Lahore (TIP): Continuing to exert pressure on Pakistan to act against terror, India has conveyed to Chief Minister of Punjab province in Pakistan that Jamat-ul Dawa Chief Hafiz Saeed, a mastermind behind the Mumbai terror attacks, remains free and and sought action against him.
The issue was broached by External Affairs Minister SM Krishna during his interaction with the Chief Minister Shahabaz Sharief. The minister said that Saeed was known to be staying in the city, the capital of Punjab province whose government is headed by Sharief’s party, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).
On his part Sharief told Krishna that being a provincial government, he could act only after the issue is referred to his government by the Federal Government in Islamabad. He, however, stated that there is nothing like a good terrorist or a bad terrorist and underscored the stand taken by the party against such activities. The Chief Minister drew the attention that the PML(N) chief Nawaz Sharief had got into trouble for his observations on terrorism and its impact.
Two days ago, Pakistan media carried a statement from Lahore quoting Saeed at a public meeting in which he alleged that Krishna’s visit was aimed to detract from the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and reiterating his organisation’s support for it.
At the meeting and the lunch, he hosted in honour of Krishna, the Chief Minister dwelt at length on how trade and business with India would benefit the country in general and Punjab province in particular. Also present at the meeting were a large number of business representatives signalling immense interest in Pakistan over expanding trade and business ties with India.
Yesterday, India and Pakistan signed a new liberal visa regime introducing a new category for business persons that would make travel easier with lesser restrictions, including exemption from police reporting in certain cases.
The External Affairs Minister arrived here for a day-long visit from Islamabad on the way back home. Besides meeting the Chief Minister, he also called on Punjab Governor Latif Khosa. As part of the tour, the minister also paid respects at the 11th century shrine of Sufi saint Daata Ganj Baksh in the walled city area of Lahore. Krishna also visited Minar-e-Pakistan that symbolises the place where Muslim League passed a resolution in 1940 for a separate state. Wishing the people peace and process, the minister said he believes India and Pakistan can and need to live respectfully.