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India agrees to Pak trial of Mumbai suspects


Parrull,CNN-IBN
Jan 16, 2009 at 07:40am IST

New Delhi: After weeks of daggers drawn, there was a slight softening of positions on both sides of the border. Islamabad says it has arrested Hafiz Sayeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakahvi and has also shut down some Jamaaat-ud-Dawa camps in Punjab and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Meanwhile, Delhi appears to have conceded ground as well, now willing to settle for a Pakistani trial of the Mumbai suspects.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik has promised that the crackdown against the Jamaat-ud-Dawa will continue. "This is the time to show solidarity with India," he said.

Meanwhile, Jamaat leader Hafiz Sayyed announced, "We have closed 20 offices, two libraries, 87 schools, seven madrasas and five camps in Punjab and Azad Kashmir."

In New Delhi, External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukherjee in an interview signalled a shift in Delhi's stance saying that if Pakistan doesn't extradite the Mumbai suspects, it should try and convict them in their courts.

But South Block is not impressed. It chose not to officially react to Pakistan's claims and it feels that Pakistan has made promises before. it also expressed that it needs to be verified this time if Pakistan will really walk its talk.

Even so, weeks of high level international visits seem to have succeeded in extending India's patience. Last week it was US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher and this week British Foreign Secretary David Miliband who visited India.

But doubts remain about what Pakistan will really do on the ground. The UN-banned Jamaat is already seen to be operating under a different name - Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal and many of its leaders were seen this week addressing a public rally in Lahore.

Also, many say the current scaling down of rhetoric on both sides is more of a pause in hostilities than a real turnaround in the Indo-Pak relationship.

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