New Delhi(PTI): Cranking up pressure on Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today made it clear to President Asif Ali Zardari that action needs to be taken against Hafiz Saeed and other perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, which will be a key factor to judge progress in bilateral ties.
Terrorism figured prominently during Singh’s 40-minute one-on-one meeting with Zardari at the Prime Minister’s Race Course road residence.
“The leaders discussed the problem of terrorism which is a major issue by which the Indian people will judge progress in bilateral relationship,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters here.
Singh told Zardari that it was “imperative” to bring the perpetrators of Mumbai attacks to justice and prevent activities aimed against India from Pakistani soil.
“In this context, the Prime Minister also mentioned the activities of Hafiz Saeed (the founder of banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba),” Mathai said.
On the Saeed issue, Zardari said that the matter needed to be discussed further between the two governments.
The leaders noted that Home Secretaries of the two sides were to meet shortly and they would discuss this issue further.
Zardari mentioned the need for all issues, including Sir Creek, Siachen and Kashmir to be addressed, Mathai said.
“Both felt that we need to move forward step-by-step,” the Foreign Secretary said.
The Prime Minister also appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to take forward trade ties by moving to the negative list regime.
Earlier, Singh said the two countries were willing to find “practical, pragmatic” solutions to a “number of issues” affecting the bilateral relationship.
“I and President Zardari had constructive and friendly exchanges of views on bilateral issues which affects relationship between India and Pakistan,” Singh said.
The Prime Minister said that he had taken advantage of Zardari’s private visit to discuss with him all bilateral issues.
“I am very satisfied with the outcome of this visit,” he said.
“We have a number of issues and we are willing to find practical and pragmatic solutions to all those issues and that is the message President Zardari and I would wish to convey,” Singh said.
We have had “very fruitful” bilateral talks, said Zardari, who also hoped to meet the Indian leader on Pakistani soil very soon. The Pakistan President invited Singh to visit his country.
“I would be very happy to visit Pakistan on a mutually convenient date,” Singh said.