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Pullout message to Pakistan - Kabul-stung Centre asks CBI chief to skip talks

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  • Published 14.07.08

New Delhi, July 14: The government has asked CBI director Vijay Shankar to pull out of talks with Pakistan, apparently to send a strong signal to the neighbour whose hand is being seen in the Indian embassy attack in Kabul.

The CBI chief was supposed to lead a delegation to Islamabad next week to hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart who heads the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA). “It was a decision taken at a high level by the external affairs ministry based on inputs given by foreign secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, who headed a team to Kabul to review the post-attack scenario in Afghanistan,” a government source said.

Spokespersons of both the CBI and the foreign ministry were tightlipped on the decision.

CBI spokesperson G. Mohanty directed all questions towards the ministry. The foreign ministry spokesperson, Navtej Sarna, too, was non-committal. However, the source said the government had decided to take a tough stand after the attack, the worst in Kabul since the fall of the Taliban.

Senior officials have already said the attack raised questions whether the joint anti-terror mechanism with Pakistan was working. National security adviser M.K. Narayanan had articulated the change in tone by saying there was “pretty good evidence” about the ISI’s involvement in the suicide attack on the Indian embassy.

The CBI director himself had gone on record criticising Pakistan for its unco-operative approach towards fighting terror and saying that the country was still harbouring Dawood Ibrahim.

At the meeting with the FIA, Shankar was expected to give proof of Dawood’s presence and his whereabouts in Pakistan. The agencies were also slated to discuss drug trafficking and smuggling of fake Indian currency, apart from terror.