Pakistan envoy spar over terror charges

Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik traded charges Friday as the minister accused Islamabad of backing all militant outfits and the envoy denied the charge.
The venue was the India Today conclave where Chidambaram, a key speaker, said: 'It is no secret that every militant organisation in Pakistan is supported by the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence).'
He took the names of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and other groups operating in Pakistan that are bitterly opposed to India, Israel and the US.
Refuting Chidambaram's accusation of Pakistan's involvement in terror activities against India, Malik said Islamabad was a responsible state and would not allow its territory to be used by anyone for violence.
'The Pakistan government has no intention of any aggressive activity against India,' Malik said during an animated question and answer session that followed Chidambaram's address on South Asia's future.
Going on the offensive, Malik alleged India's covert involvement in the insurgency in Balochistan. He also referred to the alleged anti-Pakistan activities of Indian consulates in Afghanistan.
In his reply, Chidambaram said Pakistan needed to show credible action against terrorists to match its words.
'Is it not the obligation of the Pakistan government to neutralise all non-state actors working against India?' asked the minister, who has taken a tough line on terrorism since taking charge of the home ministry in the wake of the November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.
'I know you wish to mean what you say. You are stating the Pakistan government's official brief. But let's put that to test,' Chidambaram told Malik.
Earlier, Chidambaram argued that Pakistan had proved a difficult neighbour since partition and independence in 1947. He said India's main hope was for a political transformation in Islamabad.
'It must reinvent itself...to become a truly democratic country where real power lies in democratically elected leaders,' he said.


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