`Kasab`s sentence won’t effect Indo-Pak talks`

The death sentence handed down to Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab by an Indian court for his role in the Mumbai terror attacks will not affect the proposed talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.

Last Updated: May 08, 2010, 15:17 PM IST

Islamabad: The death sentence handed down
to Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab by an Indian court for his
role in the Mumbai terror attacks will not affect the proposed
talks between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.

Pakistan`s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi made
this remarks yesterday while talking to state-run PTV.

Pakistan will give its response on the sentencing of
Kasab after experts review the detailed judgement, he said.

The Indian court`s decision will not affect
forthcoming talks between the two Foreign Ministers, he said.

Qureshi added that he would soon fix the date for a
meeting with his Indian counterpart S M Krishna. He described
the Mumbai attacks as a "very tragic incident" that should not
have happened.

Pakistan too is a victim of terrorism and those who
lost their loved ones in terrorist assaults in the country can
"feel the pain of people who suffered in the Mumbai attacks,"
he said.

A total of 166 people, including Indians and other
nationals, were killed in the Mumbai carnage and that was why
the whole world concentrated its attention on this incident,
he said.

Qureshi acknowledged that there has been mistrust
between Pakistan and India for the past six decades but said
there is now a need to go forward to resolve outstanding
issues.

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and his
Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh agreed to resume the stalled
peace process between their countries during a meeting on the
sidelines of the SAARC summit in Bhutan.

The premiers directed the Foreign Ministers to draw up
measures to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries
and to work out modalities for the resumption of dialogue.

Referring to the proposed resumption of dialogue with
India, Qureshi said both countries have agreed to talk and he
will contact his Indian counterpart for a meeting in this
regard as soon as possible.

Replying to a question, he said India had expressed
interest in talks and the attitude of Prime Minister Singh
during his meeting with Gilani in Bhutan was "very positive
and engaging".

Pakistan took the first step as there is no way
forward except talks, and war is not an option as both
countries are nuclear powers, he added.

Qureshi said he has always spoken about the need for
dialogue and India has accepted Pakistan`s position to resume
talks.

"There is need for a lot of work to bridge the gap
between the two countries as there are misperceptions on both
sides," Qureshi said.

He described the differences with India on sharing
river waters as a serious issue.

"We are not ignorant about this issue. I understand
the importance of the water issue and it has a significant
effect on inter-provincial relations," he said.

"We have the Indus Waters Treaty with India and when
India violated the treaty, Pakistan pinpointed the violation
on Wullar barrage and even on the Kishanganga project and told
them that we are taking the issue for arbitration," he said.

However, he noted there is also wastage of water
within Pakistan that needs to be tackled.

Referring to the arrest of Pakistani-American Faisal
Shahzad for a failed car bomb attack in New York, Qureshi said
this was a "very serious issue" that was still being
investigated.

There is a need to avoid discussion on this sensitive
issue, he said.

"We are against terrorism in Pakistan or anywhere in
the world and we discourage it. Pakistan and the US are allies
in war against terror," he said.

Pakistan has conducted military operations against
militants in its own interest and for the "survival of its way
of life and not because of any pressure," he added.

"We do not want Talibanisation and are working to curb
the elements of extremism," he said.

PTI