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Pak ratifies pacts with Delhi

Islamabad, Dec. 13: Pakistan today ratified a string of agreements and memorandums of understanding signed with India in a bid to boost ties marred by tension and mistrust.

“Acting President Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari has confirmed Pakistan’s ratification of three agreements — Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters Agreement, Bilateral Co-operation Agreement on Mutual Recognition between the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority and (the) Bureau of Indian Standards, and the Agreement on Redressal of Trade Grievances…” an official announcement said.

The agreements had been signed during the seventh round of commerce secretary-level talks in September at Islamabad.

The announcement said the acting President had “also confirmed ratification” of an MoU on cultural co-operation between the Pakistan National Council of Arts and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. This MoU, too, had been signed in September when former external affairs minister S.M. Krishna visited Pakistan.

The ratification of the agreements came even as foreign ministry spokesperson Moazzam Ahmed Khan reaffirmed Islamabad’s pledge to work with New Delhi on different cases of terrorism. “We are willing to sit together with India if they have any evidence to share with us, whether it is (executed 26/11 gunman) Ajmal Kasab or whosoever they have been blaming for an attack on the Indian Parliament or the Mumbai attacks,” he told reporters in Islamabad.

Khan’s statement came days after officials showed an anti-terrorist court evidence relating to three training camps of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba and motorboats used in the rehearsal for the 2008 Mumbai attack.

The evidence related to training details and capabilities of 26/11 suspects Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (the alleged mastermind), Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younas Anjum.

The court in Rawalpindi is holding an in-camera trial of the seven suspects.

The terrorists involved in the attacks rehearsed for the siege in the Arabian Sea on motorboats named Al-Hussaini, Al-Atta and Alfouz and were trained in the Lashkar’s camps in the Mirpur Sakro area of Thatta district in Sindh as well as in Yousaf Goth and Landhi in Karachi.

One of the suspects, Hammad Amin Sadiq, had confessed during the inquiry that 10 terrorists had been kept in the training centres before the November 2008 attack.

Pakistan, which has conceded that the attacks were plotted and partly launched from its soil, has already indicted seven suspects linked with the Lashkar, including Lakhvi, amid pressure from New Delhi to prosecute them.

Lakhvi had also been identified as the mastermind by David Coleman Headley, the US-born son of a former Pakistani diplomat, who was arrested in Chicago in 2009 and pleaded guilty to scouting the hotels and other sites in Mumbai that were attacked by the 26/11 gunmen.