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Pak refuses to comment on terror dossier to India

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
July 23, 2009 18:59 IST
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Pakistan on Thursday did not confirm or deny reports that it handed over a dossier to New Delhi on the alleged Indian involvement in the unrest in Balochistan, saying the issue involved intelligence matters which cannot be discussed in public.

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said the matter had been adequately covered by the joint statement issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, on the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Egypt on July 16.

"All I can say is that whatever was discussed and handed over is contained in the joint atatement," Basit told a weekly news briefing, responding to a question on whether Pakistan had handed over a dossier on India's alleged involvement in unrest in Balochistan to Singh. The issue involved intelligence matters and Pakistan does not discuss such issues in public as a matter of policy, he said.

The spokesman evaded several pointed questions on the matter, saying only that Pakistan's position was amply reflected by the joint statement.

A section of the Pakistani media had reported that a dossier on India's alleged involvement in unrest in Balochistan and terrorist attacks was handed over to Dr Singh during his meeting with Gilani. Indian officials have claimed that no such dossier or information was handed over during the meeting.

The joint statement issued on July 16 only said that Gilani "mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas." In response to a question about differences between Pakistan and India over the interpretation of the joint statement, Basit said the document was jointly drafted and adopted after the meeting between the two premiers.

Asked about a reference in the joint statement to the two countries sharing real-time credible and actionable information on future terrorist threats, Basit said mechanisms for this were already in place and both sides need to 'invoke' the mechanisms. "The specific details are being worked out and it would not be proper for me to divulge the details," he added.

To another question, Basit said India and Pakistan are holding discussions to settle the date and venue for the next meeting between their foreign secretaries. Dr Singh and Gilani had agreed during their meeting that the foreign secretaries should meet 'as often as necessary' before a planned meeting between the foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Basit said Pakistan hoped the meetings between foreign secretaries would "be productive and define the timeline and trajectory for the resumption of the Composite Dialogue."

India put the Composite Dialogue on hold in the wake of the terror attack on Mumbai in November last year, which was planned and carried out by Pakistan-based terrorists. It has linked the resumption of talks to action being taken against Pakistan-based elements, including the Lashker-e-Tayiba, which were linked to the attacks.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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