Lahore, September 10: Foreign minister S M Krishna used his visit to Pakistan to drive home an anti-terrorism message with the opposition just as he did with the federal government, pointedly referring to 26/11 main accused Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed's presence in Punjab during his meeting with chief minister Shahbaz Sharif on Sunday.
Krishna told the Punjab CM, who is ex-PM Nawaz Sharif's brother, that Saeed is able to move around freely despite India repeatedly urging action against him.
Shahbaz dodges call on Hafiz Saeed
Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province on Sunday sought to deflect Indian foreign minister S M Krishna's implied suggestion that his government act against Saeed by saying that India should present evidence against the Lashkar chief to the federal government.
Sharif is believed to have said that as head of a provincial government, he had a limited mandate in such a case as the terror attacks on Mumbai.
According to sources, Sharif said he did not believe in distinguishing between "good and bad terrorists" and spoke of Nawaz Sharif — who heads the Pakistan Muslim League (N) — having made a clear denunciation of terror. Although Sharif couched his response carefully, Krishna made clear his emphasis that Pakistan must tackle terrorism against India as he did with the ruling Pakistan People's Party-led regime in Islamabad.
The meeting with Nawaz Sharif over lunch lasted around two hours and saw the two leaders agree on the need to improve India-Pakistan ties with the chief minister saying opportunities had been lost in the past.
He tended to blame Musharraf dictatorship for interrupting peace and keeping the civilian leadership at bay.
Sharif' delegation comprised business leaders and discussions saw considerable interest being expressed over possibilities of increased trade with Punjab seeing itself as a likely beneficiary given its proximity to India.