Obama questions Pakistan PM on delay in 26/11 trial

Sharif appeared to have made no headway on his objectives of stopping drone attacks.

Written by Press Trust Of India | Washington | Published: October 25, 2013 2:01 am

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif faced uncomfortable questions from US President Barack Obama who did some plain speaking,asking him why the trial of those involved in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks had not yet begun,besides raising the issue of cross-border terrorism,particularly the activities of terror outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) led by Hafiz Saeed.

Sharif,on his first visit to the US after coming back to power in May,met Obama for over two hours at the White House Wednesday,but he appeared to have made no headway on his objectives of stopping drone attacks and US intervention on Kashmir.

Speaking to mediapersons after his talks with Obama,Sharif said,“He (Obama) asked why the trial of the (Mumbai) terrorist attack in India has not started yet.”

Reflecting India’s concern over slow pace of progress in 26/11 case in Pakistan,Obama posed questions to Sharif over the delay of the trial that has already been hampered by a number of roadblocks.

Saeed,accused by India of masterminding the Mumbai terror attacks,is the chief of the JuD. The JuD has been declared a front for the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba by the UN Security Council.

Sharif said Pakistan’s relationship with India,including the Kashmir issue,was also discussed,but he did not give further details. Despite Sharif’s pitch for US intervention on the Kashmir issue,Obama made no such reference.

“He (Obama) raised the issue of (Dr Shakil) Afridi. He spoke about cross-border movement. He also talked about JuD,” said Sharif,without giving details. Afridi,the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track al Qaeda chief Osama bi nLaden,is under detention in Pakistan.

“I think he (Sharif) is taking a very wise path in exploring how decades of tension between India and Pakistan can be reduced,because,as he points out,billions of dollars have been spent on an arms race… and those resources could be much more profitably invested in education,social welfare programmes,” said Obama after the meeting.

In a joint statement,Obama welcomed recent engagements between Sharif and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed hope this would mark beginning of a sustained dialogue process between the neighbours.

Obama,however,made no commitment to Sharif’s wish of ending drone strikes in Pakistan,that figured in the context of overall security and war against terrorism in the region.

“We talked about security and the concerns that both of us have about senseless violence,terrorism and extremism. And we agreed we need to continue to find constructive ways to partner together; ways that respect Pakistan’s sovereignty,that respect the concerns of both countries.”

I can make dal,keema: Obama tells Sharif

Washington: Recalling his visit to Pakistan during college days in 1980s,Obama Thursday told Nawaz Sharif that he knows how to cook dal and keema,taught by mothers of his Pakistani roommates. Obama’s remarks prompted Sharif to invite the US President and the First Lady Michelle to his country to try the delicacies. “Mr President,I look forward to welcoming you and Mrs Obama in Pakistan. Keema and dal are waiting for you.” PTI

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