Islamabad: On the eve of talks with India to normalize ties after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Friday asked India to regard “unemotionally" the terror strike in which 166 people, mostly Indians, were killed. She also sought to draw a parallel between the 26-29 November siege with the 1971 war, saying if the Mumbai attacks were an emotional issue for India, so was the war that resulted in East Pakistan breaking way to become Bangladesh an emotional issue for Pakistan.

Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

India accuses the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba of planning and implementing the attacks on multiple locations in India’s financial capital and has been pressuring Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice. Pakistan has detained seven suspects in connection with the case but the trial is proceeding very slowly, which is vexing India.

“We would not want that (26/11) or anything else to hold India-Pakistan relations back. So we would want this issue to be resolved as soon as possible," Khar said. When asked how India could be expected to be unemotional about 26/11 attacks, Khar said: “It absolutely cannot be (an emotional issue) as many things (like) the 1971 war cannot be an emotional issue for Pakistan. Do we want to remain emotional (about these things)?"

Pakistan blames India for the breaking away of Bangladesh.

“Anything that happened before today is the past. Anything that happens from today is the future," Khar said. “Do we want what happened in the past to define what is going to happen tomorrow?"

In other comments published on the Pakistani news website, The News, Khar said she was aware that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made his trip to Pakistan conditional to progress in Mumbai attacks’ case.

“Yes, the Prime Minister has made his visit to Pakistan conditional, but diplomacy is not about putting conditions," she was cited as saying.

India has said that the issue of terrorism is a core concern for it just as the Kashmir issue is a core concern for Pakistan. Indian foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters after talks with Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani in July in New Delhi that bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice would be the biggest confidence-building measure between India and Pakistan who are trying to bridge the trust deficit that was worsened by the 26/11 attacks.

The South Asian neighbours have fought three of their four wars over the Himalayan region of Kashmir that both sides claim in its entirety. India also accuses Pakistan of fomenting an Islamic insurgency against India in Kashmir—a charge Pakistan denies.

While Indian foreign minister S.M. Krishna has advocated a step-by-step approach to rebuild trust and confidence and sought to downplay expectations from his three-day visit to Islamabad, Khar was cited as saying by The News website that “issues like Jammu and Kashmir and other contentious ones, unless they move forward, we cannot create an environment for a peaceful region".

Meanwhile, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the discussions between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan, who met on Friday before the foreign ministers’ talks on Saturday, were “cordial, frank and very positive". Krishna will meet Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and leaders of major political parties supporting the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.

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