Islamabad: Home Minister P Chidambaram met his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik and is understood to have pressed for urgent action against JuD chief Hafiz Saeed and 26/11 handlers, including those who are believed to be in the Pakistani Army.
Chidambaram, the first Indian Home Minister to visit Pakistan in three decades, met Malik at the Interior Ministry in Islamabad, where he was accorded a red carpet welcome and given a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
In a special gesture, Malik went to the Chaklala Air Base in Rawalpindi and personally received Chidambaram, who arrived to attend the SAARC Home Ministers’ Conference on Saturday.
On their way to the VIP lounge, both Chidambaram and Malik were seen talking to each other and posed for photographs.
During the meeting, Chidambaram, the first Indian Minister to visit Pakistan after the 26/11 strikes, is believed to have told Malik that the time has come for Pakistan to address issues concerning the deadly Mumbai attacks with seriousness that they warrant.
The Indian Home Minister is also understood to have sought action against Saeed, whom New Delhi considers as the mastermind of the 26/11 attacks, and handlers, including those who are believed to be serving in the Pakistani Army, of the deadly attack that killed 166 people.
Chidambaram is also believed to have sought voice samples of the Pakistani handlers and raised issues like infiltration on the border of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistanis who have infiltrated and are indulging in militant activities.
Speaking to reporters accompanying him in the special aircraft, Chidambaram said he will not say anything that will cast a shadow on the SAARC Home Ministers’ Meeting, which is primary engagement in Islamabad.
He said he will tell Pakistan ‘politely, but firmly’ that the time has come to address issues concerning the Mumbai attacks.
“I will use the opportunity to bring home to Pakistan gravity of issues and the need for response that is appropriate to the gravity of the situation,” he said.
“It has been 18 months since I took over. The time has come to address these issues (regarding Mumbai attacks) with seriousness that they warrant. That is what I am going to tell them politely, but firmly,” Chidambaram said.