New Delhi: Pakistan’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that New Delhi and Islamabad needed to cooperate “meaningfully” to end attacks like the train blasts on a trans-border train Sunday that killed 68.
Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, who arrived in India late Tuesday for scheduled talks with his Indian counterpart on Wednesday, spoke to reporters after a hospital visit to Pakistani survivors of the Samjhauta Express attack in northern India just before midnight Sunday. “Terrorism has become a worldwide phenomenon,” Kasuri said when asked if it was time for both sides to join hands in the fight against the terror.
“Incidents like these (the bombing), which are very heart-rending and which affect both countries and both peoples, can only add to the urgency of the need for cooperation,” he said.
“We will need to cooperate with each other more meaningfully,” he said, noting that an India-Pakistan anti-terror committee created last yearto address such issues was scheduled to meet in Islamabad next month.
India and Pakistan agreed to the panel after a series of blasts on crowded commuter trains in the financial hub of Mumbai in July 2006 that killed 186 people.
India said it suspected Pakistan-backed militants in the attack and suspended a peace process in place since January 2004, which was later restarted after the deal on the anti-terror panel was reached in November 2006.
Kasuri’s comments came after police released the sketches of two suspects who they believed were involved in planting the bombs in two coaches of Sunday’s train, packed with mostly Pakistanis returning home.
Indian police also said they were quizzing Karachi resident Usman Mohammed, who was aboard the train when two carriages were hit by a fireball after the blasts ignited containers of kerosene.
When asked if Pakistan wanted a joint probe into the attack, Kasuri said Islamabad was waiting for a report from the Indian government.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already said New Delhi would share information with Islamabad on its investigations, Kasuri said.
“It goes without saying that Pakistan is as interested to get to the bottom of this veryunfortunate criminal activity,” Kasuri said, adding he didnot want to pre-judge the investigation.
Meanwhile, an Indian government official, who did not wish to be named, said Kasuri’s talks with Union foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee would cover terrorism.
Unofficial talks were expected ahead of Wednesday’s official meeting of the India-Pakistan Joint Commission, headed by foreign ministers of both the countries.
The two ministers were expected to sign three agreements, including one to reduce the risk of an accidental launch of nuclear weapons and another to minimise the chances of skirmishes at sea.
The two ministers will also review bilateral relations and assess progress made on various issues including the almost six-decades-old Kashmir dispute, the trigger for two of the three wars between the South Asian rivals since 1947.
Indian officials will visit Pakistan for discussing the issue of gas pipeline from Iran toIndia on 22 February and 23 February.