Pakistan ambiguous on dossierJul 24th, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Featured Articles
|Dawn says Gilani handed over to Manmohan dossier on India’s involvement in terror attacks|
India has denied that it was given any dossier at Sharm-el Shaikh by Pakistan
It makes reference to an Indian training camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan chose on Thursday to remain ambiguous about whether or not it had handed over a dossier to New Delhi detailing the evidence of an alleged Indian involvement in the Balochistan insurgency and in incidents of terrorism here.
A report in Dawn on Wednesday said Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting at Sharm-el Shaikh a dossier containing “comprehensive evidence of Indian involvement in a number of terrorist acts on its soil.”
The report said the dossier detailed an alleged involvement of India’s R&AW in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore as well as the Manawan police training school.
“A substantial portion” of the dossier is said to deal with the insurgency in Balochistan, describing an alleged visit by Brahmdagh Bugti, a rebel leader, to India and his meetings with Indian officials. The dossier is also said to make reference to an Indian training camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where Baloch insurgents were allegedly being trained.
India has denied that it was given any dossier at Sharm-el Shaikh by Pakistan. A senior Pakistani official also told The Hindu that the newspaper report was incorrect. The only time that Pakistan handed over a file containing what it called evidence of an Indian hand in Balochistan was at the first meeting of the Joint Anti-Terror Mechanism in March 2007.
But Pakistan has evidently thought it best not to deny the report officially. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit was deliberately vague when journalists asked him if the report was true.
“All I can say is that whatever was discussed and whatever was handed over is contained in the Joint Statement [signed at Sharm-el Shaikh],” Mr. Basit said, declining to comment any further as he could not discuss “intelligence matters.”
The July 16 joint statement says Mr. Gilani “mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas.”
Pakistan has reasons for its reluctance to deny the report in unequivocal terms. Over the last few months, the Pakistani media has repeatedly asked Ministers and high officials why, if their claims of Indian involvement in Balochistan or in terrorist incidents in Pakistan are true, they have not been able present the evidence to show up India before the international community.
Always, the question got the same reply: “We are collecting the evidence and we will present it at an appropriate time.”
The reply had worn thin, with an aggressive media maintaining that while Pakistani intelligence agencies had succeeded in gathering “heaps of evidence,” the government did not have the courage or the confidence to confront India on the issue. At press conferences, journalists had openly begun to taunt government Ministers and spokesmen about this.
The media report that Pakistan has finally handed it all over to India may help silence that criticism, especially at a time when Mr. Gilani is already being praised for successfully bringing up the Balochistan issue during his talks with his Indian counterpart at Sharm-el Shaikh.
The spokesman said following up on the agreement in the joint statement, the two sides were working out details of where and when the two Foreign Secretaries would meet prior to the Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the sidelines of the September United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Pakistan hoped the meetings between the Foreign Secretaries would help “define the timeline and trajectory” for the resumption of the Composite Dialogue process, the spokesman added.
Asked about the agreement in the joint statement that the two countries would share “real-time credible and actionable information on future terrorist threats,” the spokesman said mechanisms for this were already in place, an apparent reference to the joint anti-terror mechanism, and expressed the hope that these would be used.