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Pak takes U-turn, not to send ISI chief to India 
Rezaul H Laskar 
Islamabad, Nov 29 (PTI) Hours after agreeing to send ISI chief to India to "cooperate" in investigations into the Mumbai terror strikes, the Pakistan government today did a U-turn apparently under pressure from the powerful army and decided to depute a senior official of the spy agency.

The decision to backtrack was taken at a special meeting attended by President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that spilled well into the wee hours.

The Prime Minister later also chaired a special meeting of his cabinet to review India's allegations of a Pakistani link to the terrorist strikes as well as the proposal to send an ISI representative to assist in the probe into the attacks.

Sources said the cabinet meeting also discussed bilateral relations and the impact of the Mumbai attacks on the regional and domestic security situation.

Gilani had yesterday agreed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's demand to fly the ISI chief to Delhi after India suspected involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai terror attacks that left nearly 200 dead.

The government's decision to send a senior official of counter-terrorism directorate of the ISI instead of the spy agency's chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha had been conveyed through diplomatic channels to India, Dawn News channel reported.

However, sources in the Indian High Commission told PTI that the mission had not been contacted by the Pakistan government in this regard. PTI

Pakistan spy chief to aid Mumbai investigation
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) Pakistan will send its spy chief to India to help probe the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the government said Friday, scrambling to avoid a crisis with its South Asian neighbor after India linked the atrocity to Pakistan's largest city.

Clear Pakistani fingerprints on the attacks would chill relations between the nuclear-armed rivals and could wreck U.S. hopes of persuading Islamabad to focus on battling the Taliban and al-Qaida near the Afghan border.

According to a Pakistani government statement, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told his Pakistani counterpart in a telephone conversation on Friday that "preliminary reports" about the attacks "point to Karachi," Pakistan's main port and financial hub.

The statement provided no details of the purported link to the city, a chaotic metropolis on the Arabia Sea coast in which a host of Islamic militant groups have a presence.

Pakistani premier Yousuf Raza Gilani agreed to Singh's request for the head of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency to travel to India to share information, the statement said.

ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shujaa Pasha will head to India "at the earliest," the statement said.

Deteriorating relations between Pakistan and India, which have fought three wars since 1947, would greatly complicate U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Incoming President-elect Barack Obama has said normalizing ties between the two South Asian countries will be a major plank of his broader campaign to stabilize Afghanistan and beat al-Qaida in the region.

India has charged Pakistan of complicity in past terrorist attacks on its soil, and Singh on Thursday said militants based outside his country carried them out a statement understood in Pakistan as a veiled accusation.

Still, Friday's agreement and a series of Pakistani pledges of assistance and solidarity, suggest a crisis might be averted. It also remains unclear if any Pakistani link to the attack exists.

Gilani on Friday "extended his government's full support for jointly combating extremism and terrorism" as well as offering help with the investigation in Mumbai, his office said.

It is widely believed that Pakistan used to provide material and tactical support to militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir.

Moreover, Kashmiri militants were blamed for attacking the parliament in New Delhi in 2001, a strike that brought the countries close to their fourth war since 1947.

There has been less cross-border infiltration in recent years into Kashmir, the divided Himalayan territory at the core of their dispute. Still, India accused Pakistan's intelligence services of helping Taliban militants bomb its embassy in the Afghan capital in July, killing 58 people.

Pakistani leaders say there is no evidence to support the allegation.

However, they have taken some steps to reform, including installing Pasha in place of a general appointed by former Pakistani president and army chief Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf's successor, Asif Ali Zardari, has upheld Pakistan's close alliance with Washington in defiance of public hostility. He has also pressed on with a peace process that has eased tensions with India.

Zardari declared over the weekend that India posed no threat to Pakistan and called for their heavily militarized border to be opened for trade.



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