CCS meets to evaluate India-Pak relation post Bhutto assassination

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Dec 28 | Updated: Dec 29 2007, 07:07am hrs
The scope of a setback to the India-Pakistan peace process as well as other possible security scenarios came up for discussion at a critical Cabinet committee on security (CCS) meeting on Friday in the wake of developments in Pakistan even as the government temporarily suspended train and bus services to the neighbouring country.

UPA managers on Friday affirmed that government apprehensions included a step-up in terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir as well as other parts of the country that may be used as a diversionary ploy by Pakistan-based terror outfits. The The Centre has already increased strength of forces along India-Pakistan border as well as the line of control (LoC). Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's media advisor Sanjaya Baru later told reporters that the situation in the region as well as in the domestic front came up for a close scrutiny at the CCS meeting.

The hour-long CCS meeting was followed by a meeting of leaders of major political parties where national security adviser MK Narayanan briefed them on the situation in Pakistan. Narayanan had met leader of Opposition LK Advani on Friday afternoon and briefed him separately.

A resolution adopted by the meeting strongly condemned the brutal assassination and expressed their resolve to defeat the forces of terrorism in the region, Baru said. The meeting hailed Bhutto as an outstanding leader of South Asia and a voice of moderation and democracy in Pakistan, he said.

The all-party meeting was attended by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister AK Antony and home minister Shivraj Patil, Advani, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh of RJD, TR Baalu of the DMK, Sitaram Yechury of the CPI(M), AB Bardhan of CPI, Sharad Yadav of JD(U), Shahid Siddiqui of SP, SC Mishra of BSP and SS Dhindsa of Akali Dal.

Earlier, the government announced that it was temporarily suspending the India-Pakistan Samjhauta Express as well as the Delhi-Lahore bus service in view of the security situation in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Congress working committee (CWC) met on Friday morning and adopted a resolution expressing shock and grief at the assassination of Bhutto. The Congress said her assassination was a reminder of the grave challenge posed by the forces of terror.

"Her assassination is yet another reminder of the grave challenge posed by the forces of terror and violence. This reprehensible and cowardly act, which has brutally cut short a life full of promise and potential, deserves to be strongly condemned by civilised society," the CWC resolution read out by Sonia Gandhi said.