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Not much headway in Indo-Pak peace process in 2010

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

With Pakistan's trial of Mumbai attack suspects making little progress, efforts to revive the stalled Indo-Pak peace process failed to make much headway in 2010, a year which also saw Islamabad struggling to deal with a rising Taliban insurgency.

Pakistan's relations with its key ally US too came under strain after a series of embarrassing disclosures in secret US diplomatic cables released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks and American pressure to act against terrorist safe havens in its restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

Over 18 months after India suspended the composite dialogue process with Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, officials and leaders of the two countries met in Islamabad in July to discuss the revival of the peace process.

However, the meeting between the two Foreign Ministers ended without any breakthrough after Pakistan insisted on a timeframe for talks on all issues, including the dragging Kashmir problem.

India, on its part, maintained that the peace process was directly linked to the prosecution of Pakistan-based terror suspects linked to the Mumbai attacks and end of terror activities from Pakistani soil.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna invited his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi to visit India for further talks later in the year but the visit is now likely to take place sometime in 2011, with Qureshi asserting that he would go ahead with the trip only if it resulted in meaningful talks.

Though Pakistani investigators arrested seven suspects, including Lashker-e-Taiba operations chief Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, for planning and facilitating the Mumbai attacks, their trial by a Rawalpindi-based anti-terrorism court floundered on the issue of access to key persons in India, including lone surviving attacker Ajmal Kasab, currently on death row.

India is yet to formally respond to Pakistan's proposal to send a commission to interview Kasab and police and judicial officials. Lawyers defending the terror suspects have aggressively filed petitions to delay the trial and the judge conducting the proceedings was changed for the third time this year.

Despite the formation of a civilian government led by the Pakistan People's Party two years ago, the Pakistani Army's prominent role in shaping foreign policy became clear during the year.

First Published: Mon, December 20 2010. 11:44 IST