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No Business As Usual With Pak After LoC Attack: PM
In a tough message to Pakistan, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said it cannot be business as usual in the aftermath of the "barbaric" beheading of Indian soldier as India put on hold the visa-on-arrival facility and sent back home all nine Pakistani hockey players.

The Indian action came amidst rising anger among political parties over the January 8 incident when Pakistani soldiers crossed Line of Control in Mendhar area of Jammu and Kashmir, killing two soldiers and mutilating their bodies.

Breaking his silence on the issue, Singh justified the decision to suspend visa facility, saying "after this barbaric act, there cannot be business as ususal with Pakistan".

He said, "Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book" and hoped "Pakistan realises this".

When pointed out that Pakistan was in a denial mode on the cross-LoC attack, Singh said, "we will keep trying".

Asked about options available to the government, he said these could not be discussed in the open.

After his tough talk at the Army Day reception, Singh met President Pranab Mukherjee and briefed him on the situation.

He also deputed National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to brief Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley.

India was to operationalise the long-delayed visa-on- arrival facility to senior citizens of Pakistan today but quietly put it on hold indefinitely. The facility was to be accorded for those above 65 years crossing the Attari-Wagah border by foot.

Government sources said the decision was taken after several agencies sought clarifications on facilities to be offered to the Pakistani citizens.

The visa on arrival facility under the new visa agreement between India and Pakistan signed in September 2012 to ease cross-border travel as part of Confidence Building Measures.

No new date has been fixed for operationalisation of the visa-on-arrival facility to the Pakistani senior citizens.

"We will take a decision at an appropriate time," Union Home Secretary R K Singh told PTI.

The simmering border tension also spilled over to the sporting arena with a rattled Hockey India deciding to send back all the nine Pakistani players taking part in its high-profile league.

With an apparent nudge from the government and in the midst of threatened protests by right-wing elements, Hockey India took the decision to send back the Pakistani players considering the "extra-ordinary circumstances".

"After discussion with all the stakeholders, the Hockey India and Pakistan Hockey Federation have mutually decided to send them (Pakistan players) back due to an extra-ordinary situation which has arisen," Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra told reporters here.

Cricket was also not spared. Fearing trouble due to Pakistani players' presence in the upcoming Women's World Cup in the city, the BCCI has left it on the International Cricket Council to take a final call on the venues for the team from across the border.

The matter was discussed at the Board's all-powerful Working Committee and it was decided to convey to the ICC the situation prevailing in the country. BCCI President N Srinivasan said the issue was now for the ICC to decide.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said India has taken a "very firm position" on the beheading issue with Pakistan as the act is "totally unacceptable and barbaric".

Referring to yesterday's Flag Meeting between India and Pakistan on the LoC, he said, "we may not be happy with the outcome but the process is still on."

He indicated that engagement with Pakistan would be impacted although there will be no total freeze.

Asked whether India has set any timeline for Pakistan to act, Khurshid said, "there is no timeline. But we are actually pressing (Pakistan) very hard."

The Army Day reception was attended by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Defence Minister A K Antony, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, IT Minister Kapil Sibal and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon among others.

Gandhi interacted with gallantry award winners and family members of soldiers who laid down their lives last year in various military operations.

Representatives of various embassies and high commissions also were present at the function organised at the Army House here.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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15/D-33
Jan 16, 2013
12:39 PM

it is quite obvious why porkis have opened front on indian side... the political turmoil going on in porkistan compels them to divert attention to india. porkistan is on the boil, they can explode anytime with president PM and CMs all being targeted by court or army. are kangressi so stupid not to understand what is going on? india must demonstrate firmly once and for all that porkis can't divert attention from their internal conflict by making it conflict against india.

Indian, Bangalore
14/D-24
Jan 16, 2013
10:49 AM

"He indicated that engagement with Pakistan would be impacted although there will be no total freeze."

Why not try "total freeze"? In our personal life, supposing we had a pesky mischief making neighbor, we would very likely just cut off all relationship (of course if we ran into each other at some venue by chance we would be civilized with a curt hello and a stiff handshake but not much more).

Arun Maheshwari, Bangalore
13/D-7
Jan 16, 2013
02:23 AM

The tough words need to be backed by lodging a case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Pakistani Army Officers commanding the troops who were under their command when these acts of barbarity were committed. Beheading and other forms of mutilation are against the Geneva Convention. Secondly, an international warrant for their arrest should also be issued by both India and the ICC. If the ICC does not issue a warrant, then India must insist friendly countries such as the UK and USA to take action when these officers travel abroad to the UK or to the US whether for personal or official business.
Those terrorists who have been convicted or are wanted for acts of terror and are contemplating travel or currently residing in the Gulf region should be subjected to the "Israeli" form of justice. That is, they need to know that India will find ways to wreak justice upon them; and that third party countries in which they are residing or travelling cannot not offer them protection from justice. As well, when carrying out these acts of justice, India should not feel beholden to the sensitivities of third-party countries harbouring convicted terrorists. Friendly countries don't harbour terrorists or criminals, they turn them in.
If India wishes to be taken seriously on the international stage, then it must demonstrate seriousness of purpose in bringing convicted terrorists to book.

Raja Panwar, Edmonton
12/D-2
Jan 16, 2013
01:17 AM

Good statement from the PM at last.

Anwaar, Dallas
11/D-131
Jan 15, 2013
11:46 PM

 "He said, "Those responsible for this crime will have to be brought to book" and hoped "Pakistan realises this".

Have we brought the culprits of Bombay train blasts to book? It has been 8 years.

Rakhal, Philadelphia
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