Archive for the ‘Gilani’ Category

Indian Newspaper: Pakistan’s Zardari Has Legitimacy, But No Authority

December 4, 2008

In the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, India is contemplating another round of coercive diplomacy. But the geopolitical winds are unfavourable. In 2002, India was successful in pushing Washington to arm-twist Pakistan. The then ruler Pervez Musharraf learnt a lesson. Today, India has less left behind its push, Islamabad has a greater hold over the US and, in any case, the lights are going out in the White House.

Most Indians believe the Army mobilisation that followed the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) attack on Parliament in 2002 was much sound and fury signifying nothing. It didn’t bring peace on earth. But Islamabad did learn a lesson and paid a price — which should be the goal of any Indian response to Pakistan-based terrorist outrage.

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

In this picture released by Pakistan People's Party, then ruling ... 
President Zardari.  No authority?
AP Photo/Pakistan People’s Party

The lesson of 2002: before 9/11, Islamabad could count on the US jumping in during any India-Pakistan terror crisis, point fingers at the two countries’ nuclear weapons and persuade New Delhi not to retaliate. After 9/11, the Bush administration told Pakistan, “If India wants to bloody your nose, they have the right.” US embassy officials rang up Indian journalists to stress that the US was no longer using the word ‘restraint’ when it came to India.

The price of 2002: India, after considering and abandoning the demand for the extradition of 20 terrorists because it feared its own courts would let them go, demanded Pakistan put an end to militant infiltration into Kashmir. New Delhi knew very well this would be a band-aid concession. But it calculated a few months of border quiet would be enough to push through a peaceful and fair Kashmir election. Its success on that front is the main reason the turbulent state has seen relatively low levels of violence since 2002.

Outwardly, it seems like India could play the same game again. Pakistan has denuded its border with India of troops. Most have been transferred to fight recalcitrant militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If India waves a big stick, these troops would have to return to the eastern border. Washington is desperate for that not to happen as its Afghan war effort would be crippled. In theory, then, the US would be prepared to press Pakistan to cough up a concession to ensure the troop transfer doesn’t happen. However, the landscape has changed in all three countries. The most telling is that President George W. Bush is down to his last 50 days in office. There is very little desire in the US to cut the ground from under President Asif Ali Zardari’s feet. He is Mr Nice Guy and Mr Best Hope.

Which raises a question: whom exactly is there to arm-twist in Pakistan? As the recent ‘Now he’s coming, now he’s not’ farce over the ISI chief showed, Zardari only thinks he’s President. He has legitimacy, but no authority. Military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has authority, but no legitimacy.

General Kayani.  Photo Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

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Indian Media In Total Disbelief At Pakistan’s Denials On Mumbai

December 4, 2008

Newspapers and other media in India are expressing the opinion heard from the “man on the street,” that Pakistan is to blame completely and entirely for the recent terrorism within India, including the Mumbai bloodshed last week.

This picture released by the Press Information Department shows ... 
This picture released by the Press Information Department shows Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) talking with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a meeting in Islamabad. The White House on Thursday called on Pakistan to “act with resolve, urgency” in cooperating with India on the probe into attacks in Mumbai that stoked tension between the nuclear rivals.(AFP/PID)

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From the Times of India

….The government feels the attack this time was meticulously planned, with the help of top intelligence inputs and professional support. It thinks that it’s unlikely the Indian fishing trawler Kuber was hijacked. A well-planned attack mission like this would not depend on the off-chance of hijacking a boat for its success. Rather, the Indian crew of the boat were probably mixed up in smuggling and got sucked into this deadly game. And paid with their lives.

The government knows the attack originated from Pakistan. In fact, the Pakistan government doesn’t deny this. Even now when Asif Ali Zardari is telling Larry King that the attackers are “stateless people”, he isn’t saying they are not Pakistanis. Earlier, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was in India when the attack took place, told the media he was willing to send the ISI chief for a joint probe, signaling that he believed the attackers were Pakistanis.

When Manmohan Singh called up Zardari and Pakistan PM Gilani, both said the ISI director general Shuja Pasha would be sent to India to help out with the investigations. But by evening, the picture had changed. An ISI spokesman sounded very iffy about Pasha’s visit. “Let the government tell us and we’ll see,” he said.

In short, the ISI was telling the civilian government to get off. Meanwhile, the Pakistan army sounded a warning about an Indian military build-up along the border. Newspapers close to the army, like Pakistan Observer and Frontier Post, and TV channel Geo, played up this alleged build-up. Suddenly, the popular mood was turning — from a sense of outrage at the Mumbai killings to alarm about a possible Indian attack.

Pakistani students of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba burn an Indian flag ... 
Pakistani students of Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba burn an Indian flag during a protest in Multan. Pakistan has promised US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that it will take “strong action” against anyone on its territory found to have been involved in the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Mohammad Malik)

Why did the Pakistan army do this? First, to deflect attention from the Mumbai attack into which the ISI was being dragged (ISI and the army are very close after Pakistan army chief Kayani hand-picked Lt Gen Pasha as the ISI boss). Second, it was signaling to the world that the civilian government didn’t matter; what mattered was the army.

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Battling_jihadis_
India_has_few_options/articleshow/3794488.cms

Rice says Pakistan pledges to help find Mumbai suspects

December 4, 2008

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the Pakistani government had pledged to cooperate in rounding up suspects of the Mumbai terror attacks who operated from Pakistani territory or were of Pakistani origin.

By Salman Masood and Robert F. Worth
International Herald Tribune

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of Pakistan, right, in Islamabad on Thursday. Also shown in photo: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, left, and the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. (B.K.Bangash/The Associated Press)

Rice flew to the Pakistani capital Thursday for talks after discussions Wednesday with Indian officials in New Delhi. She stressed that both India and Pakistan should cooperate fully to investigate the Mumbai  attacks and bring to justice those who perpetrated them. More than 170 people were killed in an onslaught on targets including two luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a café and a railroad station. Of a presumed 10 attackers, all but one were killed.

“What I heard was a commitment that this is the course that will be taken,” Rice told reporters at Chaklala Air Base after meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

In Mumbai, investigators reported Thursday that inquiries so far had produced gruesome new evidence suggesting savage treatment of some of the eight Israelis killed at the Jewish center. Some of them appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, Rakesh Maria, a joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, told reporters.

He said interrogation of the survivor among the attackers had provided new evidence identifying another operative of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group said to have indoctr….

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http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/12/04/asia/05mumbai.php

U.S. Message to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

December 4, 2008

U.S. officials said Wednesday that they are pressing Pakistan to change the primary mission of its intelligence services from preparing for war with India to actively helping the fight against Islamic extremists, some of whom have been linked to last week’s attacks in Mumbai.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with ... 
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (L) shakes hands with India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee before their meeting in New Delhi December 3, 2008.(B Mathur/Reuters)

That is the message Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael G. Mullen are delivering to President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad this week, the officials said. Adm. Mullen was in Pakistan on Wednesday and Miss Rice was expected there Thursday.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and parts of its military have been accused of being too close to militant groups that have staged numerous attacks in both Pakistan and neighboring India.

By Nicholas Kralev
The Washington Times

The chief of the United States military, admiral Mike Mullen, ... 
Chairman of the United States Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen Wednesday asked Pakistan to “investigate aggressively” any possible links that groups based in Pakistan have to the Mumbai attacks.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jason Kempin)

“The ISI has been geared up for years to fight its neighbor next door,” a senior U.S. official said in reference to India. “It’s supportive of the Taliban in Afghanistan; it’s skeptical of the war on terror and thinks it’s a war against Islam. That has to change.”

In the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks, which killed at least 170 and wounded hundreds, “the situation has changed dramatically, and Pakistan has to follow every lead” to get to the bottom of the plot, he said.

“Otherwise, the Indians might decide that Pakistan cannot be counted on to be a partner in the war on terror,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was discussing sensitive private exchanges with the nuclear-armed rivals.

Indian security forces are holding the only Mumbai attacker to be captured alive, and officials there say he has admitted to being a Pakistani and a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamist group thought by some to have ties to current and former ISI members.

The U.S. official said the real war is with militants along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. Some Pakistani officials have suggested that they may need to move troops from that border to the Indian border if tensions rise further. But the U.S. official said there are “no signs that India will move additional forces” to the border.

To make sure the Indians give Pakistan no excuse to transfer troops, Miss Rice visited New Delhi on Wednesday. She said that any response by India “needs to be judged by its effectiveness in prevention and also by not creating other unintended consequences or difficulties.”

Related:

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

India Says U.S. Has Given O.K. To Strikes Into Pakistan if Islamabad fails To Assist With Mumbai

December 3, 2008

The United States has set the stage for punitive internationally-backed strikes by India against terrorist camps in Pakistan, if Islamabad does not act first to dismantle them, by rejecting President Zardari’s alibi that non-state actors were responsible for the last week’s carnage in Mumbai.

The Times of India 

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http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_sets_stage_for_
strikes_if_Pak_does_not_act/articleshow/3789520.cms

Related:
 Banned Pakistani Militant Leaders Believed Orchestrated Mumbai

U.S. Messge to Pakistan: Battle Terror, Not India

Zardari Says Pakistan “In No Way” Responsible for Mumbai Attacks

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari denied his nation was involved in last week’s deadly attacks on Mumbai, India, and told CNN on Tuesday he’s seen no evidence that a suspect in custody is a Pakistani national as Indian officials claim.

CNN
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“I think these are stateless actors who have been operating all throughout the region,” Zardari said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” in an interview set to air Tuesday night. “The gunmen plus the planners, whoever they are, [are] stateless actors who have been holding hostage the whole world.”

At least 179 people were killed when a band of gunmen attacked 10 targets in Mumbai on Wednesday night, triggering three days of battles with police and Indian troops in the heart of the city — the hub of India’s financial and entertainment industries. Most of the deaths occurred at the city’s top two hotels: the Oberoi and the Taj Mahal.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were "stateless actors."

Above: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says he believes the Mumbai attackers were “stateless actors.”

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http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/02/pa
kistan.zardari.lkl/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Pakistan’s Zardari Says Militants Could Start Regional War

December 2, 2008

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has appealed to India not to punish his country for last week’s attacks in Mumbai, saying militants have the power to precipitate a war in the region, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Zardari, whose wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by Islamist militants last year, warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Zardari in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We live in troubled times where non-state actors have taken us to war before, whether it is the case of those who perpetrated (the) 9/11 (attacks on the United States) or contributed to the escalation of the situation in Iraq,” said Zardari.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the ... 
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani speaks during the National Security Conference to discuss ongoing tension between India and Pakistan flared after the last week’s Mumbai attacks, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan has proposed a joint investigation of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after India blamed elements in Pakistan for the bloodshed.(AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

More from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200812
01/ts_nm/us_india_mumbai_1

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From the Financial Times (UK) 
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Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, made an urgent appeal to India yesterday not to punish his country for the terror unleashed on Mumbai last week, as Indian officials blamed a Pakistani militant group for the three-day rampage.

As the government in New Delhi faced mounting domestic pressure to respond forcefully to the attacks, Mr Zardari urged Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, to resist striking out at his government should investigations show that Pakistani militant groups were responsible.

His appeal came as tensions rose between the two countries. A day after the security forces finally regained control of Mumbai, Indian officials blamed Lashkar-i-tayyaba, a prominent militant group linked to previous attacks against India. Its name translates as Army of the Pure.

Speaking exclusively to the Financial Times, Pakistan’s president warned that provocation by rogue “non-state actors” posed the danger of a return to war between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

“Even if the militants are linked to Lashkar-i-tayyaba, who do you think we are fighting?” asked Mr Zardari, whose country is battling al-Qaeda and Taliban militants on its border with Afghanistan.

But Indian officials last night stepped up the pressure on Pakistan. The ruling Congress party’s general secretary M Veerappa Moily told the FT: “All the terrorists involved in the Mumbai blasts are related to Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-tayyaba. We are seriously concerned and the government won’t let such acts go lightly.”

New Delhi was yesterday facing intense domestic criticism over its response to the attacks which claimed at least 172 lives.

India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan ... 
India is not considering taking military action against Pakistan over the attacks in Mumbai, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Tuesday.(AFP/Raveendran)

Shivraj Patil, the home minister, resigned as criticism intensified over the response of the security forces to the attack on India’s financial capital.

“The Congress government has no moral authority to survive,” said Arun Jaitley, a leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party, blaming its weakness for collapsed intelligence gathering and a poor security response to the terror strike.

The Mumbai attacks ended on Saturday when commandos killed the last gunmen holed up at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Some of the most stinging criticism of the response of the emergency services came from business. “The police were woefully inadequate in terms of equipment and in terms of being prepared,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group that owns the Taj Mahal hotel. He said fire engines had taken three hours to arrive when the hotel caught alight.

Additional reporting by James Fontanella-Khan in Mumbai

Indian Investigators Say They Are “Certain” Mumbai Terrorists Trained in Pakistan

December 1, 2008

Two senior Indian investigators told reporters on condition of anonymity that evidence from the interrogation of Azam Amir Kasav, the only gunmen of the 10 not killed by commandos, clearly showed that Pakistani militants had a hand in the [Mumbai] attack.

An Indian army soldier holds position outside The Taj Mahal ... 
An Indian army soldier holds position outside The Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 29. There was mounting evidence that a Kashmiri-based Pakistani militant group, most likely Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible for the deadly attacks in Mumbai, The New York Times reported on its website late Friday.(AFP/Sajjad Hussain)

The clean-shaven, 21-year-old with fluent English was photographed during the attack wearing a black T-shirt emblazoned with the Versace logo. He has said his team took orders from “their command in Pakistan,” police officials said.

The training was organized by the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, and conducted by a former member of the Pakistani army, a police officer close to the interrogation told Reuters on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak.

From Reuters

This image taken from NDTV shows an man carrying an automatic ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows an man carrying an automatic rifle as he enters a train station in Mumbai late November 26. He has the logo of “Versace” on his shirt.  Indian police investigating who was behind the massive militant assault on Mumbai interrogated Sunday and Monday the only gunman who survived, saying he was trained in Pakistan.  Pakistan insisted it was not involved.(AFP/NDTV/Ho)

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081201/ts_nm/us_india_mumbai_9

Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure

November 30, 2008

The Pakistan government of President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani today acutely feels the heat of terrorists as well as international pressure from a tradional friend, the U.S., and a traditional enemy, India.

This television frame grab shows Pakistani President Asif Ali ... 
President Zardari of Pakistan (AFP)

In the tribal areas of Pakistan, the U.S. wants the assistance of Pakistan’s army in controlling the Taliban and al-Qaeda that surge into Afghanistan to kill U.S. and NATO troops.  Pakistan wants to keep the U.S. out of the tribal areas so the U.S. hammers terrorists from unmanned drones with missiles when the intelligence says results will be favorable.  But the people of Pakistan have protested these air assaults from the U.S. upon Pakistan and the government has expressed extreme displeasure at almost losing control of Pakistan’s sovereignity in the northwest tribal areas.

An unmanned Predator drone. A militant Taliban group warned ... 
The U.S. has been using unmanned Predator drones like this one, armed with missiles, to attack militant Taliban terror groups inside Pakistan. The government of pakistan has condemned the missile strikes in its territory.(AFP/USAF/File)

Now, because of tensions from the terrorism in Mumbai, India, Pakistan is saying it will withdraw troops from the tribal areas to move to the border with India; a nation that seems to already be blaming Pakistan for the bloodshed in Mumbai.

India even says the only terrorist to survive the Mumbai attack, Ajmal Qasab, is a Pakistani trained by the terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Troops from Pakistan’s army secure an area in the troubled Kabal Khas district on the outskirts of Swat valley November 26, 2008.  The U.S. wants the Pakistani troops facing Afghanistan and not India.
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Finally, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, at least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed this weekend.
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Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ... 
Firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire after rioters set ablaze several shops at a timber market in Pakistan’s largest city Karachi. At least 13 people were killed and more than 70 injured when activists from rival political parties clashed in Karachi, officials said Sunday.(AFP/Asif Hassan)

Last week’s terror violence in Mumbai and india’s subsequent investigation and likely blame, which will likely be supported by the U.S., putes extreme pressure on a Pakistani government the Times of India rightly calls “dodgy” due to its own undermining terrorist influences and actors. 

 By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Fallout From Mumbai: A Risk To Progress in Pakistan

November 30, 2008

“This cannot be,” Henry Kissinger once muttered in exasperation when an unexpectedly positive development occurred during a Democratic administration. “The wrong people are doing the right thing.”

By Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post
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I have thought of the Kissinger anomaly in recent weeks while watching Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari confound the low expectations he inspired when he took charge of the most dangerous place on Earth in September.

Zardari is the corruption-tainted amateur politician who became president in the wake of the assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto, late last year. He seemed absolutely the wrong man to handle Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and its collapsing economy or to deal with his country’s support for Islamic terrorist networks.

But Zardari has tackled those problems with courage and pushed for greatly expanded trade and other business links with India. The Bush administration helped the Pakistani leader, in a perverse way, by making clear the limits of U.S. support for him without significant reform.

That initial progress now stands at risk. The multiple terrorist attacks in Mumbai could undo Zardari’s initiatives and bring India and Pakistan back to war footing. Without citing proof, India’s foreign minister is suggesting that “elements with links to Pakistan” carried out the butchery in India’s financial capital.

But it has yet to be shown that Zardari’s government had any role in the attacks. He — and India — have everything to lose by going back to confrontation. Even if undermining Zardari’s outreach is not the goal of the assault on Mumbai, it could be the consequence.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
8/AR2008112802368.html

Attacks push India and Pakistan into deep water: analysts

November 30, 2008

Outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks risks sparking a dangerous escalation in tensions with Pakistan, analysts say, even as Islamabad cautions against any knee-jerk reaction.

Having accused “elements in Pakistan” of involvement in the ruthless attacks that left 195 dead in India’s financial capital, the government here is now under extreme public pressure to exact some form of visible retribution.

The two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals are past masters of the art of military and diplomatic brinkmanship, but the stakes are heightened by looming general elections in India in which national security will be a key issue.

In a televised address to the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh vowed that the perpetrators and organisers of the Mumbai assault would be made to pay “a heavy price.”

By Elizabeth Roche, AFP

Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November ... 
Smoke billows from the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai on November 29, 2008. Outrage in India over the Mumbai attacks risks sparking a dangerous escalation in tensions with Pakistan, analysts say, even as Islamabad cautions against any knee-jerk reaction.(AFP/Pedro Ugarte)

On Saturday, Singh called a meeting of India’s army, navy and air force chiefs.

But while India would like to lean heavily on Islamabad to ensure it delivers on repeated promises to prevent Pakistani territory being used for anti-India activities, analysts say the government’s options are limited.

Former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra said New Delhi would be constrained by a lack of proof that Islamabad had any direct role in the attacks.

“There is little to suggest that the gunmen were sponsored by the Pakistani government,” Mishra said.

The scale and style of the assaults — involving multiple targets and hostage-taking — bore “the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda attacks in the Middle East and North Africa,” Mishra said.

“These are new elements that differentiate the Mumbai attacks from the parliament attack.”

In 2001, gunmen from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group attacked the Indian parliament, resulting in the complete rupture of diplomatic ties and pushing the rivals to the brink of war.

Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal all but ruled out the possibility of India resorting to any cross-border military response.

“The Indian leadership would have to weigh very carefully the consequences of using the military option in the wider context of peace and stability in the region,” Sibal said.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari appealed for calm on Saturday and argued that any increase in Indo-Pakistan tensions would be a victory for the extremists.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081
130/wl_sthasia_afp/india
attackspakistandiplomacy_081130060432