- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2010


New bilateral talks offered to Pakistan

NEW DELHI | India has offered to resume bilateral talks with Pakistan that were halted after the deadly Mumbai terrorist attacks nearly 15 months ago, an official said Thursday.

India proposed the resumption of discussions between the foreign secretaries on terrorism and other issues, the official said.

In Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi welcomed the Indian talks offer, saying it was a “positive step.”

India and Pakistan launched broad-based talks in 2004 aimed at resolving several disputes between the nuclear-armed neighbors, including over the divided region of Kashmir.

India put the peace process on hold soon after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 that left 166 people dead. India blamed the attack on the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The first signs of a thaw in relations became evident Wednesday when the government announced that India’s minister for internal security, Palaniappan Chidambaram, would attend a regional meeting to be held in Islamabad on Feb. 26.


U.S. verdict triggers widespread protests

ISLAMABAD | Pakistanis shouted anti-American slogans and burned the Stars and Stripes on Thursday in protest of a New York jury’s conviction of a Pakistani woman accused of trying to kill Americans while detained in Afghanistan.

The protests drew thousands in at least four cities, demonstrating widespread distrust of the U.S.

They also showed the fierce passions surrounding the bizarre tale of Aafia Siddiqui, a 37-year-old U.S.-educated scientist who disappeared along with her three children for five years until she was picked up by Afghan police in 2008.

The U.S. says Siddiqui shot at American security personnel who came to interrogate her after her arrest in Afghanistan’s central Ghazni province. But many Pakistanis say the U.S. fabricated the charges.

A Manhattan federal jury convicted Siddiqui on Wednesday of two counts of attempted murder.

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