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Jun 26, 2010 at 12:29pm IST

Chidambaram talks tough, asks Pak to act now

Islamabad: A day after reaching Pakistan for the ministerial-level talks, Home Minister P Chidambaram will hold crucial meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik here on Saturday.

Chidambaram, who is on a two-day visit for the SAARC Interior Ministers conference, is expected to bring up terror and Pakistani action on the Mumbai attackers during the talks.

On Friday, the Home Minister talked tough on terror and asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to book.

"There is a mountain of evidence now; the mountain is only growing thanks to the new information gathered recently. Therefore, I would expect that Pakistan acts on the information given and brings to book the real masterminds and the handlers," Chidambaram said Friday.

The Home Minister's list of demands includes action against Jamaat-ud-Daawa chief and the alleged conspirator of the Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed.

"Of the 7 on trial in Rawalpindi, I would put no more than 2 as frontline actors. There are many others who played a more important role in planning 26/11. That has been shared with Pakistan," he added.

And although the meeting between Chidambaram and Malik may have been tough on substance, it was cordial enough to leave room for speculation they could have another bilateral exchange before Chidambaram leaves.

"Well I would be happy if I leave with the conviction that Pakistan has acknowledged the gravity of what have brought to the table and given us enough assurance that it will take action," Chidambaram told CNN-IBN.

After his meeting with Chidambaram, Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that the talks started "positively" and expressed hope that it would continue.

After a morning together at the SAARC interior minister's meeting on Saturday, they are also meeting at receptions hosted by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and President Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan media reacts

In Pakistan, the mood in the media was quite mixed. On Saturday, most of the leading newspapers wrote extensively on Indian Home Minister's visit to their country.

On Chidambaram-Malik talks, The DAWN newspaper writes very clearly saying – 'Pakistan-India talks make a wary start'. It is a start that will open up possibilities of more meeting among home ministers of the two countries.

The Nation on the other hand quotes Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik and writes 'Lets exchange hearts not dossiers'. The newspaper carries Pakistan's official position on the issue that it is time to move ahead and build confidence.

Another leading newspaper, the Daily times, quotes P Chidambaram saying – 'India asks pak to punish 26/11 perpetrators.'

Clearly the tough message that Chidambaram is carry is not lost on anyone in Islamabad.