde and Malik also discussed matters of mutual interest and concern, which covered "the core concerns of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, issues relating to fishermen, and release of prisoners".
"Both sides agreed to maintain interaction on intelligence relating to terrorism and other matters of common interest," the statement said.
Shinde also raised the issue of illegal border crossings, including infiltration on the border and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. Both ministers agreed that designated authorities will address these concerns and review the matter from time to time.
"The two ministers affirmed their resolve to remain in close contact," the statement said.
Malik renewed his invitation for Shinde to visit Pakistan on mutually convenient dates, which the Indian minister accepted. Shinde also invited Malik to visit India soon, which too was accepted.