BJP cautions PM against holding talks with Pak

New Delhi: BJP on Saturday cautioned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against India holding talks with Pakistan in the wake of a top US Army Commander`s statement that ISI was working in "close coordination" with terror groups.

Referring to the comments of the Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen that Pakistan`s ISI is in league with terrorist groups, BJP said this only confirms what has been "widely believed and suspected".

"Mullen has specifically mentioned that ISI has great intimacy with the Haqqani group in Afghanistan and these terror groups include Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa. They work in close coordination and have unleashed terrorism on Indian soil for so many years," BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told PTI.

Pakistan`s "biggest patron" US is confirming ISI`s linkage with terror, Prasad said and added that India should think again before going ahead with talks.

"In this light, does Prime Minister Manmohan Singh propose to take some lessons while rushing for a dialogue with Pakistan, unmindful of our own security concerns?" he asked.

Mullen had on Wednesday said it is fairly "well known that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has a longstanding relationship with the Haqqani network".

"Haqqani is supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners. And I have a sacred obligation to do all I can to make sure that doesn`t happen," Mullen had told the Dawn newspaper.

Prasad said Singh should be reminded to go by the January 6, 2004 agreement between the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in which the latter committed not to permit its soil to be used for terror attacks against India.

"This commitment remains unfulfilled. Singh must understand that playing with cricket balls and playing with fireball of terror cannot go hand in hand," Prasad insisted.

Asked about Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik`s statement that ISI was not involved in 26/11 attacks, Prasad said, "This blatant denial is a further confirmation of the political patronage to terrorism by Pakistan. The political leadership of Pakistan cannot afford to defy the all-powerful ISI."