Posts Tagged ‘ 2008 Mumbai attacks ’

Pakistan, India Swap Nuclear Sites Lists

By Zhang Xiang for Xinhua News

Pakistan and India exchanged lists of nuclear installations and facilities on Saturday in spite of a tension over the 2008 Mumbai attacks that has disrupted the dialogue process between the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said.

The two countries exchange the lists of nuclear sites on the first day of the new year under an agreement signed in 1988 and came into force in January 1991.

“The government of Pakistan and India today exchanged lists of their respective nuclear installations and facilities in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India of Dec. 31, 1988,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The statement said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over the list of Pakistan’s nuclear installations and facilities to an officer of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad at the Foreign Office on Saturday morning.

The Indian side also handed over their list to an officer of the Pakistan High Commission at the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, it said.

After the agreement was signed the first exchange took place Jan. 1, 1992.

Sources said it is the 20th consecutive list exchange between the two countries.

Pakistan and India conducted tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998. India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, followed by five more in 1998. Pakistan conducted its six nuclear tests in 1998. Neither India nor Pakistan is a signatory to the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India considers the NPT discriminatory, while Pakistan has indicated that it won’t join the international agreement till its neighbor does so.

Neither of the two rival neighbors have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

In 2004 they launched a peace process, but that is now on hold following the Mumbai attacks, with New Delhi pressuring Islamabad to do more to punish those responsible for the carnage and to crack down on anti-India groups.

Meanwhile, both countries also exchanged Lists of Prisoners in the two countries, the Foreign Ministry said.

According to the Agreement on Consular Access signed between Pakistan and India on May 21, 2008, both countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody on Jan. 1 and July 1 every year, the statement said.

“Consistent with the provisions of this Agreement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over the list of Indian prisoners in Pakistan to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad today,” it said.

Pakistan Accepts Flood Aid Money From Rival India

By Issam Ahmed for The Christian Science Monitor

Pakistan has accepted an offer of $5 million of flood aid from neighbor and longtime rival India, in a move that could spark a political backlash at home.

In an interview with Indian news channel NDTV, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi described the offer of aid, made last week, as a “very welcome initiative” which the government of Pakistan has agreed to accept, after taking some time to decide.

But it would have been better to say “thanks, but no thanks,” according to Liaqat Baloch, secretary general of Pakistan’s second-largest religious party, the Jamaat-e-Islami.

“Pakistan has many disputes with India, with reference to Kashmir, and the Indian Army engaging in brutality in occupied Kashmir,” he says. “In the past, when Pakistan tried to support India after their natural disasters, India never accepted. Therefore it would be better if our government refused the aid with a big thank you.”

Al Khidmet foundation, Jamaat-e-Islami’s charitable wing, has been one of the most visible aid organizations in the flood-affected areas.

The two countries have made efforts in recent months to repair bilateral relations, which took a plunge following the 2008 Mumbai attacks. India blames those attacks on Pakistan-backed militants. The two countries have fought three full-scale wars, most recently in 1999.

The United States had urged Pakistan to accept India’s offer of aid earlier this week. When Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called his Pakistani counterpart to offer his condolences following the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history, it was an event widely reported in the Pakistan media.

“In such times of natural disasters, all of South Asia should rise to the occasion and extend every possible help to the people of Pakistan affected by the tragedy,” Mr. Singh said, according to a statement released by his office.

According to Badar Alam, editor of Pakistan’s Herald magazine, the amount of aid pledged is “symbolic, but its effect is immense. It’s a good confidence building measure between the two countries.”

But, he warns, Pakistan’s religious parties will try to spin the move “as a sign of weakness.”

“They will see it as a capitulation to India, that our own government is so weak we have been forced to accept help from the historic enemy,” says Mr. Alam.

Mosharraf Zaidi, a columnist for Pakistan’s The News, termed the decision brave: “It’s a tremendous gesture, very mature. India should be commended for donating it and Pakistan should be commended for accepting it.”

“The whole idea in an emergency is you’ll have the Jamat ud Dawas [the charitable wing of banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba] and you’ll have competing powers working almost in tandem to support people. It shows that no matter what our value systems, we have to work together right now,” he adds.

Some 20 million people are affected by Pakistan’s worst flooding in recent memory; Pakistan’s government estimates around 1,600 deaths and millions homeless or displaced. The United Nations appealed to the international community to donate $460 million in emergency assistance last week, and has met half of that goal. Yesterday the US increased its flood aid to Pakistan from $80 million to $150 million.

-Pakistanis for Peace Editor’s Note- It is a good decision by the Pakistani government to accept the aid offer from India. Not only will this be a confidence building measure between the two nations, it will save countless lives, and no nation is too proud to save the lives of its citizens.

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