Britain rejects Pakistani state’s link to Mumbai, focuses on LeT (Second Lead)

January 13th, 2009 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) Britain Tuesday asked Pakistan to take on Laskhar-e-Taiba, the suspected architect of the Mumbai carnage, “frontally and politically” but differed with India’s view on the complicity of Pakistani official agencies in the attacks. Encouraged by “overwhelming international support”, India called for sustaining “concerted international pressure on Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage to justice” and hoped that Pakistan will hand over the “fugitives from Indian law.”

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, while addressing a joint press conference here with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, said: “We are absolutely clear about the origin of the terrorist attack, and the responsibility that exists in Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Asking Pakistan to take action against the LeT, Miliband, however, rejected India’s accusation about the involvement of the Pakistani state in the Mumbai attacks. “I have said publicly that I do not believe that the attacks were directed by the Pakistani state and I think it’s important to restate that,” Miliband said.

He was responding to a question on a recent statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the scale and sophistication of the attacks showed that official agencies of Pakistan were complicit in the Mumbai atrocity.

“The responsibility of the Pakistan side is something we expect them to fulfill. Those who have been arrested must be brought to justice and, if found guilty, need to be punished,” Miliband replied when asked about what action Pakistan needed to take in the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage, for which India has blamed Pakistan-based elements.

“What is relevant is the approach of the Pakistani state to the LeT organisation and the way the Pakistani state takes on the menace of the LeT organisation,” he added, while underlining that Pakistan needs to adopt “a multi-pronged approach” to tackle LeT and terrorism within its borders.

“They need to be taken on politically in a frontal and clear manner,” said Miliband, who began his four-day visit to India Tuesday, when asked about media reports indicating that the banned outfit Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a public front for LeT, has regrouped under a new banner.

“The Pakistan government, the Pakistani state has the primary responsibility, fundamental responsibility to tackle the roots of this organization,” he stressed.

He also asked Pakistan not to focus on “historical rights and wrongs” - a veiled reference to Islamabad’s attempt to rake up the Kashmir issue after the Mumbai attacks - but to concentrate on weeding out terrorism. He underlined that a stable Pakistan is necessary for the security of India, Afghanistan and the region.

“The Pakistan government has said that they want to prosecute the 26/11 perpetrators. Terrorism is Pakistan’s own battle which they need to fight on their own,” he said. “It is essential that following on the agenda of criminal justice, Pakistan takes actions,” he added.

Nearly a month ago, when British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited India to express solidarity, he had named the LeT as the perpetrator of the coordinated assaults on Mumbai.

Miliband also called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and discussed with them issues relating to the Mumbai attacks.

Amid deepening tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, Miliband, however, praised India for the “maturity,” “wisdom” and “determination” for responding diplomatically rather than militarily to the attacks.

“The response of India is exactly the right response,” Miliband said while lauding India as “the success story of the region” which has become a “beacon to the world”.

Miliband and Mukherjee discussed a host of bilateral and global issues that included nuclear proliferation, reform of international financial institutions and the ongoing global economic crisis. London will host the G20 summit of the world’s most advanced countries in April, Miliband announced.

Mukherjee urged the international community not to see the Mumbai attacks “through the prism of India-Pakistan relations,” but to regard it as a part of global terrorism, which does not respect national boundaries.

“This is a problem that needs to be addressed collectively so that the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks are brought to justice,” Mukherjee said.

“Pakistan is obliged to implement all international commitments and resolutions against terrorism. Pakistan as a member of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) is required to implement the SAARC convention on terrorism and the additional protocol,” said Mukherjee.

“I do hope that they act on materials and evidence we have given to them and bring the perpetrators to justice,” replied Mukherjee when asked about Pakistan’s rejection of India’s demand for handing over suspects to face Indian justice.

“I do hope some of the fugitives will be handed to India,” he stressed.

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