External Affairs

‘Indian Interference’ and Alleged Support for Terror Tops Pak Agenda for Talks

New Delhi: In the run up to the August 23-24 meeting here of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, Islamabad has forwarded an agenda for the talks that includes its allegations of Indian “interference” and support for terrorist activities in Pakistan.

According to Dawn, this agenda was finalised in a series of back-to-back consultations between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his civilian advisers, on the one hand, and Nawaz and Army Chief Raheel Sharif, on the other.

During the meeting, the military leadership gave its input on the subject of alleged Indian interference and emphasised that Pakistan must present its view point on core issues during the talks in a forceful manner.

The meeting also decided to keep ‘unprovoked’ Indian firing at the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary and the killing of Pakistani civilians on the agenda of the upcoming meetings in New Delhi.

Highly-placed sources confirmed that Pakistan will stress on laying out a counter-terrorism mechanism between the two countries during next week’s talks.

Since the agreed focus of the Doval-Aziz meeting—as decided at the Ufa summit between Sharif and Prime Minister Narendra Modi—is terrorism, the Pakistani side is expected to raise the question of the slow progress in the Samjhauta blasts case and compare the grant of bail to Swami Aseemanand, the man accused of masterminding that terrorist act to the bail granted to 26/11 accused Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi.

However, the Indian side can point to the fact that Aseemanand still remains in custody since his bail conditions remain unmet.

As far as the Pakistani allegation of Indian support for acts of terror within Pakistan, Islamabad has so far been unable to provide any credible information to New Delhi—or indeed to its allies like the United States and China—that substantiate this explosive charge.

On its part, India is preparing an updated dossier of wanted terrorists believed to be hiding in Pakistan. Four years ago, India was embarrassed by the presence—in a list of ’50 most wanted’ it had handed over to the Pakistani side—of some individuals who were either already in Indian custody or been bailed out by Indian courts.

The Ufa joint statement also committed both both  “to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.” Doval is expected to press Aziz on this front.