J&K Terror Attack: No Change as of Now in PM Decision to Meet Nawaz Sharif, Say Sources



New Delhi: The terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir today came just ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, following a pattern of strikes whenever the two countries have taken a significant step towards dialogue.

The two leaders are to meet on Sunday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Top sources told NDTV that there is no change as of now in PM’s decision to meet Mr Sharif. “The meeting was always for raising Indian concerns,” the sources said.

Terrorists dressed in army fatigues killed at least 12 people in a police station and an Army cantonment in Jammu’s Kathua district this morning. At least six army and four police personnel were killed.

 Condemning the strikes, the main opposition party BJP said the talks should be scrapped. “If the Pakistan army or ISI (Pakistan’s Intelligence agency) doesn’t want Indo-Pak talks then what’s the point of the PM engaging in talks with Sharif?” questioned BJP leader Yashwant Sinha.

Just a day ago, the PM took a major political gamble as he confirmed his meeting with Nawaz Sharif despite objections at home. His party, the Congress may find it more difficult to back his peace initiative ahead of state elections this year and national polls due by May.

“Pakistan and India are both victims of terror, must come together to fight them instead of blaming each other,” tweeted senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh soon after the attack was reported.

The BJP has repeatedly urged New Delhi to boycott Pakistan after gruesome attacks on Indian soldiers this year, especially on August 6, when five soldiers were killed in a Pakistani ambush. The incident was followed by a spurt in attacks along the Line of Control (LoC), or the de facto border between the two countries.

India had suspended talks with Pakistan after two soldiers were killed – one of them beheaded – at the LoC in January. After his party returned to power in May after 14 years, Nawaz Sharif made several pro-India statements and said he looked forward to meeting Manmohan Singh in September.

But the August 6 killings, just ahead of Indian Parliament’s monsoon session, led to fresh pressure from the Opposition on the PM to scrap the proposed talks.

A senior official traveling with the PM said yesterday that “you need to talk peace not with your friends, but your enemy.”

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