Strengthen Joint Anti Terrorism mechanism, revitalize back-channel diplomacy, says former Pakistan NSA

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New Delhi, Sep 5 (ANI): Former Pakistan National Security Advisor Mehmud Ali Durrani on Saturday suggested that India and Pakistan should give more teeth to the Joint Anti-Terror mechanism and use services of persons of intelligence agencies of both sides.

Delivering a lecture at the first R K Mishra Memorial Lecture on the occasion of 20th Foundation Day of Observer Research Foundation (ORF) here,Durrani said that there is an urgent need to expand the Joint Anti-Terrorism mechanism to include senior representatives of security and intelligence agencies rather than leaving it to the 'bright boys of the foreign office".

The UPA government has time and again drawn ire for setting up the mechanism, which was established in 2006 in Havana, in which both countries are expected to share information about terrorism related incidents.

Durrani criticized the security establishment and intelligence agencies for stalling the forward movement in the dialogue process established between the two countries.

The present mechanism, he said, was working but it took one step forward and two steps backward.

Durrani suggested that the intelligence and security establishment of India and Pakistan should interact more frequently.

"I personally know the intelligence and ISI chiefs of Pakistan. I also came to know at least two RAW and IB chiefs. I found the Indian spy masters professional and decent human beings. Therefore, I feel confident that after couple of meetings, the spy masters would learn to work together," said Durrani.

Durrani felt that a joint probe of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks would produce better results. However, he told reporters that according to his knowledge, there is zero evidence against Hafiz Saeed.

Referring to the blame game vis-a-vis allegations of India's involvement in Balochistan , the former National Security Adviser of Pakistan said: "We need to move beyond these state of affairs. This can only be done through a frank and candid dialogue between our security and intelligence services."

Recalling that back-channel worked effectively during the time of NDA Government in India and Nawaz Sharif and Parvez Musharraf Governments in Pakistan, Durrani expressed dismay over the diminishing back-channel-diplomacy under the present governments in New Delhi and Islamabad.

Durrani said: that back channel diplomacy had the advantage of deniability and [it] was" able to develop innovative solution away from the glare of publicity and public debate."

Durrani added, however, that back-channel diplomacy cannot replace the formal dialogue etween the two countries. But its s usefulness is undeniable.

He emphasised the role of the media in improving the relations between India and Pakistan. But he also pointed out that sometimes the media dramatised the events and added fuel to the fire in the already fragile relations between the two countries.

Durrani was sacked earlier this year for allegedly stating that Ajmal Aaamir Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. By Naveen Kapoor(ANI)

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